Michael Baugh. Composer


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The task at hand was to craft custom synth presets

Imagine receiving an email from someone you deeply respect and admire. As you read through the message, your excitement builds when you discover that it contains an invitation to collaborate on a thrilling project.

That's precisely the scenario that unfolded for me.

In the mid-late of 2023, I received an exciting email from Anne-Kathrin Dern, inviting me to collaborate with her on a AAA video game project. The opportunity to work alongside Anne, an exceptional composer and a delightful person, was truly an honour, I was very eager to get involved.

Anne-Kathrin Dern

The task at hand was to craft custom synth presets using Uhe’s Zebra/Dark Zebra to complement the distinctive sonic aesthetic of Metro: Awakening. Given the franchise's history and well-defined sound aesthetic, I spent some time researching, delving into previous scores, poring over gameplay videos, immersed myself in the games and made a lot of notes.

With Metro: Awakening marking the franchise's first venture into VR, I aimed to strike a balance between musicality and immersive sound design. The game's world is teeming with diverse auditory elements—clanging metal, hissing pipes, scraping noises, and gusts of wind, to name a few. My goal was to integrate these atmospheric sounds into a range of musical elements, including pads, bass-lines, pulses, leads, and textural layers that could serve as captivating ambient backdrops.

I also had a failed experiment in pushing creative boundaries by creating patches with a more retro flair, reminiscent of 90's gaming aesthetics but reimagined with modern analog synthesis. However, we found that leaning into more textural and sound design-oriented patches better complemented the game's immersive atmosphere and the overall direction of the game.

"Success is not the absence of failure, but the mastery of learning from it. Embrace the exploration of bad ideas as a vital component of the creative process"

I highly recommend checking out Anne's brilliant YouTube channel, it's full of useful tips, tricks, honest reviews and more!