Marcin Przybyłowicz & Paul Leonard-Morgan Interview: Cyberpunk 2077
After years of improvement and quite a few delays, the eagerly-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 is quickly approaching its December 10 launch date. CD Projekt Pink, the studio behind universally-acclaimed titles like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, is again with a model new sprawling RPG centered on participant selection, immersive role-playing, and super manufacturing values unprecedented for an journey of this dimension. Set within the neon noir-tinged dystopian metropolis, Night time Metropolis, Cyberpunk 2077 follows the fully-customizable participant character, V, as they embark on an odyssey by way of all of the crime, corruption, glitz, and glamour the large metropolis has to supply.
The sprawling musical tapestry of Cyberpunk 2077 is basically the product of three males: Marcin Przybyłowicz (The Witcher 2 and 3), P.T. Adamczyk (Gwent, Thronebreaker), and Paul Leonard-Morgan (Dredd, Battlefield: Hardline). The three composers labored collectively to create a soundscape that displays the highs and lows of society in Night time Metropolis, with assist from visitor musicians like 9 Inch Nails’ Ilan Rubin on drums and Tino Guo on electrical cello.
Whereas selling the upcoming launch of Cyberpunk 2077, composers Marcin Przybyłowicz and Paul Leonard-Morgan spoke to Display screen Rant about their work on the sport. They talk about what makes Cyberpunk 2077 completely different from different works within the style, and the way they collaborated to craft a completely distinctive musical language for the sport. They speak about how the composing course of was extra than simply writing items and getting individuals to play them, and dive deep into their love of modular synths and their lofty ambitions of making sounds that no one has ever heard earlier than.
Cyberpunk 2077 releases December 10 on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.
I see Cyberpunk, the title, is an announcement. It is this ubiquitous style and setting, and the tabletop recreation has been carrying that torch for years. Is your music an all-encompassing celebration of that phrase, Cyberpunk, or is it extra particular than that?
Marcin Przybyłowicz: To my understanding, Cyberpunk is a really versatile time period, particularly if you take a look at the flicks and video video games which can be connected to that type. The Matrix, Blade Runner, Deus Ex, Akira, Ghost within the Shell… All of them discover Cyberpunk themes, however in numerous methods. That is what I like to consider our take. It is our Cyberpunk. It is not some other Cyberpunk venture, it is Cyberpunk 2077. It is based mostly on the pen and paper RPG made by Mike Pondsmith, which suggests it is a very nicely described, established, and lore-specific place. Our music needed to tackle that.
Paul, that is your first collaboration with CDPR, proper?
Paul Leonard-Morgan: It’s, certainly, these loopy fools!
Are you able to speak a bit about constructing a rapport, about buying and selling notes, and about the way you realized to mesh, musically?
Paul Leonard-Morgan: As Marcin stated, Cyberpunk is such an enormous factor. I scored the Dredd soundtrack, which is, I suppose, was first contact of the Cyberpunk world. However rising up with Akira and all these fantastic issues… I additionally consider Mad Max, even, as Cyberpunk. I do know, some individuals say, “That not Cyberpunk, it is simply dystopian!” However then we come to the current time. After I began discussing with P.T. Adamczyk and Marcin and CDPR about how this could work… I imply, we’ve got three composers right here, all of us have completely different kinds, how are we going to make it so there is a cohesiveness to the rating? I stated, look, I am good at my synths, I am good at this, I am good at that. Marcin is nice at sure issues, and P.T. is nice at sure issues. So we actually simply began taking part in. We experimented for the most effective a part of six months to a yr, simply developing with sounds. We had been sending stuff to one another, throughout completely different time zones. It was only a beautiful, experimental course of for the primary six months, making an attempt to work out what sound we actually wished to have for the sport. As soon as you discover that sound, it makes it really easy to go in there and go, “Now we’re nailing this.” Everybody’s obtained completely different elements of the sport we’re all engaged on, however there is a cohesiveness. It is obtained “a sound” that I do not suppose I’ve ever heard in a online game earlier than. It is so contemporary. It is obtained such angle. It simply took these six months or so to get there, to get a typical language between us, as composers.
