Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Sit down with Call Of Duty, the composer of Mass Effect Jack Wall

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Jack Wall is an incredibly talented American video game music composer who has worked on some of the most iconic adventures over the past 20 years. From Splinter Cell to Call of Duty, then branching off into the world of BioWare with Jade Empire and Mass Effect – Wall’s impact on the gaming community was huge.

We recently sat down with Wall to dive a little deeper into his impressive history and the process behind these wildly different creations. Wall’s career in songwriting began when he was a sound engineer in Boston and New York City in the late 1980s, but it wasn’t quite the career path he saw for himself growing up. , at least not in the context that it is currently evolving. His journey as a sound engineer quickly evolved into a producer and later a composer. His first foray into the world of writing for video games was in 1995 and from there his gaming adventure really began.

Mass Effect

On behalf of the aliens and defeating the Reapers, we sat down with Wall to learn more about the lived experience. work on such a beloved trilogy. We may or may not have asked about her personal Shepard as well, as those are the important questions.


MThe soundtrack for ass Effect 2 is, I think, one of my favorite game OSTs ever, with the remaster coming out, I’d like to know how hard you’ve worked on this franchise?

Mur: Wow, thank you! I appreciate so much that I played a small part in making the first two games of a franchise that is making a big comeback and that will be played by a whole new generation of players. It doesn’t happen very often.

Working on Mass Effect 2 was a challenge. BioWare was really trying to do something new and I know it was a challenge for them too. It all boiled down to the thread to get the game out on time. But we did, and I think Mass Effect 2 has one of the best endings of all games, I’m really proud to be a part of it.

The Mass Effect community is one of the biggest and most passionate in the gaming space, do you have any interesting experiences with fans telling you about their love for your work?

Mur: I still get emails, tweets and other kind messages from fans to this day telling me how much they love the games and the score. It’s pretty cool that it affected so many people, even still.

There are so many pieces from the whole trilogy that just make me wanna lay on the floor and cry, how are you make this? Beyond inspirations and collaborations, what does it look like to create these entire universes through music?


Wall: Well, it’s just my process of working through the game like it’s a long interactive movie. I try very hard to have new experiences in new levels while uniting them all with themes and sounds that work for those areas. I still remember writing music for when we are at the Citadel – the quarters, the presidium, etc. It was such a fun palette to work with.

Would you like to score the music for the upcoming new game Mass Effect which was teased at the Game Awards?

Mur: I’m still open, BioWare!

You have a very distinct and personal orchestral approach to much of your work, how did you balance that out for a sci-fi series like this?

Wall: For Mass Effect 1, it was mostly a synth. All orchestral sounds were meant to sound more like synthetic strings and brass. For Mass Effect 2, however, we wanted the synth to be mixed into the orchestra, which was the general idea of ​​the sequel.

By the time Mass Effect 2 was released, the series was achieving “Best Game Series” status, did that make the lead songwriter’s role more intimidating in any way? Does the hype of popular franchises impact your creative process?

Wall: Pretty interesting, no! It doesn’t matter what the game is, for me personally. For me, I treat it like the multi-million dollar success I believe. I approach them all the same. The more freedom I get I think the better job I do, so if the developer gets nervous and starts to doubt what I’m doing then it can get a bit risky, but it hasn’t been my experience with most games. wrote for.

Are there any moments in the game that you helped improve through your songwriting that are most important to you?

Wall: Well it’s been a while, but honestly I preferred the FemShep experience. I like her voice more and I feel more immersed in it. The end of Mass Effect 2 was such a good thing to replay in different ways. I tried to play Renegade but I’m a Paragon type guy. I must be a force for good, you know!

I have to ask, what’s your favorite romance option?

Wall: Easy, Samara! I know she’s not a full-fledged lover, but it was really fun to try! (He’s laughing) It’s all in the game!

Call of Duty


The main theme of Black Ops Cold War is hauntingly guttural and sometimes feels Nordic (for the main theme), what was the inspiration behind that and how does it relate to the setting of the game from a creator’s perspective?

Wall: Nordic eh? Interesting! My take was that since it was the Cold War and I had grown up during that time, I wanted to look at things more from the Russian perspective. We researched using declassified U.S. government documents from that time to understand the Russians’ perspective on the United States. The choir sings lyrics in Russian. The lyrics are, I think, pretty close to how the Russian people viewed the United States at that time. The music also feels a bit Russian to me, and it is mixed with the characteristic dark synths of the Black Ops series as well as the 80s synths from the beginning of this decade.

Is there one genre that you are more comfortable with than another when creating music? Is a game like Call of Duty easier than the other titles you have scored?

Wall: I really enjoy composing music that I’ve never composed before. It’s part of the job I love the most. I’m a huge fan of someone who asks me to make music that I’ve never done before so that I can push myself to do new things. I don’t think composing anything is particularly easy. It is always an effort and you have to do work and spend time. But as long as I feel challenged, it seems to me to be a sufficient source of inspiration.

How would you describe the process of capturing the essence of a shooter when composing certain sound experiences?

Wall: One of the challenges of writing music for shooters is the fatigue of writing action cues. To get around this problem, I approach a game level like a little movie where I spot the whole experience. I start writing from the top and by the time we get into the action I have a vibe for the level and then increasing the action feels more like a part of the whole experience rather than the experience. I also don’t start writing level music until I have set themes for the game that I can use throughout. This gives me a roadmap or insight on how to approach the score.

You’ve worked on several Call of Duty games, do you have a favorite piece from this franchise?

Wall: I have a particular fondness for all the themes in these games, as they carry over throughout the gaming experience. For Black Ops II the Raul Menendez theme and of course Adrenaline as the MP theme. From BO3, I Live (with Brian Tuey), The Frozen Forest, Liberty Road, Ego Vivo, A World Upside Down, Snakeskin Boots, Cold Hard Cash and all the jingles (so fun!), BO4, the first 3 tracks Right Where are we, Alistair’s theme, where are we going? (with Kevin Sherwood), This Jazz is Classified, all the film noir-type clues written for Zombies like Blood of the Dead and Dead of the Night. For Cold War, probably the first four tracks which are all themes used throughout the game plus This Ends Now. There are more but they are my main babies!

Jack Wall has played an incredible role in the video game industry, his unique talent and style has propelled incredible digital adventures to new heights over the years in the best possible way. We all have that favorite soundtrack which brings us back to fond memories of playing the hero or saving the princess and with the legendary edition of Mass Effect coming out in May, Wall’s specific musical surge can be felt by a whole new generation of gamers who missed the trilogy when it was first released in 2007.

Are you a fan of Wall’s work? Shout out with your favorite piece of him in the comments section below! You can also listen to his most recent work with the Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War soundtrack. here.


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