"[The music] gave us the 'ta-da' factor we wanted for the announcement of Diablo 3."
How best to explain the power of music? Let's talk Diablo 3. When the game was first introduced to the world at the Worldwide Invitational in Paris, it wasn't introduced with a speech, with screenshots, or even with video: on an empty stage, the lights came up red and attendees heard the notes of an acoustic guitar being played. (If you're a fan of the game, there's no doubt you know the sound without need for further explanation.) The introduction didn't need anything else, the music alone told everyone in the crowd what was happening. "Music is so important to Blizzard games," said Brower. "It gave us the 'ta-da' factor we wanted for the announcement of Diablo 3."
Brower launched the panel by telling the crowd that sound and music, by definition, is really hard to talk about. It's something that's best heard. So let's start our discussion, like the panel itself did, with some music: David Arkenstone and band playing Lion's Pride and several other pieces of music which weren't named, but were easy on the ears. And though you may not have been there, you can listen along with us -- just click on the play button to start any of the pieces of music below.
So what inspires Blizzard's audio staff to write music?
Inspiration can in fact come from anywhere at any time. At the worst times, at the best times. A lot of times it is at the worst time and the pressure is huge and the deadlines are huge. Having a voice recorder or something to record with on your ride home or the freeway, humming melodies in the back of your mind or humming them out loud if there's no one in the car with you. It can really come from anywhere. I think it's wise to keep an approach that allows it to come from anywhere at any time. Nobody's perfect, so I'm sure I've passed over much more inspiration than I actually took advantage of.
For more Q & A with Blizzard's audio team (and another tasty musical treat!), read on to part two.