We’re back with more answers from James Hannigan! If you missed Part 1, you can find it through this link. Thanks once again to James for his time!
Will there be different music for each of the geniuses?
There will indeed. Each of the four Evil Geniuses have their own theme… kind of related to their personalities, I would say.
What’s different between making music for EG1 and EG2, beyond having the former as an inspiration when making music for a sequel? Are there new challenges, how has your process changed over the years, or are you tackling this in the same way you tackled the music for EG1?
Since the beginning of this project, there’s been a feeling that EG2’s music should be a kind of progression or evolution of EG1’s music, rather than something wildly different for its own sake. It’s a cliché, but if isn’t broken why try to fix it? Plus, I tend to think that being consistent with a sound and style in a series helps build a more coherent world, creating a musical identity of some sort. That isn’t to say it’s all exactly the same, but a certain amount of the music is in a similar direction.
Were there any tracks that didn’t make it to the final version of Evil Genius 1 that you were particularly fond of? What was your favorite piece from the original game?
There are one or two big band tracks that didn’t make it into the original game, but only because there wasn’t a particular use for them at the time, and they didn’t actually get recorded. It’s easy to forget that music to picture – be it for games, tv or film – needs somewhere to go! It often needs a purpose motivated by something else, such as the narrative or a visual cue, etc.
My favourite track from the first game is the main theme, on the whole, because I think it gives Evil Genius some kind of musical identity, and helps sets up the world and scope of the game’s agenda (which, of course, is world domination!) Plus, I remember the pressure of writing it just a couple of days before recording the orchestra for the first game!
The main theme’s motif returns here and there in different guises as well, including in Evil Genius 2. Every time it shows up I hope it slaps you in the face and says ‘Evil Genius’! But the truth is, it’s also possible to use a motif like that in more subtle and understated ways, delivering an altogether softer message, or simply to create a kind of recognizable Evil Genius atmosphere. That’s the beauty of the ‘leitmotif’. I love how music can operate subconsciously in this way, often when the listener is barely aware of its presence! The funny thing about music is that it can often be more noticeable when it’s absent, especially if its well-integrated in a game’s overall experience.
In addition, have you been able to revisit some of your older compositions for Evil Genius 2?
Yes, there are a few tracks that are undoubtedly linked with those of EG1. Not only the theme, but some of the in-game tracks do echo the first game… often on steroids!
Thanks to James for taking the time to answer our questions! Until next time - stay safe, stay sinister, and make sure you join the Evil Genius 2 Discord!
- Ben M-J, Blog Mastermind