Assassin’s Creed III is going to introduce a lot of changes to the series. It will feature a new setting, a new time period and a new protagonist. And one of the biggest changes has yet to be fully explored—the game’s soundtrack will be crafted by an entirely new composer.
Jesper Kyd, the composer responsible for the music in the first four Assassin’s Creed games, will be handing the musical baton to Lorne Balfe, who along with Kyd contributed to the soundtrack to last year’s Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. As any longtime Assassin’s Creed player likely agrees, this is a substantial change.
Assassin’s Creed isn’t the only franchise Kyd has left behind—he’s also left the Hitman series, for which he was the primary composer for years. It’s always nice to see artists embracing change—Kyd’s music will be heard on plenty of upcoming games, including Borderlands 2 and Darksiders II, a soundtrack I’ve enjoyed so far.
For his part, Balfe has been a team member for go-to-soundtracker Hans Zimmer on films likeInception and Sherlock Holmes, as well as Zimmer-scored games like Modern Warfare 2 and Crysis 2. This is an opportunity for him to step away from Zimmer and create his own themes, so I’ll be interested to see what he does with Assassin’s Creed.
It is, of course, too early to say what that will be; all that seem certain is that it’ll likely be markedly different than Kyd’s work on the first games. That’s fine; good even—with a different setting, vibe and protagonist, different music seems appropriate. Furthermore, Balfe is a skilled composer with a lot of experience, and he’s worked on some soundtracks I really respect.
But there’s no denying that with Jesper Kyd gone, Assassin’s Creed will now be a substantially different experience. Here’s hoping that Balfe can step into Kyd’s rather large shoes and usher in a new era of sneaking, stabbing and soaring.