The Accounted was a fun project with an innovative concept. Use storytelling and game mechanics as study materials for accounting students.
The music brief for The Accounted was challenging. The directors of the game wanted a very simple piano score reminiscent of some scenes in "Eyes Wide Shut."
I felt this was ambitious and ignoring certain constraints that film has on music. In a film your music sequences can match the scene and hit each moment exactly. In a video game you're never sure how long your music might be playing. Interactive music can make music that responds to user actions but this project did not have the time, technology, or budget to use it.
The first song I wrote was for the investigation sequences.
I took inspiration from the simple piano sequences in "Eyes Wide Shut" and started to paint my own picture. The melody paces around as if searching the ground for clues. This enables the sound effects in game to take over that role, creating a kind of interactive music.
I added ambient sound to make it feel like you were outside. I wanted to have contrasting background noise that wasn't too foreboding. The music draws out to conclusion with a thunderstorm, pressing the player to move on.
Just the facts...
For the main title sequence we needed a real police drama identity. I wanted to make something you could see at the start of "Law & Order." With police doing various police things and looking all serious with red and blue lights over it.
I tried to play the horns and piano off of each in volume as if they were Good Cop, Bad Cop. The somber, noir tone fits the theme of the game.
When I presented my first draft to the team the general consensus was that it was too percussion heavy. I stripped the big "police drums" and replaced it with the piano motif. Upon presenting the revised draft, everyone felt it was much more mysterious. I reuse elements/motifs in the theme for various stingers in the game, such as win/loss screens.
I'm proud of this song. Had the game continued with more episodes, it think it would have become an iconic part of the brand.
Within the game there are various puzzles and tests. I created several variations for different puzzles and parts of the story. This one is my favorite. As pieces of the story get more intense be, so does the music.