id Software didn’t want heavy metal for Doom soundtrack, says composer, now working on Prey


Mick Gordon, composer of the hard-rockin’ heavy metal soundtrack to this year’s Doom reboot, is working on Prey, the next project by Dishonored developer Arkane. He describes it as “Spaghetti Western elements mixed in with synths.”

This year’s Doom reboot made our list of the best shooters on PC.

Besides Doom, Mick Gordon’s previous composer credits include Wolfenstein: The New Order, Killer Instinct 2014 and several Need For Speed games. Prey, though a reboot of a sci-fi shooter, contains a healthy dose of slower-paced psychological horror, marking a change in tone from these high-octane projects.

Speaking to PC Gamer, Gordon says “it’s more thought-provoking, there are more Western sounds… Spaghetti Western elements mixed in with synths and things like that.” Arkane’s approach has been more concept-led, he explains, with Prey’s director Raphael Colantonio saying: “You’re floating in space, what does that sound like?” or “you’re sad, you miss your family because you’re lost somewhere.”

Gordon is clear there will be no power chords in Prey, saying “Doom owns that.” Interestingly, given its warm reception, Gordon says that one of the initial conditions for his working on the Doom soundtrack was that itshouldn’t feature heavy metal.

The fear was that it was turn out “corny” and detract from “the visceral experience” that developer id Software wanted. “So we started for about six to nine months doing just synthesisers,” says Gordon, “and then after a while, I started going, ‘you know what, guys… if we can add five percent guitar in here, everybody will love it.”

Five percent became ten, then fifteen, until eventually, the game’s soundtrack landed where it did. “It was cool, though, because we arrived at those metal-type sounds from a different direction,” says Gordon. “We didn’t say, ‘Let’s make a metal soundtrack.’ We went synths and kickdrums, and then we ended up working in metal elements. I feel like that’s what gave Doom its identity in a way, it wasn’t just a straight ‘90s thrash tribute”.

Perhaps this will happen again, and Prey will sound like Ennio Morricone and Metallica got drunk and had a jam session. If it doesn’t, somethingshould.