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Composer Criticizes 360's Custom Soundtracks

For a composer who spends his time and energy crafting an epic game score, the Xbox 360's custom soundtrack option is a mess. At least that's the case for Richard Jacques, whose recent work in Bloodstone could easily be undone by someone who'd rather listen to Lady Gaga.

"I'd like to know what their real reason is to still have that option, to remove the disc from the console and put in any music [the player] wants," he asked at a recent panel. "I can understand it for some games, like racing games--the soundtrack is essentially a jukebox."

"But actually removing an integral part of the game experience and having that replaced with something completely inappropriate for the story and environment ... you know, a film director would have a heart attack if viewers were removing the score he worked so closely with the composer on. I think it's absolutely ridiculous, personally."

The feature has been a part of the 360 from its beginnings on the original Xbox, where developers could include it on a game-to-game basis. Some developers have taken action, with games like Bungie's Halo titles eliminating the voice acting if players want to use their own music. It worked as a sort of punishment for tarnishing the experience they crafted.

I think having the feature available on an individual basis was for the best. Do you agree with Jacques' sentiment or the action taken by developers? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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