Before venturing further into the northlands, let’s set the mood this week by taking a closer look at fresh music accompanying the new faction of northern barbarians coming with the “Warriors of the North” DLC. Yup, Breakdown Epiphanies are on board again to add to the game’s music. Let’s see what they have to say in this week’s dev blog!
Tunes from the North
As those of you who have been following Battle Brothers since they days of Early Access know, as composers we ourselves took an RPG approach when it comes to orchestrating soundtracks for the various factions in the game. The undead are accompanied by an orchestra solely comprised of dark string instruments and percussion that is supposed to resemble the rattling of bones, the orc music is dominated by dark and menacing brass as well as sounds of metal, for the brigands our theme was „instruments you can carry around with you“, and so on. The signature sound of each faction in the game grew from imposing limitations upon ourselves, which in turn lead to a very distinguishable tonal landscape that could even give away what the player is fighting the first time they do so.
You may be happy to hear that for the upcoming “Warriors of the North” DLC we got on board again to expand the soundtrack with new music accompanying the player’s battles against their new adversary, the northern barbarians.
Adding new factions to the soundtrack gets more tricky as time goes on: While from a gameplay standpoint, fighting the barbarians will play out differently than fighting orcs, there are certain aesthetic similarities (brute force, heavily armored higher tier units, show up in clans) that would also favour a similar approach to the music (which in case of the orcs translated to throwing all the brass instruments and war drums that we could find into the mix). Luckily, though, the barbarians also lend themselves well to going a different route, which is mostly inspired by their nordic and rus themed lore and background.
Avoiding brass (and the resulting overlap with the orc faction) completely, we decided to use vocals as the tonal backbone of this faction of northmen. Aside from more common singing styles, we incorporated mouth percussion, overtone and throat singing, which is a vocal style found in Norwegian folklore, Mongolian music and shamanist rituals leading back to the stone ages. As, from a gameplay perspective, the barbarians are a variant of the brigands, we also fell back on the brigands’ „instruments you can carry around with you“ philosophy. Only a single violin, a Swedish nyckelharpa (a medieval string instrument), a couple of drums and a choir of hardened nordmen come together to add new signature battle tracks to the Battle Brothers soundtrack. While production is still ongoing, we are happy to give you this sneak peek today.