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Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3: Composer Interview

Composers Jukka Rintamäki & Johan Skugge collaborated together on EA's Battlefield 3 title. Here they discuss how they became involved in the project and their time with the game.

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So, first of all, how did you guys become involved with DICE and Battlefield 3?

Jukka: Stefan Strandberg (sound designer for BF3) started looking for composers and was looking for an electronic approach to the music. Johan is a composer who is a wizard on synths and electronica and I think Stefan wanted to combine us two.

I'm more into composing traditional music and film music as well and Stefan knew my music from contemporary dance and from the band Silverbullit. He figured he would combine are ways of composing and also reckoned we would work well together, which we did.

What's it been like working with the game?

Johan: In one word - fun. There's great people involved and it was an open-minded creative environment. It's also a new medium to work with for us, so we were learning as we went along what we could do, and how to use the medium.

Could you elaborate the creations process? How did you came up with the electronic theme and did you get some broad directions for the soundtrack from the studio?

Jukka: Initially we had a couple of long night discussions with music and red wine, with me, Johan and Stefan Strandberg just talking about music in general and in games. Listening to music we like, playing different games to see what was in there and figuring what we wanted to do and what not to.

So Stefan had a very clear idea of what he wanted us to achieve, an electronic score that isn't mixing in any classic instruments or hardly any acoustic instruments. After that Johan and I proceed in the studio, starting with electronic music with our keyboards (modular systems, Korg MS-20, ARP Avatar and about 10 more keyboards and drum machines) and chains of effect pedals. We worked around often very minimalistic and harsh sounds, deliberately avoiding to make the big Hollywood sound, but rather dark and sort of uncooperative.

Johan and I would sit at my place and play different games, mute the sound and try out our own music sketches to different game situations and see what we thought worked the best. If we would play a game and really feel something about a scene because of the music we knew we hit the right note.

So, you didn't ever consider bringing big orchestral pieces into Battlefield 3's soundtrack?

Jukka: No, not once.

What kind of feelings are you hoping to evoke with the score?

Johan: The most important thing is to make it work with scenes. But since we have seen very little of the game while working on the score, we had to stick with what Stefan had in mind; trying to decode his vision of the overall sound of the game, and what feeling it should have. The soundtrack on the other hand has to work on it's own, and I think it does, because we managed to stick to the main vision - urban, dark music.