I love Mass Effect! Mass Effect 2 I’m less enthusiastic about - I liked it, but I think it’s a lesser game than the first. But I remain hugely optimistic about Mass Effect 3 (and Dragon Age 2 - BioWare and Rock Star are the two game companies I really follow).
Whatever else happens in that game - whatever the story, whatever the gameplay - it’s going to have a fucking great soundtrack, because Clint Mansell himself is scoring it. Clint’s rapidly become THE composer of this century, and the fact that he’s turning his attention to games has got to be really exciting for the people who are heavily invested in games being taken more seriously. Personally, as someone who will be spending about 50 to 60 hours playing Mass Effect 3 I’m just psyched that I’ll have really good music to listen to.
Mansell talked about scoring the game with the website Quietus:
Q: Do you do much work for other outlets like computer games? Mike Patton, for example, has most recently voiced The Darkness.
CM: I’m doing a video game this year actually. Mass Effect 3. Funnily enough, talking about Mike, we’ve exchanged emails about the possibility of doing a show featuring the Quartet and people they’ve collaborated with. It’d be a Kronos show, with different rooms for other people to do their thing, then bringing it all together. It’s pretty cool-sounding.
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.
Q: So in a game, the character might arrive at a big boss and you have to have a piece that can quickly become dramatic.
CM: That’s what I’m figuring. As I was saying about Public Enemy and re-working old hip-hop tunes for Requiem, and kind of re-working old ballet tunes for Black Swan, 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.
Mansell and Patton? That’s a collaboration I’d like to see.
I don’t now if this is ‘news’ for people who follow the video game media closely, but it is to me, and I’m damned excited to share it with you.