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Ask the Mass Effect 2 Composers! Congrats BGC!


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Ask the Mass Effect 2 Composers (BGC's one of 'em!)


So an obscure little indie game came out not so recently that you may have heard of, Mass Effect 2, and guess what?

Along with Jack Wall, Sam Hulick, David Kates, and music implementation by Brian DiDomenico, the OC ReMix judges panel's own Jimmy Hinson is one of the composers!

How awesome is that? Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, but it was also mad skills what got him the gig, and we're all very proud he could work with Lead Composer Jack Wall and two other talented & established composers to score the soundtrack to the megahit that is ME2. So, first off, Mass Congrats to Mr. Hinson... truly an amazing achievement. Secondly, we wants to know:

  • How'd Jimmy get the gig?
  • How did Video Game Live co-creator Jack Wall lead a team of badass composers to score one of the most anticipated sequels of video games?
  • How much inspiration did they draw from the original score vs. composing from scratch?
  • How much alien sex did they study & analyze - professionally and scientifically - as part of the creative process?

Those are some of the questions WE came up with that WE wanna see answered, but we're pretty sure you've got more. So, post 'em here, and we'll pick and choose and present the final list to the entire ME2 composition team for their thoughtful consideration... and amusement.

Post your questions for the Mass Effect 2 composers on this thread, but remember...

  1. Keep it relatively PG, and always respectful.
  2. Questions should focus on ME and ME2 only; comparison/contrast to other soundtracks from the same composers are OK, but questions about completely different games/scores should be avoided.
  3. Questions can either be directed at a specific composer, or posed to the whole team, in which case Jack will probably respond himself or delegate accordingly. Be specific by prefacing your question with either the name of the composer, or the word "Team".
  4. Multiple Qs per thread is fine, just try to limit it to three or four good ones rather than a battery of... less good ones.
  5. Questions must be submitted by Monday, February 15th, which gives y'all a week.

So, once again, huge congrats :nicework: to Jimmy and all the ME2 composers for a job well done... now post your Qs!


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oh and i forgot one thing

there are plenty of people now that no matter what theyre playing on the 360 theyll always disable the ingame music in favor of whatever theyve ripped to the console or their mp3 player

how do you guys feel about that

im serious about this its not a troll question

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It amazes me when people do things of these proportions, and never say a word about it until it's released.

Makes me feel really small in perspective to such display of humility.

So, without further due, congratulations to Mr Jimmy 'BGC' Hinson for the accomplishment.

Now for the questions!

To Jimmy:

-What was your role in the team? Were you as important a member as anyone? Or were you given less critical tasks or songs to perform?

-How did you handled the pressure (if you felt any) of having to work with legendary composers on a product with such massive expectations?

To the Team:

-What did Mr Wall, Hulick and Kates thought about working on Bioware's much anticipated sequel?

-Was creating this kind of follow-up soundtrack more of a challenge compared to the first one, or instead less? In what ways?

-How much time did it took to build a solid composition from scratch? What was the usual creative process you followed?

-How many tracks ended up in the bin for the final 27 that comprise the soundtrack to exist?

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Do you guys feel any additional pressure working on a AAA, high publicity game compared to something that doesn't get as much press coverage?


After having conducted Video Games Live for a few years, do you feel that there is a growing connection between the world of professional music and video game music, or academic music and VGM? And if so, do you feel that the VGL show was a contributer to that, or more that the VGM market has grown to the point where it has to be noticed?

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Did you get to work in the BioWare Office in Edmonton with the other team members, or do you do all of your work remotely with other developers? How did you like doing this remote collaboration? Did you feel connected with the other aspects of the game's design (art, development)?

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• Who is responsible for the overall sound of the Mass Effect-series?

• How is it working on music for a sequel to a game the team has already scored? Is it easier because you've established a certain "sound" or pose more of a challenge because you need to re-invent the wheel so to speak? Does changes in members of the team help or make it harder?

• For the character themes, could you explain a bit how you went about associating certain motifs with certain characters? Did the team have access to the character "profiles" for this?

• Where did the team draw inspiration for the music?

• Are any themes from Mass Effect re-used or are motifs from Mass Effect 2 used in several different pieces? How did you approach these "arrangements"? Did one composer arrange another composer's work?

• The soundtrack for Mass Effect is less orchestral than western RPG scores in general, do you think there is a place for hybrid or entirely synthesizer-based soundtracks like this even outside a sci-fi setting?

• Can you tell us a little bit of the process from idea to implementation in game?

• Seriously now, did the team use ANY real analogue synths or are they all virtualizations? :wink:

• Finally, when will we know if you guys are scoring Mass Effect 3? Are there any plans for a soundtrack box set, maybe with some of the music that didn't make the soundtracks already out? I know I'd buy that in a heartbeat.

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Wow...now that's news to me! It's great that BGC has finally entered the industry...and what better way to do so? Mass Effect 2. Never in a million years did I expect this. Not that BGC is devoid of talent...complete opposite of course. It's just that this is a huge debut. Congrats, man!

I'm obviously curious about the regular stuff like how this came to be. I also want to know the directions that these composers took. Was it something ordinary like each one handling a specific amount of tracks or did all composers collaborate on everything? Or was it a bit of both?

Were all composers in the same room together, or was everything through the internet?

Also, coming into Mass Effect 2...has everything been done from scratch or are certain motifs from the previous one carried over? Was it essential to even study the prequel's music either way? I'm not familiar with the soundtrack's style so I'm wondering if it's restricted to a certain genre (orchestra) or does each composer get to show off some flair.

What kind of discussions has this team gone through in order to determine the direction of the score?

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I'm flattered by all the BGC-oriented questions, but remember guys, this is your opportunity to ask questions to some other very cool dudes in the industry!

-Jack Wall was recently named one of the top 50 people in the video game industry by Game Developer Magazine. He's the conductor of the world-famous Video Games Live concert production.

-Sam Hulick and David Kates are Mass Effect veterans. Both worked with Jack on Mass Effect 1 and are both super talented and really nice guys.

-Many of you should already know Brian DiDomenico from Game Music Radio with Becky Young. He played a critical role in the Mass Effect 2 score as well.

So while I'm definitely flattered by all your kind words, remember, there's also a wealth of cool information to be found by picking the brains of the collective team, or any of these awesome dudes individually!

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As a fellow OCR member I have to wonder BGC - When you found out that you got the gig and you would be working with people who are in perspective dinosaurs in the industry, were you intimidated?

Also, did you talk about OCR with the other guys on the team? If so how did they react?

I don't expect superficial questions like those will be asked in the interview. I'm just curious to know.

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oh and i forgot one thing

there are plenty of people now that no matter what theyre playing on the 360 theyll always disable the ingame music in favor of whatever theyve ripped to the console or their mp3 player

how do you guys feel about that

I honestly thought I was going to do this myself, and then I didn't, because this game's soundtrack is better than the first. By several orders of magnitude. Naturally I am attributing this to OCR's influence.

On that topic, the first soundtrack seems to be much more subdued than this one. Is this going to be a trend? Are you holding off on cranking the "epic" dial to the maximum until the third game?

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