You have obtained stay drums on high of those digital loops and riffs. Did you carry out every little thing your self, or did you get some outdoors assist?
Marcin Przybyłowicz:We had Ilan Rubin from 9 Inch Nails. That brings a sure high quality side to the desk, and a sure angle with the grooving on drums. Ilan was our first and solely selection. If he had stated “no,” we’d have needed to provide you with a totally completely different thought. It was the one manner we may have achieved it the best way we wished.
Paul Leonard-Morgan: Ilan’s drumming was completely mind-boggling. I wasn’t there for that session, however… We had so many various riffs and BPMs (beats per minute). So we had the varied BPMs of the soundtrack at sure factors, after which he performed completely different loops and completely different fills, and so forth. Then it was a few three-day course of, having all of them chopped up, after which all three of us had entry to what was nearly like an ideal huge pattern library that we may use. Once more, we’re so completely different in our strategies of writing, so we deal with and course of these sounds in many various methods, like smashing them by way of distortion, or reverse them, or use them in sure methods so you’ll be able to’t even inform they’re drums. However as you say, Marcin, there’s such an angle with Ilan’s taking part in. He simply smashed the s*** out of these skins. It was completely implausible. And he is so tight. That is the factor I discovered superb by way of this entire course of: there’s so many synths on the soundtrack, and so the drums, bizarrely sufficient, add the humanity to it. You have obtained the electronica going, and the drums, a whole lot of the time, some other drummer can be barely out and it could sound bizarre. However he was completely on the beat. So you’ve got obtained these digital beats together with his actual beats processed excessive, and so they simply match fantastically.
Marcin Przybyłowicz: What’s fascinating about our course of is, if you work on a rating for a recreation or a film or no matter, the pure order is that you simply work on the music, produce sheet music, mock-ups, no matter, after which go to the studio to file that stuff. Due to the character of this Cyberpunk music, and the way deeply and the way a lot we’ve got processed these sounds, we did it the opposite manner round. We first began with recording periods. We needed to provide you with some rudimentary boundaries, as I’d name them, by way of themes, tempo, pacing, no matter. A typical basis between the three of us. After which we went to the studio, as a primary step of this entire artistic course of. And the identical with Tina Guo, really, the electrical cellist. We did have some melodies already achieved. We may have proposed her with written sheet music and have her play stuff for us, however what I like probably the most about recording periods normally when working with individuals of that expertise and talent is that you simply invite them to mainly jam collectively, to improvise in your stuff. That is the place the true magic occurs. Clearly, we could have our personal concepts, visions about how we need to execute particular parts in music, however ultimately, it is about this specific musician who would remodel our concepts right into a residing, respiratory factor.
Paul Leonard-Morgan: Utterly. I feel that is the distinction, additionally, with video games. I do a whole lot of movie soundtracks, and on movie soundtracks, you’ve got obtained your orchestra. You are on the studio with an enormous orchestra, and it is nice. You say to them, “This is the horn half, play it.” However the factor for me, that at all times marks an actual musician, is that they’ll go, “I can play it like this, or I can slur it like this, or I can play it with a harmonic, or no matter.” Going again to Tina’s periods, I used to be there, and we had been at Sundown Sound, the place Prince and The Seaside Boys recorded a whole lot of their stuff… It is like hallowed turf! Tina’s in there, doing this loopy s***, engaged on Marcin’s stunning tunes, and I am listening to these tunes for the primary time… It is completely stunning. After which then Tina goes, “Okay, you’ve got obtained it as you wished it, now let me simply do a few issues…” And she or he does this mad, digital distorted delay stuff, and it brings it to life. This soundtrack is so completely different. As Marcin stated, you begin with one thing and then you definitely develop it, however you’ve got already obtained your construction. What we have achieved with all our loopy synths… Half of them aren’t regular synthesizers. They’re mod synths with digital circuits the place you place your finger right down to create a circuit and play a noise. You possibly can’t write that on a traditional pc. You need to file it as audio. P.T. would describe it as a jam session.
Marcin Przybyłowicz: A one-on-one jamming session, sure.
Paul Leonard-Morgan: And then you definitely’re recording it and chopping all of it up afterwards. It was the identical with the drums and with Tina. We had all this materials, after which we began propping it up, determining what would work on our tracks. Usually on a soundtrack, or perhaps a pop tune, you may need 30 or 40 tracks on there… On these things, half the time there’s seven or eight or perhaps 9 tracks. Each observe is so sophisticated, that something greater than that’s going to remove from the gorgeous distortion and electronica that is popping out of it.
I do know a whole lot of artists collaborated for the in-game radio songs, and Refused stands in for Johnny Silverhand’s band. Did you’re employed with them on that, or was it a separate factor? I think about there needs to be some form of synergy, proper?
Marcin Przybyłowicz: It is a pity we do not have P.T. on board, as a result of that was fully his factor. He introduced Refused to the desk. It was his concept that the singing voice of Johnny Silverhand ought to be Dennis Lyxzén from Refused, and he was the artistic genius behind conceiving this entire samurai idea from the musical perspective. However on the identical time, it doesn’t suggest we needed to pay very shut consideration to how that punk music would match with our rating. Rating is one factor, and Refused’s tracks are a wholly completely different factor. They stay by way of the world. They’re related to the storyline. Lore-wise, Johnny Silverhand has been useless for 50 or 60 years or so. That gave us some liberty to go wild with concepts and never care a lot about cohesive integrity, as a result of it was not speculated to sound built-in.
Proper, it is not modern.
Paul Leonard-Morgan: In case you take a look at the dimensions and scale of the sport, it is so friggin’ large. The soundtrack and the rating are hand-in-hand, nevertheless it goes again to that phrase, “angle.” The widespread unity, what each observe within the recreation has introduced, is “balls.” It is obtained angle, it is obtained vitality, it is obtained edge. It may be punk guitar, hardcore drums, or the electronica synths, nevertheless it’s all obtained the Cyberpunk ethos behind it.
Are there some other musical visitors you’ll be able to share with us?
Marcin Przybyłowicz: A 3rd and equally important a part of our musical expertise pool we obtained to make the most of with the rating is Richard Devine, who designed bespoke sounds, textures, and layers for us. That just about sums it up. The character of the music, and the workflow we selected to observe, meant that a lot of the work was achieved with our palms. Particularly because you take into account that 98% or actually near 100% of the music, excluding the cello and drums, is solely digital. We are able to shut ourselves in our studios, experiment with our devices, experiment with different stuff, course of sounds, and hopefully provide you with one thing that nobody has ever achieved earlier than. That extends to the gear we used. We began with the usual arsenal, Moogs and Prophets, and different well-known synths… However the true enjoyable for us was trying to find much less identified, much less widespread, perhaps much less apparent decisions.
Paul Leonard-Morgan: Not much less identified. I feel they’re completely unknown!
Marcin Przybyłowicz: They’re obscure. There’s some obscure decisions, that is a greater phrase. For instance, me and P.T. each personal a Soviet-made synthesizer referred to as a Polivoks. Mine, specifically, was made in 1982 if I am not mistaken. It is nearly 40 years previous, nevertheless it nonetheless seems like loopy. It seems ugly, it is made out of an affordable plastic, the knobs are laborious to work with and so they appear to be they had been ripped out of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor or one thing… So it is nothing elegant or excessive tech or luxurious about it. However nonetheless, it is strong, it really works. It is like these Russian Kalashnikovs: they are often 50 years previous, and so they nonetheless work. Within the desert, within the snow, within the rain, they nonetheless work.
And it is all the unique guts?
Marcin Przybyłowicz: Oh yeah, it is 100% real, yeah. Mine and P.T.’s. That form of fills out the classic space. Then, in relation to extra experimental stuff, it will get much more fascinating. There’s an previous synth that appears like a naked bones field with some cables connected to it. I nonetheless have issues understanding the way it works.
Paul Leonard-Morgan: (Laughs) I hadn’t used it for a few month, after which I took it out and could not get the bloody factor to work! They’re completely not regular.
Marcin Przybyłowicz: After which manuals will not be written that nicely in English. There are grammar errors and misspellings. Particular options will not be described with the depth you’d anticipate. You are mainly left alone along with your creativity and need to experiment. That just about sums up our course of with making up this music, as a result of if you’re working with toys like this, you haven’t any thought what the end result goes to be. You at all times must be cautious, you at all times have to file every little thing you do. In case you’re fortunate, you may discover good elements all through that you may pull, combine them up, run it by way of some guitar results or no matter, and see what comes subsequent! I feel that was my favourite a part of the entire job; not being certain what is going on to occur.
I am so glad you talked about these synth instruments, as a result of I really feel like lots of people who aren’t musicians assume that every one synths are the identical. Like, “Hey, why do you’ve two keyboards?” ? They do not know!
Paul Leonard-Morgan: In your regular keyboards, they have particular person sounds that you should utilize for bass or this or that. However the enjoyable half is the experimentation. You possibly can’t recreate that sound once more. After you make it and file it as audio, it is gone eternally.
Marcin Przybyłowicz: It is gone. Yeah.
Paul Leonard-Morgan: …Largely as a result of I can not work out the place to place within the energy cable, however that is a unique story. (Laughs) Nevertheless it’s genuinely gone eternally, sure. So many individuals ask about what course we have gone in for the soundtrack, “is it Blade Runner? Is it this? Is it that?” And we have at all times stated, we do not need to do one thing that folks have achieved earlier than. There is not any level. It has been achieved. We have spent years on this flippin’ soundtrack! The enjoyable half is creating sounds and making a soundscape, I suppose, which no one has heard earlier than. That is probably the most thrilling factor. When individuals hear it, clearly, you do not know what they’re gonna consider it, nevertheless it works so completely inside these pictures we have seen, that the unbelievable staff at CDPR has made. We’re hyped concerning the recreation, we’re hyped concerning the rating. We won’t watch for individuals to listen to it. I am not simply saying that as a result of I labored on it. If I did not work on it, I’d be ready with bated breath to listen to it. After what number of years it has been, I can not emphasize it sufficient… The vitality and the angle of it’s such enjoyable.
Marcin Przybyłowicz: That is, ultimately, an excellent recreation. Very enjoyable to play, very participating, each in gameplay and storytelling. That is what really counts.
Paul Leonard-Morgan: When Marcin got here to my studio, he introduced his total pc rig with him. His pc was operating Cyberpunk from the server in Warsaw, and I used to be simply blown away. He was taking part in the sport, and although there have been primary animations at that stage, however we had been making an attempt out little bits of music with it. As a course of… It is probably not a job, is it? (Laughs)
Marcin Przybyłowicz: It is like taking part in with barely extra sophisticated LEGOs.
Paul Leonard-Morgan: I feel they’re very sophisticated LEGOs… However yeah!
Marcin, you’ve got been at CDPR for some time, and you’ve got hung out on the planet of The Witcher and the world of Cyberpunk. Do you’ve a popular type, or is it good to shuttle?
Marcin Przybyłowicz: I would not draw an equivalency between them. In the long run, they’re so completely different. Clearly, there are some widespread parts as a result of it is the identical studio, so their method to the storytelling is type of in the identical alley. The way in which the worlds are constructed collectively, how sure recreation programs and parts work together with one another, so there’s acquainted floor. It is like visiting a distant relative; chances are you’ll not keep in mind every little thing, however you recognize that man. All the opposite issues are fully completely different. I do not need to ever put myself ready the place I’ve to decide on between one or one other. All the Witcher video games I’ve labored on previously took about 9 years. It is a huge a part of my private and inventive life. I am nonetheless feeling like we’re simply getting began with Cyberpunk. It took us a number of years to be nearly achieved with 2077, however… , we have got the cling of it. We cracked the egg, we all know the components. The home windows of risk are beginning to open very extensively. That offers you a need to go even additional and experiment even additional with some issues which will or could not have been your best option for a specific second within the recreation we simply did. So yeah, as a lot as I’d like to return to The Witcher setting, I additionally do not need to ditch Cyberpunk.
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