Adventuring Through Video Games: An Interview with Telltale Composer Jared Emerson-Johnson

Avatar Sep Gohardani | April 20, 2017 32 Views 0 Likes

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If you were a budding composer keen to work with a narrative in the past, the chances were that you would be seeking to work in film and TV. Over the years, however, games have blossomed as an avenue of interest for composers. These days, scores are incredibly important in building the overall texture of a game. It’s possible the industry is at a point where those that work on the sound and music of video games are not necessarily seeking to move up in the world to film and TV, but are challenged, involved, and enthused by the games they are working on.

One such composer is Jared Emerson-Johnson, whose connection with Telltale Games stems back to 2005, and who has been an integral part of their rise to fame, scoring hits like The Walking Dead and providing the building blocks for the enrapturing atmosphere of The Wolf Among Us, all the way through to his work on Guardians of the Galaxy, the first episode of which came out on Tuesday. We spoke to Jared about how he came to write music for video games, his continuing partnership with Telltale, and the differences between scoring games and scoring other media — as well as a whole lot more.

How did Jared get in to the industry in the first place? His passion for music started at a young age, blossoming from there to the point where he had to make a choice on which avenue he wanted to take if he wanted to make music his career.

“Music was something that was always close to my heart. I started playing when I was 4 or 5 years old. Music was always just part of my life throughout, and it kind of got more and more important as I grew up. I started out mostly playing the violin then I got really in to singing and theater stuff. It was only really in college when I started composing seriously. I kind of fell in love with that and realized that I actually liked that much more than practicing for hours and hours every day. It was more fun to be thinking of the big picture, so I started doing that. I was a music major, and I wasn’t assuming that I would definitely go in to music, because that’s easier said than done, but I realized I wanted to give it a shot and was looking at the options.”

Jared’s choices included a career in academia and concert music, which he didn’t find unappealing, but felt like he wanted to branch out and write music for something beyond that. “I wanted to write for a story, for something, not just writing music on its own. That led me to film, TV, and games so I had a look at which of those was viable,” he said. “I grew up in the San Francisco bay area. My family still lived there at that time, so I would be there every summer between years of college. While there, I decided to look for internships, and while it isn’t a big area for TV and film, there was, and still is, a massive games industry presence there, so I decided to focus on that.”

It was the pull of LucasArts that was most enticing, and so he decided to approach them, or more specifically those that already worked in music for the company.  “I loved them and I loved the music in those games, so I reached out to the big three composers from the classic 90s LucasArts era, Peter McConnell, Michael Land, and Clint Bajakian. I told them I was interested in working on the kind of music they were doing, and asked if they needed an intern for the summer. They all got back to me and said “Thank you, but I don’t really have anything that I need help with at the moment,” but a few months later I kind of checked in again and Clint said he actually had a big Indiana Jones score that just came up, which he had a really quick turnaround for. He needed to record it with an orchestra at the end of the summer, so the timing was perfect.”

It fit in perfectly with his time off from university, and Jared explained how his work with Bajakian started from that point. “Basically, when I was home for the summer, I drove up and met him, and he interviewed me to make sure I wasn’t a fool. After that, I started going to his studio every day and we collaborated on the score. Most of my work was doing part preparation: getting the sheet music ready for the musicians because it was a very quick turnaround. I think it was something like 6 or 8 weeks — really fast for roughly an hour and a half of music.”

This time working with Bajakian helped Jared come to terms with working in music that compliments a story, and more specifically how music and games go together. It also gave him an insight in to writing music in the “real world” as opposed to the more theoretical side at university.

“We spent the first week co-composing sitting side by side, and it was great for me because I learned so much about the realities of working in this sphere. When you’re in college, you’re writing stuff and you’re doing stuff, and you’re kind of in your own little world, but then seeing what it takes to do it for a big budget game where they’re actually expecting things from you, that was a great education for me.

It was an experience that Jared looks back on fondly, realizing that things could perhaps have been very different without his time as a “minion” (as he calls it affectionately) for Bajakian. “That was my first experience and it was an incredible one, I have to say,” he told us enthusiastically. “At the time I don’t think I appreciated quite how unusual that opportunity was, I was just like ‘oh great I’m doing what I really wanted to do,’ not really realizing that the chances were sort of one in a million for the timing of something like that to work out.”

After the summer ended, Jared returned to college but kept in touch with Bajakian and he knew for sure not only that he liked working with stories and entertainment, but that he wanted to work in games specifically. He looks back on the standing video games had at the time, and the sense that even though film was seen as the pinnacle, there was something in particular about games that was attractive.

