知名游戏作曲家Sam Hulick从6岁起便开始迷上了电子游戏，他因与另一名作曲家Jack Wall在《质量效应》中的出色配合而闻名。在完成《质量效应》和《质量效应2》之后，他最新的项目是《Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad》，他是这款游戏唯一的作曲师。这位创作了无数优秀音乐作品的作曲家于近日接受了GameSpot的采访，以下是游戏邦编译的相关内容：
许多早期的视频游戏巨作确实对我进入这个行业有所影响，比如《Shadow of the Beast III》、《博德之门》、《冰城传奇》（游戏邦注：指1985年的版本）、《英雄无敌》和《魔法3》等。几年之后，我加入了Game Audio Network Guild，参加了作曲比赛并获得了胜利。这直接导致我与Tommy Tallarico合作参与《Maximo vs. Army of Zin》的开发，这对我来说是个重要的起点。当然，我最耀眼的作品还是2007年同Jack Wall合作编写的《质量效应》主题曲。
作曲的过程随项目以及所制作音乐的不同而有所变化。对我来说，开发强劲并令人印象深刻的主题很重要，所以需要耗费一定时间来构思某些新鲜的音效。以编写主题音乐为例，我将大部分时间花在半随机阶段。如果我在离开工作室的路上找到了某个旋律，就有可能将其确定下来。对于诸如环境和战斗音效之类的音乐，我通常会将精力花在概念艺术、截屏或游戏可玩性脚本中，先获得关卡的整体感觉然后再开始编写。但是，这其中可能也会因项目的不同而发生改变。以《Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad》为例，我花了大量时间来倾听传统德国和俄罗斯音乐来寻找灵感。
从《质量效应》转变到《Red Orchestra 2》，你觉得这两个项目有何不同？你是否改变了自己的工作方式？
这两个项目确实有所不同，每款游戏都需要独特的工作方式。两款游戏的不同之处并不仅仅在于音乐风格，还包括互动元素。《Red Orchestra 2》还让我花上数个小时的时间来研究拉赫玛尼诺夫、柴可夫斯基、红军合唱团、贝多芬、瓦格纳等人的古典音乐，以便寻找合适的音效。制作《质量效应》的音乐也有参考的曲目，但是《Red Orchestra 2》给我的挑战更大。编写俄罗斯曲目有特别的规则，我必须在编写曲目之前学习这些内容。
我觉得可能衍生出多个发展方向。我见到过许多并不那么出名的游戏，其中的配乐与我们通常在AAA游戏中听到的大不相同，但是有些游戏的音乐确实很棒，尽管它们是在低开发成本下完成的。《挖矿争霸》和《Sword & Sorcery》便是绝佳的例证。我希望电子游戏音乐将来能够脱离好莱坞式的电影音乐，拥有独立于其他媒体音乐的特征。
我主要听的是民间音乐，比如Swell Season、Fleet Foxes、Damien Rice、Mumford & Sons和Andrew Bird，当然也会听其他类型的音乐。我近期刚刚发现了Stepdad这支乐队，真得很棒。
Sound Byte: Meet the Composer of Mass Effect
Best known for his collaboration with composer Jack Wall on the critically acclaimed score for Mass Effect, award-winning composer Sam Hulick has been immersed in video games since the age of six. With Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 under his belt, his latest project is Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, where he signed on as the sole composer. Here’s your chance to get to know the man behind the music and listen to some of his work, which is embedded below as well as on the Sound Byte Radio station. To all you loyal Sound Byte readers following us on Twitter, we’ll have some Mass Effect soundtracks to give away as well. Enjoy!
GameSpot: What is your musical background?
Sam Hulick: I am self-taught, so my music background mainly consists of experimentation and personal music study. I majored in computer science, but I was always playing around with music and sounds. After constant exposure to music, I think one begins to naturally learn music theory to some extent–just without the nomenclature that goes with it.
GS: What was the first instrument that you picked up?
SH: I’m mostly a keyboards guy. My father had a studio full of instruments, but I spent the latter part of my teen years cutting my teeth on synth workstations like the Ensoniq TS-12, writing piano pieces and orchestral/synth hybrid new age music.
GS: Is there an instrument you wish you knew how to play?
SH: It would probably be the cello. I think it’s an absolutely beautiful-sounding instrument, definitely one of my favorites. It’s hugely expressive and is in roughly the same range as the human voice. In a lot of orchestral pieces, I’ll often catch myself humming along with the cello line, as if it’s the one element I identify with the most.
