Two tracks from the upcoming Halo Wars 2 have been made available for the general listen pleasure of the public. Microsoft announced that composer Gordy Haab and Finishing Move have teamed up together to work with Halo Wars 2 audio director to bring gamers the new musical score for the RTS sequel to Ensemble Studios’ Xbox 360 exclusive.
The upcoming Halo Wars 2 will release on both Xbox One and on Windows 10 for PC starting February 21st in 2017 next year. Microsoft has been reserved in their promotion and hype of the game, but doing so with notably short bursts of worthwhile information and media for fans and RTS gamers to consume, leading up to the release of the first-party title.
The two tracks made available for listening via the Xbox News Wire include “Run Little Demons” and “Isabel’s Awakening”. You can listen to both tracks below.
Haab and Finishing Move are taking over for Stephen Rippy, who composed the original Halo Wars soundtrack when the game released back in 2009. Rippy’s score was fantastic, paying homage to Marty O’Donnell’s incomparable work that he established with the original Halo trilogy while canvasing the auricular landscape of the Halo universe with something unique and action packed to reflect the strategic and explosive nature of real-time strategy games.
Haab and Finishing Move’s score – based on the teaser samples we can hear above – paint a more thoughtful presence of the universe, with “Isabel’s Awakening” taking a softer approach to conveying the mood of the game, using the string ensembles as an audible paintbrush to immerse gamers in something a bit melancholy, a bit hopeful and yet very focused.
It’s hard to get a full gauge on how good the soundtrack will be as a whole. I thought Kazuma Jinnouchi did a marvelous job with the soundtrack for Halo 5 and it’s easily one of the best soundtracks in the Halo franchise. So just because there are new faces doesn’t always mean it’s a step back or a takeaway from the legacy content that helped shape the franchise from the start.
In the article over on the Xbox News Wire, Haab and Finishing Move explain their motivations behind the score, what sort of instruments they’re using to bring the score to life, and how they used the lore, concept art and art direction as an easel in which to color in their own musical flavors into Halo Wars 2, saying…
“Having worked in the franchise previously, we definitely understand the high expectations fans have for Halo music, but I think we’d ultimately be doing the fans a disservice if we didn’t try to break new ground with some aspects of the score. The story has evolved, there are new characters and they should have new themes and soundscapes – we think we’ve done a great job of maintaining the essence of Halo music while adding our own touches to a canon of great scores.”
The interview is pretty interesting if you’re really deep into Halo lore and understanding music theory. You can look to get your hands on the upcoming game this upcoming February. The original Halo Wars wasn’t a blockbuster seller so we’ll see if things change around this time now that a PC release has been added to the equation.