Moss: Book II is coming to Quest 2 and Digital Music stores
The last time SPIN spoke with composer Jason Graves, his work on The Dark Pictures Anthologythe third entry, Ash househad just been released as a score for many gamers’ spooky Halloween title.
But this time, the multi-genre artist (who has also composed everything since dead space games at 2013 grave robber at the physical retail store of Limited Run Games) is back with a significantly less terrifying title.
Moss: Book IIPolyarc’s sequel to star of 2018 Moussearrived everywhere on PlayStation VR headsets earlier this year, giving gamers the next chapter in the heroic journey of mouse protagonist Quill.
A few months after the game’s initial release, Graves’ title and soundtrack are getting new versions. With Moss: Book II coming to Meta Quest 2 on July 21, the score gets an individual version as well. The digital version will launch alongside the Quest 2 version, with physical options coming later this year through early 2023.
To celebrate the new release, SPIN spoke with Graves about his latest title.
SPIN: With Mousse and its sequel both creating such a unique world, what went into creating such a unique score for the games?
Jason Graves: My general approach to new projects is to take inspiration from the game, movie, or TV series as much as possible. In the case of Moss: Book II, I spent a lot of time with Kristen Quinn, Polyarc’s audio director, looking into gameplay, story beats, and character development. We had already established a musical world for Mousse in the original version – a group of “small” instruments to convey the small perspective of Quill, the game’s main protagonist who also happens to be a mouse. Celtic harp, flute, violin and various smaller percussion instruments performed a pastoral and thematic soundtrack.
Moss: Book II is to expand the world of Mousse and tell a bigger story. I wanted to keep the same general direction for the music while slightly augmenting the small band with a few additional instruments – Celtic flutes, piano, cello, oud and bouzouki permeate the score. Most of the music you might call “fight” music is actually in waltz form, written more like a Celtic reel or a party dance, which is a nod to Quill’s fighting skills. . In fact, a very large part of the score was written this way – even the slowest exploration pieces are in a kind of triple meter.
How does composing for a VR title compare to a “flat” game?
That’s actually a great question, and I’ve certainly made my fair share of VR titles. It’s hard to believe that I wrote the music for the very first Oculus Rift Getting Started Tutorials that came with the original bundles, as well as the game. distant lands that came with it as a console exclusive over six years ago. Everything about creating a VR game is quite different from a traditional platform. However, when it comes to music, things tend to be a little simpler. I tend to compose the same way for both platforms, which is usually from a more emotional perspective.
Music is also attributed to the game in much the same way it would be if it were a non-VR title, with a few exceptions. Sometimes there are position-specific items in the game that would have music attached to them in 3D space, such as a door or a bridge. A “VR transmitter” placed in the world then controls the panning and volume of the music.
Since our last interview was about Ash houseAre there any creative decisions for you that vary based on the genre or playstyle of the title you’re working on?
Certainly. A lot is simply the instruments I choose. I make a conscious effort to keep things fresh and always try out new instruments and sound combinations on every new track. Honestly, that’s about 90% of the decision making for me. The instruments I end up choosing – which are a direct choice inspired by this specific playing – make all compositional decisions much easier.
It’s a bit of that classic case of “putting yourself in a corner”, but with instrument and sound options – and on purpose! These limits are exactly what I need to be able to focus on themes and emotions. Otherwise, I would be constantly looking for new sounds and I would never write anything.
Were you able to explore new elements in Moss: Book II which was omitted from the original?
I think I’m still pretty happy with how the original Mousse turned out, but I have to admit that I’m not one to look back. I rarely listen to anything I worked on after it came out – even if I’m working on a sequel to my own original score, as is the case with Moss: Book II. It was really more about extending the original instrumentation from the first Mousse to deepen the relationship between the player and Quill.
From the start, I knew I wanted the live piano to be at the heart of the score. I’ve always wanted a grand piano in the studio, but my instrument purchases are always work-related and the opportunity never presented itself… Until now! I spent hours and hours for several weeks in every piano store in town until I found the perfect grand piano. I even recorded one of the pieces of the score – the only one written at the time – live in the piano store and took it home to see how the piano sounded with the rest of the implements. It was literally perfect. And I kept that first live take of the entire line in the final soundtrack.