Inside Battlefield 4: The Battlefield Music

If you can’t stop humming the Battlefield 4 theme, or maybe dropping extra beads of sweat listening to the dramatic score, composers/producers Jukka Rintamäki and Johan Skugge are the ones to thank. Here, they give you the details behind the music of Battlefield 4.

From the streets of Seine Crossing to the forests of Caspian Border, veterans of Battlefield 3 have already been fighting to the music of Jukka Rintamäki and Johan Skugge. For Battlefield 4, Jukka and Johan are back, sharing the composing and producing duties. In this installment of Inside Battlefield 4, the duo talks about re-imagining the Battlefield 4 theme, musical influences and the challenges of creating a videogame score. In this post we’ll also share the music of Battlefield 4 with you, in the form of ringtones.

Pressphoto_Rintamäki_Skugge- - 640

Battlefield 4 music composers and producers Jukka Rintamäki and Johan Skugge, looking for inspiration outside their favorite kebab place. Apart from doing Battlefield music, they also compose for their band No Science.

The Battlefield 4 Theme

The Battlefield 4 theme has naturally been a great part of our work. We spent a lot of time discussing the theme with the audio department at DICE and the initial idea was to make something warmer and more organic when compared to Battlefield 3. This was our goal not only with the Battlefield 4 theme but the entire soundtrack of the game.

The official theme to Battlefield 4 in ringtone form. Find more ringtones on the Battlefield Soundcloud account.

The classic Battlefield theme, that’s been around since Battlefield 1942, is very dramatic with the big drum pattern as the main riff. It also suggests adventure which is a perfect fit for the game. What we’ve tried in our versions of the Battlefield 4 theme is to make it resonate with the overall feel of the game and the rest of the music.

We started work on the theme by using a lot of organic instruments, guitars, cellos and even tubas. We experimented a ton, and in a couple of months we were heading back down the path of a more electronic sounding theme. It seemed to fit the game the best, though. But some of the first recordings we and fellow musician David Tallroth did, and the vibe that came from playing with guitars and cellos, remain here and there on different tracks. Though the main theme ended up being mostly electronic and quite harsh, there are fragments of a more organic approach left in its DNA.

Musical Tone and Influences

It’s hard to place the music of Battlefield in a certain genre. It could be defined as electronic music but it’s not exactly that either, since we’ve used quite a lot of guitars and effect pedals to make it feel more organic. And it isn’t classical war music or “music for a wargame” either. Much of the inspiration has come from Blade Runner or the movies of John Carpenter. Maybe it can be defined as “retro-futuristic dark synth music” – if that category exists!

The so-called “Stinger”, a beat that’s been around since Battlefield 1942. Find more ringtones on the Battlefield Soundcloud account.

There was a lot of experimenting during the recording sessions to get a unique flavor of the tracks. We recorded some huge metal plates that we hung in the studio ceiling, for instance, bashing the plates with drumsticks to make gong-like sounds. Those sounded exotic to our ears. It wasn’t intended to be specifically Asian or something like that, it just sounded so great that we had to use it. The sound of the metal plates can be heard in the “Oppression” track in the Battlefield 4 soundtrack.

Another exotic sound that is present on the soundtrack is an ebow (electrical bow), being used on a steel guitar. That combination produced an unfamiliar, exciting sound that fit in great in all sorts of environments in the game. On some tracks you can hear the ebow and steel guitar sounding like strings, and sometimes like sirens.

The Battlefield 4 theme locked and loaded on the music crew's synthesizer.

The Battlefield 4 theme locked and loaded on the music team’s DSI Mopho Keyboard. Other synthesizers used during production were Korg MS-20, ARP Avatar, Roland Juno-6 and DSI Evolver.

Challenges Along the Way

One of the most challenging parts with creating the music for a game like Battlefield 4 takes place before the composing and recording even begins. Everyone needs to agree on what type of music is needed, how it should feel, what kind of instruments and sounds we want to work with, and other kind of things.

We also need to understand the game before we can compose suitable music to it. The more you familiarize yourself with the game, the better. Usually the stages in-game are not finished when we produce the music, so it’s important to have a clear vision of how the game should sound. It is also critcial for us to understand what the sound designer is trying to do, and what we as composers can do to make the overall music and sound experience as rich, deep, and emotional as possible.

Battlefield 4 tune named “Escalation” in ringtone form. Find more ringtones on the Battlefield Soundcloud account.

