By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Composer Stephen Barton (who composed the score for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare) will be responsible for creating the musical score for Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall, due out this spring for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC. Barton will complete his part of the score at Abbey Road Studios utilizing a large orchestra to create his arrangements.  The press release mentions he will be blending electronic and orchestral elements. It’s interesting that a multiplayer only title like Titanfall is getting this much attention in the music department, but I look forward to seeing what Barton comes up with and if it stands out in-game or not. Check below for the full press release and more quotes from Barton.

titanfall stephenbarton

Los Angeles, August 20, 2013 – The inaugural title from Respawn Entertainment (led by one of the co-creators and many of the principal developers of the Call of Duty series), Titanfall will be released in Spring 2014 for the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC, but has already garnered numerous awards and impressive buzz among critics and enthusiasts, having been shrouded in mystery for more than three years.

The game is entirely multiplayer, in a new experience that combines fast-paced action with the heroic set piece moments traditionally found in the campaign of a single-player game. There are two factions of protagonists with which players can align themselves. Set in a distant frontier torn by war, a dystopian galactic battle rages between corporate dominance and individual rights. The Interstellar Mining Corporation (IMC) is either a soulless aggressor looking to strip resources from the galaxy without regard for collateral damage, or a strong authority with the noble goal of a more utopian society. The Militia are either terrorists against the rule of law, or freedom fighters against evil overlords.

This deliberate ambiguity as to who is the protagonist/antagonist, and the need for a musical signature for each side and an overall sound world unique to the game poses a great challenge for the music. Barton reflects, “in most films and games it’s pretty clear which side is the heroic side. Titanfall is much more ambivalent and complex, so that has to reflect in how the music portrays each side from each perspective.”

Relying not only on his extensive and eclectic experience as a composer, but also on his early studies of classical and ethnic music traditions, Barton is employing a vast range of both traditional and nontraditional resources, including numerous ethnic instruments, a heavy arsenal of electronica, offset with the more traditional orchestral elements familiar in cinematic music.

While some of the ethnic instrumentation for Titanfall is being recorded in Los Angeles with particular specialists, Barton will complete the organic aspect of the score at the legendary Abbey Road Studios, with a large orchestra assembled from the best musicians in London.

In video game scores it’s becoming increasingly common to record many elements live, but it’s still a big deal for a game to do it at this level. Barton has recorded at Abbey Road numerous times before, but remains awed by Studio 1’s “iconic sound, warm but epic — everything recorded in there sounds bigger, larger than life” — as well as the “rich intimacy” of Studio 2, home to so many noted recordings of the Beatles and beyond.

For Titanfall, “the goal is to create a truly cinematic and unique soundtrack that draws you deeper into this all-new universe.”

For more information on the game and Stephen Barton, please visit, and



The rising expectations of gamers for an immersive, cinematic experience outpaces even the demands on the highest grossing blockbuster movies, and composers are part of a group of people finding themselves as much in demand in the game industry as in Hollywood. Music is integral to the operatic scope of major video game franchises as it is to the movies: the latest generation of composers must move freely between these two worlds, understanding that in both the key element is serving the story. One of the composers in this new group is Stephen Barton, whose principal scores include Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and the upcoming Titanfall amidst an extensive slate of movie and television projects. A British native who moved to Los Angeles in 2001 at the age of 19 to write additional music for Dreamworks’ Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Barton worked with Harry Gregson-Williams for seven years as a composer, programmer and orchestrator. Barton had himself been a performer from a very early age, both as a singer and classical pianist, but in these early years and then subsequently founding his own studio he quickly became immersed in the technological side of music-making during a time where electronic music moved from an influential niche to the dominant mainstream. His personal tastes are as eclectic and omnivorous as his resume: his work in film has coincided with a general shift from purely orchestral scores towards a palette more representative of the music industry as a whole, requiring the composer to move, chameleon-like, between the homegrown indie and the major blockbuster. “Wherever there is a good story that you can be a part of telling, that’s where I like to be.” With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Infinity Ward perfected a genre that had its roots in games such as Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. Barton provided the game’s cinematic score which fused heavy electronic elements and unusual ethnic instrumentation (such as hurdy-gurdy and numerous wind instruments) into the traditional cinematic orchestral score. The game went on to be one of the most successful and influential first person shooters ever made, selling over 14 million copies. He has recently completed the score for indie darling Patricia Clarkson’s latest film Last Weekend, and is currently working on the music for Titanfall, the highly anticipated first game from Respawn Entertainment, a new studio founded by Vince Zampella, Jason West and the majority of the original members of Infinity Ward. The game is to be released in March 2014, but has already won over 60 “Best in Show” awards at E3 2013. Other recent projects have included Disney’s Motorcity, a series with the animation studio Titmouse with whom he has frequently collaborated, as well as scoring James Cameron’s Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away for Paramount Pictures. These projects join a diverse resume of over three dozen major feature films and video games to which he has contributed music, such as Jennifer’s Body, Sir Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, Tony Scott’s Déjà Vu and Man On Fire, Ben Affleck’s Gone, Baby Gone, and extensive work on both the Chronicles of Narnia and Shrek franchises (for which he wrote a song on the platinum-selling Shrek 2 soundtrack). He has also worked on numerous other projects, most notably working extensively with Sir Anthony Hopkins after producing the soundtrack to his movie Slipstream in 2006, as well as performing with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and the Maggiore Musica di Firenze.

Leave a Reply