“I think coming in to it at that time, film sort of had an image that was classier or somehow better than games in the public sphere. Games weren’t quite as big then as they are now, and though I always liked playing games growing up, I wasn’t the world’s biggest gamer. That experience with Clint kind of opened my eyes to all the possibilities of what you can do with music in games that is really different from writing to a linear medium. When you are writing interactive music, apart from it being really fun, you also end up thinking about it a lot more. You’re not just scoring directly to a picture, but there’s an infinite number of directions that the music can go at any time, so thinking about that as I was working was exciting to me. I realized that this was sort of my calling.”

Jared continued to talk to Bajakian, a relationship that eventually resulted in him being offered the chance to work for him full time. “He was trying to build his company a little at that time and I needed a job, so it just worked out and I started doing it. That was the beginning and it’s one of those stories that I hesitate to tell to young composers who contact me now because it’s so unusual that I don’t want to get people’s hopes up too much.”

Despite this, Jared thinks his experience is worth sharing, primarily because it encourages those hoping to work in the industry to be ready, no matter how competitive it has gotten as games have become more complex and more universally popular. “At the same time,” he continued, “it does and can happen, so when I do tell the story I use it as kind of a cautionary tale, where I say that even though it is unlikely, when it does happen you need to be ready for it. You shouldn’t have your hopes up, but you should always be ready for the moment you have that opportunity and just be ready to do the work that needs to be done.”

Bajakian ended up leaving the company he had started, Bay Area Sound, to take a job at Sony after roughly two years of working with Jared, who ended up taking charge. It was at this point that his path crossed with Telltale.

“Shortly after that time was when Telltale was starting up, and Julian [Kwasneski], my business partner, was old friends with them, which led to us working together. They were looking for an out of house audio solution for them because at that time they were a very small eight or ten person operation back then, so we told them we were around and said we’d do whatever they needed and we’re happy to help. Now we cut to, like, thirteen, fourteen years later and they’re huge — it’s more like 450 people there now, and we’ve just been working with them ever since.”

“Another happenstance — a wonderful thing, but the most lucky thing about that is that the type of games that they make are the type that I was most drawn to. They’re the reason I wanted to get in to doing music for games in the first place. I liked other games fine, but the scores that were the most exciting to me were the adventure game scores, the kind of cinematic scores that were telling a story, accompanying those sorts of characters. So yeah, I’m the luckiest man in games apparently,” he joked.

WHY ADVENTURE GAMES?

Jared’s company, Bay Area Sound, has worked on a wide variety of games, working in sound design for BioWare on Star Wars: The Old Republic as well as on the critically acclaimed, six-time BAFTA nominated Firewatch but their, and Jared’s, most enduring relationship has been with Telltale, for whom he has scored many times, most recently for Guardians of the Galaxy and the third season of The Walking Dead. Since they specialize in adventure games, we discussed what it was about them that was particularly interesting to him, and just how much not just adventure games, but games in general have in common with film.

“I think it’s partly the type of music that I like to write, and that’s interesting to me,” he began. “There’s certainly action games and shooter games and you know…mobile games that are all interesting to score as well, and the variety is fun, but adventure games are pretty unique in that landscape, because you’re looking at a story first and foremost, so there’s a story to be told — there’s a certain cinematic element to it, but it’s also a game for sure.

The puzzles and things that come along in an adventure game are unique to games, so it’s an interesting balance, but I guess the main thing for me is that you’re usually looking at some kind of thematic element, so you’re looking at characters who have real personalities and who presumably have some kind of arc going through.”

He traces this desire for a tangible and continuous story thread back to films, arguing that adventure games are alike in a lot of ways, and perhaps the link from that medium to video games.

“For me, as a 35-year-old who grew up in the 80s and 90s, films were sort of king in those days, ” he explained. “Games were fun. We all had our Nintendos and they were great, but in terms of what was the kind of ideal entertainment platform at that time, for me at least, it was definitely film. That meant I grew up really admiring a lot of film scores and that was kind of my main focus. So, I guess in some ways adventure games are the natural gateway from that. There’s a cinematic element to them that I really admire and like, but they’re still definitely games so there’s still all of the interactivity, the branching, and the wagon wheel of knowing that the player’s choices could have different consequences. So it kind of appealed to both my cinematic sense and my love of interactive music scoring.”

