The Creative Process of Composing for Video Games: From Pitching to Gold Master and Beyond

Timothy Summers, Stephen Baysted

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This chapter explores the composer’s experience of writing music for video games. It does so by following the musical creative process through the cycle of video game development. It begins with the pitching process, examines the factors at play in establishing the musical approach to the game, considers the compositional challenges of the video game medium, outlines approaches to recording the music, and finishes by explaining the role of music in the game’s marketing. While characterizing the creative processes of game music in general, the chapter uses two contrasting racing games as case studies. At each stage, the chapter emphasizes the variety of factors and agents involved in the musical decisions. Ultimately, the chapter suggests that the creative process of game music sits in tension between the financial realities of the marketplace, the practicalities of technology, and the creative ambitions of the producers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Creative Process in Music
EditorsNicolas Donin
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780190636197
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2020


  • composition
  • dynamic music
  • adaptive music
  • racing games

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