I record a lot of gameplay video footage with the intention of rewriting the music. I’ve been looking forward to this one because I enjoy writing metal. Although I can’t play guitar well at all, with a template ready to go, I can crank out metal tunes really fast on my MIDI keyboard. This track was laying around and only partially finished when I decided to adapt it for this video clip. The soundtrack is rather heavy for this kind of game, but at the right volume, and with the right stunt course, it could be perfect. Other genres it would be suitable for are racing, modern combat, or a high intensity side scrolling action game.
Metal can often substitute well for techno or electronic tracks. Think of playing Geometry Wars with this kind of music. It could work, although it would be a bit extreme; but just because a game is set in outer space doesn’t mean synths need to dominate the music track. Many developers default to requesting specific styles of music for canonized aesthetics, and obviously for good reason. People already identify with established and traditional musical instrumentation for game or film genres. But just because no one has done anything different doesn’t mean you should exclude thinking creatively about instrumentation. Consider the film, American Beauty. For that kind of drama, traditional orchestral instrumentation was typically used. However, Thomas Newman made the marimba the star of the soundtrack in a unique way and immediately created a new sound for scoring drama. That sound is now used ubiquitously in TV and film.
Toying with ingrained conventions is definitely a risk in game production and film. Music is often brought in rather late in the process, so trying something completely different on a deadline can spell disaster if it doesn’t work. A lot of communication is necessary, and in that situation, if you haven’t been carefully planning and practicing a specific musical departure from canon for some time, I believe inspiration or epiphany is key. Otherwise, stick with what works. In the end, or rather, in the first place, it likely needs to be something your client was considering before you brought it up. In the case of American Beauty, the tone of the movie absolutely begged for something new.
To insinuate that the music I wrote for this video is any sort of clever departure from the norm would be ludicrous. I believe it’s just slightly unconventional enough that I started thinking about this stuff. Anyhow, this track actually has some real guitar in it. I wonder if you can differentiate between what’s real and what’s not.