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Ghosthunter interactive music

by Julian on December 15th, 2008

Ghosthunter box covers

One of Ghosthunter’s biggest fans, Kate, has been putting up videos on YouTube of the Ghosthunter music written by my brother Martin. This got me thinking…

Ghosthunter had a lot of deliberate references to various films (e.g. Deliverance, The Rock and Psycho) and we wanted the music to reflect this.

We also wanted the music to be interactive, but not in-your-face. If you didn’t notice it then that means we probably got it right – we wanted to add to the mood of the scene, not shout “listen to our music, isn’t it great”.

Gavin Bell (who later worked on Heavenly Sword) worked on the low-level IOP code (which if I remember correctly, gave us a nasty bug just before submission!). Patrick O’Brien (now in SCEE ATG) worked on the high-level music system – the code that managed how the sections of music should be pieced together, and what happens if the player starts fighting. Martin created the sections.

These sections of music were typically about 20-30 seconds long and were designed to loop and blend into subsequent sections. It’s totally possible that when playing the game you may have missed some!

Martin had worked with many well known acts (e.g. The Fixx, Neneh Cherry, Alison Moyet, Killing Joke, Bomb The Bass), created music for TV and worked with many up-and-coming bands, including his nephew Simon (worth checking out ;-) ) and IT.

Martin worked with a few other musicians on the Ghosthunter music, notably Jonathan Czerwik, whose song Tears and Laughter was used on the TV show Bones.

On one of my favourite clips Kate makes a comment that it’s a “long theme for a short battle”. Well this is our fault! It turned out it was too easy to finish that section (which I think was planned to be longer). I often would just mill about half-fighting, just so I could listen to the music :-) .

I have a demo video that Martin created at the start of production; 5 minutes of gameplay footage which he scored, so we could get an idea of the musical styles for each of the realms. Unfortunately it’s currently on VHS, so I need to get it digitised :( .

However, I do have this piece which was a later score. It wasn’t used in the game, and you can hear differences, but you might find it interesting!

This was the first and last time I got to work with my older brother. Sadly, Martin died of cancer not long after finishing Ghosthunter. If you enjoy his music as much as I do and listen to the themes on YouTube, please consider donating to the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.


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One Comment
  1. Jack permalink

    A great article, good to hear some of the unused music. I really liked the soundtrack to Ghosthunter and love listening to the tracks on YouTube. Such a shame about Martin, he had real talent.

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