We just finished our review of Eldest Souls, the new boss-rush indie game that’s available for consoles and PC. And it’s something else, a challenging affair that’s right up there with the mainstream Souls games that inspired it.
But one thing that stands out for it is its soundtrack. It’s composed by Sergio Ronchetti, who’s proven his worth when it comes to creating something dark and moody to go along with the source material. Don’t be surprised if it manages to get a few fans along the way.
We recently had a chance to talk to Ronchetti about putting the soundtrack together, along with other subjects surrounding Souls.
First off, how did you manage to get to this point in composing music for Eldest Souls? Did the developer select you, or did you pitch what kind of soundtrack you could bring to the game?
After high school, all I wanted to do was become a rock star, haha. I joined a metal band as a bassist and proceeded to tour and write music for around 4 years. By the end of it, I had had enough of the traveling lifestyle: the highs of playing live were some of the best moments of my life, but the bad diet, poor sleeping routines, and quite literally no money put me off in the end. So I went to a university and studied for a music degree in London to re-educate myself with the intention of becoming a media composer. Just so happened that video games came first. Met Jon and Francesco from Fallen Flag at a small convention and turned out that we were all in a similar stage of our careers, albeit from different disciplines. This has been the first project for us all so there was plenty of freedom to learn what was expected of us.
What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to producing a dark and decadent selection of tunes for a game such as this? The whole thing, or putting it together, or…?
I’d say making sure the tone of the soundtrack is consistent and coherent from track to track. It’s fairly easy to create something dark, but making sure everything sounds like it’s in the same universe is more of a challenge I find. Especially with a game like Eldest Souls where the music is limited to the combat encounters and then each encounter is totally different. The result is a bunch of tracks that are very distinct. Thankfully my natural composing tendencies and personal nuances came through.
How fun is it to put together a video game soundtrack? Does it let you show off your creative side, maybe with a hint of, “You know what would work here…?”
Absolutely! It’s an amazing experience. I pretty much did what I thought would be cool and what I’d want to hear and then listened to feedback from the guys. The first priority is to answer the game’s brief. After all, as composers, we are musical problem solvers. The problem being this game needs music, and we need to figure out the best answer for it. I also like to think that I’m actually writing video game music with collaborators, being the client or game dev. They may not understand music in the way that I do, but they have a clear vision and idea which I aim to capture as close as possible. I get a big thrill out of figuring these things out.
What are your influences when it comes to composing game music?
I love video games and their soundtracks. Games like God of War, Last of Us and how can I not mention Doom and Doom Eternal! But really the thing I listen to the most in my downtime is metal music. The same bands that influenced me as a teenager when I was playing live are still my key inspirations. Of course, if I’m writing with an orchestral music palette it doesn’t directly translate, but the source of energy and drive is still very much from there.
Reception for the Eldest Souls soundtrack has been remarkable so far. How are you taking all of it?
With overwhelming stress! (laughs) It’s been great. But also a lot to take in. We went from having no game to being released on all platforms all at once. Combine that with the tsunami of reviews and messages we’ve received and it’s been difficult to take a step back and appreciate it all. We’re incredibly grateful for all the support. Even seeing so many streamers that we’ve watched in the past play our game, and then like it, has been phenomenal.
You also released the soundtrack separately, right? I bet people probably play this in the background at work and go, “I will conquer this report.” 😀
I hope so! Whatever gets you through a slow workday, right?! The OST was released via Lakeshore Records and I even put together a music video for the Main Theme track. I felt like this track deserved its own light since it’s so different from the other tracks. All links are on my website or social media.
Have you played the game yet? If so, what do you think? How far would you say you’ve gotten? (We’ve beaten a couple of bosses.)
I haven’t had time to yet! (laughs) I definitely plan to sit down and experience the game as a player, as opposed to a dev. Obviously, I know a lot of tricks that will hopefully help me cut through the bosses. In theory…
Finally, what’s next for you? Or can you say yet?
We’ve got some exciting stuff planned at Fallen Flag Studio. All I can say is make sure you’re following us on Twitter for more news!