Soundtrack preferences for SS3


Yup, I’ve read it, and one day before they made this update I tried “contacting” them to talk about the soundtrack (made a comment on one of their posts from the facebook page). Don’t know if it was effective, but they’re going the way I tried suggesting, mixing electronic and orchestral. Can’t wait to see what they may come up with.


I didn’t mention before, but I like this artist. He does kind of a Synthwave, 80’s style, but with a really modern touch. I think he’s one who would be able to do something pretty cool for a System Shock game. Be the judges:


Yep, that’s pretty much the “OMG please tell me there’s a dedicated slider for muting the music track” style I was referencing above as not my preferred accompaniment for SS3. :wink:

It’s interesting, and I might be able to enjoy it on its own, but it’s just too in-your-face distracting for me as “music” for a game where I’d like to be able to immerse myself in the world of that game.

As an alternative, what about something more like this? This is the “Barrett Boss Fight” track from Michael McCann’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution soundtrack. It’s certainly not light on the heart-pounding beat, but it’s more a combination of electronic and orchestral components than heavy metal electronica. For me, that makes it less distracting, but maybe I’m too stuck in the world of film scoring.


What in the hell was that awful noise? Dubstep crossed with metal. Now that would have me begging for a music slider too, and I never turn off game music.

Dubstep needs to die already.


Some (probably most) of the playable areas should instill anxiety and fear in the player and these extremely “lively” tracks are not suitable for that. There are times when they are appropriate to be sure, but most of the scores should reflect the discretion of the player and the horrific, unknown, sci-fi element of the environment. Again, if you listen to SS2’s tracks and recall when they played in the game, you will see what I’m talking about. If 90% of the music is heavy drums, metal or whatever you call that stuff, dubstep? I will be very disappointed. But just to re-iterate, some of it is fine and it does have its place.


SS2’s more upbeat music is old school 90s drum & bass. The sub-genre Techstep primarily, but there is other sub-styles and influences too.
Music posted by Phasma is dubstep crossed with metal, labelled there as “MetalStep”, but I’m not sure if that is a commonly recognized name yet.

And yeah, the music plays at very appropriate locations in SS2 that reflect the story events and the action, or lack thereof.


It’s less distracting, for sure. It reminds me, Deus Ex Main Theme is REALLY good. The one that plays on the main title screen. What I posted here was more for measure, show how the guy works with electronic sounds.

Hear more of his works, those metalstep are the latest things he made, and I must be sincere with you, I don’t like dubstep, but what this guy made doesn’t sound even close to dubstep to me. I’m accustomed associating dubstep with this:

What he does always sounds to me pretty tied with a heavier synthwave. This is one of his older works:
I like the use of synths and drums here, they have a melody. Some of his other works sound close to heavy metal with synths in place of guitars. I just like it.

Well, that’s the closest to VGM I can find while searching youtube, other work I like is The Orb, but that’s too calm for the likes of SS2, for instance. I’m just posting these here for discussion really, I know something for the new SS must be less agitated.

Other than what I’ve posted, the only things I think sound better are proper VGM music, like SS1’s intro and even Lucian’s theme. Yeah… From League of Legends.

EDIT: This was the first thing I heard from the guy:
Reminds me the vibe from Command 2, from SS2.


Time for editing passed, but I want to add this track here, from Street Fighter 3, that has a lot of tracks I like, but this one caught me unprepared when I first heard it: (Song actually begins at 0:33, but the intro is cool.)

This one here’s also great:


with some small, or not so small adjustments I think these might be suitable for a Shock game: 1:10 - 3:10


That second one you’ve posted sounds really good. When they remixed System Shock 1’s intro I expected something more in this style. What they made lacks what the original track was, it isn’t the same song, it uses it as a sample. For comparison: F-Zero’s Mute City adaptation from F-Zero X is great, it brings the original song (still the the same melody and beat) to something new, that still resembles F-Zero. The subsequent remixes of the song sounded REALLY off.


Found another artist I think can do something that fits System Shock:
It’s actually from the same guy that did Hotline Miami’s soundtrack.

Also, another great work that I think System Shock could take influence from. This sounds perfect:

Anything Synthwave I think would fit really well for a remake of the classic soundtrack.


I wish I knew more of the nomenclature of music so I could sound intelligible when I talk about it. I think more of the synth instruments are the ones that evoke the feel of SS2 the best and if SS3 is anything like SS2 (I think it should be, and borrow gameplay elements from SS1), then it should be right at home with a heavily synthesized sound track. This orchestral stuff… I dunno. I don’t like it. It’s not that it’s bad music. It’s just that it does not fit into the aesthetic of the game that ND has seemed to nail pretty well so far.

If you listen to the opening track for the original SS1 and then listen to the remake, you can pick up the original track in there but just barely. It seems to be kind of buried beneath a layer of heavy instruments and beats that I don’t think add much. I would prefer to hear the original tones and melody underneath, that I recognize. If they could simply modernize that, it would sound much better to me.


That matches exactly my feelings toward what they made with this remake of the original song. Too much drums, too little melody. Doesn’t even sound like the original for the most part. I suggest synthwave because it is basically this, you have lot of the ethereal sounds of a synthesizer, coupled with slower drums (by slower I mean something a human could reproduce in an actual drum kit). Pretty much what the original System Shock main theme was made of.

I’ve posted about this artist in my last post and I think what he does nails pretty well the point of System Shock’s music. With some tweaks it could match the style of the game with nothing lost in the process:

About the orchestral music, well, the way they’re going to put it, mixing it with electronic stuff, if they do it the right way, I think it may sound as good as a purely synthesized track. Let us wait and see.


I’m gonna throw down darkwave as a suggestion for music design.

Gary Numan:

Switchblade Symphony:

I don’t think industrial noise gets its due in the game music industry, either.

Skinny Puppy:

I could image SHODAN’s glitching voice being dubbed into the music already. Let’s call it glitchstep?

PS: Might be nice to mix sanity effects like static overlays on vision, real artifacting and glitching, into the matrix of what’s seen onscreen, just to mess with the player.

Match it to the music for extra fun.


I quite like industrial, it has a darker atmosphere mostly, and could match some levels from System Shock, such as the Reactor level. The original track already sounded pretty much like industrial stuff.

From the three you posted, Switchblade Symphony sounds the best to me.


I didn’t mention, because I had almost forgotten about it, but there’s a really good site that provides a lot of info regarding electronic music. It has some DnB and Neurofunk examples that I liked a lot (Neurofunk mostly), so, maybe something in those styles may not sound as bad as I thought, disregarding what they did with the remake of the original’s intro.


I pretty much concur, though I think you should give Numan another shot. He was a huge influence on NIN, and I simply love Trent Reznor’s soundtracks.


THIS ^^ Right around 3:00 it sounds awesome and everything that needs to be there for an SS3 game, is. Later on have some good sequencing as well and 99% of the instruments fit perfectly. Robot kid needs to do something up like this.


Whichever music style or styles they land on is up to them, although I really do feel SS2 is a good starting point as that music totally works even today.

I do however feel that dynamically cutting, looping and mixing music and audio tracks is where it’s at for atmosphere. Eric Brosius had the right idea with Thief in that the sound echoed whatever was happening at the time, so every environment was just loud with atmosphere.


Do you mean American dubstep, or proper dubstep?

This is proper dubstep: