Featuring Original Music Composed by Austin Wintory
Varèse Sarabande will release the ABZÛ – Original Game Soundtrack on CD October 21, 2016. The album features the original music composed by Austin Wintory (JOURNEY, ASSASSIN’S CREED SYNDICATE, GRACE).
“Matt Nava showed me some concept art he’d been making for a new game he was dreaming up: gorgeous underwater landscapes that straddled the line between being realism and fantasy. Not long after, the studio Giant Squid was founded and he invited me to join him in the creation of ABZÛ,” said Wintory.  “The overall progression was not unlike our prior collaboration on JOURNEY.  I started with a theme (“To Know, Water”) very early in the process and then spent the next 3 years developing that material in tandem with the game. Both game and music went through many iterations and conceptual shapes before arriving in what you hear and see now. The resulting score is one I can definitely say pushed me into territory I’d never been.”
ABZÛ is an epic descent into the depths of the sea, where players will explore beautifully rendered ocean environments with fluid swimming controls. The experience draws inspiration from the deep innate narrative that we all carry within our subconscious: the story of ABZÛ is a universal myth that resonates across cultures. The name references a concept from the oldest mythologies; it is the combination of the two ancient words AB, meaning ocean, and ZÛ, meaning to know. ABZÛ is the ocean of wisdom.
“I’ve had to play the game quite a lot in order to wrap my head around exactly what the player’s experience is going to likely be, and then craft music to be maximally compatible with that,” said Wintory. “I don’t want to dictate to the player what they should be doing or thinking, but I also don’t want the music to be a shot in the dark with what is going on. The process ends up being a lot of experimentation, trial and error, and playtesting and iterating.” Wintory concluded, “To me, a hands-on experience is crucial. If the score comes from a deep understanding of the game, it has a better chance of adding something meaningful to the game.”
Grammy-nominated and two-time BAFTA-winning composer Austin Wintory’s diverse career has straddled the worlds of film, games and concert music. In 2012, Austin’s soundtrack for the hit PlayStation3 game JOURNEY became the first-ever Grammy-nominated videogame score, also winning two British Academy Awards, and a host of others. Excerpts from the score have been performed all over the world since its release, by ensembles such as the National Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Colorado Symphony and Pacific Symphony. In 2016 Austin began an international tour of the complete orchestral score to JOURNEY,performed live and interactively while the game is played on-stage.
Since JOURNEY‘s release, his works have run the gamut creatively and in scope. His next major game releases were THE BANNER SAGA (2014) and ASSASSIN’S CREED SYNDICATE (2015). The two scores netted Austin consecutive BAFTA nominations (for career total of 6), and both were awarded “Video Game Score of the Year” by his peers in the composer community at ASCAP. Austin has also scored nearly 50 feature films, and his first major film score, for the Sundance Film Festival-winning film CAPTAIN ABU RAED, was shortlisted for Academy Awards for Best Original Score by the LA Times. His next major film, GRACE, was also a hit at the Sundance Film Festival. Austin’s score (which featured a wild array of custom-recorded sounds such as babies crying and horse flies, in addition to a large ensemble of clarinets at Abbey Road Studios) was also highly lauded. His most recent films are writer/director Adam Alleca’s STANDOFF, starring Thomas Jane and Laurence Fishburne, and Amin Matalqa’s THE RENDEZVOUS, starring Stana Katic.
Austin also maintains a busy concert performance and composing schedule, with premieres regularly scheduled in both chamber and orchestral settings. He is the composer-in-residence of the West Michigan Symphony, with premieres scheduled for the next 3 seasons, and is regularly a guest conductor of his own works with the Colorado Symphony.
Giant Squid and 505 Games presents ABZÛ, available on now Playstation 4 and Microsoft Windows. Varèse Sarabande will release the ABZÛ – Original Game Soundtrack on CD October 21, 2016.