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Legendary composer Russell Brower builds the world of Tarisland through music

If you watched cartoons after school in the ‘90s or played games like Diablo III or World of Warcraft in the decades that followed, then you already know the power of Russell Brower’s music. And the three-time Emmy winner’s ability to make a world come to life through music will be part of the upcoming MMORPG Tarisland

Brower’s creations don’t just punctuate the action in a game or an animated scene. They immerse players in worlds with boundaries that extend well beyond the limit of the screen. 

Fantasy fans will get to experience Brower’s touch across various maps in Tarisland, the upcoming fantasy MMORPG for PC and mobile from Locojoy

Watch our special interview feature with Brower:

“First step is always to decide exactly what story you want to tell, where it’s going to go physically in the game.” Brower said. “You don’t always want to have gigantic 50-string, 6-horns and everything playing at once, nor do you want the opposite all the time. You always want this ebbing and flowing, so that the music remains dynamic and doesn’t just become wallpaper, and that you feel carried through.” 

Fantasy fans are primed to experience that dynamism in Tarisland’s open world across the wilderness, encountering heroes and villains and quests for power and fortune. Tarisland is a love letter to the classic RPG in a world “with diverse values and a high degree of freedom where players can go on adventures, explore, solve puzzles, and even fish and forge,” according to Game Director Yangmin.

“It’s a game world where all actions matter,” Yangmin said. 

Journeying through a fantastic world where every action shapes the experience requires a soundtrack that doesn’t just mimic the events of the game. 

“Drawing on the way visual arts guide the line of sight, I try to guide people’s auditory perception through music, depicting a rich history and culture for each game area,” Brower said. “I learn background knowledge, generate music, and apply concept art, envisioning the volume of music, aiming to make music a medium for players to delve deeper into the game.”

Carrying the emotional rush, risks, and rewards

Tarisland is an MMORPG with visually stunning locations to uncover and explore using characters from several customizable classes. Each class allows for two specialization types and over 40 talents that offer players myriad ways of matching their personalities and playing styles.  

“I was initially drawn to the project because I love open-world games and it is very fun to create fantasy worlds from scratch that no one has seen before,” Brower said.

We see the music illustrating the game’s Misty Forest, where he used colorful chords swelling into a large chord and peppered the soundtrack with angelic voices and elements like bird calls and the sound of water to make the forest come to life.

The music is also designed to move a player through the game. Brower noted that he used the melody to bridge the two different settings of SilverLit and SilverLit Bleak in the game, so the player can feel the transition from the lively SilverLit to the latter darker, ravaged city.

Brower hopes the music will stick with players long after they've left the game

Tarisland is at its core about feeling the emotional rush, risks, and rewards of exploring untamed, dark and lavish worlds. Brower said he hopes the music will stick with players long after they’ve left the game. 

“I can’t wait for the future players of Tarisland to experience all this,” he said. “As players go from one zone to another, I need them to feel as though the themes feel like Tarisland.” 

Brower has been using music and sound as a world building tool throughout his career that has earned him global acclaim. From the wacky world of Warner Brothers’ Animaniacs to the broody dark world of Gotham City, that journey has taken him from TV to PC screens—his sound effects and scores for games like World of Warcraft and StarCraft II Wings of Liberty have netted him a raft of awards, including the BAFTA Games Award nomination in 2013 for Best Original Music for his work on Diablo III. 

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