The soundtrack is something which was very important for the developers from DESTINYbit. They looked for great composers to write the music for the game, to make it memorable and give it a great atmosphere.
We asked Michael, who composed most of the soundtrack for Empires Apart, to tell us what it meant for him to write the music for the game.
Games are best musically approached as stories. The mechanics of gameplay — even mundane actions like upgrading troops or re-seeding farms — can be exciting if they’re part of a gripping narrative about specific places and people. Empires Apart gives us all the elements of a story: a central character (the player) with a strong goal (to build an enduring civilization from scratch) in the face of an obstacle (the accursed other civilizations, inconveniently nearby). There’s an easy-to-perceive narrative arc, from the relatively peaceful days of building first structures in the wilderness, to the bustle of a growing town, to the fear and triumph of locking horns with one’s hostile neighbors.
Our goal with the music was to emotionally support the player’s sense of being the main character in a historical epic. The civilization themes make playing as different nations feel like emotionally distinct experiences. The Aztec theme is tribal and visceral, whereas the music for the Byzantines is mournful and nostalgic. The music follows the arc of the narrative, from peaceful melodic ambiences during early gameplay to the blaring of drums and brass during heavy combat. And of course we musically reward the player’s triumphs, as well as express sympathy for the defeats. (There will be many of those.)
Project lead Gian Paolo Vernocchi is a fan of thematic scores that can stand on their own outside of their games. We hope you’ll enjoy Empires Apart's score both as accompaniment to your empire-building, as well as a pleasant listening experience on its own.
Michael Gordon Shapiro
We are happy to announce that the OST will be available on Steam as a separate DLC for the game. We think it is powerful and beautiful music, and we can't wait to hear what you think! And in case YOU can't wait, here's something for you to get a taste of it.