GS: What is your fondest memory when it comes to music?
SH: Hearing the themes from Mass Effect played live in front of several thousand people at the Chicago Theatre is definitely high on the list. However, I would have to say seeing John Williams conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as they played several pieces of his music from various films is something I’ll never forget. Being just 20 to 30 feet away from the master himself, watching him work his magic and conducting one of the greatest orchestras in the world…very cool!
GS: How did you get into making music for video games?
SH: There were several video game scores very early on that really influenced me, such as Shadow of the Beast III, Baldur’s Gate, The Bard’s Tale (the 1985 version), Heroes of Might and Magic III, to name a few. Years later I joined the Game Audio Network Guild, entered a composer contest, and won. That directly resulted in my involvement working on Maximo vs. Army of Zin with Tommy Tallarico, which was an important starting point for me. Of course, my big break was in 2007 cowriting Mass Effect with Jack Wall.
GS: What is your process when composing a particular track?
SH: It really varies from project to project and what kind of track I’m working on. Developing strong, memorable themes is important to me, and it takes a considerable amount of time to come up with something that sounds fresh and new. In the case of writing a main theme, most of the time I experiment with semi-random phrases. If I walk away from my studio and I catch myself humming a melody, that’s a pretty good sign that I’ve nailed it. For other tracks such as ambient and combat, I usually immerse myself in concept art, screenshots, or gameplay footage, and get a general feel for the level, and then start writing. But it varies quite a bit. For Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, for example, I spent quite a bit of time listening to classical German and Russian music for inspiration.
GS: Do you enjoy collaborating with other musicians? What are the pros and cons?
SH: I enjoy the collaborative process of scoring games and working with other composers, and it can be a refreshing way to work on a project. Not only does it help make a massive project more manageable by dividing up work, but it also pushes you out of your comfort zone and opens you up more to others’ ideas. However, it can also be beneficial creatively speaking to be the sole composer on a project and have more control over the final production. I think both scenarios have their advantages and disadvantages.
GS: Moving from Mass Effect to Red Orchestra 2, how different was it? Did you change your approach?
SH: Yes, it was quite different, and each game called for a very specific approach. Not only do their musical styles contrast with one another, but the interactive elements are also executed very differently in each game. Red Orchestra 2 also took hours of immersing myself in classical works from Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Red Army Choir, Beethoven, Wagner, and other sources, in order to get the right sound. Mass Effect had its musical references, but it was nowhere near the challenge for me that Red Orchestra 2 was as far as getting the sound just right. There are specific rules to make a tune sound Russian, and these had to be learned before I forged ahead with the main writing.
GS: Where do you see video game music heading in the future?
SH: I think it’s going in a few different directions. I’m seeing a lot of retro or “low-fi” games in the limelight, and the music that accompanies them is really different from what we’re used to hearing in AAA titles, yet some of these games do really well despite their smaller budgets. Minecraft and Sword & Sorcery are good examples of this. I see more of that in the future, as well as video game music hopefully moving away from mirroring Hollywood so much and regaining more of its own identity to set it apart from other music in media.
GS: There’s not a lot of recognition for video game music in the mainstream, but that’s changing slowly with the recent Grammy award update. How do you feel about that?
SH: I think it’s great, and I believe it’ll open some doors for us. There are still some out there who don’t take video game music seriously, and this is one more step to help raise awareness for the art form in its own right.
GS: What other artists in the game music industry do you admire and why?
SH: Michael Hoenig’s work in Baldur’s Gate was a big inspiration for me when I became serious about pursuing a composing career and scoring for games.
GS: What kind of music do you listen to now?
SH: I’m mostly into folk-type music, like Swell Season, Fleet Foxes, Damien Rice, Mumford & Sons, Andrew Bird, but there are a lot of other bands I’m into (Elbow, Death Cab for Cutie, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, MGMT). My most recent discovery is an indie synth-pop band called Stepdad. Really cool stuff.
GS: What are your biggest influences?
SH: Some of my biggest musical influences are Danny Elfman, Howard Shore, Michael Hoenig, Ray Lynch, Beethoven, Chopin, to name a few.
GS: What projects are you currently working on?
SH: I have a couple of projects in the works, but I can’t talk about them yet. Sorry!
GS: Any advice for aspiring composers?
SH: Be persistent, constantly work on your craft, and develop your own style that’s uniquely yours. And alongside that, network like crazy, be passionate about what you do, and always be positive. It’s just as much about attitude and personality as it is about your music.
GS: Thank you for your time! (Source: Game Spot)