Vidgames tap film’s eclectic palette

Billion-Dollar Composer: Steve Jablonsky

Just as “Transformers” and “Desperate Housewives” illustrate different musical sides of the same composer, so do “Gears of War 2” and “Sims 3” in the videogame world.

“Musically, I try to treat the game as I would a film,” says Steve Jablonsky. “A game like ‘Gears of War’ has a very in-depth storyline. The main difference is in the technical delivery; you have to think a little differently. They’ll say, ‘we need exactly 90 seconds of medium-paced action music, using this theme, and it needs to be able to loop back to the beginning seamlessly.’ ”

According to Epic Games’ Cliff Bleszinski, lead designer for “Gears of War,” the idea was to “really give you the ultimate kind of 4th of July, summer-blockbuster, explosions-monsters-setpiece type of experience. We had to get a guy who could compose that kind of bombastic, emotional score.”

In the aftermath of his 2007 “Transformers” success, Jablonsky was that guy for “Gears 2,” released in 2008. It’s a war score, replete with heroic fanfares and elegiac moments for the dead, all realized with large orchestra and choir recorded at San Francisco’s Skywalker Sound.

For “The Sims 3,” however, Electronic Arts’ worldwide exec for music Steve Schnur felt that “very few composers could nail the playfulness, intelligence, fun and quirkiness of the Sims franchise.” But, having fallen in love with Jablonsky’s oddball “Desperate Housewives” music, he hired the composer for “Sims 3” and its multiple iterations since.

The “Sims” music is cheerful and infectious, although Schnur points out that “it can be devilish at times too.” Jablonsky has scored more than a dozen games in the past five years, including EA’s “Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars” and Ubisoft’s “Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands.”

Billion-Dollar Composer: Steve Jablonsky
Talents beyond the bay | Sound design mixes it up with ‘kick-ass rock’ | Finding darkness at comedy’s core | Vidgames tap film’s eclectic palette | Toy stories driven by electronics

More Digital


    SAG-AFTRA Ends Long Strike Against Ad Agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty

    SAG-AFTRA has ended its 10-month strike against Bartle Bogle Hegarty after the advertising agency agreed to sign the union’s new commercials contract. The union instructed its 160,000 members in September not to accept any work for BBH, which had been signed to SAG-AFTRA’s commercials contracts since 1999. The strike came two weeks after BBH publicly [...]

  • FaceApp is displayed on an iPhone,

    SAG-AFTRA Warns Members About FaceApp Terms of Use

    SAG-AFTRA is warning its 160,000 members about the “overreaching and invasive” terms of use for the FaceApp mobile application. FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. The app can be used to make users appear older, younger, or change gender. The terms include [...]

  • J. Cole

    Apple Music Launches 'Rap Life' Playlist

    Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture [...]

  • Billie Eilish

    ARRI, Mobile TV Group Back New Venture Revitalizing Streamed Concerts

    A new venture looking to bring a fresh approach to live-streaming concerts has gotten the backing of hardware heavyweights ARRI and Mobile TV Group. Wide+Close is launching with the mandate of shooting music performances with film cameras and cinematographers in order to give the content a more cinematic feel. “We want to take concert filming [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Plans to Expand to Brazil, Other Countries (EXCLUSIVE)

    Roku plans to expand to multiple new territories in the coming months, Variety has learned. One of the first new markets for the company will likely be Brazil. An international expansion could help Roku grow its customer base, which in turn should lead to growing advertising revenues. Roku executives have been hinting at plans to [...]

  • Google Stadia Pro to Include 1

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game

    Google has been busy sharing additional details about its upcoming game streaming service Stadia, clearing up some confusion in the process. Stadia’s pro subscription tier, which will cost $10 per month, won’t be a Netflix-type subscription service. However, subscribers will get free games at the rate of about a title per month. That’s according to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content