Longtime Tomb Raider fans will no doubt be familiar with the work of Nathan McCree, the critically acclaimed composer and sound effects editor who is best known for his work on the first three Tomb Raider games.
Daryl Baxter, a writer for Platform Magazine (Nottingham Trent University’s official student magazine), was fortunate enough to set up an interview with Nathan to find out more about his career in the entertainment industry, his work at Core Design, his thoughts on the reboot game, and his recent projects in the Czech Republic and Poland.
Here’s a short excerpt from Daryl’s interview, where Nathan reveals how good he must be at working under pressure:
Daryl: I’m sure there were many versions of the music before we came across it in the final version, but as the levels were being designed, did you see them from an early state to give you a good enough idea of what music could fit well or be refined with for each of them? Are there any levels you remember being vastly different from what we eventually saw?
Nathan: In fact you’re quite wrong here. There was no time to interate on the tunes. Every tune was written once, and that version went in the game. I wrote the entire score for TR1 in 4 weeks. And no, I didn’t really see the levels in an ‘early state’. If I was lucky I got to see the area where we needed some music, or some screen shot or something, but most of the time I was working from minimal word descriptions like, “Under water”, “T-Rex”, “Caves” etc.
Daryl: That’s interesting. A lot of people assume that you’re given a lot of insight as to how the soundtrack should be. Did the schedule of the other two sequels in only two short years only ramp up the score needed for those?
Nathan: Yeah, well, we are talking about game development over 15 years ago. Things were very different then. For the next 2 games, the situation changed a little, but not much. I was still getting very limited descriptions for what musical elements we needed. You should also be aware that I was working on many other games each year and so my available time to work on TR was limited. However, I did immerse myself in TR2 much more and managed to spend 3 months on the project. So in fact it was me who ramped up the content of the music. TR1 was extremely thin on the ground with music and I was determined to make a better job of it for TR2.
The full interview can be found on the Platform Magazine’s website. I’d like to thank Daryl for organizing this interview and thank the talented Mr McCree for taking the time to talk about his work on Tomb Raider and other projects.
What are your favourite Nathan McCree music memories? Feel free to share your thoughts below!