Detroit: Become Human, published last year is an interesting game both in terms of storytelling and scoring. The player takes control over three characters while each of them has their own score. We interviewed Nima Fakhrara, the author of the score for a detective android named Connor.
The player takes control over three characters while each of them has their own score.
gamemusic.net: How did you get the opportunity to work on Detroit: Become Human?
Nima Fakhrara: The opportunity arrived from getting a call from the Music Supervisor of the project Mary Lockwood and inquiring about my interest in working on a project from Quantic Dream. I have been a fan of David Cage and Quantic, and without hesitation, I said yes.
gamemusic.net: What was the central concept of the entire score for the game? Did you and the two other composers get some instructions before starting to work, to make the whole soundtrack coherent?
Nima Fakhrara: The concept of the score was to capture all the feelings that Connor goes through within the story. I wanted to capture the period, location as well as the different things that happen to Connor. The story kept everything coherent, we did not listen to each other’s music and created music without knowing what the others were building. The praise goes to the music team in the courage of this idea.
gamemusic.net: Were you in contact with the other two composers? Were you sharing some ideas?
Nima Fakhrara: As I said, we were not listening to each other’s work. It gave the music the opportunity to stay true to the concept we started with for each character without any influence from the others.
gamemusic.net: You are mainly a film composer. Is it easy for you to make music for a different, interactive medium like a video game?
Nima Fakhrara: I have been a gamer my entire life and have had opportunities to write music for video games such as the Resident Evil franchise, and 1979 Revolution before Detroit. Also, David Cage wanted a very cinematic score, something that films like, so the interactive parts and the different paths were created later after the general tonality of the film was captured.
gamemusic.net: Detroit is a very complex game in terms of interactivity. How did you deal with making your score versatile when comes to various decisions of the player during the gameplay?
Nima Fakhrara: After getting started with the project and receiving instructions from David Cage, I knew that the story could go to different places from the beginning. Once I started creating the score the deviations and ideas of different outcome was always in the back of my mind.
I wanted to capture the period, location as well as the different things that happen to Connor. – Nima Fakhrara
gamemusic.net: Connor’s score is pretty dark and sharp. Is it because Connor’s profession is to chase the rebellious and malfunctioning androids? Or because Connor is merely an android?
Nima Fakhrara: Connor’s score comes from a simple idea of a bassline, and that bassline becomes more complex as the story develops. Connor’s journey depends on each player, can shift and the fact that he is either a rebellious android or simply an android is up to the user, and the score has a reflection on it.
gamemusic.net: Your score sounds very interesting and experimental. Could you tell us about the composing techniques you used during the creative process?
Nima Fakhrara: The score is created by analog, modular and custom synthesizers. I approached the score with the idea of how would an android make music, and as this android starts understanding different things what would be incorporated within the music. Lots of the score is synthesizer based with the addition of acoustic instruments but fully manipulated like an unplugged electric string quartet.
A good score makes the player feel the emotions of the character. – Nima Fakhrara
gamemusic.net: Were you using your own built instruments as well?
Nima Fakhrara: I like creating custom instruments for each of the projects I work on. For Connor, I built a 20-foot guitar that creates sub-frequencies which had to be captured with guitar amps.
gamemusic.net: Do you play video games yourself? If so, what differences can you observe from the point of the player and, on the other hand, a composer?
Nima Fakhrara: Absolutely, as I said I have been a big gamer my entire life. A good score captures the game and creates the correct environment for the project. A good score makes the player feel the emotions of the character. So to me, there is not much of a difference between a player and a composer especially since I come from a player work, because I am just a fan, and I want the other side to feel similar to what I want to feel.