Interactive music in games has been around for a while – Street Fighter 3 Third Strike was transitioning smoothly between its theme variations over ten years ago, the original version of Phantasy Star Online back in ’01 was not-so-smoothly moving to and from its battle themes, and even Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake way back in 1990 was using groundbreaking music transitions in its alert mode.
With the launch of this generation’s consoles came the real rise of middleware – generic software that runs in the background of a game doing a specific task. The Havok physics engine is probably the best-known example, but among them there are those that work with audio in real time. This audio middleware is now used in many games, particularly those with cinematic soundtracks such as the Call of Duty series, to immerse you more than ever in the game by having the music seamlessly fit the action.
In recent Sonic games like Sonic Unleashed and of course Sonic Generations, Sonic Team have been experimenting with this kind of thing themselves. They seem to like high-pass filters a bit too much, but that’s besides the point. They’ve never taken to actually chopping up their themes to fit specific events though.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjtXrKpW7G4[/youtube]
So that’s what Falk over at Sonic Retro decided to do for a college assignment in advanced video game scoring. Given the task of taking an existing game sequence, composing new music for it, and using Wwise to make it work interactively with the gameplay, he picked Sonic Unleashed’s lively Rooftop Run sequence, and gave it a whole new lick of paint.
Falk talks about the project in a topic over at Sonic Retro.