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Electronic Arts enters the boxed music business March 1 with the eight-disc Medal of Honor Soundtrack Collection, which will be released through a partnership with LA-LA Land Records.
The collection features 10 hours of music, including the original scores of all 12 video games, as well as previously unreleased material from award-winning Hollywood composers Michael Giacchino (Cars 2, Captain America: The First Avenger), Christopher Lennertz (Hop, Alvin and the Chipmunks) and Ramin Djawadi (Red Dawn, Clash of the Titans).
Steven Spielberg created the original Medal of Honor game with his DreamWorks Interactive game studio, which EA bought before the first World War II shooting game was released and became a global blockbuster. Spielberg wrote an introduction to the 40-page booklet that comes with the Medal of Honor Soundtrack Collection.
“It has been gratifying as a gamer just playing all the iterations of Medal of Honor to experience firsthand how lifelike the combat in Medal of Honor has evolved from the very first game I created in 1998,” Spielberg said. “A lot of developers cut their teeth on Medal of Honor and have become stars in their own right, which also could be said for finding the composers who make video games feel more and more like movies.”
Oscar-winning composer Giacchino (Up!) got his first big break in Hollywood as a result of Spielberg and Medal of Honor.
“I listen to a lot of music from aspiring composers, and one day I received a CD of sample tracks from a new composer named Michael Giacchino,” Spielberg said. “I thought his stuff was stunning and the orchestral arrangements were already on a par with some of Hollywood’s best working composers. So I did what anybody in their right mind would do. I found him an agent and signed him up to score Medal of Honor — and the rest of Giacchino’s history belongs to him.”
The new music collection includes exclusive music from Giacchino, who worked on three games in the franchise. He said he wanted a grand orchestral style for the original game that told the story of what was going on within the game itself, as well as the bigger story of what was happening during that period in history.
“I am a huge WWII and general history buff so working on these games was a chance for me to immerse myself in that time,” Giacchino said. “My great Uncle Peter Fortunato fought in WWII. He saw a lot of tough battle in the Pacific Theater. While watching the game does help guide my writing as far as mood and thematics are concerned, it’s truly the stories from people like my uncle — stories from people who experienced it — that truly inspired my writing.”
Lennertz, who composed Medal of Honor: Pacific Assaultand Medal of Honor: European Assault, also drew inspiration from his own family.
“I love WWII films and have a great respect for that time period in music, but my greatest inspiration was that of my grandfather, Fred Torrisi,” Lennertz said. “He was a captain in the Army stationed in the South Pacific during the war … and in addition, he was a musician. He even wrote the march for his battalion. I heard a lot of military music growing up in that environment.”
Djawadi said he wanted to focus on the emotional aspect of war, rather than just making an action game score with the most recent Medal of Honorgame. The 2010 shooter was the first game to move the action from WWII to modern day warfare in Afghanistan. Technology has evolved to help composers with new video games.
“A game now can handle the same kind of music as a movie or a TV show,” Djawadi said. “Higher storage capacities make it possible to support games with higher audio quality. Some games are now recorded with full orchestras.”
Advances in technology, including stereoscopic 3D experiences, have also encouraged more game studios to put additional investment in a title’s music. Medal of Honorwas one of the first games to take this Hollywood approach with its music, thanks in large part to Spielberg.
“Video games require the creation of music for what is essentially a three-dimensional entertainment experience, a unique challenge that most composers understand and love,” said Steve Schnur, worldwide executive of music and marketing at EA. “It is truly the next frontier of creative endeavor. I believe that it won’t be long before every major Hollywood composer is working in video games.”
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