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Behind the Score:  Assassin's Creed
     
 

 

Behind the Score: Assassin's Creed

Interview: Jesper Kyd  |  Assassin's Creed Brotherhood  Review  | Assassin's Creed 2 Review Assassin's Creed Review
 

A rustle in the crowd, a light breeze, a single bloodstained feather drifting from the rooftops...there is no shortage of evocative imagery associated with the Assassin's Creed series. The recent release of the series' third major title, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is a prime opportunity to highlight the music that underpins the drama. In the story of AC: Brotherhood, we return to the story of Ezio, who we met in the second game, and whose exploits we continue to experience through the memories of his modern ancestor, Desmond Miles. But besides the brotherhood of assassins accompanying Ezio, by his side is also veteran game composer JESPER KYD, whose creative and memorable work continues to be a cornerstone of the series.

Join with us as we go with them all BEHIND THE SCORE OF Assassin's Creed. In this edition:

-  Interview with composer Jesper Kyd
- Assassin's Creed Brotherhood Game score review
- Assassin's Creed II Game score review
- Assassin's Creed Game score review
- BONUS Coverage:  2007 Interview with Jesper Kyd

 

 

Interview:  Jesper Kyd (2010)


Composer Jesper KydMM - Focusing on the original ASSASSIN'S CREED to start with, what kind of direction did you receive to help guide your approach to the music? Did you have very specific guidelines or were you free to explore?

JESPER KYD - There were 3 main keywords I was working with - Tragic (the tragic events of the Crusades), War and Mysticism. As the music writing progressed it became clear to me that mysticism added such a unique flavor to the game that it became a very important element in the score. Mysticism also helped set the scoreís mood and atmosphere even further apart from other games.

There is also the Animus side to the game which (though not featured that much in AC1) we still wanted to make clear for the player. The escape music was very much a collaborative effort with the team looking for something sci-fi during the escape scenes. In AC1 during the escape, this is where the Animus simulator is the most fragile or maxed out and the screen glitches the most etc. We wanted to emphasize this with music and so the sci-fi music is most apparent during these sequences. While the score is rooted in Middle Eastern ideas, I was very careful not to use actual Middle Eastern music scales (except for a couple of cues in Damascus). We didnít want the score to be a traditional Middle Eastern sounding score.


Continue the interview


 

 

Review:  Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (Soundtrack) by Jesper KydThe Legacy Continues
Review by Marius Masalar

After wowing audiences with the transformative improvement from ASSASSINíS CREED to ASSASSINíS CREED II, JESPER KYD is called upon yet again to impress, this time for ASSASSINíS CREED:
BROTHERHOOD. Though it is technically an entirely separate title, AC: BROTHERHOOD does not occur in an entirely different time period and environment; instead, it is a continuation of the story of Ezio from the second game as he gathers a brotherhood of assassinís to his cause and seeks his revenge against the mighty Borgia family.

Likewise, the score fails to distinguish itself as notably as the second did from the first, which is understandable considering it is essentially just an extension of the material that KYD produced for ASSASSINíS CREED II. What BROTHERHOOD does do is turn up the intensity and drama. It is a polished and coherent extension, albeit one that lacks something of the flair and personality of its predecessors.
 

Continue the review

 

 

Review:  Assassin's Creed II

Assassin's Creed 2 (Soundtrack) by Jesper KydComing of Age
review by Marius Masalar

I don't know about you, but every time I see a white feather on the street nowadays, I look over my shoulder in the hopes of glimpsing some cloaked figure as he dispatches any nearby Templars. ASSASSINíS CREED, Ubisoft's 2007 action platformer, is of course responsible for this strange behaviour. But while the first game was a compelling proof of concept, it wasn't until the sequel came out that the series truly came into its own. Meet ASSASSINíS CREED II, all grown up.

Critics of the first game will argue that the original title's story was only sporadically interesting and left the majority of the game to wallow in a thread of repetitive and uninteresting quests, all leading up to virtually identical assassination missions. Thankfully, Ubisoft has upped the ante significantly this time around, introducing us to Ezio, a rambunctious and instantly likable youth who actually has a personality and whose experiences in the beginning of the game believably justify his progression from teenager to assassin. The much larger variety of quest types, the fleshed out and well-acted characters (including some surprising cameos from history), and the vibrantly realized and detailed landscapes of Renaissance Italy all come together to form a package that finally feels like a complete game and not just a giant sandbox of murder and eagle metaphors.
 

Continue the review

 

 

Review:  Assassin's Creed

Assassin's Creed (Soundtrack) by Jesper KydA New Breed of Hitman
Review by Marius Masalar

There is a rather small list of composers whose work Iím always looking forward to hearing more of. JESPER KYD is one of them, and the reason is not that I am confident that Iíll always enjoy his work; I look forward to it because I can trust him to reliably try new and interesting things and create some truly remarkably stylistic fusions. In November of 2008, audiences were first introduced to the ASSASSINíS CREED franchise with its first title. The historical fantasy action game soon won over critics with its engrossing gameplay acrobatics and stylish, complicated mood. One of the key elements in establishing that mood was the edgy score from Hitman veteran composer, JESPER KYD.

The score begins very strongly, with ďCity of JerusalemĒ (1). There is a consistent setup to the music on album, and it carries over into the later ASSASSINíS CREED game scores as well, and that is that for each city there tends to be at least one Ďpeacefulí
theme and then one Ďcombatí, or Ďactiveí cue for when the tension is higher. This first cue is the peaceful one for the city of Jerusalem and offers an excellent introduction to KYDís eclectic musical palette. Ethnic plucked string instruments and woodwinds combine with harp, percussion, and heavily processed choral vocals to produce a rich soundscape. One of the strongest elements is the quiet chanting of monks, synthetically processed for a bit more edge.
 

Continue the review

 

 


 

 

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood - Playstation 3

 

 

 

Assassin's Creed II - Playstation 3

 

 

 

Assassin's Creed - Playstation 3

 

 

 

BONUS: Interview
Jesper Kyd (2007)

Composer Jesper KydCC: 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 Iím 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 Assassinsí 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 Assassinsí own religion, which was cool to bring out when you stalk and follow your primary targets.


CONTINUE THE INTERVIEW HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

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