Starting over is not a really welcomed thing while playing a game, but sometimes it is all about this. In Deathloop, a shooter with a vintage vibe which has just been released, we’re an assassin who is locked in a time loop. Every time he dies he begins the same day over and over again repeating similar things until he can finally escape. Tom Salta, the composer, also nested himself in a looped time since once he’d had the whole soundtrack done, he started the whole thing anew.

Michel Tremouiller, the audio director, also liked it right away and the audio creative process seemed to be ready.

Salta, well-known for his works for PUBG or Wolfenstein: Youngblood, created a music that clicked early on. “It was very cool and mysterious”, he said. Michel Tremouiller, the audio director, also liked it right away and the audio creative process seemed to be ready. However, after a couple of months spent with Deathloop, Salta had understood the character of the game much better than initially, and so he decided to compose a brand new music without telling anybody to really match the mood of the game.

The Deathloop’s mood is kind of a mix of a violent, retro-futuristic shooter with a 1960s vibe that goes back to the roots of modern music and swings its legs on the edge of jazz and blues. In fact, it mostly sounds like guitar-driven bands such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix or psychedelic rock bands like The Byrds, The Who, The Doors. It also brings Quentin Tarantino’s films to mind. Salta admits that he, indeed, was inspired by some film scores from the era, like for ones the old James Bond series or Batman films.

The present and future of the adaptive music in action, adventure and role playing video games

He didn’t mean to simply reinvented the 1960s music, instead, he made it fresh using the then instruments just like that music was popular now. “I used authentic late ’60s instruments, like Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hammond B3, Vibraphone, Farfisa, Clavinet, Mellotron, and of course lots of ’60s sounding guitars, drums, and bass”, he explained.

When he presented the new version of the music to Tremouiller they had conversations about it and eventually the audio director agreed that it was the right choice. It wasn’t their first collaboration actually, so Salta already had been highly esteemed by the Arkane Lyon team as a composer.

When a game’s plot is stuck in a one-day loop, there’s always an extra care needed to not bore the player. Salta found a good solution for this as well. First, he needed to make a relevant chord progression. Once he had it, he could go crazy with different variations of each theme depending on a location. Well, with this music even a forever replaying day seems to be interesting.

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Maciej Baska

In the games he happens to stand around at a random location only because there is a great music. For over a decade he's composed, written, recorded and mixed.