Donald Duck PK OST & Interview with composer Daniel Masson

pk game wallpaper

Contents:

– The Game

– The Soundtrack

– Interview with composer Daniel Masson


Please note the interview was conducted through email and thus has a structure of Question & Answer.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post do not necessarily represent the views of Ruff Nation.


The Game:

Donald Duck PK (Known as “PK: Out Of The Shadows” in the US) was a game developed by Ubi Soft Montreal, published by Ubi Soft and released in 2002 for the Sony PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube.

The game follows Donald Duck as you navigate him through 3D environments as his superhero alter-ego PK (Short for Paperinik and also known as Duck Avenger in English). The game is played in a third person perspective and the primary game play is platforming and blasting enemies with the ‘X-Transformer Shield’.

More abilities are unlocked for the X-Transformer throughout the game such as a super punch for shattering weak ground, a supercharge to break enemy shields, a remote X-Transformer to navigate tight spaces and a more powerful costume variant. [1]

Also during certain level portions, the player will encounter captured scientists that must be found and rescued before the timer counts down, otherwise they will be teleported away, requiring the player to try again another time. There are six scientists per level (excluding boss battles and the Evronian Mothership), and 40 scientists must be rescued in order to access the final Mothership levels. [1]

 

The Soundtrack:

The original soundtrack was composed and produced by musician Daniel Masson [2] [3] in 1999 as the game began development.

The soundtrack is a blend of classical composition and electronic music. Most of the tracks would fit under the Techno definition but there are tracks that stray away from this term. It is a fast paced soundtrack with primarily technological sounds and triumphant orchestral layers.

 

Interview:

RN: Did you have fun producing soundtracks? PK specifically. Was it more like a job you had to do, or one you enjoyed doing?

Masson: Most of the time I live musical projects as adventures. Among all the video games soundtracks I composed PK was a fascinating adventure. Yes I had a lot of fun!


RN: Were you ever given any information about the setting, lead character or story or were you familiar with Paperinik or the PK series beforehand? If either of these are true, did this affect your work on the soundtrack?

Masson: Sure I knew the famous Donald Duck and had watched his short films but I had never heard of Paperinik or the PK series beforehand. I think it was an advantage in the sense I had a more objective approach to the project and therefore more freedom to be creative.


RN: Did you have an idea of the direction you wanted to take the PK soundtrack in before beginning writing and production? Or was this something that formed as you were working on it or shaped by an influence at this point in your career?

Masson: It was Ubi Soft who asked me to compose and produce a score in the electronic music field. I was free to compose what I wanted but in that musical direction. Since Pod Planet of Death (1996), I was the ‘expert’ Ubi Soft electronic music composer for their games supporting with this music style. I’m a Jazz and Rock guitar player. At that time I was listening Jungle, Drum & Bass, House and Breakbeat music. When I started a project I never knew what would happen. I like to experiment and computer programming was so powerful with unlimited possibilities even in 1999! With PK as it was a ‘classic’ I also put time into some classical orchestral arrangements to give the music some emphasis.

RN: It’s very interesting to hear that you went into projects with only the limitations of the Electronic music field. I’m sure this would have been great for experimentation, as you say you like to do. I must say that I really liked the orchestral emphasis alongside the Electronic music in the soundtrack, it’s great as reinforcement for the character and setting of ‘superhero’.


RN: Do you think there was any genre that influenced the soundtrack the most?

Masson: There are 2 majors directions in the music.  A group of tunes in a Jazzy style and classic arrangements and another group much more Electronic with some orchestral flavors. I composed music for 3 versions: GameCube, N64 and GameBoy. I’m sure the GameBoy version was apart from the rest. I don’t remember if one style was associated with the GameCube or N64. I have to confess that I’m not a Video Game player and have never played PK.

RN: I believe the GameCube version of the game had some difference in level design but I was not aware of any soundtrack differences? Currently it seems only the PlayStation version is uploaded to listen to online. I was also not aware of any N64 or GameBoy versions and can’t find any information on this. Perhaps they were intended to be released but never were?

Masson: I’ve checked my old Ubi Soft agreements as well my audio files and have found I signed and composed soundtracks for the the PC, PSX, Dreamcast, PS2, GameCube, N64 and GameBoy Color.

RN: Thank you very much for that information, if you still have the audio files for certain versions of the soundtrack is it possible for you to ever release these versions online for listening? The public will not have heard the Dreamcast, N64, Gameboy Colour or PC versions as the game only ever released on the PS2/PSX and GameCube. This news is very exciting as I have always wondered if the game was to be ported to many other consoles like the previous Ubi Soft Donald Duck game “Goin’ Quackers” was. Goin’ Quackers was released on the Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, GameCube and Windows PC [4]

Masson: I plan to post on my SoundCloud all the PK tunes I have retrieved very soon.(some are missing).


RN: When producing the soundtrack did you use primarily Software or Hardware instrumentation for the electronic portions of the soundtrack? If hardware was used what did you use most prominently?
Masson: Except the guitars that I played everything was software based using virtual instruments and samples libraries. I used Logic Audio ESB TDM.

RN: There are distorted voice samples and speech used throughout the soundtrack, do you recall if they were saying anything specific?

Masson: Most of the time I edited the voices to make them incomprehensible. I like to use radio type voices samples because the sound texture, not for the meaning of the words.


RN: Do you remember what sample packs/sets you used back when you created the soundtrack?

Masson: I remember I used a lot of samples libraries and I edited the samples. I bought almost all the packs available on the market at that time! Before the computer time I was using the Akai S1000 and EMU samplers. I already had a massive sample library that I used too for composing music for video games. I could import these libraries into Logic Audio with the EXS24 sampler.

RN: I’m sure all those sample packs cost alot of money.

Masson: Yes I did spend a lot of money on sample libraries….


RN: My last question is more of a request. I and some friends who are also producers were wondering if it would be possible for you to release stems for the PK tracks in some way? I know it is a big ask but we are very interested in producing different mixes, remixes and tributes. I understand if this is not possible or you would rather not.

Masson: I still have the session files as well as the audio files under Logic 6 ESB TDM. I’m now using Ableton Live for years and don’t have the Logic software anymore. Theoretically there is a way to make stems. As you are musician you can imagine the amount of work! It’s huge!! Sorry.  I’m touched by the interest that you and some other people have in PK music.

RN: I understand, that would be alot of work. Maybe one day someone will be able to access the files through Logic 6, it is so old now though.

It makes me happy to hear you were touched by this. Thank you for your time answering all my questions, it’s been a very informative and inspiring experience!


INTERVIEW END

 

Author’s note:

I have found researching the game and it’s soundtrack very fun as I have a personal interest in both the game and enjoy and adore the soundtrack thoroughly. Being able to talk to an inspiration of mine has been great and I recommend you check out Masson’s other works and his latest album “Trajectories Vol.1“. Also try taking a listen to one of my personal favorites: The soundtrack for “Monaco Grand Prix

This post will be updated as uploads of the PK soundtrack are made available.

 


Sources:

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PK:_Out_of_the_Shadows

[2] https://www.danielmasson.net/daniel-masson-about/

[3] http://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,49535/

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Duck:_Goin%27_Quackers


 

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