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19th Jun 2024

Dev Diary | The Banging Beats of Elsie


Hey folks!

The music of Elsie, quite frankly, absolutely slaps. A fast-paced, colourful, action-packed game like Elsie needs a soundtrack to match and that challenge was taken on by Eric Benaim, music composer and sound designer at Knight Shift Games.

We sat down with Eric to discuss his life as a composer and inspiration for the banging beats that back Elsie’s bot butt kicking! Take a read below:

How did you get into making music for video games?
I first experimented with game music back when I was in high school. I remember having projects for computer class where I’d create my own games in Macromedia Flash (later bought by Adobe). I’d create the art, animations, music, sound effects and program the game’s logic in ActionScript. This was the first time I was able to compose music for video games.

After this, I quit making games and dedicated myself to playing the electric guitar as well as the piano. After going to music school in Venezuela and eventually moving to the United States, I decided to return to the world of composing. Dedicating my life to writing music for video games felt like a very natural decision, as it allowed me to combine two of my greatest passions.

What drew you to want to work on Elsie?
After connecting and becoming good friends with Alendro (lead programmer for Elsie), we began working together on a slew of indie games.

What drew me to Elsie is that it represented a project that involved a couple friends wanting to have fun and create a game they’d themselves love to play. It’s a passion project inspired by the games that shaped our childhood, as well as other influential games that have been released in the last couple years.

What inspires you when composing the soundtrack for Elsie?
My main inspiration is drawn from the colorful artstyle, particle effects, and other visual elements. However, the gameplay, pacing, and story have helped conjure additional imagery when sketching music.

Within Elsie there are a variety of worlds, how did you hone the vibe of each of them?
Initially, we had discussions regarding each world’s sound world. This helped add some separation between the music of the different biomes.

The main elements helping contribute to this separation are the instruments and rhythms chosen for each piece. However, a lot of cohesiveness is gained by introducing level-specific thematic material (during the exploration phase of the levels) that is later developed during the boss music tracks.

Can you let us into your secrets of how you make sounds (e.g. lasers, blasts etc)?
The technique I used to design most of Elsie’s sound effects involves layering multiple sources (synthesizers and recordings) and processing each layer to add character, or help the parts feel cohesive.

For example, the vocal portion of the robotic animal enemy sound effects all originated from animal sound recordings that were processed and transformed. These were often times layered with recordings of small motors and other machinery

What has been your biggest challenge when creating the music so far?
The biggest challenge so far has been to maintain a similar music style to the one we had when I first joined the project nine years ago. I’ve grown a lot as a composer and my creative decisions take me in different directions at times!

Do you have a favourite track (if you can talk about it)?
My favorite track so far is probably the boss theme from Trishula’s Tundra. It gave me an opportunity to incorporate the themes and other musical material from the level’s exploration music into a more active and intense composition. I was also able to include a bit of traditional folkloric Venezuelan music for the final section of the track, which was a lot of fun!

Who’s your favourite character in Elsie?
Tera! She has been modeled after the older ladies that work at Cuban coffee shops. They are lightning fast, strong, colorful and often packed with a wealth of wisdom.

Thanks for sharing, Eric!

If you’re ready to go out into the world of Ekis and find the missing Guardians, Wishlist Elsie now for more very soon!

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