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St. Paul, Minn. —
When I first had the opportunity to start a podcast about video game composers, Jesper Kyd was the first person that popped into my mind. He was tied up, though, finishing his score to the latest installment in the Assassin's Creed series: Assassin's Creed Revelations.
Jesper's music is intricately tied to the game-play experience. I can speak to this personally, but the success of Jesper's music speaks globally. Assassin's Creed and the stories woven within are inextricably tied to Jesper's music, just as Jesper's music is bound to AC.
I can't hear a note of Jesper's AC music without yearning to play the game. It doesn't hurt that the story behind the Assassin's is incredibly compelling.
In the first four AC games, you follow the story of Desmond Miles. Desmond is a bartender in 2012, abducted by a scientific corporation called Abstergo. Abstergo discovered a way to allow time-travel through accessing the DNA of a subject's ancestors.
Turns out, Desmond is related to a rather long line of Assassins, and Abstergo needs information from Desmond to, more or less, rule the world.
It's interesting, to play as Desmond but through the eyes of his ancestry. In the first game, Assassin's Creed, we follow the path of Altair ibn-La'Ahad, an assassin from the Third Crusade.
For the subsequent games, Desmond lives through his ancestor Ezio Auditore from the Italian Renaissance.
The mixture of Desmond's life in 2012 and the assassins from centuries ago gave Jesper the opportunity to mix electronic and futuristic sounds with hints of the past.
This trailer comes from Assassin's Creed II. Interestingly, Jesper was asked to write the music for the trailer (it is highly unusual for composers scoring films or games to also write music for trailers). Recently voted as the third best video game trailer of all time, it also happens to be a scene you literally play once you get into the game.
Listen to our conversation with Jesper Kyd on the new episode of Top Score from Classical MPR, also on iTunes.