Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

The highly anticipated video game Star Wars Jedi: Survivor came out last week to rave reviews, featuring an original soundtrack by composers Stephen Barton and Gordy Haab.

We’re proud to have hosted much of the recording in Studio One engineered between Alan Meyerson and Christopher Parker with Rupert Coulson leading a third block at AIR Studios.

Stephen Barton

Gordy Haab


We sat down with engineer Christopher Parker to discuss his experience working on the project.


Over eight hours of music was recorded for the game. How were the sessions divided?

"The first block of sessions were in March/April 2022 with Alan Meyerson engineering, me as recordist and Marta Di Nozzi & Wil Jones assisting.

The second block took place at AIR Studios in August of that year with Rupert Coulson engineering, me as recordist (and engineer for one of the days) and Jack Mills & Rebecca Hordern assisting.

Then back to Abbey Road in October 2022 for the third block. I engineered, Marta was recordist, and Wil Jones assisted."

What was special to you about this project?

"Whenever you’re involved with an IP of this nature, a world that has lived in so many people’s lives for so long, it is always special. I grew up being a massive fan of Star Wars; any new film or games was so eagerly anticipated and that’s as true now as it ever has been.

To go from being on the outside of that anticipation, to being on the inside, then witnessing a brand new imperial theme being brought to life and being able to speak with the composer about what inspired it; that is truly one of a kind special.

Also, working with a group of people for so long with such an intensity, that you really do start to become a family. We spent 36 days scoring this game, spread across 3 blocks. That’s rare even for film scores to spend such a length of time on the scoring stage. I couldn’t begin to estimate how long the mix process took!"


What orchestra were you working with?

"The orchestra was a scratch band of the best session players in town, fixed by Isobel Griffiths LTD.

The mainstay of the score is a classic orchestra line-up of 80 or so players. 50 strings, triple wind, six French horns, five trombones, tuba and four trumpets. Add in percussion, piano/celeste and harps, and the room starts to get pretty full. We did record that ensemble somewhat selectively at times to give us the best blend of a traditional sound and the flexibility and punch of a modern film score.

In addition to the main setup we had some alternative setups that featured less commonly used instruments, the Wagner tuba and
the basset horn spring to mind, that were chosen for their unique tonal qualities. They sound familiar, but not quite what you were expecting. Perfect for Star Wars.

There was also a day we had not one but three harps AND three grand pianos, not to mention enough blu-tack to sink the titanic. Gordy and Stephen were both really fantastic at drawing together different instrumentation to create new and interesting sounding textures."
Photos by Alan Meyerson

Can you explain the recording process? What are the differences between recording a film score and a video game score?

"It’s actually quite different compared to scoring a movie. With a movie, the music is spotted to the picture, composed and then recorded along with that version of the picture. Barring the picture being changed and thus requiring a change to the music, that will be how the music appears in the film. You may record different elements of the music separately for ultimate control, but that version of the music will appear, linearly, in the film the same way every time you watch it.

With a video game score, it’s not so straight forward. The music is often triggered by in-game events, and thus has to be somewhat reactionary. From that point of view, it’s then not quite the same every time you play the game. So scoring video games often has more in common with production music. It is more modular, because it needs to be able to loop seamlessly depending on how long the player stays in one area, and then segue into the appropriate ending, depending on what happened in game."

What challenges arise when recoding such a massive amount of music? How did you deal with them?

"Massive, fancy spreadsheets and a whole team of people keeping tabs on what you have and haven’t got. Everything is planned in advance, down to the minute."

You also worked on this game's predecessor Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. How was it working with Gordy and Stephen again?

"It was a delight working with Gordy, Stephen and their respective teams again. They’re both exceptional composers at the top of their game so for that reason alone, it’s a joy. That they’re also superlative human beings makes it a win win win really."

Did you re-use or re-record any of the music from the first game or is this all brand new material?

"Not to say that some of the score from Jedi: Fallen Order won’t be re-implemented in the second game, but we recorded 8.5 hours of new material for Jedi: Survivor. Of course some of the thematic material is carried over from game one, but it’s all new recordings, and the sound world has been expanded on greatly for game two."

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