The link with film appeals, but Jared also doesn’t want to leave behind that interactive element, preferring something non-linear to a linear format, like film, even if that medium is still “king,” which is obviously debatable.

“It’s funny,” he began, “when I talk with my parents or older generations who really often don’t get games, they’re always ask if I’m ever going to work on film, because that’s what makes the most sense to them. The answer is probably no, Never say never, but like, really, games are way more fun and there’s an inherent musical element to them. When you’re scoring something linear, it’s just moving ahead, it’s just horizontal, but in games there’s this vertical component where you’re going forward but you might jump up or down as you go forward and it’s just really exciting, especially musically, since there’s a lot of possibility there that I like playing around with.”

The diversity of games is also an interesting component, particularly when compared to film where no matter the genre, the medium itself stays the same. With games, the mechanics change, leading to a lot of differences.

“We talk about the games industry as though it’s a single thing, but it’s so much broader than that,” Jared said. “If you’re making a film it’s still fundamentally a film no matter what, but if you’re comparing a mobile game to an adventure game or a shooter game to a simulator game, what they even are is very different, and that’s kind of cool for me especially, with the variety I get from that it feels like every new project is kind of like a brand new job, even though technically I’m still doing the same thing every time. The problems I’m solving are very different from one of those to another.”

So what changes when you switch genres in games? RPGs, for example, are often festooned with grand orchestral scores in order to make the grand expanses in the game feel more epic, whereas an adventure game might feel more confined. As a result, perhaps the approaches taken to scoring these different kinds of games would be different. For Jared, there are many similarities, but also differences that come down to how the player is supposed to experience the different games.

“They tend to be those really big broad fantasy scores. It’s orchestral, it’s sweeping, it’s larger than life, and there are actually some adventure games where that is appropriate. I think for example the Guardians of the Galaxy game is a little closer to that than maybe the Walking Dead game.”

There are, perhaps, different emphases though, and Jared acknowledges that.

“The emphasis on dialogue, story, and conversation that there is in adventure games almost always means that there’s going to be a little bit more room for quieter stuff in them. That’s not always the case, though. Certainly in RPGs there are moments where if you’re exploring a space and there’s no action happening you’re going to have quieter moments, but in a lot of those cases in tends to be kind of one or the other where you’re either in a very ambient, moody space or it’s an action situation. I think the line between those two sometimes can be a little bit more blurry in an adventure game, because you might be in the middle of an action sequence, but then characters might be talking to each other, or you might be in the middle of just a dialogue scene but things are getting more intense. For me at least, I’m biased obviously, but I tend to think of adventure games as having a little more nuance some of the time and part of that is just because it’s so important. An adventure game won’t work if you don’t have that nuance, whereas an RPG maybe would and there isn’t necessarily the budget to have every possible shade of every possible emotional gradient in an RPG.”

“That said, there remains certainly a similarity,” he continued. “The actual process of writing the music, whatever music you’re writing, is the same. I’m using the same software programs, the same microphones to record live stuff — that stuff is always kind of the same. But the big picture stuff I think can tend to be pretty different in the way that you’re breaking it down. With the Telltale games, we break it down scene by scene, beat by beat. It’s much more linear in a cinematic sort of way, and then there might be a branch where you have to differentiate between what happens if certain choices are selected, so it all gets broken out that way. I think with RPGs and some of the bigger, broader games it tends to be that there isn’t as much intricacy. Of course, there are exceptions to that as well. I think there are some RPGs where that nuance is certainly in there a little bit more, but also, at the end of the day when it comes to RPGs, there’s a finite amount of resources. They’re hard for that reason, especially the MMOs because they’re so big, but you can’t have every possible thing in there so they have to make some judgement calls about what the most important beats and feelings are so that they can get the maximum impact.”

RPGs, along with shooters, are also the areas where most overlap with film composers comes, with the likes of Trent Reznor, Clint Mansell, and Hans Zimmer all coming across to work on a game in one of those genres. We put it to Jared that you don’t see this sort of overlap with adventure games.

“You don’t, no,” he agreed. “In some of those cases when those big film guys come in, they’re doing a lot, but a lot of the time they’re doing a smaller portion of the score and they’re writing a few key pieces, then often there’s a game person below them filling in all the gaps. I think there are a lot more gaps to fill in for an adventure game a lot of the time. I remember when Fable came out, there was a lot press about the score being by Danny Elfman, but if I’m not mistaken there was one piece by Danny Elfman and then the whole rest of the score was written by a team of game composers and I think that’s probably more typical even now. That said though, having that kind of big name person doing a key cue or two can make a big difference, not just from the marketing side of it, which I think is part of why they do that but I think having that familiar, Big film sound can really, even if it just a few pieces of music, shape the whole experience of the thing.”

