Grammy-Nominated Journey Composer Talks Creating Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Score
Austin Wintory, the Grammy-nominated composer behind the music in Journey, is doing the score for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. In an interview with Ubisoft, Wintory talked about his inspiration for the score, as well as how he was chosen to compose the game’s music.
Wintory explained that when he was asked to create the game’s musical score, he was excited, as he is a “long-time player of the franchise.”
I was very fortunate that when the audio team for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, led by audio director Lydia Andrew, went hunting for a composer, they reached out to me. We’d never met before, so it was a bit of a cold call on their part. I was immediately excited at the prospect, though, as a long-time player of the franchise, but also as someone ever-hunting for new challenges. Lydia wanted to know what my interpretation of the world of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate might be, so I threw a curveball her way in the form of a sort of a twisted approach to 19th century chamber music, and to my astonishment she loved it. And so off we went!
Wintory then went on to say that he gathered inspiration for the score by looking at the diverse personalities of Syndicate‘s Evie and Jacob, and by looking into the world of Victorian London.
The score could be attributed to two primary sources of inspiration: the personalities of Jacob and Evie, and the fascinating, contradictory world of Victorian London. With regard to the twins, they have this wonderful confidence, almost arrogance – particularly Jacob. Their mannerisms were a very crucial insight for the music, because it gave us permission to approach the score with a bit of fun and even sarcasm. For these two, a fight against virtually anyone does not represent a genuine life-or-death epic battle. It’s more like a cat playing with a mouse, and macabrely enjoying the dance. And that’s why you hear the waltzes! I rather obsessively channeled different styles of dance, with the waltz in particular, throughout the score to create that sense of ease – that Jacob and Evie are somehow, in their minds, aboveanyone who would dare cross them.
The setting, London itself, is also important, but I didn’t aspire to create a period score in any real way. It’s more that London then was simultaneously this beacon of progress, of the promise of a truly amazing economic future, and yet also home to horrendous cruelties and disenfranchisement. I tried very diligently for the score to try and capture, and even reconcile, those two elements to make London beautiful and grimy at the same time.