The next soundtrack project for Trent Reznor, who most recently scored The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with Atticus Ross, is not for a film, but for the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
Reznor has composed the game’s theme song, an “aggressively sounding” piece of guitar, bass and drums-based rock. Well-known video game composer and Video Games Live co-producer Jack Wall (Mass Effect 2) composed the rest of the music for the game.
A lifelong video gamer, Reznor is no stranger to collaborating with game developers having worked on Quake and Doom 3 with id Software. His teaming with the game’s development studio Treyarch is a suitable one as the Nine Inch Nails frontman is a fan of the Call of Duty franchise and 2010’s Black Ops. “I have always looked to that franchise as the cutting edge of what seemingly unlimited budgets and full-on not cutting any corners can do in the current day and age,” he says.
When Treyarch studio head Mark Lamia began talking with Activision’s music affairs team, “we were trying to think what is the kind of artist that could represent something a little bit dark, sometimes conflicted, bold original and engaging,” says Black Ops II director and writer Dave Anthony. “Honestly, Trent’s name stuck out. He was perfect for it.”
Reznor recently talked with Game Hunters about Black Ops II, video games and his upcoming music projects.
How’d you get connected with Treyarch on ‘Black Ops II’?
I’m not exactly sure. I started dipping my toe into film scoring. That led me to film scoring agents and whatnot and a variety of projects start to get thrown at you to check your level of interest. And quite a while ago I had heard, ‘Would you be interested in a big franchise video game?’ Being an avid gamer my whole life, I said, ‘Yeah, I would be interested in that.’