With 1971 Project Helios getting closer to release on PlayStation, sometimes it’s not just the game itself that can get us excited, but also the music that goes hand in hand with the story being told. But if you listen to the music in the trailer, there is something about the beat that makes you want to go in and take everything head on. But who is the composer behind 1971 Project Helios? Xabi San Martin who is the keyboardist and composer of the Spanish Band “La Oreja de Van Gogh” who are Grammy winners with more than 8 millions albums sold is the one that is in charge of the turn-based strategy game.
But thinking about the game and the eight protagonists that will accompany on their adventure, the music has to reflect of their mood and the dangers that they may encounter.
“Unlike other games of this genre, the plot is not an excuse to get to the action but a fundamental part of the experience. The soundtrack, therefore, emotionally accompanies the player at each stage of the adventure. As for the graphic aspects, the game has a very strong personality, so tackling the music was a challenge. I had to be ambitious and not settle for anything conventional. I think the most difficult part was to find a sound palette that evoked the universe of the game: raw, bleak, yet still very emotional.
All levels and their locations are so different that even the recording techniques varied greatly from one to another. For example, the spatial treatment of music during a level settled in a tunnel gallery is radically different from one that, for example, takes place in catacombs.”
1971 Project Helios has three different factions that the player must face: the Scavengers, small independent villages with limited resources; the Wintersöhne, a great militarized society formed by the remnants of armies that once faced each other; and the Kaphirites, members of a religious cult formed after the Cataclysm, which rejects technology. When entering a combat, the music takes on a much more frantic appearance. Always maintaining the tension of the fight, the themes are associated with the enemies that the player must defeat.
In this regard, Xabi comments:
“Each faction is a separate universe, and music should also reflect it during the combats. For the Wintersöhne, it was clear that it must sound like what Wagner would have composed if he had synthesizers. For the Kaphirites, I wanted to return to the medieval modal music. And for the Scavengers, I looked for something raw and metallic. I ended up recording knocks with kitchen pots!”
The only moments of calm for the eight characters are when, between missions, they can camp and rest. It’s in those moments when the music talks about them, not as combat units with a mission to accomplish, but as survivors of struggles, losses, suffering and fatigue every day.
“Acoustic guitars sometimes, abstract textures, old synthesizers… Antagonistic arrangements for the same central theme that appears in many ways, adapting to the mood of the protagonists”.
This way, Xabi’s impeccable work makes 1971 Project Helio’s soundtrack a part of vital importance when it comes to immersing ourselves in this universe, and makes us, as players, partakers of the story the game wants to tell.
All I know is when the magic has an impact as much of the story being told, something special can come out of it and I cannot wait until 1971 Project Helios comes to PlayStation on June 9, 2020.
Until then…please enjoy…