With the recent release of Blizzard Entertainment’s “World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor”, not only have subscriptions and sales been boosted within the popular franchise, but numerous gamers and critics have praised the game’s thematic soundtrack for enhancing the player’s journey through the new world.
The composing team – led by Blizzard’s Director of Audio and lead composer Russell Brower (“World of Warcraft,” “Diablo III”) – included Pyramind Studios Composer and Senior Music Manager Clint Bajakian (“Uncharted: Golden Abyss”, “God of War”). Bajakian created 21 minutes of original score and 65 minutes of derived musical arrangements. The five remaining composers were: Neal Acree (“StarCraft II,” “World of Warcraft”); Sam Cardon (“Meet the Mormons,” “World of Warcraft”); Edo Guidotti (“StarCraft II,” “World of Warcraft”); Craig Stuart Garfinkle (“Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel,” “Forgotten Realms: Baldur’s Gate – Dark Alliance II”); and Eimear Noone (“Diablo III,” “StarCraft II”). The team produced the score with a live orchestra and choir, along with a compliment of several seasoned soloists. Bajakian’s music was mixed and mastered by Pyramind’s Jeremy Garren and Greg Gordon.
Bajakian said Brower approached him to join the project in August 2013 and gave him the creative freedom to explore far ranging musical spaces inspired by the game’s epic story and artwork.
“For me, that resulted in a tone poem that depicted a story of my own design – discovering a new world, encountering an enchanted forest, a malevolent sorcerer, a personal demise, and a moving choral ascension to heaven,” Bajakian said. The five major sections of his work were later broken out and developed into their own individual cues.
For the project, Bajakian explored many different sounds and experimented with an autoharp, a strummed instrument that has many guitar-like strings. With it, Bajakian created a simple Celtic-like folk tune that plays in the game’s bucolic settings like a village or tavern. The instrument went on to create the mysterious effect at the opening of his composition on the iTunes OST, “Instruments of the Arcane” and would be included in several other cues.
“My favorite genre to write for is fantasy,” Bajakian said. “In ‘World of Warcraft,’ musically, there’s room to explore awe-inspiring cataclysms, as well as more intimate magical spaces. The full gamut of characters, environments and rich narrative makes ‘World of Warcraft’ a truly epic world.”
“Warlords of Draenor,” the fifth expansion to the long-running video game, was released on Nov. 13, 2014 and sold more than 3.3 million copies within the first 24 hours. Polygon.com calls the game “The best ‘Warcraft’ expansion in years; it’s a return to form as the best MMO in the industry,” while CraveOnline called the music, “outstanding” and “the best part of the presentation in Warlords of Draenor is the music … and the best soundtrack of any expansion in ‘World of Warcraft’ history.” (Source: http://www.craveonline.com/gaming/articles/788251-day-one-world-warcraft-warlords-draenor-first-impressions#/slide/1)
More of Bajakian’s work can be heard in “Uncharted:Golden Abyss,” “Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb,” “Unreal: The Awakening,” “Outlaws”, and many more.
For more information about Pyramind Studios or Clint Bajakian, visit: www.pyramind.com.
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Jordan von Netzer
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