Alien: Isolation soundtrack was based on just three cues

Composers Joe Henson and Alexis Smith were asked to pick the most important moments of Jerry Goldsmith’s score
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The music of Creative Assembly’s sci-fi hit Alien: Isolation was composed primarily from a handful of tracks for the film’s original soundtrack.

During a panel interview at Game Music Connect, the title’s composers Joe Henson and Alexis Smith discussed how they tried to stay true to the work of Jerry Goldsmith, who scored the film, while also giving the game’s music a more modern twist.

“Creative Assembly actually asked us which cues were the most important, so that they could capture the atmosphere but licence as few tracks as possible,” said Smith.

“We managed to narrow it down to three tracks that contained everything that was most important from Goldsmith’s score”.

These three tracks were licensed and the duo’s firm The Flight was able to expand on them, creating a full soundtrack designed for an orchestra. Creative Assembly’s associate audio designer Jack Melham even said that the game’s artists listened to this music when designing the levels in order to ensure they were in the best mindset for creating an authentic Alien experience.

Breaking from the traditional process of creating music for video games, the team actually recorded as many musical ‘moments’ as they could early on into development. In fact, they were able to create a full 90-piece suite played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Christian Henson, another composer and brother of Joe, said: “Since this was Alien, you could make some assumptions about the score. We knew players would be in dark corridors, we know they would be eaten – a lot.” 

But while the franchise inspired much of these moments, the team were determined to focus on the original film. One of the panelists observed that a lot of the music people associated with Alien is actually from its sequel, Aliens.

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