Assassin's Creed (Video Game) at



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October 26, 2007


Interview with Jesper Kyd
Assassin's Kyd

High Score: The New Era of Game Music  - Tracksounds Special Feature

Started piano at age 8.

First started composing music on computers with at Commodore 64.

Became a member of Silents DK

Collaborator with Mikael Balle

Official Site

Composition Credits (Video Games)

Assassin's Creed
Unreal Tournament 3
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
The Chronicles of Spellborn
Hitman: Blood Money
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Hitman: Contracts
Freedom Fighters
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
Minority Report: The Video Game
MDK2: Armageddon
Hitman: Codename 47
Reaction Quake 3


Composition Credits (Film

Sweet Insanity
Night All Day
Death of a Salewoman
Day Pass


2006 MTV Video Music Awards Best Video Game Score

BAFTA 2005 Best Original Music Award (British Academy Award)

GameSpot 2003 Best Soundtrack of the Year Award

IGN 2004 Best Soundtrack Finalist

G.A.N.G. 2005 Hitman Contracts

G.A.N.G. 2004 Freedom Fighters

G.A.N.G. 2003 Hitman 2






Composer Jesper Kyd

"I was given almost total creative freedom and it really helped in getting a unique sound for Assassin’s Creed."

Jesper Kyd

As the official launch date for the highly anticipated game ASSASSIN'S CREED approaches, we are able to ask composer JESPER KYD a few questions about his musical score for the innovative game.

Assassin's Creed (Soundtrack) by Jesper Kyd

Assassin's Creed by Ubisoft

CC: When did you first start on this and when did you complete your work?

JESPER KYD: I started about 2 years ago, writing the score periodically and I’m still working with Ubisoft on a few ASSASSIN'S CREED related projects.

CC: Talk about how the score evolved from the time that your first started until it was completed.  In other words, how different was the score, in the end, when compared to your initial ideas.

JESPER KYD: The first music I wrote for the game was written for the E3 2006 presentation. This music was written fairly quickly and the game was still in the prototype state.  The themes for each of the 3 cities and the Assassins’ stronghold were written first. Then whenever a gameplay element was complete, I would go and score this. This means I had some time to plan everything throughout and came up with a massive instrument rule set for all the locations and moods in the game. This rule set defined what instruments and music scales were used and where to use them; and it turned out to be especially helpful once the score started to become really huge.

CC: How involved were the games' producers in coming up with the palette for the score?

JESPER KYD: I was selected by a team of over 200 people and they all had an influence on the music direction. The palette was my own but certain things were asked of me before I began. The tragic Christian sound of Acre, the Muslim sound of Damascus without using Muslim music scales, and the melting pot of Jerusalem were all ideas of the team. A deep, atmospheric and spiritual sound was also something the team was looking for. Beyond these templates, I was given almost total creative freedom and it really helped in getting a unique sound for ASSASSIN'S CREED - especially the primal and almost ritualistic meditative sound of the Assassins’ own religion, which was cool to bring out when you stalk and follow your primary targets.

CC: Reportedly, a flashback/dream aspect to the storyline, did that aspect influence your composition?  If so how?

JESPER KYD: Yes, these modern elements can be heard throughout the score. Sometimes it’s very subliminal and other times (during the escape sequences, for example) the music gets really modern.

CC: You mentioned that you created unique music for each city in the game (Damascus, Acre, Jersusalem).   Was it simply the storyline that determined how you would musically identify each locale or were there other factors?

JESPER KYD: There were other factors involved. Acre is a mostly Christian-populated city and western music influences can be heard quite predominantly here. We recorded with a massive choir at the Bastyr Chapel for the Christian City. When venturing deeper into the game, the “Acre Underworld” music starts, under-the-surface kind of music, which is used for example, when interrogating or following people in Acre. This style includes whispered Latin chants and prayers as well as primal instruments such as stones, bells played in unusual ways. Each city uses different instruments. I recorded authentic Muslim prayers and vocals for Damascus as well as a ton of authentic old Middle Eastern instruments.

CC: Did you compose to final sequences (cut-scenes), storyboards, conceptual art or all of the above?

JESPER KYD: Yes, all of the above. When I wrote the city themes I used a lot of concept art. For gameplay mechanic music, gameplay videos were very helpful. The cut-scenes are written to film sequences.

CC: Was there anything outside of the game itself that you used as reference material or inspiration for your score?

JESPER KYD: I researched the time period extensively and it really helped to determine what instruments were around in 1191 and interesting to learn what the differences in music were between Christianity and Islam.

CC: You've written scores for numerous successful video games and films now. Has it gotten easier for you to blend both acoustic and electronic elements into a cohesive whole as time goes?

JESPER KYD: Yes it has. It takes a lot of experience to get the balance right and I feel I am getting to a point where the different elements fit better together. So we don’t have to work as much on the mix and this way it sounds more natural.

CC: How was this project different from your other numerous game scores?

JESPER KYD: It was a rare opportunity to write a historical score, especially one that deals with 3 different religions (Assassins, Islam, and Christian). It was a really enjoyable challenge to come up with the sound of a third religion for the Assassins. This was a very unique project.

*Special thanks to Greg O'Connor-Read (Topdollar PR)


Behind the Score:  Assassin's Creed

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