Duncan Watt

Assistant Professor

“Scoring for video games presents some pretty powerful challenges for the young composer. While some aspects of the process are similar to traditional linear film scoring, in many cases the player is the one directing the action—which means the story can play out in many different ways. For example, in a film-noir setting, we might know the player will enter a bar—but will he or she make friends with the bartender, or shoot the place up? It’s the composer’s job to score for all outcomes, all emotions. Done well, a great game score makes a player feel the music was specifically written for their choices, actions, and decisions. And providing students with tools to accomplish that is the focus of my teaching here at Berklee.”

“The game industry is filled with bright, smart people, and most are trying to do the same thing: make their project as exciting, immersive, and engaging as possible. A video game is a massive undertaking, bringing together art and technology from multiple mediums—and being a part of that collaboration can be incredibly rewarding. Most composers are comfortable working on their own material—but when I’m working on a game, I’m working on someone else’s vision. Making that jump can be a challenge for a young composer, so we try and help students understand how the process works, and how to bring something wonderful to the table.”

“This medium is exploding with creative opportunity. While it’s become one of the most powerful forms of entertainment on the planet, it’s still a young industry—and it’s growing incredibly fast. There are games for all age groups, from engaging, educational games to multi-billion-dollar franchises told over many years, from art-house interactive projects, to sports games, to fun, casual games everyone plays on their smartphone. All of these stories need to be told, and music is a very powerful part of that storytelling, creating immersive and emotional worlds for millions of people to experience. I’m very excited to be a part of these young composers’ journey into this amazing business, and cannot wait to see how they influence the medium in the years to come.” 

Career Highlights

  • Founder of Fastestmanintheworld Media.
  • Video game scoring work includes Bioshock Infinite (Irrational/Take-Two), League of Legends (Riot, 1.2 billion play hours/month), Need for Speed Undercover (EA/Black Box), Stargate Online TCG (Sony), Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway (Ubisoft/Gearbox), and many others. Served as audio lead on League of Legends at launch, and was senior composer/audio designer at 38 Studios (Kingdoms Of Amalur/Project Copernicus).
  • Music is featured in movie Now You See Me; television shows The Good Wife (ABC), NCIS (CBS), Any Day Now (Lifetime); and My Little Pony and Transformers toys and apps.
  • Clients include Ubisoft, EA, Sony Online, Take-Two, Hasbro, NCsoft, Lionsgate, Irrational, Riot, more.
  • Voice of popular game characters Rammus and Blitzcrank (League Of Legends), voiceover work includes AutoAssault (NCsoft), Pirates CSG Online (Sony), and others.
  • Senior Composer/Audio Designer, 38 Studios (2010-2012).
  • Appears on more than 70 album projects as musician, producer, or recording engineer.
  • Speaking engagements include 2013 Game Developers Conference, 2012 Montreal International Games Summit, 2012 AES NYC, and colleges such as Yale and Brandeis.