«If we do not put a bit of ourselves on the things we create, we are only doing merchandise»
“I think music plays an important role in Tunic, because it serves as an emotional spine to a game with very implicit emotional experiences. In the game you do not assign tasks to complete, but you simply enter a world and explore it, driven only by curiosity and mystery sensation. Music is there to amplify those feelings and motivate you to deepen. There is not much text in the game, and you never tell you what you have to feel: that job is legitimately left to gameplay and music. “
Terence Lee (Lifeformed) , started composing the Tunic soundtrack there by 2014, more than seven years ago. However, unlike Shouldice, Lifeformed had already had some wanderings for the world of video game with titles such as Dustforce, and was manager of the soundtrack of Double Fine Adventure, a documentary on the return of Tim Schafer and the creation of Broken Age. TUNIC, in this case, moves away from the music we get used to hearing when playing action titles, usually more frenetic, to focus on a more immersive and natural style in favor of the mystery. «TUNIC is a game about the mystery, and what happens with the mysteries is that they make sense regardless of whether you understand it or not. That’s why we wanted music to refer less to you as a protagonist and more to the world where you are: we want you to feel alive regardless of your relationship with him. The essence of a mystery is in its relationship with the world that surrounds it, so by means of musically highlighting the world, we hope you feel full of depth and secrets. Instead, action-oriented music usually focuses much more on the player, and although there are still some very energetic issues in the game, we reserve them for when things are truly dangerous, “something that, and this is its own contribution, It happens with relative frequency.
To reach this point, Lee goes through a creative process that keeps a synesthetic relationship between his parts, filling his mind of colors, shapes and movement to be able to visualize the final result, a process that according to the composer can be tedious, exhausting or even painful. «The next steps are very abstract: I use those visual elements as a seed with which to experience musically, and simply Inero and continuously explore new sounds, rhythms and melodies for hours, days or weeks, until something seems exciting. I do not have the feeling of having created something, but about having discovered something that was already there, unearthing him from the depths and carefully cleaning dirt. I use the visual elements and the emotions of the game to guide me towards him, and my own experiences to polish it and present it ». Its bases, away from the Tunic inspiration in the most classic Zeldas, is closer to the soundtrack of Yasunori Mitsuda in Chrono Trigger, more similar to «That sweetheart feeling vaguely reminding an old dream» that recalls her nostalgia, though not It is left out to some artists outside the videogame. “Electronic musicians like Clark are also inspired. His music is always surprising: every few seconds there is something interesting and unexpected. Underground electronic music also influences me, it is impregnated with that energy experimentation that is very liberating and genuine, in contrast to the feeling of marketing that usually has the most commercialized music ».
Since your ad in that Far PC Gaming Show almost five years ago, the title has gone through an evolution that has also affected your soundtrack. This fact, of course, is due to a technical, style and technical advancing in the liformord itself, but it has also caused it personal growth of the composer year year after year. “I have been having more to say musically. Every time I find it more important to think about working on this soundtrack not from the perspective of: “What do people expect from this game?” And instead: “What do I personally feel when playing this game?” If we do not put a bit of ourselves on the things we create, then we are only doing a merchandise. ”
Although it is easier to find the name of Terence Lee or your pseudonym when we look for information about your music, the truth is that it has not been the only person in charge of composing it and developing it, since it has also worked on it Janice Kwan , Woman From the Lifeformed himself, with a role as important as Lee, although he began the solo project: “For several years I experienced with the development of the style and atmosphere of the soundtrack. He was so focused on creating the atmosphere and space of the game world that I did not explore much the emotional side of the game. But I was very lucky that Janice was willing to join me in the creation of the Sonora band, because her musical strength fit perfectly where she more needed help. I love the way she evokes the character and emotion in the soundtrack, because I can hear her personality in her ».
With the soundtrack of the video game Spire as his next project, we have also asked Lee to reflect on what was learned over the years and everything that has taken him to this moment. “I have learned that it is very difficult for me to write music for a project beyond, instead of music with an entity in itself. There are usually many limitations, such as “do music that evokes this feeling,” or “do music that is exactly like that long.” For me it is difficult to do that; I prefer to start creating sounds and see where they take me ». These limits, as in many cases with creative processes, on many occasions approaching you to discover new things even though they do not conform to the requirements that are asked. “Despite this, making music for something that forces me is often the impulse I need to create something. For me, making music requires so much creative and emotional energy that I often burn. The deadlines and responsibility force me to move forward and persevere. “
Read the Tunic analysis here .
An interview with Andrew Shouldice, creator of the game, can be found here .