The Music of Killer Instinct

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Mick Gordon is the new Composer for Killer Instinct, and has really outdone himself with the music for the upcoming game. At PAX Australia, KI fans were treated with a few audio samples of Character themes, the iconic theme song, and the versus screen music. Fans got an insight of what its like to compose music for Double Helix, and how Mick came to create the unique theme music for the characters. What was really awesome though, was that Mick recorded shouts, grunts and howls made by the audience, which will feature in the music of the new Killer Instinct.

The music for the first Killer Instinct was very iconic, Mick wanted to recreate the original theme, focusing on the key sounds and features that made it iconic, like its eerie sounding intro, to the guitar solos. He used the intro guitar riff as an example, and how by decreasing the tempo and highlighting the guitar, made the theme sound more aggressive. He also showed Maximilian’s reaction video to the E3 Killer Instinct announcement, explaining how he wanted the theme song to be quickly recognised.

Character Themes

He further explained his ideas behind the theme music for each character, and how the story and characteristics of the character drived the creation of their theme. Each character has a great backstory, like Jago and the Tiger Spirit, Glacius and his mission to return to his homeworld, Sabrewulf and his insanity.

Jago’s Theme is very aggressive out of the three character themes, reflecting on Jago’s emotion at the end of KI2, Also including sounds from Tibetan monk chants and Asian string instruments, whilst adding guitars to make it sound more badass. Glacius’ Theme reflects on Glacius himself being alien, with the theme sounding very mysterious and cinematic with the use of an orchestra, with a a few elements of dubstep. Saberwulf’s theme really showcased Sabrewulf’s character, making the music more dark and dramatic, very reminiscent of classic horror movies.

Dynamic Music and Ultras

With the technology, Mick stated that songs could go up to 13 minutes long, and was very dynamic in terms of the songs never sounding alike, and changed depending on what was happening on screen. If players were practicing small combos, the music would be very calm, but when players are pulling off huge combos, the music intensifies.

Mick also explained the idea of musical ultras, and how it all depends on the characters and the stage they are playing on. For example, Jago’s Ultra has a specific melody, and If he were playing on his stage, the melody of his Ultra, would use guitar and sound aggressive, If he were playing on Sabrewulf’s stage. you would hear the melody of Jago’s Ultra, but on Sabrewulf’s stage, which would use strings, to make it sound darker as opposed to aggressive.

Recording + Extras

Mick Gordon wanted the audience to be a part of the game’s music and recorded a few samples including whistling winds, deep wind sounds, group shouting (for Thunder’s theme music?), shouts and howls.

He also stated that every single KI character has a theme is available in the game, but are hidden
In order to find these hidden tracks, you have to ‘FIght against your Instincts’…whatever that may be. Also during the panel, a video was played, showcasing the character themes, but also flashed on screen, a new character. I hope someone got footage of that because i have no idea who it was.