It was said that with Star Wars (and the same can be said with Star Trek) that if it wasn't for the music, it would've been a boring story.
While Cryptic may not be allowed to use the Themes from Star Trek (which is odd IMHO), it doesn't prevent the STO music director to create music that has that same spirit. And while the original STO music is boring, the recent Soundtracks that were added on recently are really very good.
We just need more Themes that sound familiar.
Klingon Themes on Qo'nos with drum beats, in Space, music starting off similar to the Klingon theme and then going to a higher paced battle theme.
ESD, something similar to the Homecoming music from ST3.
DS9 with a theme similar to the DS9 theme.
If we can get more music that fits Star Trek, the experience in the game would really pick up.
What set all of this off for me was that I just started playing SWTOR last night and noticed the drastic difference in music usage. Bio-Ware is in the same exact position as Crytpic. They are a third party developer, creating a game for an IP. But TOR uses massive amounts of SW music and changes it almost on a dynamic level. It was a rather amazing experience. Much more impressive than STO.
This is because George Lucas made sure he owned all of the rights to everything whereas CBS/Paramount didn't.
Roddenberry used a loophole to get a non-exclusive, 50% royalty rights to the TOS theme and Cryptic has licensed that. That's why you hear bits of it in most Trek projects.
There are a lot of royalty free composers. Cryptic:
- Had a staff composer at one point.
- Traditionally had one set of royalty free music for games. (Which is why the City of Heroes theme started popping up on talk shows like Ellen.)
- Has a subscriptrion to a service for music in trailers.
I tried approaching the album music rights holders for Trek music to see if they'd be interested in contacting Cryptic for virtual album distribution, using the STO client as an interactive music player. I think this approach might work but it would probably need IP lawyers to vet it and lots of approvals from lots of people.
The idea being that Cryptic would sell an album on the website and bundle the album with any disc releases, should there be any. The album intelligently plays within the STO client and possibly out of game in a Cryptic Music player. (Which is basically the FMOD audio engine that they use in the client, with a music player UI.)
I think this idea goes over a lot of people's heads but the basic idea is to treat Cryptic's client as a music player for these purposes and make Cryptic a retail distributor for Trek music rather than a licensee.
The alternative is that they'd need to license music in bundles of time or pay a perpetual license fee, which would be more expensive than it might be for a one off game.
This is EXACTLY what STO needs--quality Trek music! The music makes the games--the series! I would love to have different era music for STO as you see in the list below: TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY, and ENT. And I agree with some of the others in that you don't need to use the original scores from the movies to create the Star Trek sound. I do think that you do need to borrow the flavors of the various composers from the series, movies, and games and bring that to the music of STO. I think a lot can be taken away from these two interviews of Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner.
While some of these games are really basic nowadays in all departments, the soundtrack is one of the reasons I keep coming back to playing them, if STO had more music like this then believe me, I would play it a loooot more, I would be more immersed and missions wouldn't seem like such a grind which is how I associate the current lackluster tracks we have had for 3 years.
I think Star Trek New Worlds shows that you can get rid of the traditional Trek sound and still make a great soundtrack that fits with the Trek universe, New Worlds was a pretty bad game when it came out but the soundtrack was amazing.
One thing to note is - these tracks aren't all that long or complex, same goes for the current STO soundtrack, it's just that the current soundtrack is rather dull and terrible for a Trek game and to be honest I don't think it fits with anything, it's one of the worst aspects about missions as you have to listen to it(No I'm not going to turn it off and listen to my own music, that doesn't immerse me when I'm doing featured episodes or flying through sector space.)
From day one apart from the opening 8 bars of Trek music this game has been utterly disappointing in it's lack of original Trek music. It's called Star Trek Online but where is the Star Trek music? Even the music they do have is so utterly boring after just a few hours play that most people leave it off or become totally unaware of it.
The lack of Trek music and in addition the lack of Trek original actors likenesses and voice assets greatly cheapen the experience of Star Trek Online. It makes it feel like a second rate game that can't afford the assets that would make it a more immersive Star Trek experience. This is a shame because STO is certainly not a second rate game. I feel some of the blame must go to CBS for it's utter inability to understand the phenomenal IP it holds licence for, why is there no Trek on TV when for almost 50 years it has been massively popular and at a time when Sci-Fi is a major big screen genre?
It feels like the game is run by accountants rather than visionaries, and the old Cryptic mantra of "it's good enough" shines through still in many areas. Until this game is owned by a company with imagination and the vision to capitalise on the almost endless love for the IP then we will be stuck with the same moribund format and I fear little will change.
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I'm all for Cryptic making original music with the Trek spirit over using the original music, especially because it would be cheaper and they won't have to kill the budget for the actual game to do it. So long as it keeps that Trek spirit, whether it is Federation or Klingon, Borg, or Romulan, I'll be happy.
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