The musical scores for video games have kept pace with the evolution of the games themselves, the Los Angeles Times reports, with composers bringing in as much as $2,000 per minute to create sweeping, film-like compositions. With sales projected to hit $50 billion this year, game developers can budget $500,000 or more for the soundtrack—which can prove musically challenging.
“With a film, you’re given a scene, and you have to follow the tempo and flow that the director has created,” says one composer who’s worked in both film and gaming. “With games, I’m told to write a 2-minute piece of music in a certain style to make players feel a certain way. I’m not given any pictures to work from, so I have to make that up in my head. It’s an interesting challenge to write without any pictures, but fun.”