Client: Square Enix Montréal
Category: All Projects, Making of
SQUARE ENIX MONTRÉAL INTERVIEW WITH PIXEL AUDIO
Nick Verge: As our friends at Pixel Audio were working on the Making of the music of Hitman: Sniper, I thought I’d reach out to know more about their creation process and inspirations for their work on the game. Here is what came out of the conversation:
Nick: Which Hitman games did you play before composing Hitman: Sniper’s soundtrack? Any favourites?
Pixel Audio: We also had a blast with Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (2002), Hitman: Contracts (2004), Hitman: Absolution (2012) and obviously Hitman GO, since we composed the music for it as well. We don’t have any obvious favourite but we liked the replay value of Absolution and the fact that you can be absolutely brutal while wearing a chick costume!
Nick: What were your musical inspirations for the game?
Pixel Audio: For Hitman: Sniper, we were inspired mostly from TV series and movie soundtracks. We wanted to have the same kind of melodic impact you experience when tuning in to your favourite TV show.
We’re also huge fans of Jesper Kyd, both for what he did on previous Hitman games and his work on Assassin’s Creed II and Darksiders II. John Powell’s work was also a great influence (mostly for his amazing Bourne movie soundtracks), as well as Sean Callery (24).
Nick: How is Hitman: Sniper’s soundtrack different than Hitman GO’s?
Pixel Audio: These are two completely different games! Hitman GO is almost a board game! That’s why we went for a contemplative and relaxed mood for it.
Hitman: Sniper is closer to the main series’ visuals and narrative: it’s graphically striking, highly immersive and more stressful. We treated it more like a movie. We wanted to match the stealthy sniper feeling with music that fades in and out, almost like it’s sneaking on you, observing you from afar.
Nick: What is so special about a Hitman soundtrack?
Pixel Audio: Iconic melodies, sharp ambiances and music that’s almost romantic and classy. One can easily compare it to secret agent movie soundtracks (which aesthetic has been established mostly by John Barry’s James Bond music), but with a much darker and modern feel.
We could also say that a Hitman soundtrack is following you around, like a discreet ally; giving you the drive and the intuition for completing the task ahead.
Nick: Did you use any special instruments?
Pixel Audio: There’s a significant use of viola, which has the romantic and emotional feel of the violin while being deeper and subdued.
In orchestral music, the viola is rarely at the foreground, being mainly used for harmonic support. The stars of the string section, the violin and the cello, often overshadow the viola. When it is used as the lead instrument, it inspires surprising warmth and gives great power to the middle register.
We thought it suited Agent 47 very well, particularly in its role as a sniper, remaining in the shadow while controlling the game. We also used real bass and a Moog Taurus to make sure the low end had great impact. We wanted to go further than the usual computer driven music found in most mobile games. We believe it helps creating a truly immersive feeling.
Special thanks to:
Yukari Cousineau (Violins and violas)
David Laurendeau (Cerentola Studio)