The Music of Thrillville
In November's Thrillville for PS2, PSP and Xbox, LucasArts and Frontier Developments invite you to build and ride attractions, chat with park guests, and play more than 20 minigames in the theme park of your dreams.
And also to rock out.
With original tunes from LucasArts' internal talent, licensed tracks from Capitol Records, contributions from composer Alistair Lindsay (RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, Perfect Dark), and even the classic sounds of past LucasArts titles, the music in Thrillville is some of the best you'll hear in any videogame this year.
Leading the music-related efforts are two of the reasons LucasArts has maintained its reputation of sonic excellence over the years, Audio Lead/VO Director David Collins and Music Supervisor Jesse Harlin. In addition to performing tasks such as recording dialogue and sound effects, the duo wrote and recorded four radio-quality tracks just for the game, all of which can be heard under the "E-Cards" section of www.thrillvillegame.com. From the '80s-rock-inspired "Whiplash" and pop/punk of "Emo Skater Girl" to the powerfully funky "Dr. Kunkle's Funnkel Cake" and hip-hop beats of "Loop It," the diverse talents of Collins and Harlin shine in Thrillville.
"We wanted to get a wide choice of genres and tunes that would hopefully appeal to a broad audience," says Harlin. "At the heart of everything, we used Thrillville itself as the first influence. 'Whiplash' is about being addicted to riding roller coasters; 'Emo Skater Girl' is about how tough it can be to socialize as a teen; 'Dr. Kunkle's Funnkel Cake' is about a doctor who prescribes junk food for his patients, etc. All of it comes from playing the game and wanting to reflect the gameplay in the music."
"The writing actually happened very quickly," adds Collins, who also incorporated each of the songs into three hours of background programming known as Park Radio. "But then we had to make and produce the recordings ourselves, here in the LucasArts studio – a great, fun learning process. I was a drummer, a bass player, a guitar player, a drum programmer, an engineer, and, finally, producer and mixer. Whew!"
Licensed music adds further content to the Park Radio lineup. "We've got 20 cuts from Capitol Records artists," says Collins. "Some of the highlights include 'Suddenly I See' by KT Tunstall, 'Everybody Rules' by Morningwood, 'Don't Listen to the Radio' by The Vines, 'I Love My Life' by Jamie O'Neal and, for all the ladies out there, 'Honkey Tonk Badonkadonk' by Trace Adkins." (A complete list follows this story.)
Even better, the team has hit the LucasArts vaults to uncover classic original music from past releases to complement themed areas in the game. "The general idea was to achieve something akin to the experience you get walking through Disneyland," explains Harlin. "There, the park is full of memorable music you recognize from their classic films. With such a rich past of games and such an amazing back catalog of original music, we decided that a LucasArts theme park would definitely be colored by some of our memorable soundtracks from previous titles."
"It's a great homage to those games and those composers, including Mark Griskey, Pete McConnell, Michael Land, Dave Levison, Anna Karney and Michael Giacchino," says Collins. "And the use of each piece fits contextually in that 'Disneyland' way Jesse was referring to. For example, you might hear the theme from Escape From Monkey Island in the Pirateville area, music from Gladius in our fantasy area called Ogreville, and the Secret Weapons Over Normandy score in 'Luftwaffe,' a World War II-themed forward-scrolling shooter minigame."
"You'll also hear some Grim Fandango, Outlaws, Sam & Max and more," promises Harlin. "For fans of our older games, we wanted it to be a nice surprise that helps to color the themed areas of the parks with a bit of nostalgia. For players new to LucasArts' games, we wanted to showcase some of our older music, as it's really incredible material that we're all very proud of."
In addition to all of the other music in the game, Thrillville also features about 25 minutes of music by freelance British composer Alistair Lindsay. "Al's music is the high-energy rock and electronica that players will find featured so prominently throughout Thrillville's various minigames," says Harlin. "He really did a great job of melding the fun of the games with the frenetic pace of competition. It perfectly scores everything from shooting galleries to monster truck racing to sci-fi trampoline contests."
When asked about their own material in Thrillville, though, Collins and Harlin have a hard time naming their favorite song. "That's a tough one!" answers Collins. "We worked really hard on all of them."
But when push comes to shove, the two agree that "Whiplash" represents Thrillville the best. "You can hear some serious AC/DC and Aerosmith in that one," says Collins. "I was really into blues/hard rock when I first started playing guitar. And Jesse's just got that killer Paul Stanley meets Steven Tyler type of voice."
"'Whiplash' is basically just your standard, leather-pants/studded-bracelet classic-rock tune," adds Harlin. "It's unquestionably the most fun to perform. David and I even performed it live in front of all of LucasArts a few months ago at one of our company meetings. I was sporting a full face-load of KISS makeup. It was a good time."
This is the complete lineup of music licensed from Capitol Records in Thrillville:ARTIST SONG
Ak'sentPick Up Annie Stela Love Song End of Fashion Lock Up Your Daughters
End of FashionShe's Love Fighting Instinct I Found Forever Hawk Nelson Something on My Mind Hawk Nelson The Show Hedley On My Own
Jamie O'NealI Love My Life KT Tunstall Suddenly I See Morningwood Everybody Rules Nichole Nordeman Real to Me
The RedwallsRobinson Crusoe Ryan Shupe & The Rubberband Banjo Boy Ryan Shupe & The Rubberband Oh How I Miss You Sondre Lerche The Curse of Being in Love
Sondre LercheEveryone's Rooting Just for You Trace Adkins Honkey Tonk Badonkadonk Van Hunt Character The Vines Don't Listen to the Radio
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