Cobalt music: The Main Theme of Cobalt
[This is a cross-post of a blog post I wrote at OxeyeGames.com regarding the music for our upcoming game 'Cobalt'.]
This blog post is the first in a series (if all goes well) of posts about the music in Cobalt. Since we announced the game I’ve gotten some nice comments about the music present in the trailer. While this music will indeed be in the game it doesn’t exactly represent the overall “sound” very well. What does represent the overall “sound” though is the Main Theme of Cobalt so I thought I’d introduce you to this piece of music and share some insight on how it’s being used in the game.
The Main Theme of Cobalt basically consists of a simple melody with eight notes originally composed in E-minor. Originally this melody was composed for the menu/title track but since I’ve tried to incorporate it in other tracks to get a sense of cohesiveness. As a result, the theme appears in four tracks in the IGF demo. Here’s an edited preview of all four appearances so you can hear the theme before I go into detail describing each use:
The first track you’ll hear is the original titel/menu track introducing the theme. This is actually the first track you’ll hear in game, not counting the Oxeye Games logo jingle. The goal here was trying to capture both the character Cobalt and the game Cobalt. The game has an overall dark atmosphere and there’s much a fusion of the organic and mechanical in the world. Luckily the character Cobalt is also a fusion of organic and mechanical with an uncertain future. The combination of the electric bass and marimba with the synth sounds represents this fusion while the low register, minor harmonies and pulsating textures sets the mood for the game.
The second track is for an underground (but indoors) complex. The low growling bass and persistent drums attempt to both create an atmosphere and stress the player a bit, putting some rhythm in for the sake of movement. The use of the main theme here is less significant but rather just serves as a hint of the opening so you remember what you read during the opening sequence. Not directly but rather as a vague parallell.
The third track is quite different from the others.This music is elevator music and, not so strange then, it’s actually used for an elevator, the one leading up to Cobalt’s penthouse flat to be exact. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek going with such a cliché kind of music but I thought it’d put a smile on the player’s face as a contrast to the thick atmosphere before you arrive here. The track’s monophonic and produced to sound a bit old and like not the best recording since it’s coming out of the elevator’s speakers. By using the main theme here at your “home” I try to even more establish this theme as important to Cobalt the character.
The fourth and final track (so far) using the main theme is actually the first track I did for Cobalt while I was still applying for the position. It’s far an outside location I won’t tell you much about but this place is once again where nature meets constructions, thus the instrumentation once again uses both “real” and synthesized sounds. The main theme doesn’t play a large role here but rather serves as a hint towards the beginning, keeping everything cohesive. This level also ends the demo so I thought it’d be good to both open and close with the same thematic material.