21 Feb 2021
In the run up to this year’s event, we are conducting a series of interviews with presenters at Great Lakes Game Expo. We hope to channel from all corners of game development to present you with the best experience possible. So please enjoy getting to know our wonderful speakers!
My name is Tony Manfredonia, and I’m a music composer for indie games.
I’m presenting the topic, “Decreasing Workload by Bringing Audio On Early.” The talk covers some reasons why audio can be a critical component in smoothing over the ebbs and flows of game development, especially early on. It’s all based on my own experience, developers I’ve worked with, and conversations with others in the field.
Also, there’s a section at the end that covers some ways to enhance communication between yourself and your audio person(s) and/or audio team.
I grew up with games, and always loved game soundtracks. It wasn’t until I was in university studying music composition where composing for games was a possibility. Up until that point, my intention was to be composing strictly and solely classical music. I had the opportunity to be an assistant composer for a small indie studio in New Jersey while in school for a couple of years. That led me to begin doing what I’m doing now. I still compose classical music for stage performance alongside game soundtracks — they go hand in hand quite well!
This might sound cliche, but I’m most inspired by the games with almost “operatic/story-driven” soundtracks. Basically any Final Fantasy is a good example, where primary musical themes are reused throughout the game.
I’m also greatly inspired by more atmospheric games — from Outer Wilds to World of Warcraft to Breath of the Wild. They’re all games that you can simply be a part of that world. They suck you in, and the music is a huge contributor to that.
To date, by far the most fun I’ve had to work on is Call of Saregnar, which I’m currently and actively working on. It’s a huge project, with a ton of music. The joy for me is that it leans so deeply into my love for composing for orchestra. Orchestral composition is what I studied in school, and it’s something I teach on a regular basis to fresh composers and students.
Not only that, but the game itself leans into the 1990’s CRPG style (Daggerfall, Might and Magic 6, etc.), which is by far one of my favorite eras in gaming.
For me, personally, I think one of the biggest challenges the industry faces is accessibility. Fortunately, many indie devs are tackling this situation by creating some truly beautiful ways to make games more accessible to all people. As a whole, though, especially in the AAA scene, accessibility is something that I believe could be improved upon.