Well here we are… Sackboy: A Big Adventure has finally hit the shelves. Bursting with the most incredible roster of new (and old!) Music, and built on a completely redesigned interactive system, the soundtrack is by far the heaviest we’ve ever put together for the franchise. So I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few glimpses of what we’ve been doing for the past few years, as well as to touch on what you can expect to hear when you embark on your own great adventure. No spoilers though!
We’re all big fans of the original LittleBigPlanet games, and many of us have been working on the franchise for quite some time now, so we’re naturally passionate about respecting its musical heritage.
As the composers and supervisors of Sackboy’s latest release, what we considered extremely important was having the freedom to put together a unique eclectic mix, with a focus on enhancing the playing experience and the willingness to make courageous choices.
With that in mind, the two key questions for us initially were, “How can we honor the legacy of the soundtrack while taking it in new directions?” and “how can we widen the field while continuing to present fans with new and exciting music?”
The answers to these questions that we thought (well, hoped!) Were to diversify the content even more; expanding in all directions. We therefore sought to raise the stakes with more traditional artists, while pushing further in our efforts to discover new talent. We explored music of a more vintage nature while combining this with modern production techniques. We worked even more closely with established artists and broadened the search for new unique composers. And above all, we had a lot of fun, constantly looking for opportunities that could make the player smile.
As you may have already read in Ned’s excellent blog post, variety was one of the main pillars when planning the direction of the design. There was a strong desire for each level to feel unique, for the game to continually surprise the player with new and interesting game mechanics. We thought it was right that we back this up with music, so we made it our ambition to provide a unique musical experience for each of the basic levels of the game. A major aspiration for me was to let gamers not only delighted with the current level, but also excited about what was to be discovered in the next one.
We’ve got a slew of original compositions, both new faces and franchise favorites, as well as some really exciting artist exclusives. There’s an unprecedented roster of licensed music, spanning an entire century and including everything from burgeoning new talent to superstar DJs and the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers. We also wanted to look at ways to experiment with a few new ideas, so we incorporated a number of original remixes and mashups into the soundtrack, not to mention a few more recognizable songs reimagined in a new light!
Put the ‘Play’ in the playlist
Interactivity has always been very important to us. While previous titles have made extensive use of interactive music with composed tracks, licensed music has tended to remain a fairly linear experience. For Sackboy: A Big Adventure, we wanted to rethink how we might work with licensed music – especially how we might organize these tracks so that they become more of a part of the experience.
So we made a call to implement all music interactively, whether it’s composed or licensed. This means that each track in the game is broken down into instrumental layers and edited into its component sections. This not only allows us to rearrange the mix in real time, but also choreograph the arrangement so that it adapts to the player’s actions and location.
What this means from a player’s perspective is that each track is much more meaningful to the experience. The music is built through the moments of openness, it evolves with the story, it responds to your actions, it crescendos and it concludes the action. And the fact that we were able to do that with a King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard song is a huge bonus!
In addition to the tracks themselves, we also wanted to explore how we might push musical interactivity into other areas of sound. A lot of sound effects are rich in tonal elements, so we started to think, “Can we implement these sounds in such a way that they become more intrinsic to the musical experience?”
This ultimately led to the development of the harmony and rhythm systems. These allow sound designers to create sound effects that adapt to the key signature of the accompanying music track, as well as synchronize those events with key rhythms and patterns.
The result is that we now have a set of sound effects that effectively sing over the soundtrack – everything from checkpoints to pickup labels, from level badges to key UI events. Even the bewildering buzz of an approaching Boomblebee!
The natural evolution of these systems then allowed us to create a number of musical sets, shall we say, “more remarkable”. We wanted these levels to be a more distinct experience, to be more like a music video, and we wanted players to feel like they were playing in this video. However, there was also a strong desire to avoid a linear, on-rails approach that would essentially force the player through the levels. Instead, we steered the design to allow the player to inhabit a world steeped in song, with rhythm, flow, and even lyrical references turning the game into a great dance party.
Anyway, that’s pretty much enough on my part for the moment. The official soundtrack with all of today’s bespoke music releases on all digital platforms and you can listen to it here. We have also compiled an official playlist of most licensed music, which you can find here.
We had a lot of fun putting this soundtrack together and I’m so excited to finally put it in your hands (and ears!) Like the game itself, it’s overflowing with joy and has been a true labor of love. for the whole team. . There is so much fun to be had and so many minute details that will make you smile. And I think we could all do some of that now!