Five Point Fun, Mortal Kombat Style!

Hi everyone! Welcome back and I hope you have been having as much fun as I have. In a previous blog, I walked you through the C24 studio of SAE QANTM, Brisbane and described how to calibrate the environment for optimum 5.1 mixing. Today, I would like show a short piece, mixed in 5.1, in the style of the immensely popular fighting game, Mortal Kombat. If you would like an in-depth look at the musical style of Mortal Kombat then click this link.

In the latest instalment of the franchise, we can hear the complex horizontal-layering system that composer Dan Forden has used. In the system, the music changes in intensity for the different rounds of fighting and is composed in such a way that small “outro’s” or “stings” can be performed to signal the end of a round or imminent defeat. This method of composing is very effective and takes a great deal of skill to master, for the music must be interesting and develop thematically, but be able to transition to the “sting” at a moments notice without jarring the ears of the player, who is the end-user.

For the exercise I have used the “Kontakt Routing Demonstration” that I have described in an earlier blog and up-mixed it to 5.1. The piece was influenced from the Mortal Kombat X soundtrack and builds in intensity, like a mock-up of the horizontal layering approach that Forden uses so well.

This is the stereo mix of the piece and I will leave you with a link of the 5.1 mix at the end of this blog.

In the first 35-seconds, we hear the first round, the players at this stage would have an equal amount of damage. When the song hits 36-seconds one of the players would be nearing the end of their health meter and thus, the intensity increases. Needless to say that the intense section would have to be a separate layer for the programmers to implement this change.

When the song hits 54-seconds, we hear the introduction of the final round of fighting (I had only composed for two rounds in this demo) and the main theme is played again, this time by a heavy-metal band. This is a technique used in most of the Mortal Kombat games, the blending of traditional and modern instruments. In the “first-round” the theme was played by an orchestra, the tone was still serious and ominous but with the introduction of the electric guitars and drum kit, the final-round is given extra intensity and really lets the player know that things are serious! When the song reaches the 1:30 mark, the transition occurs to signal that defeat for one of the players is imminent, this is in the form of a bold solo line from the electric guitar. At 1:49 the player has either defeated their foe, or has been defeated and the “sting” occurs, which signals the end of the fighting.

To have a listen to this in 5.1 then simply click this link and download the separate channels. You will need to import them into your DAW of choice and provided your set-up has 5.1 capabilities, have a listen!

Thanks for reading!


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