Different video games types seem to develop their own individuality. Moreover, for a first-person shooter (FPS) like the Borderlands series, this means commitment, strength and, more than anything, awesomeness.
Borderlands is not the only sequence of games Kyd had orchestrated, he is also responsible for the Assassins’ Creed or Hitman series, for which he was the main musician for a long time. It is always awesome to see artists adopting change – Kyd’s songs can be heard on many other games, such as Darksiders II.
Borderlands’ frequent conferences are just like the ones of the many other first-person shooters: the gamer finishes tasks while watching and getting into the mission’s atmosphere from the viewpoint of his or her character. Compared with other FPS platforms, Borderlands does not take itself very seriously. However, the story may be darkish and the characters’ purposes even deeper, the authors and artists of Borderlands generate an original gaming experience with a strange humor.
The Danish composer Jesper Kyd has created music for these series since their launch during 2009. The initial game presented an American-Western style, completed with instruments and dobro, while its sequel included reflections of an identical voice. For the newest launch, Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel, the producers wished for a new type of music.
Unlike the previous two games, which had live music equipment and guest artists, the soundtrack for Borderlands: TPS made Jesper to lock himself in his studio room, and developing every audio himself. From his Commodore 64-type sounds to brand-new technological innovation, Jesper designed songs that are both dynamic and glimmering. He joggles with time signatures like a circus artist with object, keeping a digital stability while suggesting a sense of fun.
Probably best known for making the songs for the extremely successful Hitman or Assassins’ Creed games and sequences, Jesper Kyd is a legendary Danish artist famous in the industry. His dark black and sultry soundtracks merge digital, normal and symphonic components, including true drama and powerful sensations to the game players. Kyd has composed the songs for over 25 games and has more than 20 awards or nominations during the career, along with a BAFTA in 2005 for the Hitman: Agreements.
When he was 13 years old, he got his Commodore 64 for Christmas and was amazed instantly by the excellent songs that could be heard when playing those games. It was the first time when a PC and game system had an actual analogue chip within it (probably there is not another PC that had an analogue chip since then). Therefore, the sounds were just amazing – the artists operating on this device really created the songs that could stand out. Around the same period, Jesper got his first synthesizer, Yamaha CS80, beginning to create songs with it and drum devices as well.
Kyd’s Hitman was maybe the first game where individuals in the market really seemed to pay attention to his gaming soundtrack. His past ratings for Genesis and Megadrive games, like Subterrania and the Adventures of Batman and Robin were appreciated only by the players, Jesper receiving e-mails about them even to these days, with praises for his creations. However, people in the industry did not really realize what to think of his songs, since they were very different from the other games’ music.
Kyd created his own sounds system and he was able to work at once on six various channels at FM 44 Hz quality. Therefore, for him it was just like composing on the C64, because there were these awesome audio processors in the Sega Genesis and Megadrive, these offering much lesser options for what Kyd had in his creative mind for that time. The majority of the US games had Sega´s very own list of playback sounds program with an obvious restriction due to the little capacity of their RAM fast memory and all samples were just in the 22 Hz range or less.
Jesper Kyd’s Yamaha CS80 is one of the most unusual keyboards ever created. Those who encounter this beast often end up chatting about amazing efficiency controls, unusual ring-modulated sounds and its space-age panel. They also bring up rather fast the CS80’s ‘weight issue’ with its obvious problem to remain in tune. But, it is exactly this mixture of sound and unreliability that has made the CS80’s popularity as the most powerful analog instrument ever made.
It seems interesting these days, but the CS80 was actually presented as a more convenient model of an even larger synthesizer, the Yamaha’s GX1. While well-known artists were happy to use this huge electronic device, few individuals could pay the 30,000 dollars required to buy one. The synth itself was costly, having a significant price of $5,000, but it had broader approval among some famous artists, like Vangelis (who has created the music for all his albums since 1977 on a CS80), Klaus Schulze or Eddie Jobson.
Fortunately, for Yamaha, when its CS80 was released in 1976, the Sequential’s Prophet V or Moog’s Polymoog keyboards were yet to dominate the industry. Nevertheless, the recorded history will say that it was these two pioneers, along with the Oberheim’s pricey 8 Speech, the instruments that banished the CS80 from being the most well known synthesizer of the 70’s.
It is too early to know what it will be, what seems certain is that the new Borderlands game will be considerably different than Kyd’s music in the previous soundtracks. That is fine, even excellent – with a different establishment, feel and characters, different songs seem appropriate. Furthermore, Kyd is an experienced musician with a lot of versatility and he has proved to be a genius on some soundtracks highly regarded, not only for games, but also for movies.
But there is no doubt that with Jesper Kyd in control, Borderlands will now offer a considerably different gaming experience Here is hope that Kyd can step into a new era of original.
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