The video game Undertale, which was released on September 25th, 2015, was created by Toby Fox, whose talents as a musician were all too evident in his project. Given his past works before the game, he built up a lot of experience beforehand.
Looking at Undertale, aspiring musicians can learn a lot about their career prospects.
1. Think big and think outside of the box.
Toby Fox managed to combine his skills as a musician with his interest in video games, which led to the completion of a critically-acclaimed project.
Musicians should not have to think of their potential future careers as limited to one particular path. Whether you choose to go on to performing live in concerts, joining a band, releasing a record label, or working on films or video games, you have to be aware of what other talents you possess besides playing and creating music.
2. Songs can be repurposed to create great new pieces.
One particularly notable aspect that was evident in Undertale’s soundtrack was that certain songs sounded similar when remixed, slowed down, or sped up by software. As it turns out, this was Toby Fox’s method of creating different riffs that sounded unique, without the similarities being evident until the songs were analyzed closely. His method of creating music shows that, when creating music, all kinds of techniques have to be considered.
The music was also created to match each situation in the game, which means that composers should pay attention to appropriate placement of songs in a scene, whether it happens to be in a film or game.
3. Composers should think of a signature piece.
For any aspiring musician out there, having a signature song creates more recognition from them. People thinking of “Gangnam Style” will recognize it as PSY’s most famous work, for example. Similarly, people who know of Undertale and Toby Fox will recognize “Megalovania” as the soundtrack’s most famous piece.
Any composer looking to gain fame should be keeping in mind of the need to have a recognizable song, instantly attributed to him or her (though the signature piece may be created unintentionally as well).
Undertale is a masterpiece of a video game created by a skilled musician combining his love for music with a love of video games. The success of the work indicates that aspiring musicians should look anywhere and everywhere for inspiration as well as potential careers in the field.
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Kevin Kwon is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley, currently 23 years old. He works in San Francisco and hopes to continue in the graduate studies regarding the field of psychology.