Some months ago, I was trying to figure out NEON STRUCT‘s soundscape. Like the classic stealth games that inspired me, NEON STRUCT is a game where sound conveys useful information to both the player and AIs. Background music could be distracting or tonally inappropriate when the player is waiting and listening for enemy footsteps.
But in between the stealth levels, the player visits safe social spaces. In that context, music is not only appropriate but also serves to implicitly notify the player that she doesn’t need to be stealthy now. However, I worried that the sudden presence (and subsequent absence) of music in the player’s ears could be jarring.
I began experimenting with using diegetic (in-world) music, drawing the player into social spaces and fading out as the player departs. I felt that it met the goals of denoting safe spaces and transitioning more seamlessly from and into stealth levels, but now it felt strange to have instrumental game music playing on in-world stereo systems. I didn’t just want music, I wanted songs.
I reached out to my friend Andrew Strickland and his sister Anne of the band The Home Conversion. I had listened to their album Stay Wild extensively, and it had an 80s-influenced chill synths + guitars sound that I felt would be a great fit for the world of NEON STRUCT. Anne and Andrew were also excited about the prospect, and offered to not only contribute songs from the album but also to write and record new material for the game.
So I’m thrilled to finally announce that The Home Conversion are providing the music for NEON STRUCT. We have sequenced a tentative 18-song soundtrack, including 7 songs from the Stay Wild album and a whole lot of remixes and new songs. We look forward to sharing more closer to the game’s release next year!