Tomb Raider 2013 Release Date: Game's Composer Explains The Process Behind The Soundtrack

By Juan G. Rodriguez , Updated Feb 05, 2013 01:27 PM EST
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Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics' upcoming reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise will take place on a desolated island located in the mysterious Dragon's Triangle.

The exotic and dangerous setting has provided Crystal Dynamics an opportunity to reinvent Lara Croft as a harden survivor. But it has also given composer Jason Graves a chance to create a unique soundtrack for the video game.

 In a recent interview with Forbes Online, Graves explains the process behind the music of Lara Croft's latest platforming adventure game. Graves actually had to create a brand new instrument for the game.

"The origin was born out of the search for new and interesting sounds," Graves told Forbes Online. "I had already gone about as far as I could on my own by banging on trash cans, bowing spare chicken coop fencing and rubbing wine glasses. I needed something built by a professional that sounded like something I had never heard before."

He continued, "This was a 14 month effort involving prototypes, experimentation, design and ultimately a lot of time in my studio recording all the wonderful sounds it was making. The amazing thing is I can get at least eight completely different sounds out of this one instrument, depending on the mallets I use."

According to Graves the one of kind instrument will likely be put on display in the San Francisco office of Crystal Dynamics. He says, "There will be mallets and bows sitting nearby so visitors can play it themselves and hear the sounds from the score firsthand."

When asked about how he created the style and feel for the sound track of Tomb Raider, Graves said that he was brought on early on, which gave him two years to experiment with different sounds and themes.

"That allowed me ample time to experiment with themes and really build a solid foundation for the score," Graves said. "It's a very thematic-driven score as a result. Everyone seemed to agree from the beginning that we wanted a classic, timeless orchestral score that was augmented by...something else."

Graves said that although the game is set off the coast of Japan, he didn't want to go the conventional route and use traditional Japanese instruments. Graves decided to use Lara's enemies as an inspiration.

"The Scavengers Lara meets in the game have also been stranded through the years, building their weapons and shelters out of found scrap and wreckage," he said. "It seemed appropriate to use different kinds of "found sounds" with the orchestral instruments."

He further explained, "I'm a classically trained percussionist, so essentially I tapped and banged on anything and everything I could find in my arsenal of percussion instruments - playing a detuned mandolin with pencils, banging on an acoustic bass with vibraphone mallets, bowing a Persian Dulcimer with a cello bow. The idea was to find new, intuiting textures that could represent the island Lara was exploring."

You can check out the rest of Jason Graves interview with Forbes Online here. Tomb Raider will release on March 5, 2013 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. Check out five facts about Lara's latest game here. Learn more about Lara Croft's personal journey here and here. Find out about Lara's inability to swim here.  Learn more about Tomb Raider's multiplayer mode here. 

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