How to create consistency without the repetition.
Developed by Choice Provisions, Bubsy: Paws on Fire! features levels that vary in length depending on what character the player is using.
“… Paws on Fire! is a runner but it’s not an endless runner. Each level has a defined length split up with checkpoints and the length of our level may change depending on the character you choose,” Stemage explained.
The composer worked with the studio to provide musical consistencies between the different characters while trying to avoid repetition.
“Staying away from looping isn’t quite enough,” he said.
By using layers and segments, the soundtrack is designed in a way that has a ‘base layer’ that is applied no matter which character is selected, and a ‘character layer’ which adds a unique layer of music to the overall track.
“Each song is split up into segments consisting of an intro, three middle segments – which we call variations – and an outro,” Stemage said.
“In a level where you play as Bubsy, for example, the intro always plays. Then two of the middle segments will play in a random order, then the outro plays at the end to bring it home. What does this do? Well, it ensures that in the middle of a level the music will take some turns you weren’t expecting.”
Given all the possible combinations of middle segments, Stemage had to write music that sounded good no matter what order of variations they were in.
He added: “So the biggest things I learned from this came from being put in a limiting situation and having to create my way out of it. Coming out with fleshed out songs in this format was super restrictive, which just meant that the whole process had to be more creative. If I was writing music in a traditional way, I would have never considered the things I did working with these limitations.
“But that’s what keeps us creative – limitations.”
Bubsy: Paws on Fire! is available now on PlayStation 4 and Windows; the Nintendo Switch release on the other hand has been delayed and won’t be coming out until this summer.
The Bubsy: Paws on Fire! soundtrack is available now from digital outlets such as Bandcamp, iTunes/Apple Music, and Amazon, as well as streaming platforms including Deezer, Spotify, and TIDAL.