I’m pleased to announce that Mega Ran has composed the soundtrack for Incarnō: Everything Is Written! I’m especially thrilled that this is his first full videogame soundtrack.
What can you expect from it? Chill, lo-fi vibes; infectious beats; and the unique wordplay and flow Ran’s known for.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to make music a large part of the story. I was at a conference a few years ago and was horrified when videogame composers recounted stories of being brought in at the very end of a project’s development cycle to compose the soundtrack. Giving composers a few months (or even less) to match a game’s atmosphere, personality, and themes seems backwards. But bringing composers in so late also devalues the role of music in the overall game. It’s not unlike the way writers are sometimes brought in at the last minute when they really should have been collaborating with the team from the beginning.
I’m proud to report that it is quite possible to work with a composer very early on in a game’s development. In fact, Mega Ran finished the soundtrack before any of the art was done—even before I finished writing the script. We spent half of 2020 and early 2021 talking through the overall “feel” I wanted the music to have, the music genre, the game’s overall themes, the plot, character arcs and motivations, and where we could place songs in scenes.
Devs, if you haven’t spent a lot of time collaborating with composers, it’s a lot of fun! I promise.
Music in My Storytelling Process
The reason music is so important to me is that I’ve always been around it. My father would leave the radio on all day. I used to know all of the lyrics to songs played on the radio (unless they were country), and I knew all the videos played on MTV and VH1. I really couldn’t escape music if I tried. There are musical people on both sides of my family, and I’m that nerd who was in Show Choir.
I spoke with Antony Johnston recently about my visualization process. That includes music. I see stories in my head like I’m a director. I can hear characters speaking. I go over the scene until I’m happy with the action and the dialogue and, oftentimes, I end up memorizing the dialogue. When I was 10 or 11, music became a huge part of that visualization process. Music helped me focus. It became a literal soundtrack to what I was seeing in my imagination. I started recording songs off the radio to make soundtracks for my songs. And I even visualized my own music videos to fit with the stories I was seeing in my head. (Okay, I still totally do this.) They’re another way to enhance the story.
To this day, I stick my earbuds in (gotta hear every single nuance in the track), turn out the lights, and pace back and forth as I visualize my stories and let the music bring some energy to the proceedings. And when I hear some songs, they bring back memories of scenes from stories I may have not thought about for years.
It’s a cliché, but it’s true—music inhabits some space that leaves me between the physical and the spiritual. For me, music is like another character. It brings in themes and a presence in ways dialogue, characters, and plot scenarios can’t. There are soundtracks that I can’t wait to be released on Spotify, and I’m still listening to them years after their shows have ended.
I hope that Incarnō: Everything Is Written’s soundtrack will do the same for you as other soundtracks do for me. Mega Ran really captured the special time and space of this story. It won’t simply be the music you hear in the background—it will give you greater insight into these characters and their circumstances, and it’ll be fantastic music that stands on its own.
If you’d like to help a sista finish her demo, help fund videos and cover art for singles, and help fund the main game, you can support me on Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/toiya.
[Originally published at https://www.toiyakfinley.com/post/incarn%C5%8D-the-demo-soundtrack on July 9, 2021.]