Composers of video game music to get their own top award

For the first time, the prestigious Ivor Novellos are to recognise excellence in a thriving £28bn industry

Sir Paul McCartney has one, as do Lou Reed, Lionel Bart and Annie Lennox. They hold a prestigious Ivor Novello Award, Britain's tribute to the finest songwriters the world has seen. This week they will be joined by someone whose music has never been near the charts: the composer of a computer game soundtrack.

It goes without saying that the bleepy backings to games such as Super Mario stand no chance. Instead, the leading compositions will feature sweeping orchestral strings, stirring choral harmonies and quickening trumpets which bring pathos and excitement to on-screen battles in much the same way they do for films.

In fact, according to the composers who will be joining Lily Allen and Dizzee Rascal at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, the computer games industry now rivals Hollywood in terms of music quality as well as income. Last year, £28bn worth of computer games were sold globally compared with the £20bn taken from Hollywood films.

One of those nominated on Thursday is Walter Mair, a 31-year-old composer who lives in London, and who has also worked on Hollywood films such as The Dark Knight. He scored the soundtrack for Empire: Total War in which gamers can bring opposing armies from different periods in history together.

"We use the same musicians, the same level of orchestration and the same studios such as Abbey Road as Hollywood films," he said. "It costs just as much. Even the sound engineers are the same. For a composer it's not as stressful working on computer games as there are not the big names to deal with."

Joris de Man, who is nominated for his work on Killzone, a futuristic war drama game, added that games set composers different challenges.

"A Hollywood film is linear, so you know where the music is going," he said. "A computer game isn't linear. You know there are paths that will be followed, but you don't know when the gamer will take them. So the music for each sequence has to relate to everything that may have gone before. It was more evolution than revolution. Once CD-Rom drives came in 10 years or so ago, there was the space for full orchestrated music and the ability to reproduce it."

Mark Fishlock, the director of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (Basca) which organises the awards, described the inclusion of computer games as a "very exciting development".

"They were a bit off our radar because it's a very specialist area," he said. "But when they were brought to our attention we agreed very quickly to include them. Computer games now have the same budgets as films, the scores are recorded using 80-piece orchestras and yet the composition is very specialised. It's the first year and hopefully it will show how the area has developed and matured since the plinkety plonkety days of Super Mario when everything was done on a synthesiser."

The 55th Ivor Novello Awards are presented on Thursday

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, seated next to a picture of his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike

film
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey

There’s revolution in the air, but one lady’s not for turning

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene

Friends 20th anniversary
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham

booksReview: Lena Dunham, Not That Kind of Girl
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments