Jack Wall and Lost Planet 3 on Top Score

by Emily Reese, Minnesota Public Radio
September 12, 2013
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — In Lost Planet 3, players are caught between two worlds as they try to navigate the unknown planet EDN 3. This scenario is captured perfectly in composer Jack Wall's music.

"It's Lost Planet 3, I wanted it to feel mysterious and somehow like you felt lost in the music a little bit."

Wall wrote two quite different soundtracks for the game. One takes the player through the battles and cinematics of Lost Planet. The other takes the main character back to Planet Earth.

"Jim Peyton is the main character, he's the protagonist of Lost Planet 3, and he's on EDN 3, the 'lost planet' in question. He's doing some hazard pay to take care of his family back home, and his wife is sending him mixtapes. So when he gets these mix tapes, or iPod tapes, or whatever they call them in the future, he's a fan of country, folk, Americana — that kind of style of music. So they said, 'Wouldn't it be cool if a bunch of the score was that kind of music?' And I thought that was a really oddball thing, but I loved the idea because I got to go into the studio with some great musicians and write some tunes and have them play 'em, and have a lot of fun."

The rest of the score is far more ambient and orchestral, like the main theme.

"The woodwind line, they're playing triplets, and the strings are playing the ostinato arpeggios.

"It ends up sort of melding together in this cloudy haze of music."

Wall worked closely with violinist Paul Cartwright and cellist Cameron Stone.

"Paul comes in and does his thing — he doesn't even have to think. He just does what he does so well and you put him in record and it's just breathtaking. And Cameron Stone, he does a very similar thing to Paul, but he plays the cello. So I've got both ranges covered there and what they do is so amazing to me.

"Later I went back, chopped it all up and made some music out of it. So if they're playing together, it's totally like an animation recording where actors come in and don't see each other."

Sometimes, developers send still pictures from the game to help composers understand the environment they're scoring, but Wall had video, too.

"They would record levels for me and I would just write to the level. I would have the early sound effects and dialog in the video and I'd just write to it.

"In games anything can change, and you can look at a piece of artwork and be inspired by that one way and then you look at it in the game, it's like 'Oh, this really feels a lot different than the artwork felt.'"

Hear Jack Wall and his music for Lost Planet 3 on the new episode of Top Score from Classical MPR, also on iTunes.

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