City of Heroes/Villains News
Posted Sat Jun 5, 2010 5:03 PM

British Academy Award Winning Composer to Work on Going Rogue Soundtrack

Jason Graves, the well-known and decorated musical composer, will be lending his skill to the Going Rogue soundtrack, which will be heard upon the expansion’s release. Graves is a classically trained composer who also boasts some talent with percussion instruments, guitars, and the keyboard. His work runs the gamut from real time strategy games such as Command and Conquer 4, to the critically acclaimed Dead Space.

Graves worked with the trumpet in college, but came out studying film scores and soon began to analyze them, trying to find out what it was in the music that moved audiences, eventually discovering the secret.

“Music should be emotional, even if it’s not supposed to be up front in your face…and when it’s just sitting there with some chords and a drum beat…it just takes up sonic space,” Graves explained. From his revelation and onward, Graves has mixed emotion with passion, creating some fantastic musical scores that have won him much recognition, including a British Academy Award.

Graves says that how he approaches a particular score is driven by the idea of the project, meaning the type of game, movie, or television program. The diversity in his work shows his ability and skill in making each score unique. His work on Dead Space., a linear horror-survival shooter, differs greatly from that of his work on the City of Heroes expansion Going Rogue .

Not a player himself, Graves’s eye was caught by City of Heroes when it was released and he revealed that it piqued his interest greatly, saying that when he looked into the game he thought, “I really wish I could do some superhero music!” However, after working on numerous other projects, before being approached for Going Rogue, Graves had to revisit his thoughts on the project, looking at comic films and trying to come up with the correct way to begin.

“It wasn’t interactive the way Dead Space was,” commented Graves as he explained the difference between the musical mechanics of both games. In Dead Space, the music heightened the suspense for the player by rising and falling for dramatic affect. Graves mentioned that the music of Going Rogue would mimic the tunes of City of Heroes by introducing different areas of the game, much like City of Heroes does when in Steel Canyon or any other zone.

But is the music in the expansion similar to that of the original game? While those who have followed the progress of the Going Rogue project know that something is amiss in Paetoria, Graves agreed that the music may reveal some secrets of the new world.

“There’s a hint of a theme in there,” Grave elaborated excitedly. While working on
Going Rogue, Graves was impressed with the amount of background and history there was to work with. And the team itself was very helpful to Graves by giving him the best idea of what sort of settings he would be working on and what vibe he needed to give them.

After much deliberation and brainstorming, Graves began working to give Going Rogue a more cinematic feel that mimicked the audio elements of film and television. However, he didn’t want to flood the game with fanfare and bravado. Instead, he chose a different route.

“It can be dark at times but it can be uplifting…But it’s still combat and it’s still tense.” Graves explained that the music would be something you would hear in the background of a film, to heighten the atmosphere and act as a player all its own. This would help to still create that heroic feel, but one that depicts the player’s character struggling against the forces of evil.

Grave’s excitement and enthusiasm about the project bodes well for players of the City of Heroes franchise. His work is superb, and it will surely add to the already growing reputation of City of Heroes. Players should look forward to some villain-smashing-day-saving-hero-fighting-bad-guy-plotting musical scores this summer.

Looking to learn more about Jason Graves? Visit his website here!
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