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Behind the Score: Killzone 3

Depicting the ongoing conflict between the human ISA colonists and the mutated halfbreed race known as the Helghast, the Killzone series has boasted extremely polished gameplay, mindblowing graphics quality, and fantastic music since its first title in 2004. With the recent release of Killzone 3 (actually the fourth game in the series, counting the PSP-exclusive Killzone: Liberation), we delve into the rich and sophisticated music of JORIS DE MAN, and learn how one electronic musician's brave creative vision brought the symphony orchestra to the First-Person Shooter genre in all its glory.

Join with us as we go with them all BEHIND THE SCORE OF KILLZONE 3. In this edition:

- SoundCast Interview with composer Joris de Man
- Killzone 3 Game score review
- Article:  "A Moment's Weight" by Jeremy Hardin
- BONUS Coverage:  2009 Interview with Joris de Man (Killzone 2)
- BONUS Coverage: Killzone 2 Game score review

 

A MOMENT’S WEIGHT - by Jeremy Hardin
 

"It's all about expectation," Joris says.
He pauses, and sips from his Coca-Cola can.
Joris, or Joe to his friends, is talking about his passion: music.
Responding, I ask if that's why songs tend to finish with a sense of completion.
"Yes," he answers. "But you want to delay that; it'll heighten the resolution when it finally arrives."

In hindsight, I wonder if he knew that this would be his own experience of Killzone 3's music composition and eventual recording at Abbey Road Studios in London.

Joris de Man, Ivor Award winning music producer and composer, recently completed work on Guerrilla Games's Killzone 3, a triple-A title for Sony's PlayStation 3.And one could leave it at that. A consumer of video games, films, and media could assume that all these products are linear, with a beginning, middle, and end of their creative processes.

Looking at the end result of Killzone 3 would lead to the same assumptions. The game is by all accounts polished, visual, and cinematic. It sports single player campaign mode, local co-op, and online multiplayer. Villains give speeches, and heroes fight heroically, despite all odds. But stepping back to October of 2009, the view of this project is entirely different. That was when Joris signed the contract to begin work on the music for Killzone 3.

Joris is no stranger to this franchise. As the Audio Director of the first Killzone game, he oversaw both the music and the sound design. His work can be heard in the sequel, Killzone 2, and the PSP incarnation of the series, Killzone: Liberation. His circumstances have changed since that first game, sure. Back then, he was in-house at Guerrilla, based in The Netherlands. Now he lives in the UK, working from the south coast, outside Brighton. When the hours are long, he takes his dog, Sadie, out on the pebble beach to walk.

But with all this experience, he still couldn't have known the difficulties he would encounter in the ensuing period of work, nor how those hardships would shape the music he was to create.


Read the full story



Review:  Killzone 3

Killzone 3 (Soundtrack) by Joris de ManBack  in the Zone
Review by Marius Masalar

Followers of our reviews who have been around for a while will recall that KILLZONE 2 was one of the few reviews that we’ve given a ten to. I still find myself very frequently enjoying the score, and together with my appreciation for the game itself, the approach of Killzone’s latest sequel was a point of eager anticipation. Having set the bar so high in the previous titles, composer JORIS DE MAN was left with the challenge of outdoing himself yet again, building upon the musical legacy he had forged, and saying something new in the process. Has he succeeded? Oh boy.

Having listened so many times to the mighty Helghast March from the first and second games, I — like most fans — was expecting a reprise of that theme to start off the KILLZONE 3 album. Instead, “Main Menu — Ever We Fight On” (1) opens with a profoundly sorrowful and moving solo violin theme, gently accompanied by the rest of the orchestra in a somber overture…yet again, DE MAN achieves the element of surprise and catches us off-guard! Even when the horns and choir come in, bringing a sense of grandeur to the latter half of the cue, the mood is noticeably darker than the previous games, mirroring the dire circumstances of the protagonists.

“Birth of War — Dies Irae” (1-2) is perhaps more familiar, not only carrying the previous main theme’s title, but also bringing that theme back in renewed form. The fact that the audience is now comfortable with the motifs has given DE MAN the opportunity to develop them in more sophisticated ways than he would have previously been able to. The track flies by, with the choir and brass statements soaring to a triumphant climax before ending on a noble march. Carrying on straightaway, “Just A Moment Ago” (1-3) begins with a deep orchestral atmosphere before dissolving into a plaintive duet between the solo violin and a trumpet. It isn’t until midway through the cue that the action returns, with brass flourishes that would feel right at home in an ALAN SILVESTRI or JOHN WILLIAMS action score. This tumultuous track also introduces a catchy march theme with its conclusion before passing it off to “Stahl and Orlock Square Off” (1-4), where it is developed further.


Killzone 3 (Soundtrack) by Joris de Man - Review


Listen to our SoundCast Interview
with Joris de Man

Buy Killzone 3 Soundtrack by Joris de Man at iTunes
Available at iTunes

 

Buy Killzone 3 for Playstation 3 at amazon.com
 

BONUS: Interview
Joris de Man (2009)

Joris de Man Interview 2009Composer Joris de Man shares about his epic score for the hit video game KILLZONE 2. He returns to the game-verse he helped to create in the original KILLZONE, this time solely focusing on writing the original score. He contrasts his writing experiences for the two games and the musical advantages that have come with the next-gen (PS3) consoles.

tracksounds: It's been a couple of years since KILLZONE 1. What was it like coming back to the franchise and revisiting that music that you established a couple of years ago?

Joris De Man: Well, it was almost like meeting an old friend in a way. I know that sounds incredibly corny [laughs] but I suppose it's still the truth...you've lived through that franchise for a while. I mean, I used to work as a musical director at Guerrilla, so I was part of the franchise, so to speak, and then a few years ago I kind of branched out on my own and decided that I wanted to go freelance. So it was kind of nice to return to familiar ground, and I realized that it was a style and type of music that I'm very comfortable in...


CONTINUE THE INTERVIEW HERE

 

BONUS: Killzone 2 Review (2009)

Killzone 2 (Soundtrack) by Joris de Man

Under-Appreciated Gem
Review by Marius Masalar

“There are strong and memorable themes, there's solid development, lush orchestration, storytelling quality, and excellent production values — what's not to love? If you like well-crafted, extremely cinematic music for your video games, then you can't go wrong with KILLZONE 2.”

READ THE FULL REVIEW

 

 

 

     
     

 

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