It’s also quite a challenge composing for a video game compared to composing for other media. One of the reasons for this, at least when it comes to Battlefield 4, is that the game and the music is dynamic. Your musical experience varies depending on what happens in the game, how fast you move forward, and so on. The intro part on a certain track can be 20 seconds or 5 minutes – depending on who’s playing. The tracks on the official soundtrack can be very different to the versions that the players themselves are “composing” while playing the game.

The ebow was used on both electric guitars and steel guitars for the Battlefield 4 soundtrack.

An ebow was used on a vintage Guyatone Lapsteel guitar to produce various exotic sounds for the soundtrack.

With so many vast areas in Battlefield 4, like the far-reaching sea, we worked on several tracks expressing a feeling of open spaces. One keyword in this process was “Journey”, and we spent a lot of time trying to find the right tone. We struggled a bit with this but in the end, the piece “Majestic Valkyrie” was a great fit with a lot of the naval scenes.

Rewarding Work

I love when music inspires players; that is the greatest reward. It’s of course great when players get totally immersed in the game and the story with the help of the enhancement of the music, but the nicest thing is when the music means a lot to people outside the game. Someone did a 10 hour version of the song Solomon’s Theme from Battlefield 3 and posted it on YouTube, and we’re seeing similar kinds of things happening with the Battlefield 4 music. I think that is fantastic, we’re very happy with our work and to see that it moves people feels great.

We hope you have enjoyed this post! The Battlefield 4 Official Soundtrack is available on Spotify and iTunes now. Make sure to get Battlefield 4 to enjoy the music of all-out war. For more behind-the-scenes pieces like these, check out all our The Road to Battlefield 4 articles.

Comments
  • Post a comment
    You must be logged in to comment. Log in
  • 351Nova 02.07.14 at 19:48

    Good Work Men !

  • Cpt_Ne0 01.30.14 at 13:11

    PUT BACK THE OLD BATTLEFIELD OFFICIAL THEME SOUND BACKKKKKKKKKK
    NO ONE LIKE THE NEW THEME SOUND TRACK 111
    the theme sound track when starting battlefield 2

    • Cpt_Ne0 01.30.14 at 13:12

      WE want BF 2 STARTING theme sound track back …

      • Cpt_Ne0 01.30.14 at 13:13

        AND make sound tracks Epic and glorious as if a true HEROIC sounds of the war !!! good tip guys

  • SuperKNZ 01.25.14 at 04:13

    Honestly, I think BFBC2 was the last greatest soundtrack. I was hooked to BF series after listening to the 1943 theme on the PS3, it was so epic I would leave the game on just to listen to it. Now, I feel disappointed after the new direction the guys took with BF3, and insisted to adopt in BF4. I suppose fixing what is not broken is a DICE trademark by now .

    • THCxAPOLLO13 05.09.14 at 23:33

      In bf2 the USMC theme song had a trumpet solo which has a specific tune to it the bf3 took and modified dropping the trumpet and making it more modern and electric you know which most everyone liked so in bf4 they modified it a bit we arent call of duty here guys we modify things before we make a new game so mute it or find a 10 hour soundtrack from bfbc2 on youtube and play that all day haha

  • OMGs_KODIAK 01.24.14 at 05:40

    DICE GUYS:
    I THINK THESE SOUNDS MUST ALWAYS HEARD IN THE MULTIPLAYER GAMES…U KNOW IN THAT WAY IS FULL EPIC

  • GalacticTax28 01.24.14 at 03:26

    Not too big a fan of the bf4 score but I love the old ones

  • Jaximillion 01.23.14 at 19:30

    Can we get the sounds that play when a map is loading? I love the one for Altai Range! Please?

  • hiduPLL 01.21.14 at 17:34

    Come on guys. Please listen to the music from Battlefiled 2. It was a pleasure to wait for map to be loaded. That music was superb. And now? It’s hard to say if there is any music in BF4? It sukcs.

  • VerbatimCape359 01.08.14 at 22:31

    use the force on Battlefield 4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CogxZbiRUms

  • Masterzauer 12.31.13 at 13:06

    Do you guys even understand how much time you have wasted for this.
    Note, this is only my opinion, but the soundtrack is awful.

    Every time I am loading a multiplayer map I must mute the music, I cant even tell you how much I hate the soundtrack. Battlefield 4 is best FPS game at the moment AND it has probably worst soundtrack ever made.

    Well, now you are asking why its worst. Because there is no story behind the soundtrack.

    I mean just randomly mixed sounds with some kind of rhythm. You guys really think it fits to a FPS game?? Tell me pls once more that your so called “retro-futuristic dark synth music”
    fits to any game. WHO WANTS TO LISTEN THIS BULLSHIT???

