Video Game Composers and Sound Designers who are at the Top of their Game

by Quentin Singer

Video games can often be misunderstood for their nonsensical storylines and and their ability to provide endless fun, yet the amount of work and experience it takes to make these games cannot be undermined. With the video game industry expanding every year, career opportunities have only become even more prevalent. Universities are starting to acknowledge this trend, resulting in the creation of several video game related majors/programs, with Berklee being one of the few music schools to offer video game scoring and sound design minors. Not everyone understands these practices or the unique, creative aspects within them. Some students don’t even know that Berklee offers these courses. In an attempt to raise awareness around the ability to be successful in these kinds of professional roles, here are some incredibly talented composers/sound designers that you’ve probably never heard of, whose games you’ve probably played.

Mick Gordon

Bringing his heavy metal and electronic fusion to 2016’s DOOM, Mick Gordon has become a household name among sound designers and composers alike. The Australian native grew up playing/composing metal music as a teen, but it was his career in video game scoring that would allow his music to finally reached a large audience. Scoring games for the likes of Killer Instinct (2013), Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, and DOOM  (2016), Mick shows off his ability to fit gruesome and chaotic gameplay with catchy head-banging grooves. Mick even won best music at the BAFTA Game Awards 2017 for his work on DOOM.

Mark Lampert

Audio Director and Sound Designer for Bethesda Softworks, Mark Lampert has done work on some of the most popular video games to date. He worked on huge titles such as Fallout 3, Fallout 4, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. From his recorded field work (recording sounds out in nature/public) and sense of environmental sounds, Mark knows how to immerse his audience in whatever fictional setting they’re in, be it nuclear wasteland or freezing nordic mountains.

Jason Graves

From his eerie and aleatoric scoring in the Dead Space series, Jason Graves has set a new precedent when it comes to sampled instrumentation. Using a variety of random accessories and unique instruments, Jason’s music stands on its own for being uniquely crafted, and even more so for its seamless interaction with the game world. Dead Space is a science fiction horror game where every creek and crack keeps the player on edge, but the scare factor is most notable when Jason’s music is cued, alerting the player of their impending doom.

Everyone at DICE

Famous for their critically acclaimed series, Battlefield, the audio team at DICE has reigned supreme over the past decade. The basis of their games are ultra realistic wars, whether fictional or non-fiction (WWI, WWII, etc.), but with over the top audio and sound effects. Apart from winning several audio awards, mixing exaggerated audio with a realistic setting has proven to work well for the team, and gamer’s critics have even called DICE’s games as some of the most immersive sounding video games of all.

Have you heard of these composers/sound designers or played any of these games? Did we miss anyone? Sound off in the comments!