By Joseph Walter
Once a week, I'll choose a song and discuss what's noteworthy about it. The main goal is to appreciate some lesser known compositions, and hopefully help them gain some recognition by spreading the word through here.
Back in 2010, my family just so happened to be visiting Disney World when the Transformers convention, BotCon, was going to be there, too. Being the Transformers fans that we are (whether we admit it or not) we decided to attend.
While there, I had the privilege of checking out High Moon Studio's "War for Cybertron" and was blown away by its quality. Someone was taking a Transformers game and doing it right (for once) but I was unable to purchase it as I did not have a PS3 or Xbox 360.
In 2012, "War's" sequel arrived in the form of "Fall of Cybertron." Game Informer's cover story and glowing review made me hunger like Unicron for it, and by then I was lucky enough to acquire a 360.
"Fall of Cybertron" did not disappoint. Its art design, gameplay and story were a serious take on what was essentially a franchise designed to sell toys, but much like "Beast Wars: Transformers," it made it so much more.
The audio department was also strong, with a voice cast lead by Peter Cullen himself. And then there was the music.
"Fall's" score is just as solemn and dire as the game's story, but in a surprising move, focuses almost entirely on a single musical motif. From this motif springs over an hour and half's worth of variation and interpretation that somehow doesn't get old. It's that well done.
Troels Folmann, the composer, has won the TEC Award for his score for "Tomb Raider: Legend" in 2006, but is mostly known for his work composing the unique themes for film trailers. It's easy to see with "Fall of Cybertron" how he took the methodology of composing the catchy hooks for trailers and then expanded from there with this game's style.
Let us give the main theme a listen:
Just for some examples at how the main theme and its motif are re-molded continually throughout the game, use the video below and, starting at 35:10, listen to how completely subtle, beautiful, and even spiritual the motif becomes. Forgoing almost all electronic-sounding elements, Folmann uses nothing but strings to convey a sense of wonder at the discovery of the Autobot's salvation (despite them not knowing it just yet). At 46:08, you can hear how the same motif becomes a haunting, electronic and choral amalgamation during a particularly deadly encounter in the middle of an entirely forgotten city of rust in the Cybertronian wastes.