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Composer Spotlight: Jeremy Soule (Elder Scrolls, Dungeon Siege, Guild Wars)

One of the most talented and prolific composers in the gaming industry right now is Jeremy Soule, whose most notable work is probably the soundtrack to The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion. Soule has created quite a few fantastic soundtracks, many of which are for fantasy games, such as Oblivion, Guild Wars, and Dungeon Siege.

Soule's first ever video game score was for Squaresoft's Secret of Evermore. He eventually left Square and joined ex-LucasArts employee Ron Gilbert at his new company Humongous Entertainment, where he composed many soundtracks to kids games such as Putt-Putt, Freddi Fish, and the Spy Fox series.

 

While working at Humongous, Soule met Chris Taylor, who was working on the celebrated real-time strategy title Total Annihilation at the time. Soule signed on to do the soundtrack and won his first award, "Best Music" of 1997 from Gamespot.

From here, he started to transition into the fantasy realm, getting nominated for several awards for works like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind. His score for 2000's Icewind Dale won awards from both IGN and Gamespot.

In 2000, Soule and his brother Julian founded Soule Media, a music production company that's now called Artistry Entertainment. Since then, Soule, occasionally with his brother's help, has crafted many more fantastic soundtracks, such as the scores for the entire Guild Wars series, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Supreme Commander (another Chris Taylor RTS).

While his composing style is very cinematic, he uses a unique approach because he rarely uses a live orchestra. In an IGN interview in 2007, he explained how he uses only computers to create his soundtracks:

The score is 100% electronic but is very real sounding as each instrument is performed much like an acoustic instrument. Our "orchestra" is comprised of upwards of 30 64-bit Win XP pro workstations and Apple Intel boxes. All of these computers work together to render out the various elements you hear in the score. I would say that as far as MIDI specifications go, we are running one of the most advanced systems in the world as we are near the end of what the protocol was designed to do. It takes hours and hours to record a minute of music as I composite elements to create complex layers of sound to represent an orchestra.

Soule has composed soundtracks to over 60 games and several films. Here are the highlights:

  • Secret of Evermore
  • Total Annihilation
  • Icewind Dale
  • Giants: Citizen Kabuto
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  • Dungeon Siege
  • The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind
  • Neverwinter Nights
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  • Guild Wars: Eye of the North
  • The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion

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