Perhaps it’s because of the linear nature of shooters in particular that film composers find the overlap easier, but it seems, as Jared explained to us, that switching mediums doesn’t necessarily always work out.

“I was just talking with a house that specializes in music for trailers recently,” Jared continued. “They were bemoaning slightly their experience with a lot of the film composers. Obviously we’re not talking about the Hans Zimmers and the Danny Elfmans of the world, but people trying to get trailer music from the more B list film people was often less fruitful, and they were finding that for whatever reason the game composers were having more luck hitting the right beats. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that because on one hand it makes sense to me, but I’m trying to figure out exactly why that is the case.

“The one thing I know for sure is that the difference between a trailer and a movie is significant, just as the difference between a movie and a game is really significant. I think a lot of the time people assume that if someone is a great composer they’ll be great for anything, but sometimes it’s more about being great in the style and the medium that they are really at home in; that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be great in every style. That’s something I’m still trying to make sense of, but it is definitely interesting.”

WORKING WITH TELLTALE

Jared has worked with Telltale since 2005’s Bone: Out from Boneville, but the company’s big break came with the release of the first season of the survival horror franchise The Walking Dead in 2012. It is a series that has continued to this day, and we discussed that first season score with Jared and the process of how it came about.

“When we first starting doing it, I wasn’t entirely sure about how it was going to work because the vision that the lead designers Sean Vanaman and Jake Rodkin, who have since gone on to start Campo Santo Games and made Firewatch, had was pretty different for Telltale. It was basically to have the music be much more sparse than usual,” Jared explained.

“Typically, we’d have the music going constantly, wall to wall, from the first moment of the game all the way to the end, but they thought that it should be silent most of the time with the music only coming in for really key moments. At the time I just thought I’d see how it went, not quite understanding how that game was going to end up being, or what the gameplay was going to be like. Seeing that develop and realizing that it was really powerful. It ended up making the score seem even better than it would have if there had been more of it and made me realize that when you strip it away and let there be silence and then bring it back in again, it gives a power to the music that it doesn’t have otherwise.”

It’s an element that perhaps has been brought over from mediums like film and TV, but for Jared it definitely made the game more impactful. “Games often have the music wall to wall, and so it was a good education for me, since I realized that the power of silence was so strong. Now I’m the big advocate of silence. In all the music meetings I’m the one saying “but what if there was no music here?” That might seem funny, but it’s sort of self-serving because having those breaks creates this dynamic range that you don’t have when the music is going all the time. So you can you have it go down to silence with just the ambient sound, and then suddenly bring the music back in. Even if it’s very subtle music it feels really powerful and noticeable, whereas if it had been going the whole time you might not even notice that the music changed at all.”

In fact, because a PhD student approached him to talk about scoring video games, Jared had gone back through the score for the game and realized something.

“I noticed that in that first season especially every single time there’s about to be a really scary moment with a zombie jumping out at you we go to silence beforehand — literally every time before. It’s so great and that wasn’t even really a conscious decision, but it just ended up working that way as we were figuring out what worked best. It makes it so scary when the music does come in — it’s so powerful. It’s almost like when you hear it get quiet you go “oh no, something’s coming,” which I think is good.”

Jared linked this phenomenon once more to film and another horror franchise. “I remember reading about John Williams talking about the Jaws score, and he very deliberately never uses the famous theme when the shark isn’t actually there,” he explained. “That means that there are a few moments where the film fakes you out, where you think maybe the shark is coming when it’s not. In all of the fake outs, it’s silence — there’s no theme. If you watch it again knowing that you think “oh man, that’s so smart, why didn’t I think of that?” The power of silence and the use of it as a musical component is really interesting and definitely was a huge part of the Walking Dead games.”

As well as those genre elements, it’s also interesting to consider Jared’s approach to writing the scores for Telltale games more generally, particularly when the game is based on a franchise that maybe already has a TV show or film with a musical identity. Jared explained to us his process when he sits down to work with a game.

“What we normally do is really early on we’ll meet up, even before the designs are fully set, and we’ll just talk general ideas, the basic concept for how we imagine the score will be,” he explained. “I’ll ask them and then I’ll give my two cents after they’ve talked a bit about what they’re planning. The process can take a while; we listen to a lot of existing scores, whether it be film, games, or TV, as well as classical music, pop music, and whatever else to kind of get an idea of what people are responding to.”

