Journey into creating the sound for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

Hey there Rock n Rollers! I’m Steve Szczepkowski, Senior Audio Director on Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. I’m here to talk to you about the score in the game and how we chose our composer
By Steve Szczepkowski

Going into this project, I already had a good idea of what I wanted musically. I did my research and because I was already a huge Marvel fan, I knew I wanted something epic. Something that made you feel like a kid, on a Saturday morning with your friends, cheering when the heroes arrive to save the day, booing the villain, throwing popcorn at the screen, screaming when all seems lost. That kind of fun. Because the Guardians are all about fun!

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Sound

My thinking was that the game would need something in the vein of “epicness”, and at the same time, bring our own flavor to highlight our unique take on the Guardians. I also wanted iconic “themes” to come back regularly during the story. I love when films and games do that. Those were my two starting points. That, and trusting I would know what I was looking for when I heard it.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy | Music

Now, all I needed was my partner in crime. The Mick to my Keith. The McCartney to my Lennon. (Insert your favorite music duo here!) Although we heard many amazing pitches, one really stood out and caught my ear.

It was from a certain mister Richard Jacques, who I was not familiar with. I quickly introduced myself to his work - Richard created some amazing music during his career. His pitch had some great stuff in there, but one track - his “Hero Theme” (which became our Guardians theme) - grabbed me right away.

I began testing some of Rich’s pitch music against some early sequences of our game, to see how it felt. His music already had that “Marvel” feel: awesome melodies, great hooks - a big and epic sound that also felt unique at the same time. I had just heard what I was waiting for. I was so excited! We had found our composer!

We had discussions and we outlined what we wanted to achieve. I could see Richard was on the same page and understood my vision. And more importantly, we understood each other. I would say something about an idea I had, and he would almost finish the sentence for me!

During production, we had many ideas in regards to themes for characters and factions, such as Lady Hellbender, Nova Corps and more. Keep an ear out and see if you can spot them as they occur over the course of the game. Also… I should mention the action!

Also… I should mention the action! Hold on tight, as there are some amazing action beats in the game. We tried to bring you to the edge of your seat with the music! Combat feels bombastic and when that “Hero theme” kicks in as you’re delivering a flying drop kick to some bad dudes – you will want throw your popcorn at the screen and yell “YES!”. I promise 😊

In the end, we delivered over five hours of amazing score that we hope gets you laughing, screaming and crying at all the right moments. We recorded it at the legendary Abbey Road studios with some of the best musicians out there and dare I say, it sounds flarkin’ epic!

This game has seen Richard and myself invested completely in bringing the best possible experience to you, the player – and become great friends in the process! That is an added reward!

Because I grew up on Rock n Roll and comic books, I feel like this game is more personal to me and that it’s maybe an opportunity to give back for all the joy that music and fiction have given to me over the years. Creatively, it has been an amazing and fulfilling experience, and I couldn’t be prouder of the work Rich, myself and the audio team have done. We can’t wait to share this score with all of you and see your reactions to the music! October 26 can’t come soon enough!