In Eagle Flight, Ubisoft’s first virtual reality game, you take to the skies over Paris to explore and reclaim parts of the city that have been abandoned by humans and overrun by hostile creatures. There are some obvious challenges in crafting a game that attempts to recreate the sensation of flying as a bird, but one that might not be so obvious is the soundtrack. How do you create music that conveys the feeling of flight?
“We gave this a great deal of thought,” says Inon Zur, composer for Eagle Flight. “Should we compose the music differently? Should we compose the music traditionally and then mix it differently? Ultimately, the answer for both questions was no. The reason is that music is not part of the realistic sound design – the sound effects and dialogue. Music is a layer that has nothing to do with the reality. In the game, it supports our emotions. Subsequently, it became clear that music was to be written traditionally and mixed in stereo, unlike the other sonic elements that are mixed in 5.1 or 7.1 in a very advanced way.”
The end result is a complex soundtrack that encapsulates and enhances the thrill of soaring over Paris, gliding through the narrow pathways between its abandoned buildings, and giving chase to opponents. “The motion of flying, adventure, and positive energy, as well as nature and the primitive elements – taking into consideration these three components, I represented the feeling of flight through soaring melodies played by strings and enhanced by high female vocals,” Zur says. “The nature and primitive elements in the score are represented by tribal percussion and rhythms. The positive energy is echoed by the bright orchestral colors that enhance most of the pieces. So put all these together, and you have a rich soundtrack that supports Eagle Flight.”
Want to listen for yourself? Check out some of the tracks from the game below, or head over to the UbiLoud YouTube channel for more:
Eagle Flight is currently available on the Oculus VR platform. It will be available on PlayStation VR on November 8 and the HTC Vive on December 20. For more information, check out our previous coverage: