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Diablo III’s Composer Speaks

Posted 31 Mar 2009 by

DiabloWikiRussell Brower is the Director of Audio and Video at Blizzard Entertainment, and is one of their chief composers of game music. His work fills World of Warcraft, and he’s also heading up the production of the soundtracks for Diablo III and Starcraft 2. We’ve not yet heard much music from Diablo III, and intrigued (and somewhat displeased) by what little heard heard so far, forum member FlamangoHellfire sent Russell an email at Blizzard. And got a reply! Which he posted in a forum thread that was discussing the music of D3 and Blizzard games in general. Here’s an excerpt: click through to read Russell’s full email.

In regards to Diablo III—- all I can say is “you ain’t heard nothing yet!” The overture was conceived of as a way of making a big impression on both new and existing audiences—saying that this really is the next chapter. What’s not apparent in the overture, though, is that the first indication the world had of what the new game was at our Paris announcement last Summer was a single guitarist on a 12-string, rolling those classic opening chords—not a speech, not a video, not a press release—but the MUSIC. That iconic music! I’m very proud of this moment, as it not only says a lot about how great the D1, D2 & D2X music is, but how important and recognizable game music in general has become.

The full quotes. From this thread. Here’s FlamangoHellfire’s mail to Russell:

Hello, my name is Peter. I’m a fan of Blizzard, and have been since the beginning. If you have a minute, I’m just curious as to how the music from Diablo III is coming?

This is in regards to the music of Diablo III, inspired from thoughts I’ve written on a forum recently. (My screen name is FlamangoHellfire)

I have to apologize for a lot of criticism in what I’ve said there regarding the music I’ve heard from the new game (which is very little). I said some things I really have no right saying, but if I’m not mistaken, isn’t the new overture rather disparate in regards to the music of Diablo I & II? I’m terribly worried that this might be the case. I hope you can reassure me that in fact, this is just a small glimpse of something broader and more tied into the original music? The reworking and motifs of the Tristram theme are nice, but the instrumentation seems a little hollow, and, well, the original game music was ambient industrial. Is that going to be incorporated into the new game at all? Best regards. I’ve often inspired to such an awesome career. Thank you for consideration,

- Peter

And here’s Russell’s reply:

Hi Peter,

Thank you for your thoughtful words. I’m really glad to hear how much you care about the Diablo series and its musical legacy. Maybe it will help in terms of “reassurance” for me to note that my own personal introduction to Blizzard games was in 1997 in the form of playing the first Diablo and being struck by the music… Matt Uelmen had succeeded in creating something original, which is a rare thing these days. The style was daring and completely unexpected, yet it worked so very well.

In regards to Diablo III—- all I can say is “you ain’t heard nothing yet!” The overture was conceived of as a way of making a big impression on both new and existing audiences—saying that this really is the next chapter. What’s not apparent in the overture, though, is that the first indication the world had of what the new game was at our Paris announcement last Summer was a single guitarist on a 12-string, rolling those classic opening chords—not a speech, not a video, not a press release—but the MUSIC. That iconic music! I’m very proud of this moment, as it not only says a lot about how great the D1, D2 & D2X music is, but how important and recognizable game music in general has become.

Finally, if you listen to Matt’s writing in D2X Lord of Destruction, you’ll hear not only most of the thematic material from the overture, but also the “Wagnerian” orchestration—Clearly, Matt was exploring new areas of musical expression in parallel with where the game’s story lead him. I believe that in playing D3 someday, you’ll hear homage to the iconic styles in all the right places, along with new music to go with some very exciting story developments and locales.

I’m not at liberty to say much more, as I don’t wish to provide any spoilers… however, I hope you’ll stay tuned as we roll out more information (and music) in the future.

(By the way—the Eminence recordings you mentioned are awesome, but they are Eminence’s own interpretations/homages (“cover” versions)—those recordings are not part of the official D3 project, save the original overture recording on which they performed.)

All my best,

-Russell

Thanks to FlamangoHellfire for the info, and Mizantrop for the tip.


Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo: IncGamers, Forums, Music, Russell Brower