The team talks to Aleksandria Migova, the composer, to learn more about what makes the night so alluring
Stunlock Studios’ V Rising has been undoubtedly one of the biggest hits of Steam Early Access, in addition to stellar gameplay, the brooding atmosphere of the game has been lauded by players, with the music obviously playing a huge role in creating a bewitching atmosphere.
For those who are interested in the sounds that make even the bumps at night soothing and mysterious, the credit goes to Aleksandria Migova, the composer behind the music of V Rising.
With music an integral part of her early life, Migova eventually opened up her own record label before dipping her toes into music for games together with Johan Ilves, now Marketing Director at Stunlock. Joining forces yet again for V Rising was an easy decision for the composer.
Describing the sound of V Rising as “forsaken, mysterious, and soul-touching,” the way Migova approaches music for games is markedly different from her own independent music. The “vision and directions” of the game are vital, and the music created must work for “the entire journey,” no matter how long a game might be.
“In V Rising, the music mostly works as a compliment-storyteller of the world and its different regions. I usually sit down, look at videos, concept art, and screenshots, and just play around with different instruments and melodies until I find a good match,” Migova shared.
“I often hear the melody in my head first, then I sing it out loud to understand it better, and finally, I play it on the keyboard. Doodling and drafting the sound direction is, for me, the most time-consuming part, and it’s a big relief when you eventually nail it.”
That meant the use of plenty of “strings, woodwinds, ambient soundscapes, and warm evolving string phrases” to set the mood, transporting players back in time yet still sounding realistic to the ear. The composer also made sure to take inspiration from Swedish nature and a healthy dash of “gothic spice” through bells and choirs.
Players entering different regions or adventuring during the various hours of day and night will hear music that gives off contrasting vibes. It was a deliberate choice, showing the mastery of Migova and the potential of similar instruments to produce distinctly different results.
Even with the success, this is hardly the end of Migova’s work with V Rising, with hopefully more to come the way of undead vampires everywhere:
“I can polish my music forever, and as a composer, you need to learn to stop and say ‘this is good enough’ and move on to the next track. I’m happy with the music I created, but I would love to get the opportunity to extend the soundtrack for the full release of the game.”
“The more music, the better, and it will make the total experience more interesting and dynamic. It would be super cool to be able to change or unlock new castle music as well, so you as a player can pick a theme that works best with your castle design.”