As we’re ramping up for the global launch, we wanted to introduce a series of behind-the-scenes blogs to highlight some of the team working hard on Sky. Today we have Vincent Diamante, Audio Director and Composer of Sky and Flower, answering questions submitted by the community!
Where do you draw inspiration from? How do you know what suits the mood you’re writing for?
The game itself provides a lot of inspiration. Early on, when there were a lot of big, core mechanical changes happening to the game, I would respond to the team musically with what I thought would be most appropriate or amplify the game message. I like thinking about what the player’s input would be and scoring that, beyond just what’s going on narratively on screen.
Where does the composition stand in regards to the whole production? Do you already know a lot when you start composing or do you start at a point where you only have a concept of the game available?
I started working on this game at the very beginning, when there were just the loosest of ideas for what the game would eventually become. It’s fun working that way; the process feels more like a dialogue with the rest of the game production team as everyone pushes the game forward, rather than just filling in the blanks as needed.
Do you have a favorite video game soundtrack, either one you’ve composed or by another?
I have a bunch of favorites! They kind of go all over the place. My collection has big epic soundtracks like Vagrant Story and Panzer Dragoon Saga, but also soundtracks for arcade puzzle games, like Puyo Puyo Sun, Landmaker, and Soldam.
What is your instrument of predilection to play, hear, and/or compose with?
While I’m a classical pianist by training, most of my time composing is spent with an Electric Wind Instrument, or EWI. While it’s possible to mimic the musical possibilities of string and wind instruments with a keyboard, I find the EWI a natural fit for this score and melodies that require a sustained singing quality. While I’m nowhere near as good at playing wind instruments as I am on keyboard, I find using the EWI sometimes gets me to my musical target in a more direct way than with the keyboard.
The song in the Vault, on the level where there are multiple cosmic manta rays holding a light vessel each that need to be lit up to bring them to the central platform. The smooth tunes in that part feels rather romantic. Was that intended?
For me, that space features a lot of connection between the players and the level and creatures. I wanted the music’s progression to try to relate some of that relationship as the player progresses through the level. In the end, the music ends up traversing a decent amount of ideas, from ambient harmonies to romantic melodies, and it ended up feeling right to me.
What process is involved in putting together the sheet music we can play in groups?
Assuming that you were involved in developing the instruments, how has the vision for the instruments in the game changed during the beta? And what’s your favorite instrument to play in the game?
What have been some of the things that have surprised you most about composing the music for Sky?
One of the fun things about making music for the game so early is that you’ll often see music being used in ways you don’t expect. More than a few times, one of the designers will decide to use music I intended for one space/scene/mood in something that they newly create and I’ll usually respond in one of two ways:
1) Oh, that’s not bad, but give me a moment and I can do something that would be just what you’re looking for
2) OH. That fits way better than I expected. I should rewrite some other music for the sequence that you took that music from…
How much do you work with the sound engineers creating the atmospheric effects? The music in the early forest is lovely and even for my wife who doesn’t play, she immediately felt the mood of the scene. The music seems to work seamlessly with the forest noises here. How much do you interact for that to happen?
Ritsu Mizutani is a heck of a sound designer. He did the vast majority of sound effects in the game, but they were all done with the overall music/sound balance in mind. One of the things we did is make sure that the game is aware of the music on some level. Before the game triggers the correct sound effect, it needs to be aware of the music’s current harmony and dynamic level, along with other level specific music elements. With that information, the sound effect that’s triggered is one that best matches those aspects of the music.
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