Michael Sweet is an accomplished video game audio composer and has been the audio director for more than 100 award-winning video games. His work can be heard on the X-Box 360 logo and on award-winning games from Cartoon Network, Sesame Workshop, PlayFirst, iWin, and Gamelab, among many others. He has won the Best Audio Award at the Independent Games Festival and the BDA Promax Gold Award for Best Sound Design, and has been nominated for five Game Audio Network Guild (GANG) awards.
Sweet led the development of the video game scoring curriculum at Berklee College of Music and is now an instructor for Berklee Online. He has developed curriculum for many classes that teach the art of video game composition, and he helped establish the college's minor in video game scoring. He has lectured at many universities and prominent conferences in interactive music and sound design including the Game Developer’s Conference, Audio Engineering Society, New York University, the School of Visual Arts, and Parsons the New School of Design. He's the author of the highly regarded book Writing Interactive Music for Video Games: A Composer Guide, published in 2014 by Pearson Publishing. In 2017, his game Walden: A Game was released on Playstation, PC, and Mac. It's a first-person simulation of the life of American philosopher Henry David Thoreau during his experiment in self-reliant living at Walden Pond, and he was the audio director, contributing all sound effects and music for the game.
Before Berklee, Sweet was the cofounder and creative director of Audiobrain, a company dedicated to breaking boundaries with interactive sound design and music, where his creative vision led them to develop many emotionally immersive, award-winning experiences for games, broadcasting, and sonic branding. Sweet's broadcast work can be heard on such networks as HBO, VH1, Comedy Central, CNN, and General Motors, among others. His digital artistry has led him to groundbreaking work in the creation of interactive scores for digital design installations worldwide.
- Career Highlights
- Composer and sound designer
- Former group creative director of interactive media for Audiobrain
- Work on the Xbox 360 logo and many award-winning games from Cartoon Network, Sesame Workshop, Shockwave, RealArcade, iWin, PlayFirst, Pogo, Microsoft, Lego, AOL, and MTV, as well as network identities for HBO, VH1, Comedy Central, CNN, General Motors, and NASDAQ
- BDA Promax Award, best sound for a network package
- Independent Games Festival Award, best audio
- Game Audio Network Guild (GANG) awards, four nominations
- B.M., Berklee College of Music
In Their Own Words
"Video game audio is a multidisciplinary field; it's so varied and massive in scope, with about six disciplines combined into one. We're doing a lot of cross-collaboration with the MP&E Department. I'm teaching Introduction to Interactive Music, Interactive Scoring for Games, Music and Sound Production for Games, and some general film scoring classes."
"On one hand, you have to be the John Williams: you have to write the music. But on the other hand, for it to work with the video game, there's also the logic of how all that music is going to work together in the game and how that stuff interacts. For composers, you have to wrap your head around some new concepts that you don't encounter as a linear film composer. Those things include branching and looping, and being able to transition from one place to another very quickly. In a game, you have to plan for all the variances of how a player might actually be interacting with the game."
"Berklee is trying to develop composers over three or four semesters where they can hone their craft specifically for game audio. We're trying to get them out into the field prepared; they'll know a lot of material, they'll have worked on a bunch of interactive projects, and they'll have a breadth of experience that they wouldn't be able to get at another university."
"I want to build the John Williams for video games in the next generations. I think that's a really exciting opportunity for not just me, but Berklee in general, to be able to really put composers out in the world who tip things on their head and are doing things that have never been done before, who will really take things to the next level."