If you've been too busy honking to stop and ask who's responsible for Untitled Goose Game's responsive piano tunes, then take a moment to appreciate the work of Dan Golding and Claude Debussy. Golding has revealed some details on how he chopped up a few of Debussy's late-period Preludes for the game, and since the songs are in the public domain, we may also get Golding's interpretations of Debussy as a soundtrack release in the future.
Golding spoke with Dami Lee at The Verge about the challenges of making Debussy's piano compositions stop, start, and speed up on a dime in accordance with the level of chaos your goose is inciting. Working with developers House House, Golding took six of the French composer's Preludes, played them two different ways, and carved them up into segments that the game cycles and swaps through to match the action on-screen.
Noting that the idea to make the soundtrack adaptive came from a comment on Untitled Goose Game's first trailer, Golding also tells The Verge how he had to iterate through the problem in order to get the music feeling right. After starting by dividing the songs into 60 or so fragments, Golding continued slicing the Debussy tracks into about 400 two-beat sections so that long chunks of music wouldn't "bulldoze through the kind of micro-narratives of the game." The resulting system allows for so many variations that "nobody's gonna get the same performance."
Since Debussy's Preludes are in the public domain, it'd be easy for anyone to make a playlist of their favorite recordings as a sort of unofficial Untitled Goose Game soundtrack, but Golding says an official soundtrack would, in the spirit of the game, segue between his laid-back takes and the ones that match the original tempo. "This is why the copyright system exists to expire," says Golding. "In 2019, it opens it up for people to experiment and play, and give different context to such vital pieces of music."
Untitled Goose Game "might be the most charming game" that USG's Caty McCarthy has played all year—you can read Caty's full review of the game right here. The game is available for the Nintendo Switch, PC, and Mac.