Halo 4: New Soundtrack Artist has Big Shoes to Fill
The Xbox exclusive sci-fi first person shooter Halo series has a large installed fan base. They have a certain set of expectations about the game. They expect it to play a certain way and they expect it to look a certain way. This is not surprising because these expectations are all part of the Halo brand.
If you play a game series through the years, you develop certain expectations. That’s why Halo 4, the first in a new trilogy and the first title wholly developed by 343 Industries instead of the series’ originator, Bungie Studios, marks a major milestone for the series. It can either set new heights for the game or mark the beginning of the end, if not be the actual end of the series. The stakes are high and 343 Industries have decided to go back to basics and refocus on Master Chief, the character that made Halo such a hit in the first place.
As part of its refocusing of the series, they have decided to assign the soundtrack to Neil Davidge of the trip hop outfit Massive Attack. Known for its atmospheric trippy sound, Massive Attack’s body of work is a great example of electronic music. Davidge will need all his Massive Attack wizardry for the Halo 4 soundtrack because the series’ fans have been accustomed to a certain soundtrack style established by Martin O’Donnell. While not as obvious as the gameplay or the graphics, a game’s soundtrack sets the mood. Davidge has to do it right because as we have seen from the progression from the first Halo to the last installment, O’Donnell’s score has a certain progression and style.
Any abrupt break might be disconcerting but any blind copying would be pointless. It truly is a tight rope to walk. Given his musical pedigree and past work, Davidge looks like he is up for the job.