Once they’ve completed the preliminary stages, Jared will take that information and begin to formulate the template of the score. “I’ll go in to seclusion, take all of that information, and just make a few sketches and ideas, with a few examples of music that’s not even really written to any specific moment just to find the general sound — a pallet for the game,” said Jared. “Then I throw that back at the designers and directors and see what they think. Hopefully they think it’s cool, but sometimes they’re not that enthused, and you kind of go from there and refine what you have. Usually after all that time the design has been firmed up somewhat, and then we actually sit down and really go beat for beat through whatever the current design is and talk about where the music will need to change. So we judge what’s going on and say, well it’s sad here, but then this happens and so maybe the music should go away for a while, but then it comes back when it’s tense, then maybe go away for a while and come back when the player has to be sneaky or stealthy, or whatever else is going on.”

That outlines the general system, but the different franchises that Jared works on each have a different kind of baggage. For example, the likes of Tales from the Borderlands and Game of Thrones have pre-existing scores and soundtracks, whereas the likes of The Wolf Among Us does not. Jared explained that this does have an effect on the way he approaches the score, since there may be restrictions on franchises that have already been adapted for film and TV.

“It’s very different,” he began. “I like both. It’s certainly easier when you have the pre-existing stuff, but maybe a little bit less rewarding or a little bit more constricting, especially doing things like Game of Thrones. Both that and Borderlands were happening at the same time, and both of them had a really established musical style. I probably had a little more leeway with Borderlands, but Thrones was pretty specific. You can’t stray too far outside of that sound, so it made writing the music pretty easy and it went faster for sure, but in terms of artistic fulfillment I think there’s a little bit more that comes out of doing something original.”

That is exactly what he did on his score for The Wolf Among Us, and it is arguably his finest. Bathed in ambient electronic sounds with a noir-ish overtone, it captures the mood of the game perfectly and even manages to steal moments of the game. Indeed, walking around main character Bigby’s apartment is made all the more atmospheric by Jared’s work. He described how the soundtrack came about and the challenges that sort of freedom can bring.

“Looking at The Wolf Among Us, there was infinite possibilities coming in to that; the soundtrack could have been anything. That was one where we went over and over it for months and months, getting very specific about how we wanted it to sound. By the time it was defined, it was really fun and ended up being, I would say, more rewarding than doing the stuff with the established franchise sounds. But it’s a lot more work, so it varies.”

Batman, on the other hand, was a different kettle of fish. Since he had an entire franchise to look back on, it was a different challenge entirely to any of the previous games, and it was intriguing to hear how much those past adaptations affected his thought on what the soundtrack would sound like.

“I remember for the Batman game we spent a whole lot of time going back and forth about all the different possibilities,” Jared began, “partly, I think, because it’s such a loaded franchise. There have been so many different versions of it, so many different sounds and, in a lot of ways, what Telltale was doing with it was kind of different from all of them. It wasn’t a Tim Burton-style thing, it wasn’t as dark and crazy as the Nolan stuff, and it wasn’t quite the animated series — it was different. So we listened to a lot of that stuff and then ended up drawing most of our inspiration from other sources that weren’t even other Batman things to figure out a new vibe. It took a while, though…a couple of months, I would say, of at least five or six day-long meetings just listening to a lot of stuff and talking. Part of that was the different personalities in the room — lots of opinionated people, but that’s good. That’s how you end up with a really good thing. The more you can talk about that stuff the more specific it gets to be when it is finally time to write something for a specific moment.”

Overall though, Jared is a fan of the variety that he gets to work with and the different challenges that they all present. “Honestly I like kind of going back and forth between them,” he said.

“With Guardians of the Galaxy, the soundtrack is a little more like the Batman one where it’s not that similar to the movie score. It’s a little more of its own thing, which I really like, but then there’s also something really fun about getting the Thrones game and spending the time listening through the whole awesome Ramin Djawadi score that he wrote for the TV show and really getting familiarized with it, or even going way back in time for Telltale’s Back to the Future and Jurassic Park games — just immersing myself in those scores enough to be able to write and make it sound believable in that language, that’s really fun too. The music geek in me really likes that because you have to sit down and listen to them and it’s like studying — studying the score and then emulating it, and that’s really fun too.”

