The Sound Of Rocket League (An Interview With Psyonix’s Mike Ault)

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Rocket League is one of 2015’s great surprises, and an example of how perseverance and faith are able to transform a project from a cult favorite into a worldwide phenomenon. Psyonix began their journey with the humorously titled ‘Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars’ in 2008, and by combining the techniques and experience which they gained over the next seven years, they revamped their idea and turned it into Rocket League, one of the most exciting multiplayer experiences in recent history.

The game deserves all of the success that it’s currently receiving, but lurking beneath the ultra addictive gameplay lies a terrific soundtrack which also warrants the adulation of the gaming community.

Unless you’ve spent a reasonable amount of time navigating the game’s menu screens, the only tune which may be instantly recognizable is the Rocket League Theme, a punchy electronic composition which greets you each time the game is booted up (although this recently changed with the addition of the Supersonic Fury DLC update). There’s plenty more to discover though, as Rocket League contains an entire soundtrack of tunes by Sound Designer Mike Ault, and his collaborative project Hollywood Principle.

You can check out the official video for I Can Be (ft. Crysta) by Mike Ault in the Youtube video below.

The tracklist is filled with a mix of electronic tunes, from the catchy chorus of Angel Wings to the in-your-face attitude of Whiplash. Other highlights include Darkness, a slow building dance tune which explodes into a bass pumping floor-filler, and I Can Be, which favors a more laid-back approach with its soothing vocals. Hollywood Principle’s Seeing What’s Next wouldn’t sound out of place in the Top 40 Charts, despite its electronic undertone which pulsates throughout. 

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It’s common knowledge that Rocket League completely decimated its own expectations. Dave Hagewood of Psyonix infamously commented that he would face his fears and eat “a bunch of bread” (apparently he doesn’t like bread?) if the game managed to reach 10,000 concurrent players upon release. It beat that goal by 173,000. That’s a lot of bread! In achieving this, the game’s servers went into meltdown under the weight of their demand. Although a server outage certainly wasn’t ideal, the prolonged exposure to the game’s menu screens meant that an even larger number of players were able to sample the full soundtrack, which boosted its popularity even further throughout the community.

Fans have been paying their compliments to the soundtrack via the official Rocket League message boards, in addition to other outlets such as Reddit and Twitter. Some were inspired to go even further, with Youtuber Triforcefilms taking it upon himself to record a full acapella version of the Rocket League theme, and Kevin Heiland took to Reddit to show off his orchestral rendition.

I’m also a part of that fan community. The soundtrack has been on constant rotation across my range of audio devices for the last few weeks, and I felt inspired to write a piece about it. Mike and the team at Psyonix kindly accepted our request for an interview, so I set to work in questioning Mike on a range of topics, including his history in the gaming business, and of course, the story behind Rocket League’s soundtrack.

Click NEXT to read our exclusive interview with Mike Ault.

Next: Mike Ault On History, Sound Design, And Inspirations