The soundtrack of the upcoming Dreadhalls is now available. You can listen to it free of charge directly from here.
Music is a key part of horror, and when I started the development of the game I knew I wanted it to have a soundtrack that highlighted the key moments and emotions, and provided the oppressive and eerie ambience the game demanded. I was lucky enough to have Matt Collins jump on board, and I can’t be happier with the result!
I’m Matt Collins and I am the composer for Dreadhalls. I’ve been a huge horror fan all my life taking inspiration from years of listening to horror film and game soundtracks, and so when Sergio contacted me about writing the music for this new horror game and I saw just how well-received the demo was there was simply no way I could say no. Horror is a tough aspect to handle as people can get affected by it in so many ways, yet with the amount of immersion the Oculus Rift gives and the talent behind the game it is no wonder why Dreadhalls has become so popular. The level of immersion given from the Oculus Rift presented new challenges when writing the soundtrack to Dreadhalls, and I’m here to fill you guys in on some of the background behind those challenges and the thoughts that went into making the score.
Horror is already a difficult area to write music for, so add in the extra level of immersion the players will have and you really have to reevaluate how to go about making the soundtrack. I wanted to unnerve the players, find ways to provide real tension and, for when the moment calls for it, make the players want to run like crazy and just book it out of there. These spots had to do their part in evoking the fear within the player, and build within the atmosphere. Ambience should add 100% to the experience without making itself too known. Even with these terrifying moments needing to be nailed a game can’t just simply make you feel terror the entire way through. You need a break somewhere in there, right?
In the soundtrack and game you will hear tracks that will bring some relief to the player. Yet, there is a line that you don’t want to cross and that is making the player feel too comfortable. Yes, there are tracks that will provide relief, but we did not want this to mean that they would provide comfort. These tracks are a lot more melody based than the scare tracks are, as I wanted to explore the feelings you guys will have as you progress through the game. There are spots we want you and the music to feel mysterious, or eerily calm. However, if there is a big overall consistent feeling that needed to be made throughout the soundtrack it is that there should always be some sense of dread in the tracks.
Dreadhalls is considered by many people to be the most terrifying game that they have ever played. Some may go as far to say that it is the most terrifying experience they’ve had in their whole life. It is of my sincerest hopes that this soundtrack will work in all its ways to ensure that the music adds to build a truly terrifying game in all aspects. As a gamer myself I understand how crucial music is to a horror experience, so I absolutely hope you guys enjoy the music and I can’t wait to join you all when Dreadhalls fully releases.
Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic week! -Matt Collins
I’ve always liked games that offer you with opportunities to learn about their lore, the backstory of the place you are at and its inhabitants, and so on. Even when that doesn’t directly affect the gameplay or the main plot in any ways, it helps to ground the place and make the player feel more immersed into the world. I always wanted to do something like that in Dreadhalls, but it didn’t make it into the VRJam deadline when I was making the original version.
I knew that if I wanted to do that, I’d need a better way to deliver that information than the notes system from the VRJam demo version. That system was too rigid, with very limited space, hard to read text, and having the notes attached to your face, rather than fixed in space, means they are harder to read for some players.
So I decided to add a brand new book system into the game. You can see it in action in the video above, with placeholder contents. You will find books laying around, that you can pick up and read. The new system allows for much more content, illustrations, easier to read text (even with DK1’s low-res), and smooth transitions.
I hope you also like finding these pieces of backstory around. And remember, just because you are reading a book, that doesn’t mean you are safe! Time won’t pause, so you might want to keep an eye on your surroundings while you read :D