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Behind the Score:  The Force Unleashed 2


The Force Unleashed 2

 Interview: Mark Griskey  |  TFU 2 Review  |  Interview: Sean Williams (Author)

It's been two years since the world was introduced to Darth Vader's young apprentice. From serving the Dark Lord of the Sith to helping to birth the Rebellion, the young apprentice, Starkiller, finds that he is unusually strong in the Force, but which side will he ultiimately choose and what is he willing to sacrifice?   In 2010, Starkiller is back (in many many ways)  and he hasn't quite finished unleashing the force on unsuspecting members of the new Empire.  Returning right alongside the identity-challlenged apprentice, General Kota, Juno Eclipse and Darth Vader, to continue musically-bridging the Prequel and Original trilogies in THE FORCE UNLEASHED 2 is composer MARK GRISKEY. 

Join with us as we go with them all BEHIND THE SCORE OF THE FORCE UNLEASHED 2. In this edition:

- SoundCast Interview with composer Mark Griskey
- Game score review by Christopher Coleman
- SoundCast Interview with author Sean Williams
- BONUS Coverage:  The Force Unleashed review, 2008 Interview with Mark Griskey


Interview:  Mark Griskey (2010)

Composer Mark Griskey
CC: What was it like to come back to THE FORCE UNLEASHED after a year or so?

MARK GRISKEY: It was pretty cool. I loved the first game, and it was great to have a little bit of distance from it, and come back to that whole franchise again, with a bit of a fresh take on it. I think that the whole team had that attitude. We're not doing anything radically different here. We're obviously continuing the storyline where we left off, but we're trying to improve the game and make it cooler and more “unleashed” than the original one. Everything that worked, we're keeping.

For me, as a composer, it was nice to have hammered out some initial themes and groundwork for the first game. It was more of a fully developed game-score, but there were some questions we had in terms of musical direction. Everything from “How do we tie it into STAR WARS”, to “How do we make that transition”, to “How do we put it into the timeline to fit in the STAR WARS musical universe between episodes III and IV?” There was also the question of coming up with character themes. Some of that stuff was established, so it felt like we had some anchor points, but we had some new characters, new planets and a new story-line. It was comfortable enough because it wasn't completely new territory. I think, even for the first game, I was comfortable with the STAR WARS musical language that had been established in the films, and certainly for the games that I've worked on in the past.
There was a certain kind of pressure to really define some of the musical vocabulary for the FORCE UNLEASHED. I felt like this time around, I had a little more fun with it. It felt like that part was a little easier to run with. The schedule was very aggressive. There was a lot of music to do in a very short period of time. You're always going to have those deadline challenges, but I felt like I knew this character a little bit more, and I know the story-line a little bit more. I've already gone through one iteration of it, so it felt great. I said to myself, “Let's jump back in and do this”.



Review:  The Force Unleashed 2

The Clone Strikes Back!
by Christopher Coleman

The Force Unleashed 2 (Soundtrack) by Mark GriskeyIntroduced to fans in 2008 was a new chapter of the ever-expanding, Star Wars universe; one that would shed some light on a brief, yet widely unexplored era of the Star Wars timeline. No. I'm talking about THE CLONE WARS here, but rather THE FORCE UNLEASHED. Instead of a feature film or television series, we are introduced to the anti-hero-turned-hero, Starkiller (aka Darth Vader's secret apprentice) via the video game medium. Accompanying the first chapter of this saga-connecting-tale, was MARK GRISKEY's adventurous score. Of THE FORCE UNLEASHED, I wrote in 2008, that it "was the best Star Wars score since RETURN OF THE JEDI" and to that I hold. While other current incarnations of Star Wars tales have opted to go in a different musical direction (drifting all the further from its classical origins), THE FORCE UNLEASHED provided a satisfactory musical bridge from the Prequels to the Original Trilogy; gracefully returning the franchise to its musical roots.

Fast forward to 2010 and THE FORCE UNLEASHED remains LucasArts fastest selling game to date and while having some minor, star-destroyer-flaws, was an adventurous joy to play. With those kinds of sales , it was almost a forgone conclusion that at least one sequel would be coming our way. This time; however, the stakes are higher as expectations are higher. Star Wars fans can hardly wait to continue Starkiller’s journey and for the Star Wars music fan, ears tremble with anticipation at the potential that lies in the expansion and variation of existing ideas as well as the introduction of new themes into the Star Wars canon. With such lofty goals and heavy expectations comes STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED 2.

As part 2 of, what we hope will be at least a 3-part story, one could assume that THE FORCE UNLEASHED 2 might repeat tone and thematic ideas found in the second-installments of both film trilogies. One would be right. Things take a turn for the darker in this game sequel. Starkiller’s journey takes us to familiarly menacing settings like: Kamino and Dagobah and crosses paths with characters such as Boba Fett and Yoda. The argument rages to this day whether THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is the best of all the Star Wars scores, but few argue that Williams’ ATTACK OF THE CLONES score is anywhere in that conversation. So then, with commonalities with both second-act-films, where does THE FORCE UNLEASHED 2 fall in terms of it’s score?



Interview:  Sean Williams (Author)

CC: I read STAR WARS: FORCE UNLEASHED...well I should say I read half of it because I was actually playing the game at the same time, and I was getting ahead of my gameplay, because it's easier to read than play games.

SEAN WILLIAMS: [laughs] That's right.

CC: So I actually stopped halfway through, because I was getting ahead of myself and I was going to find out what's going on in the game. But it was very interesting in having the experience of reading a book and playing a video-game because, just like books and film or books and television, you get a lot more detail with the books. I never got back to finishing the book because I finished the game, but I wanted to say what a great book that was, at least the half that I read. I thought it was excellent.

SEAN WILLIAMS: Thanks very much! It was really an interesting and difficult process of turning a script for a game into a book.

CC: I imagine you were working closely with HAYDEN BLACKMAN, who I think wrote the original screenplay for the game. Is that true?

SEAN WILLIAMS: That's right. When I was brought onto the project, the script was still being written. In fact, even right up to when I was finishing my draft, certain lines were being moved around. One day, I was halfway through the book when they cut three levels from the game. So there was micromanaging and major structural changes happening during the course of the writing, which was challenging a really fascinating. Because a computer game isn't a book, I tried to find a structure that would work as a book, but still based on the game. It was really challenging. There's still a somewhat level-based sequence to it, but trying to find a written narrative way to make that work was intensely challenging. It was really fascinating for me as a writer. I grew up reading adaptations of movies, MELLON D. FOSTER novels and TERENCE DICKS novels from Dr. Who, and I've always wanted to have a go at a script.



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Listen to our  SoundCast interview w/ Mark Griskey
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Buy The Force Unleashed at



Interview:  Mark Griskey (2008)
"The Score Unleashed"

"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

Read the full interview here


Review: The Force Unleashed

"A New Era of the Force"

Review by Christopher Coleman

Of course, as with any good STAR WARS episode, whether film, television show or game, the associated music has to go beyond "good." Expectations are for the spectacular. As a one-time LucasArts staff member, MARK GRISKEY already had KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC II: THE SITH LORDS, under his belt as well as contributions to games like: EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH, STAR WARS: RACERS REVENGE, and STAR WARS: OBI-WAN. Even with such vital experience, THE FORCE UNLEASHED had to remain an incredible pressure in living up to the John Williams musical legacy. For LucasArts latest effort, expectations have again risen to the level of "spectacular" and famed gaming company would probably not have it any other way. The final game score includes extensive use of John Williams' expansive library of music from the six films and so GRISKEY's score had the unenviable position of being set right along some of the most recognizable film music of all time.

Read the full review here





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