Mass Effect 3’s swan song

This year’s, or possibly this decade’s, favourite movie composer, Clint Mansell, has confirmed in an interview with Quietus (via Badass Digest)that he’ll be writing the score for Mass Effect 3. When asked whether he’d consider composing video games his response was: “I’m doing a video game this year actually. Mass Effect 3,” adding “I’m definitely interested in different outlets – that’s one of the reasons I get involved in short films. It’s not so much that I can experiment as it is to be in a situation where nobody’s looking over your shoulder. Short films are usually made by young people and they’ve got ideas I can bounce off. They can take me in a different direction.”

Mass Effect 3 will be Mansell’s the first video game soundtrack and it comes with an awful lot of pressure to get it right. The original Mass Effect had a phenomenal score from large scale set pieces all the way down to three-second bursts. Inspired by Blade Runner, Jack Wall was behind the music and BioWare brought him back for Mass Effect 2 though the sequel changed direction becoming less memorable and subsequently less popular. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a fantastic game soundtrack as Wall is one of the best video game composers, just not quite as noteworthy as the first.

With Mansell’s previous work including Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, it’ll be interesting to see what a major Hollywood player can bring to the holographic table of Mass Effect 3. He certainly understands how music in games works: “With something like Mass Effect you’re more like a DJ, with all these elements. You’ve got the holding pattern, then the big explosion where you need the score to kick in. Then you need to take it off on a tangent. You’ve got all these different elements that change depending on what the player does. You have to figure out an overall symphony, but be able to break it down into component parts. You can bring the pain when required.”


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