“The Road to Harmony.”
With the recent announcement that Jagex has partnered with music label Laced Records in releasing music from RuneScape and Old School RuneScape, the developer has shared a behind-the-scenes video in which fans get to see footage and interviews from the recordings of the role-playing game’s orchestral music at Abbey Road Studios.
Head of audio, Mod Lord, spoke about how RuneScape‘s early soundtrack has stood the test of time, in part because of its simple melodies that “get stuck in people’s heads,” becoming part of their nostalgic memories of the game.
“Over the years, the technology’s improved – we’ve had the ability to play proper live music,” explained Mod Lord. “So we went to Bratislava, we recorded an orchestra there. Most of the music we record these days has live instruments – violins, cellos, accordions, singers, all sorts of things.”
Award-winning composer James Hannigan acknowledged RuneScape‘s diverse back catalogue of music and explained that one of the challenges of creating a new body of orchestral music was selecting which tracks to arrange.
“I immersed myself in old RuneScape music for a period and just allowed the material to kind of speak for itself,” said Hannigan. “Certain pieces were just crying out to be reworked or performed by an orchestra.”
Jagex sound designer and composer Mod Ian spoke about the first song he wrote for RuneScape. Wanting something with a catchy melody that would fit Lumbridge (one of the early locales of the game) Mod Ian eventually came up with the track “Harmony.”
“Harmony” is a very, very popular track,” said Hannigan. “It’s very, very special to RuneScape players, so I felt a pretty great sense of responsibility to get my orchestral rendition of that right.
“The reason we went to Abbey Road is quite simply because it has one of the best spaces in the world for recording an orchestra. It sounds so rich, so lush. You’ll hear it in many, many soundtracks. It has a very distinctive sound.”
The Philharmonia Orchestra was enlisted to perform the arrangements at Abbey Road Studios, and concert master Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay touched on the atmosphere of excitement at the studio with the smile-inducing music.
“This kind of funny music – you want to smile about this because you could almost imagine what’s going on in the video game,” explained Visontay. “You get yourself actually hungry about… oh I want to see this video game, I want to play it now.”