Making of: Crysis 3 demonstration video – LmK Music Production

This post will talk to you about how we created the soundtrack and sound design for one of our demonstration videos: the Crysis 3 commercial.

First of all, here’s the original one:

As you see, it has quite of an identity.

Together with a strong identity, Crysis has a very developed story: it’s a game that can be “just played”, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised to enjoy it in its fullness by blending yourself in its dense story. This fact will play a great role in our audio direction (you’ll read about it in the “audio direction” paragraph).

Step 1: narrative analysis

We proceeded to carefully analyse the mute footage, identifying the main phases of its narration. If you have a big screen, open the mute video in another window and read this script while watching it: it’ll be fun!

We proceeded to carefully watch the mute footage, identifying the main phases of its narration. If you have a big screen, open the mute video in another window and read this script while watching it: it’ll be fun!

Phase 1: prelude (0.06” – 47”)

An atmospheric introduction to Crysis’ lore, told by the voice actor who lent his voice to one of the main Crysis characters: Prophet.

Phase 2: action showcase (47” – 1.26”)

A collection of in-game footage from Crysis 3, with great emphasis on the beauty of its action and graphics.

Phase 3: action showcase finale (1.26” – 1.36”)

A small outro to the action showcase, with a cliffhanger culminating in the hero being knocked down by its enemies.

Phase 4: logo reveal (1.36”)

You guessed right, my curious reader: you get to see Crysis’ 2 logo.

Step 2: audio direction

Having gathered a clear narrative view of this video clip, we proceed with finding the right music or sounds to match this story.

Crysis 2 has probably one of the best soundtracks we ever heard on a video game. Both on a purely technical aspect (really well crafted music, both in its artistic and technical aspects) and narrative one: you can really feel Crysis atmosphere through its notes.

And, also, this:

This is Crysis 2 main theme. Take it as kind of an “acoustic brand”. It’s beautiful, and really gives you the feel of what Crysis is.

How can we ignore all this artistic beauty?

We can’t: we decided to keep the bond with this “acoustic brand” by creating a “sequel” of it through use of its basic musical elements to create a new track.

Phase 1: prelude (0.06” – 47”)

We left the prelude 90% intact: it’s so good that we left it mostly untouched. The only modification is during the end of it, when our music starts to kick in by blending into it.

Phase 2: action showcase (47” – 1.26”)

Crysis is an extremely atmospheric game, with very dark and powerful themes. We choose a Metal orchestration to convey these feelings.

We followed the action by filling the track with small microdynamics variations. Example: when Prophet wields a bow with a large circular movement (0.55”), we followed this with guitar slides (here) and by creating a micro climax who culminates in the appearance of a new screen title and relieves in a new scene, followed by a large booming sound who kind of imitates the movements showed in the video (here).

There is no strong narrative connection between each scene (each one is a showcase of Crysis 3’s innovations, rather than a narrative effort), resulting in our choice to let the music go without direct connection this video’s actions.

And, also, listen closely: this is a variation upon the previously mentioned Crysis 2 theme. We used its musical elements to build its continuation. It’s still him, but in a new, and embryonal for now, form.

Phase 3: action showcase finale (1.26” – 1.36”)

The climax kicks in, building tension who culminates in a cliffhanger. We followed this tension increase by evolving the music through introduction of the final musical elements who will later culminate during the reveal of Crysis main theme in its entirety, in parallel with the logo reveal.

Phase 4: logo reveal (1.36”)

Crysis logo appears. Being the identity of Crysis, this is where music brings back Crysis 2 main theme in its entirety. Being a climax, it’s also where music intensity reaches its apex: full orchestra, choir, and Metal band …quite an amount of firepower.

And,

of course,

here’s the resulting video:

P.s. Crysis 2 is one of the best video games experiences we ever had: it’s not just a game. Games can be art, and this is an example of it. If you still have not, you should really try it.

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