Interview: Composer Austin Wintory On Journey and The Banner Saga Success

One quality that nearly every great game shares is a powerful soundtrack. Music has an impact on emotion whether or not you’re consciously listening to it. Understandably, more emphasis has been put on musical composition during recent years than ever before.

Austin Wintory is a veteran in the world of composing and delivering impactful scores to video games. His works are numerous, with the recent The Banner Saga release and Game of the Year award winning Journey being highlights. He’s had an impression on the experience of millions of gamers without them realizing it. So what’s that like? We had a chance to ask Austin a few questions about his past work, and even get some insight into what’s to come.

CraveOnline: What made you choose to work with Stoic Studios? Did you have any offers for big projects after Journey

Austin Wintory: Stoic approached me during their Kickstarter campaign, immediately after the release of Journey. I was astounded by what I saw, and instantly in love with the game they were pitching. Unsurprisingly their campaign was an enormous success, so we set off to work immediately. Beyond the game itself being so evocative, the number one thing which drew me to them was the team themselves. Alex, Arnie and John (the core of Stoic) are wonderful guys, and deeply talented. They bet the farm on The Banner Saga and I  felt a strong need to support them in that.

Did you learn anything from your experience scoring Journey that you used in The Banner Saga?

AW: Every project builds on every other. It’s hard to pinpoint any one particular lesson but I can’t imagine doing The Banner Saga without having first done Journey

How does being an award-winning composer change working in video games? Have you noticed more creative freedom on projects since the Grammy nomination or BAFTA award?

AW: I am never one to parade around past achievements. Sometimes those things help in certain ways but it’s not something I ever think to bring to the table. It’s all about music. Creative freedom, like everything else and including your paycheck, must be earned. If a person wants to hire me and then severely limit the potential of what I hope to bring to their project, I simply explain to them the path we’re heading down. And if they are digging in their heels it’s no problem to walk away. They always have good reason for behaving as they do and I can respect that. 


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