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February 13, 2008


Composer Mark Griskey
The Score Unleashed




Graduated from California State University with a B.M in Music.

Studied composition and film scoring privately and at UCLA.

Is also an accomplished classical percussionist and jazz drummer.

Began composing for movie trailers and TV spots in the 1990s.

In 2001, began scoring video games for LucasArts.

Started as freelance composer in 2005.

Official Web Site

Composition Credits (VG)

Star Wars:  The Force Unleashed
The Chronicles of Narnia:  Prince Caspian
Iron Man
The Hulk
Utima X Odyessy - Additional Orchestration
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
Star Wars: Racer Revenge - Music Director
Star Wars: Obi-Wan - Music Editing & Additional Music
Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith - Additional Music Composition
Sam and Max: Freelance Police
Rayman 4: Raving Rabbids
Marvel Ultimate Alliance
Jedi Star Fighter

Composition Credits (VG Trailers)

Van Helsing
Star Wars: Battlefront 2
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Medal of Honor: European Assault - Trailer Music
Call of Duty3


X-men 2
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Tristan and Isolde
The Scorpion King
The Ring
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Hulk
The Day After Tomorrow
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
Star Trek Nemesis
Spider-Man 2
Road to Perdition
Planet of the Apes
Peter Pan (2003)
Minority Report
Kingdom of Heaven
King Kong
Jurassic Park 3
I, Robot
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Cabin Fever




Composer Mark Griskey

"JOHN WILLIAMS, who is a living legend, is the one who defined that sound. So there is a big expectation there. The music needs to live up to his level. It can't get too far away from what he has established."

Mark Griskey

Tracksounds was able to talk with composer Mark Griskey about his work on LucasArts next big game, THE FORCE UNLEASHED.  He shares about following in the tradition of John Williams, the unique challenges posed by the game's story, and recording the first Star Wars game score at Skywalker Sound.  This interview was originally held in February 2008.

  Interview: PAGE 1 | PAGE 2
  Exclusive Music from THE FORCE UNLEASHED


THE FORCE UNLEASHED releases September 16, 2008


Jesse Harlin, David Colins, Mark Griskey, Jeff Marsh at The Force Unleashed scoring session.

Jesse Harlin, David Colins, Mark Griskey, Jeff Marsh at The Force Unleashed scoring session.

The original score for THE KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC II: THE SITH LORDS was composed by Mark Griskey.

The original score for THE KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC II: THE SITH LORDS was composed by Mark Griskey.



  Interview: PAGE 1 | PAGE 2

CC: You've done music for KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC II, JEDI STARFIGHTER and other STAR WARS games, and now you've done THE FORCE UNLEASHED. After so many Star Wars projects, do you still feel the weight of taking on a project with the STAR WARS brand on it?

MARK GRISKEY: Yes. Definitely. There is a certain audience expectation for anything "Star Wars" The look, the style, but also in terms of audio, There are so many signature sounds: the lightsabres, blasters and for certain vehicles. Then for the music... it's big, symphonic, action-adventure score in that Golden-Age-of-Hollywood style. JOHN WILLIAMS, who is a living legend, is the one who defined that sound. So there is a big expectation there. The music needs to live up to his level. It can't get too far away from what he has established. So, yes, it always remains a challenge for me.

CC: So what sorts of things do you do to prepare for a score like THE FORCE UNLEASHED?

MARK GRISKEY: I always have to sit down and get myself living and breathing the music first. I have the music from the films playing constantly. Even if I'm heading out to the store with my wife, I ask her, "So honey, what do you want to listen to? Episode 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6?" And she just rolls her eyes because she'd much rather listen to some rock-and-roll or something. I also listen to a lot of composers who actually inspired John Williams - composers from the Romantic era. I try to figure out the elements he (Williams) is using to give it that "Star Wars sound."

CC: In Revenge of the Sith, Williams built some significant musical-bridges from the prequel trilogy to the original trilogy and THE FORCE UNLEASHED is set between Episodes 3 and 4. How is this transition incorporated into your score?

MARK GRISKEY: It was definitely something the team wanted to do - something they talked about from the very early stages. It was always a goal of the music to bridge the gap of those two episodes. We wanted the music to start off sounding more like the prequels but ending up with music JOHN WILLIAMS did for the original trilogy. The arc of the main character's storyline lends itself to this. As you get immersed in the game, it gets a bit darker. As the character proceeds through the story of the game, his mindset changes and the music reflects that.

CC: Talk about the new themes you've written for the game.

MARK GRISKEY: There was a lot of characters and locations shown in the last film that resulted in a number of brand new original characters for the game. Of course there is an original plot as well. There are a lot of locations from the extended universe, that were never or briefly in the films. This all gave us a lot of room for new themes. I came up with a number of themes for key characters and for different locations. For example: Raxis Prime is a droid junkyard planet with space-ships and droids and all sorts mechanical devices...and its alive. Things are still living there. They are fixing each other. Seeing the artwork on it really helped me understand just what sort of vibe was needed for this place. It definitely needed a certain instrumentation and orchestration. So I'd pitch a lot of these concepts to the team. I'd get feedback, make revisions, and finally got those themes to the point where everyone is going, "Yes! That's the sound for that level."

CC: Who were some of the key people you worked with on the project?

JESSE HARLIN, who is the music supervisor at LucasArts, actually came up with the main menu theme for the game. At some point we were going down different paths, trying to find the right direction and sound, and he had a concept that he shared with me. We then took it to the team and they loved it, so I ended up doing an arrangement of his theme. That was the other cool thing with this project in that, Jesse (Harlin) knows Star Wars and its music inside and out and is also an excellent musician and great composer/arranger. The audio lead on the project, DAVID COLLINS, is also an excellent musician with classical training. The producer on the project also has a musical background, so a lot of key people, involved in the creative process on this game, have a serious musical background. From a big-picture stand point, it was great to have this group of people to discuss the sort of vibe we wanted and to bounce ideas off of and get feedback that was perhaps a little more detailed than usual.

CC: How was it that you became "the guy" the composer for THE FORCE UNLEASHED?

MARK GRISKEY: Like anything else, I guess, because I had done it before [laughs]. When they first started developing the concept of what this game was going to be all about, they stayed in the brainstorming stage for about a year... perhaps more. I didn't come in until perhaps two years after these talks started. When they started doing mock-ups and pre-visualization for the game, and showing them to George (Lucas), they had temped a lot of it with JOHN WILLIAMS' work, of course, but also with some of my work from THE KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC 2: THE SITH LORDS. So my music was already being cut in and people were digging the direction of it. I was also a staff composer for LucasArts for number of years and after I left the company, I maintained good relationships with that department. It was understood that if they ever needed any help that I would be thrilled to work with them. And so they came through. They told me they needed somebody to run with THE FORCE UNLEASHED.

Continue the interview (Page 2)

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