While this game’s mu­sic has a slightly darker tinge than

Fa­ble fans may be used to, it’s im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent that regular com­poser Rus­sell Shaw has re­turned. But, as au­dio direc­tor Steve Brown ex­plains,

Leg­ends orig­i­nally de­vi­ated from con­ven­tion in far more rad­i­cal fash­ion. “We tried tak­ing it away from the [familiar] fran­chise sound to breathe new life into it. At a very early stage, we added it to the game, and while the vi­su­als of Al­bion were very sim­i­lar, when we changed the mu­si­cal tex­tures, in­tro­duced gui­tars and bass drums and crazy stuff for a more con­tem­po­rary [sound], it just didn’t work. It didn’t give you the fun and the fri­vol­ity and the el­e­ments of pathos that Fa­ble mu­sic tra­di­tion­ally has.”

As the ac­tion de­mands, the themes are gen­er­ally of a higher tempo, though there are nat­u­ral lulls when the fight­ing dies down. The chal­lenge of scor­ing a mul­ti­player game is ev­i­dently dif­fer­ent from a tra­di­tional

Fa­ble adventure, too: whereas be­fore the mu­sic would ac­cen­tu­ate the pro­tag­o­nist’s story arc, with so many he­roes in­volved this time, it will now ad­just to tell the story of the re­gion you’re ex­plor­ing and sup­port the nar­ra­tive thread of the cur­rent quest.

Leg­ends also in­tro­duces a dy­namic el­e­ment in the form of the Pen­du­lum sys­tem. “We’ve al­ways loved it in games where you sud­denly get into com­bat and the mu­sic’s ral­ly­ing, but you don’t know how you got there be­cause it’s just blended or­gan­i­cally. But our game is a game of two sides, vil­lain and hero, so you’ve got to tell two sto­ries [with the mu­sic].”

As such, as the tide of battle ebbs and flows, you’ll hear no­tice­able shifts in the theme: there’s ‘good’ mu­sic and an ‘evil’ vari­ant, which dou­bles as feed­back for the play­ers, so you al­ways have a strong sense of which side has the up­per hand.

Sound ef­fects are sim­i­larly cru­cial to de­ter­min­ing the cur­rent state of play. Brown sounds faintly em­bar­rassed when he uses the term ‘sonic sig­ni­fier’, but ex­plains that each char­ac­ter has a dis­tinc­tive sound­set that al­lows play­ers to bet­ter lo­cate one an­other when they’re out of sight, a fea­ture that will be par­tic­u­larly ev­i­dent for those with sur­round sound set­ups. There’s also a har­monic stab when­ever play­ers are downed. “When you hear this big crash and Inga’s sword and shield smack on the floor, you’ll in­stantly know that she’s near and she’s in trou­ble.”

Brown is in­volved in the voice cast­ing process, too, but while he’s pre­pared to ad­mit that in some cases the team has au­di­tioned al­most 100 peo­ple for a sin­gle hero, he’s coy about whether any big-name stars are in­volved. “We’ve kind of screwed our­selves by set­ting it in the past,” he cheer­fully adds. “Now we can’t have any of our ex­ist­ing char­ac­ters back!”

Each hero has a dif­fer­ent mo­ti­va­tion for help­ing out. The ap­pro­pri­ately named Tip­ple, for in­stance, is a tank char­ac­ter who needs money to pay off his hefty bar tab

Steve Brown is the game’s au­dio direc­tor

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