We also discuss how the collaboration with Telltale has brought Jared recognition on the awards circuit, and how The Walking Dead brought him his first BAFTA nomination — an exciting time, but one he sadly could not enjoy in person for a few reasons. “I know, it was crazy, completely insane,” he started, “but I didn’t get to go. “The story behind that…” he paused for a second, remembering something painful, “it was horrible, one of my big regrets. That was in 2013, and I had gotten married not that long before it in 2012, and had a plan to go with my wife to Scotland for our honeymoon in the summer of 2013, but my passport had been expired because I hadn’t gone anywhere for a while, so I had applied for a new one and it was off amidst all the horrible bureaucracy — literally a week or two before the announcement came out about the BAFTAs. That was a regret, just horrible timing, and my stupid fault for not having a current passport. I will never let it lapse again.”

Despite that unfortunate circumstance, the strength of Jared’s work will mean he’s back there in no time, and probably with an up to date passport to boot.

THE FUTURE

After discussing Jared’s extensive work with Telltale, it was interesting to wonder whether he ever thought he was going to take his scoring talents to another medium, despite his previous trepidation, or whether he planned to do any music work outside of the soundtrack sphere.

“I would be curious about it,” Jared told us. “I think what I was saying earlier made me sound disdainful or something. I think it’s mostly just my surprise at how much I found myself at home writing game stuff. Not to disparage film stuff, but just having come at it from the perspective that I would move on from games to film, as though that were somehow graduating to a higher level and then kind of realizing that I really like games, I find myself more challenged with this in some ways musically than I thought I would be.

“That said,” he continued, “I still love film. I probably still watch more film than I do play games, honestly, so it’s still something I’m interested in, and never say never. Same with TV. Honestly, part of me is more interested in looking in to TV stuff these days because there’s that much awesome TV now, possibly more than there is good film. It’s easy to get down on the entertainment industry sometimes, if you focus on the small scale stuff, but if you look at all the good stuff that’s happening, there’s better stuff happening in games and TV than ever before, so that’s exciting. We’ll see, and you can’t ever say never as a professional musician. You have to always be open to work.”

It’s not only film and TV that Jared might be interested in, but also the world outside of that.

“I’m up for orchestral stuff as well, even though it’s funny because it’s so hard to imagine. I feel like I haven’t had a break in my schedule ever. The idea of having a chunk of time to write some original orchestral thing is seems really hard, but I know that if that opportunity came up and I had time for it, it would be awesome. It’s just a matter of having that opportunity and having that space in the schedule. But yeah, it’s always interesting.”

We haven’t mentioned Jared’s work outside of scoring in games, but he’s also excited about the prospect of more of that.

“Every year there’s always something that’s kind of a surprise. Like, last year, I spent a lot of the early part of the year doing all the sound design for Firewatch. I don’t talk much about my sound design stuff, and I actually hadn’t done a lot of it for a while before that, but it was really fun putting my sound designer hat back on and working on that — and what a great game that is. It was up for six BAFTAs this year. That game is totally unique and a singular experience for sure. That was really fun and, plus, Jake Rodkin, who was one of the founders of the company, is one of my oldest friends. We knew each other going back to high school before either of us were doing anything in games. It’s been really fun working with him, and he’d been at Telltale for many years too — just great to work with him and to wear those different hats. I really do love the variety that I get to do in this job. It’s 90% music, but just being able to do some voice stuff here and there and sound design stuff here and there, my days are never boring and there’s always a new thing to do which is good for me,” he exclaimed contentedly.

It seems, then, that writing music for video games is every bit as rewarding, at least for Jared, as composing for either film or TV. The existence of composers like Jared means that the industry is bustling with talented musicians who are ready to enhance the gaming experience with their work. Perhaps the day has already come where games are not seen as a stepping stone for film or TV, but a desired destination for budding musicians who hope to work with intricate, interesting narratives.

The first episode of Guardians of the Galaxy, entitled “Tangled Up In Blue” is out now. The fourth episode of season three of The Walking Dead, “Thicker Than Water,” releases April 25th. 


  • Hammercorps

    Extremely interesting, thanks for the look into composition.Been interested in this part of game development since watching Olivier Derivere’s composition videos.

    • Sep Gohardani

      Thank you, glad you enjoyed reading it! Yeah, I’ve long found scores fascinating, particularly when they’re as involved in the storytelling and atmosphere as they are in the case of the scores that Jared does. Deriviere’s Alone In the Dark soundtrack achieves something similar I think.