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Fallout Composer Reveals What The Inside Of A Vault Really Sounds Like

Fallout Composer Reveals What The Inside Of A Vault Really Sounds Like

Ask for not whom the Vault tolls, it tolls for thee.

It’s a question that has troubled scholars for time immemorial. Probably. What exactly does the inside of a Vault from the Fallout universe sound like? The nuclear apocalypse shelters for sure have a very distinctive vibe to them, with an ambience that exudes unease and claustrophobia with just a hint of the Beach Boys. Bit like my nan's house.

The composer of Fallout 4 (and Fallout 3, New Vegas and 76 while we’re at it) Inon Zur is a master of not only music, but of creating atmosphere within video games. 

But before we get into it, stop for a moment and take in the majesty of Zur performing the Fallout 4 main theme on a solo piano. Haunting.

In a recent interview with GAMINGbible, Zur described how he went about creating that atmosphere within an area, and in the case of a Fallout Vault, within an area which doesn’t exist in real life.

“The Vault is a stuffy place, but above all the Vault is very metallic, there's a lot of metallic elements there. Now, here's the trick - I can write a lot of music with metallic elements, but then what will happen? It will merge with the real sound effects that are also metallic and it's going to create confusion. The metallic sounds usually are very sharp, so we create pads that are electronic but they will feel metallic. They will not have the attack, or the percussive sound of the sound effects. It will sound somewhat technological, it will sound somewhat metallic, but it won't be the actual metal hits.”

So there you have it. A Vault in Fallout sounds… metallic. Sure, you could have guessed that since it’s like, made of metal or whatever. But it’s still super interesting to understand the process behind crafting a game’s ambient soundtrack. Zur goes on to explain his thought procedure behind the overall tone of the music in the Fallout universe, as well.

“We know that we are inside a parallel universe where, in the 1950s, the world [as we know it] just ceased to exist - but now we are in the 2100s or whatever. There's a whole new reality that came to be. For this, I think, the last music that we knew was in the ‘50s, right? Now, from the ‘50s, there was like a diversion; an extraction from this [music], and it went to a very unknown place. Everything that used to be played by the violin, for example, will be improvised by a primitive instrument. Let's assume that all the violins, including all the expensive Stradivarius, just cease to exist. Now we need to play, I don't know, the kitchen sink or something that was left around here. Now, in Fallout specifically, I created instruments that were born in this parallel reality. We help the player be inside this universe by creating these sounds that are being played on an instrument that literally does not exist.”

Fascinating stuff. Inon Zur is currently working with Bethesda once more on the soundtrack for the upcoming Starfield which, since their acquisition of the company, Xbox say they’re hoping will be bigger than The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim when it eventually comes out. Considering Skyrim is 10 years old and still considered to be one of the greatest games of all time, that is a lofty goal. Absolute limbs if they pull it off though.

Featured Image Credit: Disney / Bethesda

Topics: Fallout, Starfield, Bethesda