I’m pretty psyched about Halo 4, but I’m not a huge fan of the series. The last Halo game I was blown away by was the very first one, Halo: Combat Evolved. The first game mixed the action of the first person shooter with the grandeur and mystery of one of science fiction’s greatest tropes, the BDO (otherwise known as the Big Dumb Object). Since the first Halo, no other game in the franchise has managed to recapture the magic that it originally knocked everyone’s socks off with by telling a genuinely enthralling sci-fi story.
Now Bungie has passed the torch on to 343 Industries and with the new developer, Halo has a new story, a new enemy, and a new BDO. To give mood and atmosphere to all of this, 343 has also gotten a new composer for the game’s soundtrack. While you won’t be able to experience all of these changes until November, you can listen to the difference now.
Composer Neil Davidge has some pretty big shoes to fill. The chants and drums soundtrack that Martin O’Donnell scored the Halo series with has almost been a big a part of the series as Master Chief himself. Most gamer’s know the Halo title theme better than any other video game theme since Super Mario Bros. That’s not an easy thing to follow, or for that matter emulate without sounding like a cheap knock-off, so Davidge decided not to. While he didn’t exactly avoid O’Donnell’s style, he did change it up quite a bit. In a recent interview with IGN, Davidge said…
Everyone has the utmost respect for what Marty has done. The phrase that kept going around was ‘evolution not revolution’ of the score. [They wanted a] more electronic, slightly more beat-driven direction, which is one reason why they came to me. They wanted to flesh out, sonically, a new universe. One that they could expand on in subsequent sequels.
Davidge has posted several samples from the upcoming soundtrack on Soundcloud to give a taste of what he has to offer. He has also posted the electronic remixes of the tracks that will be releasing on their own album simultaneously. Along with the quicker more tension filled tempo in the soundtrack that seems a bit more cinematic than the original’s, you can also hear the electronic influence that Davidge has pulled from his time producing for Massive Attack. It is definitely a different feel for Halo’s sound that has been highly revered but perhaps grown a little stale over the years. Now the big question remains, how does this music match with Halo 4’s story?
Here’s a sample of a couple of the game’s songs with their remixes for a side by side comparison…
To The Galaxy
And a longer sampling of both the soundtrack music and their remixes
Halo 4 Soundtrack
Halo 4 remixes