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Presented by the Sound Design Network
Join us for an interview with composer Rich Vreeland ’09 and sound designer Akash Thakkar ’12, two Berklee alumni who worked in tandem on the hit indie game Hyper Light Drifter. Developed by Heart Machine, this 2-D action role-playing game pays homage to classic 8-bit and 16-bit video games, and is considered by its lead developer, Alex Preston, to best resemble a combination of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Diablo. Preston originally launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the game’s development for approximately $27,000 but ultimately raised more than $600,000, allowing the hiring of a full team of visual artists and audio specialists.
Pulsing, ambient, nostalgic, oozing — these are some of the qualities critics have used to describe the film and video game music of Berklee alumnus Rich Vreeland, who is better known by his alias Disasterpeace. He is behind the recent and bold score to the horror film It Follows. He's gained a following from the independent film community, including positive reviews from Filmmaker Magazine, Moviepilot, and Entertainment Weekly. Vreeland also comes from a video game scoring background, and while he has credits for Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien and Hyper Light Drifter, he is perhaps best known for the 8-bit ambient soundtrack of FEZ, a popular independent game that was featured in Indie Game: The Movie. Vreeland began his college career in 2006 at Berklee and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor’s of Music in Music Synthesis degree. He has completed internships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Game Lab.
Based in Seattle, Washington, Thakkar has extensive experience in the indie game scene as a composer and sound designer, with credits including Hyper Light Drifter, Infinifactory, Ironclad Tactics, Gnomoria, Freedom Planet, City Quest, and more. A graduate of Berklee, Thakkar has given talks at dozens of PAX events, MAGFest, PopCap Games, TEDx, and more. He is a game audio professor at the Seattle Film Institute and is constantly looking for new ways to spread his knowledge within the game industry.