EXCLUSIVE: Composer Harry Manfredini Discusses Working On 'Friday The 13th: The Game'

The excitement for Friday The 13th: The Game is at a fever pitch with fans clamoring to find out as much as they can about what to expect to see in the game. I recently reached out to franchise composer Harry Manfredini to talk about his involvement in the game and what fans can expect to hear from this highly anticipated project.

Harry talks about what players can expect to hear as the counselors in the game as well as Jason Voorhees himself. He also discusses the challenges of scoring a video game as opposed to a film and if we will hear those classic cues from our favorite moments in the films.

(Friday The 13th: The Franchise) When you were originally brought on to this project, it was known as Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp. What approach to the music were you originally taking to this game, knowing it was a slasher, but making sure to not have it sound too much like Friday The 13th?

(Harry Manfredini) At that time it was very much in the early stages, but I believe the object was to make it sound as much like F13 as possible without actually doing that. It really was supposed to be more or less of a homage to those films.  So the approach was emulate, not copy. 

(F13th) How excited were you when you found out this project was going to be an official Friday The 13th game and what were your immediate thoughts of how you were going to score this epic endeavor?

(HM) Well, very excited to say the least.   I knew there was a F13 game in the works, and was thinking that our little game would be basically over shadowed by the actual F13 game.  So now, with the F13 brand, and with Jason in the mix.   The score could not only emulate, but actually be extensions and variations of all the music that was so much a part of the series.  

(F13th) How far into the process are you for scoring the Friday The 13th video game now and what are the similarities/differences in cues and sound design compared to what you had created for Summer Camp?

(HM) Actually in the very beginning stages, since so much of what is needed is also in a state of flux.   I am just dealing with more general ambiances and materials that will be part of the large over all sound.   Nothing actually particular as yet.    Because it is a multi-player game, and because music has to apply to any possible scenario which can only be determined by the actions of the player, the "score" is actually determined by the choices of the player not by me. Its weird.  So I have to eventually think of as many possible scenarios, and have multiple musical choices for each of them.   The players in one game will each have their own score for that game, and that game only.   Player one, will have a different score than Player two.. etc etc.  not to mention that Jason.. will be one of the players, and he will have his own score.   Basically every time you play the game, you will have different scores determined by your actions.   Just typing this gives me a headache.. ha ha ha...

(F13th) During the original Friday The 13th film, you used the "Ki Ki Ki Ma Ma Ma" sound effect to signify the killer was near, much like John Williams used his famous sound in Jaws to tell the audience that the shark was near. Will this technique be utilized in the game and do you know if it will be tied to the Fear Meter that has been discussed for game-play?

(HM) I know it will definitely be tied to the game...  My early conversations with the designers of the game is to not over play the score.   Just as in the original there is less music... and the sounds etc create the tension, and the music plays from that.   So I would hope that this approach will be an element of the game as well.   

(F13th) Speaking of music and sounds that are heard in the films and translating them to the game, we all know that victims in the films often hear strange cracking noises and howling winds before your trademark music builds to a crescendo and someone dies. Will this similar experience happen in the game, and more importantly, what will gamers experience as sounds when they play as Jason? I am pretty sure Jason won't be hearing the "Ki Ki Ki Ma Ma Ma" sound. Perhaps he will hear mother talking to him?

(HM) Really good question my friend.  Insightful .
As I mentioned above... the sounds of the camp and the woods, and various ambiances will play a part in the over all tension and creepy experience of the game. Jason's music for me is a real challenge, in that I have rarely scored the films with the idea this is what Jason hears.   So that is going to be the most difficult part of the music for me.   I have some interesting ideas that I have actually run past Kane, and others as to what might make sense. 

(F13th) Although the number of maps is still being determined for the locations from the numerous films, have you thought about recreating distinct parts of your film scores heard in a specific film for a map in the game that relates to that film? For example, in the game, if a player ends up in Jason's shed from Part 2, will you put a new twist on music heard only for that scene in the film? Sort of an homage to the film that fans would recognize?

(HM) In a word Yes,.. but probably not an actual lift, but a twist on that particular material.   but again.. the music gets determined by the player and random things happen, and thereby the score moves with that particular action of the player.

(F13th) Once the Kickstarter program concludes, you and the team at Gun Media and IllFonic will have a much better understanding of what type of time and resources can be put towards the game. For you personally, what do you hope makes it into the game in terms of story, characters, design and music?

(HM) I think the resources garnered will mostly go to the visual, and quality of play of the game.   That is what I hope for the game.  I want it be the best visual, and play experience.  The music is certainly a part of it, but each enhances the other.   A lousy looking game is lousy no matter what the music sounds like.   I dont really know much about the characters, and the game play that much but I know these guys are so stoked about it and that they are going to make it an epic experience.  

(F13th) The last question I have for you is what is like working on a video game compared to scoring a film? What are the differences and challenges bringing the sounds of Crystal Lake and Jason Voorhees to a digital realm that fans will be eventually interacting with?

(HM) For me the most difficult aspect of this writing.. is not seeing anything.  In films we deal with visuals and synchronization with them, and the characters and story, drama and plot.. camera motion, etc etc etc.   Here at least at this juncture I am writing blind... just imagining things and trying to create logical and musically acceptable pieces that echo those imaginary scenes...   So I cant wait to see the game and see it played when we get to that stage of the creation of it.

A big thank you goes out to Harry for answering our questions. You can find out more about his career by visiting his website www.harrymanfredini.com and make sure to check out the Kickstarter page for the video game to donate and help bring this digital extension of the films to life!
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