Post news RSS KoA's Music Dev Blog 1

As composers for Kingdoms of Arda our goal is to provide you with a high quality soundtrack and ambience, rarely found in completely free projects such as this mod. Our ambition is to have a truly unique feeling and atmosphere when traveling through Middle-Earth, and music is one of the key features to make every project feel distinct from another. We will do our best to capture the spirit of Middle-earth and Tolkien overall and make it an amazing experience to see the greatest of all fantasy.

Posted by on

First of all a very warm welcome to everybody passing by!
As composers for Kingdoms of Arda our goal is to provide you with a high quality soundtrack and ambience, rarely found in completely free projects such as this mod. Our ambition is to have a truly unique feeling and atmosphere when traveling through Middle-Earth, and music is one of the key features to make every project feel distinct from another. We will do our best to capture the spirit of Middle-earth and Tolkien overall and make it an amazing experience to see the greatest of all fantasy worlds come to life once again.
That said, on my request, KoAs godfather John allowed us to do dev blogs about the mods music, just the way Taleworlds did some time ago for the native game. If you’d love to accompany us on the journey to Middle-Earths music these blogs will be your chance. Yes I said “blogs” – because this is going to be a multi part series, each of the blogs tackling another topic and answering new questions you might come up with.


Today for the very short first blog, we'll begin with a sort of selfmade FAQ. They will be frequently asked questions, and we as composers and/or developers understand these questions will be asked all the time, but to prevent this from happening in an all too-epic manner, we’ve come up with these questions you would like to have answered – now or in the future:

"There are already hours of music for six highly successful big-budget movies, composed and conducted by Howard Shore. Just take the original music and you are done. Why all the fuss about the music of a mere mod ?"

While this is certainly possible, it isn't likely to actually get through this without getting sued or shut down immediately after the corresponding companies notice a project this big.
Because some projects were shut down due to minor reasons, the devs early on decided the original music for the LOTR-franchise should be avoided due to copyright.

"This is nonsense, there are plenty of mods out there utilising the original scores, so why don't you?"

Well, no – most of them are submods setting out to correct the “mistake” of the main mod to not include the movie score. Submods have basically no affiliation with the original mod itself, and most of the time do not gain the same popularity. This is why they mostly get away with using actual scores. The biggest LOTR-mod today being Total War: Third Age for Medieval II: Total War for example utilizes a mixture of loose soundtrack pieces not tied together in any way. Gladiator soundtrack and more individual pieces from YouTube make up a fitting soundtrack for this mod. And all the older Warband stuff like the great The Last Days or Blood In The West mostly miss the original music. If you hear it all the time though, you are most likely using a some sort of submod or your own playlist.
And again, we’re pretty sure Bannerlord will be even more popular than Warband, even more mods will be made and even more exposure will be gained. Without sounding too self-confident Kingdoms of Arda is expected to be a very popular mod, so it would be unclever to risk it.

“Okay, then how about doing a submod too and then including the original pieces and themes ?”

You got it, this is what some of us plan to do. Having a submod for the movie soundtrack is planned, be it official, done ourselves or by anyone out there ambitious enough to do so.

“If that is the case, wouldn’t it be more clever to completely omit elaborate music and just do what mostly all of the mods do ? Scavenge and rearrange from different franchises and composers ? At the end everybody will play with the aforementioned submod nevertheless.”

Everyone asking these types of questions, clearly forgot one essential problem: the original movie soundtrack of LOTR scores about 9 to 10 factions, events or locations. The Hobbit adds another 7 to 9 themes. This sums up to a large amount of tracks with different varieties and themes and many hours of music. Kingdoms of Arda however is about ALL of Middle-Earth with dozens of factions and events not scored at all. So having only original music would just not be enough for everything there is.
Second, we as composers would be very very sad if everybody was disappointed with our work and not bestow even the smallest amount of honour on our effort.
So basically our existence and work ethic makes it hard for you people !
Thirdly, Shore wrote his music for video, moving pictures with accurate timing and composition choices made due to the nature of composing for film. This results in the music mostly being either too static or too nervous for gameplay. Unfitting would be the best word. Playing the same 2 minute long Isengard theme all the time when playing as them would be nerve-wracking. On the other hand we don’t want to hear victorious men-of-the-west music or the fellowship theme when killing them off, do we ?

