Music

IRON VICE SOUNDTRACK

The soundtrack of Iron Vice is a hybrid of hard electronica and orchestral. A dense, filtered male choir is prominent in every track, as I thought it evoked the unending, implacable march of the machine menace that the player must face. There are four environments the player can take contracts in: slums, financial districts, industrial districts, and a machine core area.

For slums, I wanted a dirty, grungy metal guitar, supplemented by alternating strings. Messy beat tracks jam-packed with filtered hats and kicks contribute to a stressful, scatterbrained theme. This song was the first to be written and also went through the most iterations. I’m content with the overall structure of the song, save for the ending climax, which has no place in the variably paced medium of games.

The Financial sector features hearty brass with a prominent flute to invoke a regal, wall street vibe. The song unevenly switches between descending/ascending chromatic bass lines in an attempt to cultivate a constant sense of motion. Sub-par bass lines, incoherent melody fluctuations, and stale instrumentation contribute to, what I think is, the weakest action track.

The Industrial track takes huge influences from a favorite game franchise of mine, Banjo Kazooie, specifically the theme from Grunty Industries in Banjo Tooie. Heavy alternating horns and chromatic climbs/descents are the name of the game here. I wanted to evoke the sense of ever-moving industry, the march of industrialization that never stops, even in the apocalypse. In hindsight, the song is a bit too cartoon-y for Iron Vice, though I am still somewhat content with the dorky main melodies…

The core, serving as the final level for a city, needed to have a track that was intense, hostile, yet also empowering. Hard, repetitive, biting synth mixed with ascendant melodies in the later halves. Of all the tracks in the game, I am most pleased by this one. The structure takes a lot from the slums action track, but swaps in 2, smaller climaxes in place of the 1 large one in the slums track. The 2 climaxes mesh with gameplay better, and the structure of the song is still thematically and gameplay consistent. The main issue with this track is that the bass line can get grating when listened to repeatedly, an issue as Core missions are the longest, meaning that the song loops more frequently.

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