    • THCxAPOLLO13 05.09.14 at 23:28

      honestly people like you make me angry coming on here to bash their music when you dont even know that much if you knew the loading song for USMC in bf2 then youd know bf3 took that song and made it modified it loosing the trumpets for more base drums all that electrical junk and bf4 also thook the bf3 song and modified it I agree it isnt the greatest but I still find myself humming it every once and a while you dont love the song but dont bash on it and say theres no history to it there actually is history

  • gjens4a 12.07.13 at 22:30

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aT5pOGLa9zo Theme for Kjell! We support you DICE! :)

  • faithlesssoul 12.05.13 at 22:40

    the after action music win and lose needs to be changed. to like the bf2 add ons had the trumps sounded so official :)

    • faithlesssoul 12.05.13 at 22:42

      Between and at the end of multiplayer matches sorry thats what i ment no good lol but the rest above in the pole are fine :P

  • abra1mkb523 12.04.13 at 04:02

    Ps4 buttons sucks , plzz L1/R1 aim and shoot plzzz

    • faithlesssoul 12.05.13 at 22:38

      dont have one i play on pc but have played on ps3 and those do need to be the sotting and aiming buttons. the low one the better like xbox triggers :)

  • nanotech420 12.02.13 at 10:08

    DICE fix your shit. I also promoted your game, because of the sound design, from the beginning,… but this is getting ridiculous, maybe you should hire me. I could help you to compete with the big dogs. you know, little shit. like party system, button layout, time between matches for defuse, etc.etc. the little things , that make a H U G E difference in the experience.

  • Neoluddite 12.01.13 at 22:50

    Great music if you can get the game to work. Good luck with that.

  • A_Rayzin 12.01.13 at 12:01

    It’s all very interesting, but can you turn the music off in game, especially in single player?
    You know, for people who just want to enjoy plain battle sounds.

  • BOBBYSOUTH 11.29.13 at 03:04

    cool insight thanks for the soundcloud links

  • ThanatosPLz 11.28.13 at 19:08
  • wWaAVve 11.27.13 at 15:50

    It’s ashame these blogs have become a bitch fest. The point of these posts isn’t to bash DICE. Everyone is aware of the launch issues, and I have patience that it will be worked out.
    As far as the SOUND and music in the game, I like it. The sound design is incredible as usual and the music is well composed and enhances the game.
    Thanks for all of your hard work, and keep it up.

  • syper41 11.27.13 at 06:01

    This game is a joke so far, I started playing it night of release. two days later the freeze of death, I waited a few hours and went back in to play. I saw I lost 3 rank levels and 24 dog tags. Called EA the idiot I spoke with says “Sir even in I wanted to I could not correct the issue at hand. Then she started popping the keys and said she made some adjustments to my account. when I tried to sign back in I ended up with a corrupt profile. whatever that idiot did I had to delete my account and start over…. yup she fixed it alright….. as usual EA blows!!!!!!!! for the class action dude…. message me this is my xbox user name as well.. would love to recover my money for this joke of a setup

  • Smitty-KZ 11.27.13 at 05:24

    Благодарю композиторов за шикарные и волнующие музыки в одиночной кампаний. В мультиплеере нравится композиция когда команда проигрывает (естественно это композиция встречается и в кампаний). p/s: Я сам музыкант

  • Atratus 11.26.13 at 23:15

    That Sound between and at the end of multiplayer matches is really annoying. We have to hear the same sound during the end of the round AND during the stupid waiting time between two rounds. I use alt+tab just to make the game quiet, but this causes a crash of bf4.exe sometimes, wich stopped me from playing it.
    Is it possible to put in the theme during the matches like in BF3? This kind of a sirene sucks really bad if you have to listen to it for more then a minute, every few minutes.
    PS: And please make it possible to see the next map and gamemode without cheking BL AND it would be nice if we could doe annything during that waiting time like changing the loudout.
    During that 40-6ß we have to wait, the game could preload the next map. Player using slow HDD could join the round at the same time. Its frustrating, wehen the SSD using friend is on the map allready, and the other ones have to wait.

  • Collision_TN 11.26.13 at 23:05

    You guys also know that BF3 soundtracks are way better than BF4′s ?

  • ZilexuS 11.26.13 at 22:28

    Been waiting for this! Thanks for the very interesting insight, although I would’ve loved some more geeky details about the production ;)

  • Ty921 11.26.13 at 21:59

    Still can’t figure out how to download :(

Trackbacks
GET CONNECTED