Defiance Video Game Soundtrack
Musical Score By: Bear McCreary
Distributed by: Sparks and Shadows
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When I saw promos for the Syfy television Defiance, I was intrigued. This was a new and interesting look to a television series and the promos definitely sparked interest. When I learned that a Defiance video game was going to be released in conjunction with the television series and the promos for the game looked as cool as anything I’ve seen in a video game of late, I was even more interested. But when I heard that Bear McCreary was composing the musical score for both, I was extremely excited.
Bear McCreary is an American composer who has created music for video games like Dark Void and SOCOM 4, movies like Rest Stop, Wrong Turn and Chillerama and television series like Eureka, The Cape, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and The Walking Dead, but he is best known for his dramatic musical scores for Battlestar Galactica and all of its spin-offs.
I’m a big fan of McCreary’s work and have found him to be an incredibly innovative composer, using a variety of instruments – conventional, ethnic and completely unconventional – and varying his styles for a completely different and unique sound for each and every new project he takes on. My favorites, of course, are his compositions for Battlestar Galactica with its ethnic style, featuring both Celtic and Middle Eastern influences, and amazingly dramatic percussion. I couldn’t wait to check out this new score for a science fiction MMO video game which simply begged for that ethnic element.
You see, Defiance takes place on an Earth that has been through a war with an alien species. Defiance is the name of a town containing a multitude of alien species, each very different from the other in looks, culture and belief systems. This variance in characters plays up to McCreary’s abilities perfectly. Plus, being an action-based platform, Defiance is a game just begging for McCreary’s dramatic flare.
I wasn’t sure if McCreary would use his Battlestar Galactica compositions as a template for what he would create for Defiance, but McCreary went in a completely different direction. The opening track, the Defiance Theme is a dramatic orchestral piece featuring mainstream strings, horns, etc, with violin solos and a variety of out-of-the-box percussion (tub-thumping and bongos), creating an exciting sound with a variety of nuances. Throw in some interesting synths to add an alien sound to the action track and you have the perfect theme for this game.
Creating the musical score for this video game could not have been easy. McCreary explains, “An MMO presents entirely new challenges for a composer, because the player is free to roam around the world in any direction they want, and enter any skirmish they feel like. There’s really no way to predict what their experience will be. This affected the way I wrote music, because I had no control over the order in which players heard my music.” Yet somehow, he has created a musical score that, in album format, seems to fit together perfectly, allowing the listener to imagine the action taking place throughout the game.
The Defiance Video Game Soundtrack features music that is both exciting and unique. The music keeps the player engaged during action scenes and on their toes during the quieter moments of intrigue, waiting for that bubble to burst and the action to hit. The soundtrack is an amazing listening experience without the visuals of the game and I can imagine that this music would definitely intensify any player's gaming experience. For those who think Battlestar Galactica's musical scores feature some of Bear McCreary's best work, you haven't yet listened to the Defiance Video Game Soundtrack. This album blows all other McCreary works right out of the water!