This is an older Real Time Strategy (RTS) game. Here, the footage of two kings playing a chess game which analogises their war battle depicts the ensuing fight alongside the strategy of the game. The accompanying audio replicates the clock tower bells timing the battle’s development and execution. This emotive build culminates in a moment whereby all is now lost achieved by taking away the build of music to shift the emotion; mirroring the loss in both literal and metaphorical ways.
Setting the scene of Age of Empires 2 was the real starting point.
It starts with two Kings playing chess in a cosy throne room, sitting by the fire, and the trailer develops to their game men fighting battles outside. The sound of the wind that bookends the composition serves to illustrate several things: it shows the privileged position of the Kings, as they get to stay warm while their men face the real danger of their strategic game; it gives an eeriness as it’s a sound without an obvious accompanying visual of wind, which is unsettling as it defies expectation; it gives the ending an ambiguity, and links – along with the falling game piece – it back to the opening scene, reminding us it’s all just a chess game.
The clock bell motif that repeats throughout the composition also serves several purposes. It’s symbolic of time, which is a theme to the game being of a historical nature. It works as a time clock device; reminding the audience that they’ll be playing to a clock automatically increases tension. It places the game historically in the right century – Age of Empires 2 takes place in a period of time where a bell would be used to sound the alarm for attacks.
The melody is passed between instruments, for auditory interest, and to mimic the chess game. The King’s would alternate in their moves on the chessboard, and the melody passes between the plucked strings and the Celesta (both instruments also place the game in the right time period.)
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