Jeremy Soule: "Pac-Man will eat Mark Zuckerberg's lunch"

Elder Scrolls composer says "video gaming is the future of social media".

Jeremy Soule, the celebrated Elder Scrolls composer and now music director for Sony Online Entertainment's upcoming EverQuest Next, believes video games have the potential to overtake the likes of Facebook and become the dominant medium for online social interaction.

"I don't even like the word MMO," he says. "I like virtual world, because to me I want to rethink how we use music in a game setting. This is bigger than a game though, because you have so many social dynamics and things going on. I think video gaming is the future of social media. Pac-Man will eat Mark Zuckerberg's lunch."

Soule explained his position: "Just as you can learn something from reading Dickens, you can learn things from interacting with people around the world amongst high concept or high-minded ideas such as saving people, such as defending or building something together.

"To me, this is where the lines of social media and the lines of gaming are going to get really blurred. I remember talking to Dave [Georgeson, producer of EverQuest Next] and saying, 'Do you realise what's happening here? It's not Facebook that's the future, I feel like this is the future.'

"Anything done on the back-end of Facebook is being done in an MMO right now, just way cooler," Soule continued.

"We're actually reaching people of all ages, so this is a dynamic I have to think about when I make music for millions of people. How do we reach the individual and not just the masses? If the world is dynamic, the music has to be just as dynamic."

Soule was speaking during an interview with Eurogamer at this year's SOE Live event in Las Vegas, where the first fully fleshed-out details of EverQuest Next were presented to a largely enthusiastic gathering of fans.

The composer has been involved in the development of the game to a greater degree than past projects.

"As music director of this project, I have the freedom to succeed or fail. It's a nice place to be," he said.

"I can say on past projects that I may not have had too much creative reign. Now I can say the music has a cabinet level seat at the roundtable of design. I'm able to represent things, concerns and development issues to the rest of the team. And that's what important, and I think what really sets EverQuest Next apart is the quality of the team behind this project.

"When I first came in for my interview, I was expecting a couple of people to talk a little bit about the game. Instead, all the principals of the team came in and we spoke for hours about music, and so the cross-pollination and the precision I saw in the team Dave put together, it really gave me the sense that this group could go all the way, that they could have a number one. Because of that it's invigorating and it's exciting, and it tells me I have to work hard to keep up with this group."

As well as the main reboot of the EverQuest franchise, SOE is also hard at work on EverQuest Next Landmark, a title due out later this year in advance of the MMO's launch. As a creative tool, Landmark will not only allow players to craft objects which might end up appearing in EverQuest Next itself at launch, but also build their own settlements. What prospects are there for budding musicians to contribute to the cause?

"As music director, I want to find ways to do that with music as well," Soule teased. "We're working out some ideas. It's very early right now, but I want to be able to say there is a way for you as a musical person to be creative with this project.

"We're engaging the player, we're bringing the creativity. I've worked on some of the biggest franchises and I think that all the ideas that we saw today, they really shook me when I saw them.

"This was a bolt of lightning and when the rest of the industry catches onto this...To know that you got a sneak peek of what I believe personally, as a developer of 60 million games [sales] later, I think is the most exciting thing I've ever worked on in my career."

This article was based on a press trip to Las Vegas. SOE paid for travel and accommodation.

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