With the recent release of Tom Clancy’s The Division by Ubisoft and the news that Jake Gyllenhaal will produce and star in a movie based on the game we decided to speak with a person whom is very familiar with Tom Clancy’s work, composer Bill Brown. Brown began his career scoring Clancy’s Rainbow Six in 1998 and since then scored eight more Clancy games along with many other projects such as CSI: NY and Season 2 of Dominion. In this interview Bill discusses his time working on Clancy’s games along with releasing 2 never before heard demo tracks from Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Raven Shield was released in 2003. What differences in the game do you think there would be if it was released today, in 2016?
I’ve heard that politically / diplomatically they would have to handle it differently today. All of that is above my pay grade though.
What would you do differently with the score? Meaning what do you have now that you didn’t back then?
The approach would probably similar. I approached it like a real-time player controlled action film and many sequels back then and I’d approach the same way today.
You scored a lot of Tom Clancy games such as Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm, Ghost Recon: Island Thunder, The Sum of All Fears to name a few. What was your experience like working with him?
I had a blast working on all of them. The developers were so much fun and so supportive of what I was doing. We really enjoyed the creative process on all of them. It allowed me to stretch and explore as we continued on sequels, eventually using live orchestra and soloists to take it all to the next level.
What was your favorite part about working on Rainbow Six: Raven Shield?
Expanding on my theme for the original Rainbow Six was really exciting over the years. Raven Shield allowed me to broaden the thematic vocabulary for the game through years of R6 composing. I started for the original Rainbow Six; Raven Shield with a demo that didn’t yet include the new “B section” that became the backbone of the remaining Raven Shield game scores. It was just a fun mock-up and influenced several of the R6 cues down the line. Then I continued and composed the new Raven Shield B theme that would be featured throughout remainder of the series. You can hear just a phrase of that recognizable theme at the end of this action sequence from the second Raven Shield mission pack (that I shared before it’s 2003 release at a GDC panel that same year) With each new sequel I had these opportunities to create new variations, sometimes even inspired by the authentic instrumentation of the location. I remember even writing and performing flamenco guitar parts for one of the Raven Shield mission packs…!
When Rainbow Six: Raven Shield came out were you surprised by any of the responses?
Even to this day I get the nicest messages on my social media from fans of the series and music. It’s something that composers weren’t able to get before social media – we’re all just locked away in our studios writing mostly by ourselves and it’s so nice to hear how much the music has meant to so many people around the world. To hear that my music for Rainbow inspired young people to become composers is kind of mind blowing, and at the same time really meaningful to me.
When you were preparing for the game, did you read Clancy’s novel that the game was based on?
Yes!! Absolutely. I still have a 1st edition signed copy!!
At what stage did you get begin working on the game? When it was already complete or did you see images or concepts ahead of time?
As composers we are most always involved when the game is in progress and unfinished. Rainbow was no exception. I most often times have art, narrative text and sometimes even the game alpha or beta to play to inspire me.
Tell us something about this game or Clancy’s other games that fans might not be aware of.
Back in the day fans were able to copy the R6 soundtrack from the original Rainbow Six game CD-ROMs. It wasn’t advertised but became a widely known ‘thing’ during the time that fans would talk about on message boards, etc. What most fans probably don’t know is that Red Storm made a full CD soundtrack of my score from the game Timeline, and it never made it to stores. It was a promo-only during the introduction of the game. I think I still have one in a drawer around here somewhere.
Check out two unreleased demo tracks here…