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Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter Update #28: Sound and Music

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Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter Update #28: Sound and Music

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Sat 29 February 2020, 23:19:34

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

We had a Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter update about the visuals, so now it's time for one about sound and music. This is a darker adventure than Kingmaker and its soundtrack will be themed appropriately, striking a balance between the heroism of the crusade and the menace of the demonic horde. The update includes a new combat track that is an example of the latter. Owlcat have also put together a behind-the-scenes video with the game's composers. It's entirely in Russian, so be sure to turn on subtitles on YouTube.

Wrath of the Righteous is our second game, and in this project we’re taking everything we did best in Pathfinder: Kingmaker and building on those achievements. We have set out a clear creative vision for the sound in our game: our main goal was and remains to create the feeling of an epic adventure in a fantasy setting – the feeling we all got when we played Baldur’s Gate or Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura in our youth. We’ve drawn on a wide range of sources for inspiration: classic CRPGs and fantasy movies, tons of illustrated materials from Paizo Publishing, as well as our own experience of playing the Pathfinder tabletop game – our whole team spent countless hours gathered around the table, rolling dice and trying to find our way out of the sticky situations thought up by our ingenious Game Master.

Working on Wrath of the Righteous has introduced new challenges: the key themes being explored have changed, as has the setting. Instead of the green forests and meadows of the Stolen Lands, we’ll be spending most of our time in the bleak wastelands and cities conquered by the demons on the edges of the Worldwound, in corrupted dungeons, and even in the Abyss itself.

Before getting started on the audio design, we spent a few days discussing what themes and motifs we wanted to put at the heart of our game’s sound, and how to ensure that the game didn’t feel too dark or oppressive. We also needed a sound palette that would work in harmony with our core principle: the player should feel like they’re on an epic adventure, which will naturally evoke a broad range of emotional responses – not just sadness and misery, but also a sense of fun, curiosity, and levity where appropriate.

In the end, we decided that the best approach was to strike a balance between the two key themes, which will set the tone for our whole story. The first of these is all about the Mendevian Crusade – Golarion’s armed alliance formed to fight the demon invasion. The driving force behind the Crusade are the paladins of the Church of Iomedae. Iomedae herself is the goddess of righteous valor, justice, and honor, so the music connected to her conveys life-affirming energy, the high drama of battle, and unshakeable faith in victory. We worked hard to express all these ideas in our game’s main musical theme.

The other key theme is the Abyss and all it entails – Corruption, Demons, and Chaos. The music conveys the disquieting, alien, and menacing nature of the Abyss, provoking a sense of anxious dread or stirring us into action when we meet truly formidable opponents.

Like in Kingmaker, the music that we’ll hear most often in the game will be the location themes, which have been grouped together for different settings. Our journey will take us to a winter forest, a scorching desert, horrifying dungeons, the mysterious domain of Nocticula, the heroic sieges of demon-controlled cities, and the infiltration of corrupted places. To create a varied feel for all these different places, we’re not only using orchestral music but folk instruments as well – even synthesizers make an appearance. But one of the central pillars of the Wrath score will be choral music, symbolizing the people’s united resistance against Evil.

The second half of the update is about sound effects. Wrath of the Righteous will feature soundscapes that reflect the desolate nature of the Worldwound region, although it will be livelier where the crusaders are camped. Now that the game is fully 3D, sounds effects will change dynamically based on camera zoom and rotation. The full update includes three additional videos demonstrating these concepts with new gameplay footage, so check it out.

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