When most composers approach a film or game, there's a tendency to create a main theme track.
I took a different approach on "Oddworld Stranger's Wrath". While I created some core motifs and ideas that I employed throughout much of the music, this soundtrack never really ended up having a purposefully created main theme track.
But if there is any piece that would be a central tenant or figure, "Fighting Outlaws" would be one of them. I informally think of it as the track that represents the soundtrack more than the rest of the 5 hours composed for the game.
There's an interesting story behind this track and the soundtrack in general. It speaks to limitations and how they can really be used as an advantage instead of a negative.
I felt strongly that the music needed live percussion and also live guitar.
Oddworld, as a company, was small and independent. While being independent meant we were free to take chances on fresh ideas, it also meant that sometimes we didn't have resources that a big publisher / developer like EA or Activision had. In this case, I didn't have any kind of budget that would allow me to hire outside live musicians.
I wasn't going to let that stop me and decided if I wasn't going to have access to these musicians, I'd do it myself. While I was an accomplished musician, at that time I didn't know how to play percussion and surely I had never picked up a guitar.
So, I began taking percussion lessons and practicing. At the same time, I bought a cheap guitar and began getting familiar with the instrument.
"Fighting Outlaws" was probably one of the first tracks I recorded myself playing both percussion and guitar. For the percussion, I ended up creating a simple rhythmic pattern and then overdubbing 3 - 4 different hand drums. For the guitar, I mainly stuck to forging a melody, which became the centerpiece of the whole track.
I truly believe that obstacles and limitations force creativity. They appear to take away choice but are really opportunities to think differently about processes and results. And in that, to create new, unique choices and options.
Through forcing myself to learn these instruments well enough to play them on recordings, it gave me the power to be self-sufficient and to create and iterate on a piece of music quicker and more effectively.
You can hear the "Fighting Outlaws" track along with other music from the "Oddworld Stranger's Wrath" soundtrack on my Soundcloud page.