There might be some more FAQs in the future depending on the level of interest and the number of questions overall. If you got some questions for us concerning music and the way it is made, we encourage you to ask them – we are the ones that should be afraid ...
That’s it for this first tiny baby blog, quick information about why music needs to be done for this mod and the announcement of this series. The second blog will be done very very soon, as this one here basically is beating around the bush in its most sophisticated form!

Next up we would like to be more accurate about the making and composing of KoA’s music, and introduce ourselves to you - together with some samples.

Until then, see you next time :D
Felix Leibik, Martin Renner, Roman, Mackie


Thats great to hear, the most expected mod for bannelord will have its own music!

So I will leave some simple questions I didnt find in faq or here, not music related.
1. Will you be able to form your own faction? and if so with custom units etc?
2. Will cities have certain race of population? Will it be changed when conquered? etc on the matter.
3. Will there be certain magical creatures, in the storyline i guess, like barlogs?
4. Do you consider that you might be too ambitious about the project that it might colaps on itself? or you believe you have enough manpower and resourcers to bring it to us? I only ask this because we are all too hyped about this and it promises too much.

Related question:
1. I dont get how they can shutdown a non profitable project for copyrights, I always wondered.

Thanks for your time reading this and especially making this mod.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
John.M Author

1. Your own faction, yes. Custom units we are not sure about though.
2. Im not sure if settlements will have any specific numbers indicating race. But we do plan to have culture specific buildings, so when orcs conquer a Rohirric village they will have to build their own types of buildings to make troops and resources. This will also make a visual change on the map and in the scene.
3. The magical creatures we will be adding mainly depend on their relevance and how humanoid they are. So Balrogs we plan on adding but virtually any flying creature won't be added, as we don't think we can add them in a way that would feel professional.
4. We have considered the scale of the mod and do realize it will require a lot of time to fulfill. That is one of the reasons we have split up the mod into releases, more details here , completing 4 factions is a much more achievable goal compared to completing Middle Earth. So if we can focus on specific regions of Middle Earth at a time we can both give people content and have the mod in healthy development.
The team has a lot of passion for LotR and KoA, and I'm sure that will only increase when Bannerlord comes around!

1. Basically copyright doesn't specify against projects that profit. So anyone distributing content that falls under the copyright can be taken down. Technically we can be taken down for simply using designs from LotR, but for music it is a much bigger deal because if we or anyone wants to showcase the mod it would become a lot more difficult without our own sounds.

And thanks for supporting the mod, I remember that pug from the first days of the mod!

Reply Good karma+3 votes

This is just amazing! Can't wait to hear what you guys come out with! Btw, any idea if you guys will be making custom animations, for example a crouching animation from which we can get a dwarven shield wall just like the hobbit? :)

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
John.M Author

We will be making custom animations, though I don't think we will copy the one from the Hobbit as I don't think it would be too effective in the Mount and Blade setting. But I would like to play around with formations nonetheless!

Reply Good karma+1 vote

That is good news nonetheless. You are right, it might not be effective but it would make for some cool roleplaying :) Can't wait to see what's coming next from you guys.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes

First of, amazing work that you're doing, secondly, question:

When composing the music, will you guys draw inspiration from Howard Shore's work and compose comparable themes with lots of aggressive brass and driving epic themes or will it be more of your own interpretation of what you guys think would fit best based on the books themselves?

I have full faith that whatever you come up with will sound fantastic, similar modding projects have also managed to come up with fantastic soundtracks and themes (Beyond Skyrim for example). While sneakily searching for your names on Soundcloud I found some pretty good tracks (not sure if they were actually yours though, I picked the most orchestral sounding ones and they sounded pretty good) so I am really looking forward to hear what you guys can come up with together.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes

Hey :D
The next blog showing up in about 2 days deals with all the questions you have, but I'll answer nevertheless ...

For factions and events Shore already scored we really not only draw inspiration from it but even recreate it to a certain degree. Our entirely own interpretations will be needed when scoring all the factions not scored in the movies. The first ones you'll hear will be Harad and Umbar and this kind of stuff - they will be done completely on our own, but there are still influences. As the mod itself goes for the WETA designs and thus the movie feeling, we feel a Shore-like soundtrack would be best, the books are too open for interpretation and one could easily fail trying to score according to the books - at least that is how I see it.

Well, then thanks for believing in us, it really means something :D
And yes some modding projects put the same amount of effort into own music, Rise Of Mordor would be the best example, it really encourages us to keep up with other projects. And as long as our music is not censored in any way I'm looking forward to everything KoA will offer.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.