Tom Salta's bold choice for subtle music
Top Score for July 23, 2015
Spartan Strike, the latest in the immensely popular Halo series, marks the series' first venture into the mobile gaming market. Its soundtrack, like the games that came before it, possesses the signature Halo sound, but with an interesting twist: it was designed backwards.
Tom Salta, Spartan Strike's composer, is intimately familiar with the Halo universe. He loves the games, the playing experience, and especially the music. In fact, it was Halo's soundtrack that set him on the path of composing for games. So when he was asked to compose for Spartan Strike, he already knew the signature Halo sound.
Much like its immediate predecessor, Spartan Assault, Spartan Strike exists in an audio-dominant world. With so much competing for the player's attention, Tom made a bold choice: he decided to record quieter, more subtle cues. To be sure the sparse music still makes an impact and fits in the context of a loud gameplay experience, Tom composed with a looped track of sound effects playing in the background. If the music could blend in at the right times and stand out at the right times, Tom knew his job was complete.
Spartan Strike also shines a light on its live performances. The New York Film Chorale provides all of the vocal work (with some stunning solo sections by Jillian Aversa), and the Macedonian Radio Symphonic Orchestra makes several appearances.