Bionic Commando sound designer inspired by NES-era tunes

By Jeriaska . July 20, 2008 . 10:52am


Based in Stockholm, Sweden, the game developer Grin has finished work on Bionic Commando Rearmed and is in the final stages of testing the original next-gen title for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC titled Bionic Commando.  


While it should come as no surprise that the creative director and sound composer of Bionic Commando Rearmed considers the NES title on which it is based to be among his all-time favorite games, Simon Viklund says that his admiration for 8-bit era Capcom does not end there.


"I love the music in all those old Capcom games, such as DuckTales, the Mega Man games of course, and Gun.Smoke," he says   "I've played those games and Bionic Commando a lot, so I know the songs inside out."  The Capcom remake marks the first time the composer has gone beyond just listening to actually breaking down the harmonies and melodies to discover the structural elements that made the 8-bit title such a memorable listening experiences.  "I found the only thing I could bring to the mix was higher production quality," he says. "Harmony-wise and melody-wise, the songs were already perfect."  




The entire Bionic Commando Rearmed soundtrack is composed and produced on Buzz, a freeware program in the vein of old school music sequencers like Fast Tracker.  "I found it to be the perfect program to use to produce the kind of music I wanted for Bionic Commando Rearmed," the sound designer says.  "It has that retro sound to it, and still the ability to add compression, side-chaining, all those kinds of modern effects that I needed to update the sound for the soundtrack."  


In terms of audio cues that players might want to look out for in the game, there are some subtle elements intended for fans of the old school Capcom games.  The top-down stages of Bionic Commando are a reference to the top-down view of the game's spiritual predecessor on the NES, Commando.  In fact, the mission of Bionic Commando is to rescue Super Joe, the protagonist of Commando.  Incorporating a remix of Rob Hubbard's interpretation of the original Commando theme, Viklund added an audio connection to match the visual reference, which can be heard on the Bionic Commando Rearmed track titled "Meet the Enemy and Descend," available on iTunes.




Viklund is currently working as the lead sound designer on the next-gen Bionic Commando.  The score will include original tracks and an expanded interpretation of the NES game score. "As opposed to Bionic Commando Rearmed, which is electronic (Crystal Method, big beats, breakbeats, that kind of sound)," he says, "the 3D game has those songs interpreted with a cinematic, symphonic sound to it." Grin worked together with the Hollywood sound design studio Soundelux and composer Jamie Christopherson of Lost Planet to bring a live orchestra sound to three of the tracks on the original score, found in several of the trailers.


For the next-gen Bionic Commando the developers have experimented with how to expand the original swing mechanic further within three-dimensions, allowing players to wrench objects from the ground and hurl them.  They believe the vertical aspect of the game is more involved than anything seen previously.  Viklund wants players to be adventurous and throw caution to the wind.  "I encourage people try it out and be a daredevil — to throw themselves off cliffs and use the arm, and experience those typical Bionic Commando moments."


Images courtesy of Capcom 

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  • jeffx

    OMG thanks for the Buzz link. I’ve been looking for something like that for some time!!!

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