Learn about the creative process behind the “groundbreaking” Battlefield 2042 soundtrack

Beyond its epic battles and intense firefights, the Battlefield series has built an incredible reputation for delivering a premium audio experience. From the accurate reproduction of the weapon to the sound of gravel under your boots, it is one of the most intensely auditory gaming experiences out there. I recommend that you put on a good pair of headphones when playing games to enjoy it.

The soundtrack has also become familiar to gamers, and its “Battlefield theme” is an unbeatable music worm. However, the soundtrack of Battlefield 2042 takes you to a level never heard before. Frankly, I find it just amazing, as it features a rough and physical texture that runs through each track, perfect for complementing the chaos of battles.

If you want to know more about its composition and arrangements, join us in the conversation we had with Hildur Guðnadóttir and Sam Slater, the composers of the soundtrack of Battlefield 2042, who told us about the work that was done on one of the best video game soundtracks of the year.

One of the things I really enjoy about the soundtrack of Battlefield 2042 it’s that you can practically feel the music: it’s very metallic, organic, and even harsh. My mind conjures up images of rusty metal drums, sand, and incredible multi-track bass. How did you get that “texture” to compose the soundtrack of the game?

When we talk about the sound palette of Battlefield 2042, we ask ourselves: “What kind of world is being created?” The game world is futuristic, but that future is close enough to our current world that the sound must feel rooted in our current reality. This meant that there were no laser guns or synthesizers, or nostalgic orchestras to romanticize and distance the player from such a brutal world.

We wanted the music to feel completely embedded in the physical environment of the game. Hildur and I clung to the idea that we could bring physical environments to life, adding to the chaos of the physical environment in the player’s ears.

How was the process of composing the soundtrack for a game instead of working on a movie? Were there any aspects that turned out to be more or less challenging than you expected?

Working on a video game was a very pleasant experience. Most of the time, the images in a movie are still and the music is added near the end, leaving less room to interlace the visual and auditory landscapes. They can be symbiotic, as we hope our recent project would be ChernobylBut often our eyes and ears coexist in parallel. With a video game, we do not see the final graphics until it is finished and therefore we constantly work with ideas, concepts and impressions of the worlds that are being created. This creates immense dialogue and collaboration between audio and graphics and allows you to truly explore the potential of the lines between music, sound effects, and the visual world to collapse into a single animated environment. So creating that cohesion is not easy! It took us 18 months to get there.

His work on the soundtrack of Chernobyl it is fascinating, all the sounds of a real nuclear power plant are wonderful. Given the Battlefield 2042 It does not have a “physical” space in that sense. How did you discover the soundscape of the game? How was that creative process?

We looked at the map materials and used the main materials at each location to report the sounds we made. If the environment was mainly sand and glass, then we created instruments and processes with those materials. So if necessary we used a sand covered speaker cone or the higher frequencies of broken glass to create a rhythmic noise.

One of my favorite examples is the sound at the beginning of “Wet Bulb”, a track based on the music from a map called Renewal. The map has an interesting dialogue between lush green areas and other very dry arid areas, where there is a molten salt power generator. We wondered how we could sonically dry out sounds and for this reason we played back recordings of moving sand, through plate reverb to create “wet sand” and then used algorithmic reverb removal to remove reverb from the sound. The result is a very strange dry sound that is nothing like the original file, but creates a very interesting sonic base for a soo dry map!

How was the collaboration with the DICE and EA development team throughout this process? Did they have any idea what they wanted the game to sound like or did they give them all the creative freedom to explore that space and present their ideas to you?

Our collaboration lasted 18 months and was incredibly exploratory, DICE and EA were incredibly supportive and encouraging. When we talked about making the score together, the word that stood out was: “innovative”. Steve Schnur, EA’s music director, said he wanted a score like no other and the DICE team went with the flow. They really encouraged us to go as far as we could with ideas, so we took a chance with everything, as the game warranted it.

Hildur and I have great respect for previous Battlefield scores and entered the project knowing that there would be expectations from players to live up to the work of previous games, while also wanting to bring the world of sound to life. a totally different direction. During the weeks of talks about the concept we had about what we could do to bring environments to life with EA and DICE, the phrase: “It can’t be” was never heard. We began collecting sounds with an immense amount of support and knowledge from everyone involved, and the result is, we hope, satisfying for Battlefield fans, as well as challenging and exciting.

The iconic Battlefield theme for Battlefield 2042 it feels like it’s been disassembled and reassembled with the world’s toughest set of tools. The result seems fantastic to me, and every time I listen to it I am surprised to perceive great sounds that I enjoy so much. When composing that theme for Battlefield 2042How did you know when you reached the ideal balance of the sound you expected, while still neglecting the legacy of that track?

This was one of the real challenges of the process, as the original melody is something that millions of people already know and love. We wanted to be respectful of that subject and yet not clash with the world we were creating. Finding that balance took a lot of work and experimentation to figure out what made the original melody such a hit. Our theme is based on the thunderous bass of a DIY instrument proudly called “power plank” and the saturated echoes of the sonic world of Battlefield 2042 that combine to reach the melodic main theme. We understood that this topic had to be unequivocal, like the game world, so we went beyond the limits.

When someone hears the soundtrack of Battlefield 2042What do you hope they get out of the experience? What do they want to convey?

For us, the world of Battlefield 2042 it’s a strange mix of chaos and hope. Maps are always a balance of collapsing man-made structures, chaotic weather systems, and human beings struggling in between and taking responsibility for their environments. We hope that players will get excited and empowered, but that you also get the feeling that the worlds you are playing in are spiraling out of control.

We thank Hildur Guðnadóttir and Sam Slater for taking the time to share with us their creative process behind one of our favorite video game soundtracks of the year. Battlefield 2042 It is available now in the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S. Find it in the Microsoft Store (Argentina, chili, Colombia Y Mexico). Do not detach yourself from Xbox Wire in Spanish for the latest news on your favorite Xbox games!

(Photos courtesy of Camille Blake)