Case Study: the music of Star Wars games

We all know what to expect at the start of a Star Wars game: ‘A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away’; that iconic John Williams theme, blaring from speakers that will never be large enough to do it full justice; receding yellow text updating you to pertinent events in the universe like some sort of post-apocalyptic news ticker.

But it’s what happens immediately after that has reviewers reaching for their notepads. The text recedes into nothing, the camera pans down from a star-filled sky…and the developer takes over responsibility. Now comes their first opportunity to show that they’ve carefully dovetailed their concept into the vast history of a very well-established universe. But accomplishing this is not just the task of the visual department, which needs to capture the drab Imperial greys and expansive planetary vistas; and it’s not just the character design, which needs to populate the game with improbably humanoid aliens with silly names. Nor does the responsibility fall squarely on the story writers, who must craft an involving and fitting narrative with frequent recourse to moral absolutism – not to mention authentically clunky dialogue. Read the rest of this entry »