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Mark Griskey

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Yes, it's beautiful.


I'm very impressed by Mark Griskey's talent as a composer and look forward to hearing much more of his music in future games.


In my opinion, no other composer ever came as close in style to emulating John Williams' signature Star Wars score as him -- and he did more than 1 hour of it. That in itself is a small feat.


It's the first Star Wars game by LucasArts (featuring a newly created score) that actually sounds like a Star Wars game, music-wise. This only makes the soundtrack in KOTOR2 that much more important. There have been several attempts to emulate John Williams' style in LucasArts games before, but they never quite hit the mark.


After KOTOR1, I actually thought about suggesting Michael Giacchino to LucasArts. He's terribly gifted (of Medal of Honor fame, and now scoring on the big screen; his latest effort being "The Incredibles"), and after scrutinizing his style and certain passages, I was convinced that he could pull it off and create some very authentic Star Wars music.


Don't get me wrong: What Jeremy Soule scored in KOTOR1 was also beautiful and effective. I'm a fan of Soule's various game music myself. But he has a very distinct style and "sound" to his music, that doesn't seem to change much from game to game. Especially his percussions. He is a master of themes and melodies, though. That is clearly his strength.


However, the small issue I had with Soule's KOTOR1 music was that, while beautiful, it didn't quite belong in style to the Star Wars universe, that Williams has created.


Griskey's score in KOTOR2 is a perfect match. I doubt that Giacchino could have pulled it off any better. I applaud LucasArts for having picked a composer who can create such authentic Star Wars music. But then of course, I can't ignore the fact that they have then butchered that score to MONO quality in the end.

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Maybe we can convince the composer to post more of his music he did for KOTOR2 on his website.


Go to Mark Griskey's website and check out his music downloads. On the front page you can find his email address.


I for one would love to see the Jedi theme (mus_jedi) available on his website in high quality STEREO.


Any other suggestions for requests?


Go email him!

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The funny thing is, I actually preferred the KOTOR 1 music over KOTOR 2 (even though the general consensus is that KOTOR 2 had much better Star Wars music). With the exception of a few of the pieces (the evil Jedi themes and The Jedi) the rest didn't sound like Star Wars at all if you ask me (it has to be said though, some music in KOTOR 1 didn't sound like Star Wars either, like the Manaan and Kashyyk music). I think Jeremy Soule was more effective at making distinct the Republic and Sith melodies in his work (so I agree that he's good at that) although I notice that in KOTOR 2, the Sith and Republic themes were mixed up (i.e. the Republic theme would play everyime the Sith entered the fray, and the Sith theme would play everytime the Republic did) - although whether this was intentional (due to the nature of the game - since the lines between good and evil are blurred) I cannot say :thumbsup:.


Don't get me wrong though, the music from both games are exceptional IMO :).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yeah, it's hard to say which composer was better at this task. Jeremy Soule is very strong with melodies -- literally every track he composed for KOTOR1 is a theme in itself, and these themes were beautiful and evoked certain feelings. The musical style though sounded more like general fantasy, I have to criticize.


Mark Griskey on the other hand wrote tracks that aren't necessarily themes. They are not so strong on melody, but rather feel like commentary, to evoke the proper feeling for the situation. This is of course a valid approach, very close to how music is composed for film. And he totally succeeded in capturing that signature Star Wars style, that John Williams created.


What I dislike in both games is the fact that the composers were only allowed to compose a maximum of 1 hour of music for the games. This is way too little for such long games as RPGs tend to be. Both KOTORs are loop-fests when it comes to the music... the music repeats itself constantly, since the tracks average only one minute in length.


So you get a 1-minute track for one location for example, that constantly loops. Of course you have to thank LucasArts for this, since they have to pay the composers by the minute. And LucasArts, being as miserly as they obviously are about music, won't pay for more than roughly an hour of music.


Apparently other developers/publishers seem to understand the importance of music in an RPG much better. Look at the excellent work in Neverwinter Nights. I was shocked when I found out that NWN contained roughly 210 minutes (!) worth of music. That's 3 hours and 30 minutes of composed music! Wrap your mind around that.


I'm sure Griskey would have loved to compose more music for KOTOR2, to make it less repetitive and give it a richer experience. If Atari/Bioware can afford three and a half hours of music for NWN, LucasArts should be too, for a AAA flagship title such as K2.


Oh, and get ready for this: In the expansions for NWN (like Hordes of the Underdark), Jermey Soule contributed another one hour of additional music. That's just for an expansion, which typically re-uses a lot of the main music already.


So, here is the irony: An expansion to NWN has as much Soule music as either of the KOTOR games. And those are full games which have a much longer playtime than either the NWN expansions or even the NWN original campaign.


If you can get a chance to listen to the whole NWN music, do so. Altogether, Jeremy Soule composed over 5 hours of fantasy music, and each and every track is outstanding -- no fillers, no shortcuts!


I have to say I'm totally flabbergasted at this effort. I consider Soule's music in NWN to be his masterpiece effort so far, both in sheer size, depth and quality. He seems to really love fantasy, because he put all his heart into it.


Even his music in KOTOR1 cannot compare. It just doesn't sound as rich and sophisticated as the work he's done in NWN. I don't know why... maybe his full talent only comes to play when he's less restricted by time and is allowed to compose longer tracks. Or maybe he's even annoyed by such miserly music budgets demonstrating an underappreciation of music by the game companies.


At any rate, Soule can compose incredibly haunting music, some of it touching the genius of Hans Zimmer's best efforts (listen to 'mus_templegood2.wav'). His range and diversity are so far best demonstrated in the magnificent NWN score. I think for the fantasy RPG genre, Jeremy Soule is the top choice, bar none.


And for this reason, I truly hope that for NWN 2 the developers will again commission Soule's talent to compose the score, and will again allow the budget to accomodate 3+ hours of in-game music. Obsidian, I hope you are listening! :lol:


And don't dare to degrade the music to MONO...

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If people want behemoth soundtracks, one should check out the soundtracks to the Final Fantasy games, almost everyone of them is atleast 4 CD's, with Final Fantasy IX in the lead with 5 CD's.

"Some men see things as they are and say why?"
"I dream things that never were and say why not?"
- George Bernard Shaw

"Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man."
- Friedrich Nietzsche


"The amount of energy necessary to refute bull**** is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."

- Some guy 

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I think that the combat music in KOTOR2 is better than KOTOR1's, but I prefer KOTOR1's use of strong themes. However, KOTOR1 does sound to me more like a D&D game then a Starwars game except for a few of the tracks. Namely the Sith Cult (used in the main menu) and Bastila themes sound Starwarsy.


KOTOR2 music wise I think did a good job in many ways bridging KOTOR and SW's music. I do wish that there was a version of KOTOR1's Republic theme in the game, a sadder and darker version, that was used though at appropriate times.


Of course I also wish that the music was in a nice, high resolution, format in the game so it'd have more "oomph" ;)

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