Undying is the upcoming zombie survival game from developer Vanimals. The game features a compelling story that's sure to tug on your heartstrings as it follows a woman named Anling who, after being bitten by a zombie, fights against time as she works to teach her young son Cody how to survive on his own after she turns.
As the player, you'll help Anling as she tries to slow the infection while teaching Cody things like combat skills, cooking, and crafting. You'll also explore a unique landscape constructed from Anling's memories, with Undying featuring a player generated world map, day/night cycle, and dozens of NPCs to interact with.
Undying also boasts an incredible soundtrack featuring composer Adgio Hutchings who's composed music for games like PoxNora.
As you listen to the soundtrack for Undying, you'll hear instruments that represent Anling and Cody, and will enjoy songs that expertly convey the emotional weight and gravity of the game's story.
If you're curious as to how the soundtrack for Undying came together, read on for our interview with Jin, Creative Lead at Vanimals, and composer Adgio Hutchings!
Undying | Interview With Vanimals and Composer Adgio Hutchings
How was Adgio Hutchings first brought on to work on the soundtrack for Undying?
Jin, Creative Lead at Vanimals: Adgio basically emailed us at the perfect time. We had been using temp music in our game for a long time at that point and wanted to move away into something original.
As I was looking for composers to work with, I got an email from Adgio. He immediately jumped out at me as we had worked on a game called “Karnage Chronicles VR” together. I contacted him and here we are.
What are some of the other projects you’ve worked on Adgio, and did any of them influence your approach to the soundtrack for Undying?
Adgio: Karnage Chronicles and PoxNora.
No, for this project I wanted to experiment with a “less is more” idea. I think I was able to accomplish an emotional audio experience with only a small intimate section of instruments and sound design elements.
This was entirely different from what I normally do. I usually go “BIG” and Hollywood “EPIC” sounding with other action or horror games.
What was the goal with the soundtrack when it comes to conveying the themes, characters, and atmosphere of Undying?
Jin: The goal of the music was to be able to make the player feel the eeriness of a zombie world, but also feel the emotional connection between Anling and Cody. I think Adgio knocked it out of the park.
Adgio: The goal in remixing the soundtrack for the game is to give resolution to all the songs. I wanted to summarize the game in musical vignettes.
What was the collaborative process like between Adgio and the Vanimals team?
Jin: It has been wonderful. A fun back and forth. Usually, a track will start with me giving Adgio a bit of background information on what he needs to make the audio. I give a few suggestions of ideas I may be thinking. From there, he goes off and makes rough “sketches” of audio and we refine them.
Adgio: My collaboration in working with Vanimals was a Game Audio Producer’s dream come true.
Why do you think it is important for a game, especially one with an emotional story like Undying, to have a strong soundtrack backing it?
Jin: The soundtrack sets the tone and helps the player connect with these characters on an emotional level. In the game, our characters don’t have faces, so I think the soundtrack is another tool we have to help the player understand what they are feeling.
Adgio: I think the game music is integral to telling the story, it is driving the game and motivating the player.
What are some of the instruments heard on the soundtrack, and what was the recording process like? Were there any challenges when it came to recording the soundtrack during the pandemic?
Adgio: I used the piano as the main instrument for the music. It sets the tone for “words” or levels. The characters are also embodied by specific instruments. For example, I used the Cello to represent Anling and the Violin for Cody. No, there were not any pandemic challenges.
How did you settle on using instruments like the cello for Anling and a violin for Cody, and how do we hear these instruments in the soundtrack? For example, do we hear them both individually and harmonizing together, as if they’re speaking to one another?
Adgio: Yes, in some parts of the songs you can hear the instruments soloing and harmonizing which symbolizes the characters expressions and emotions in the game.
If you had to pick a favorite, what’s your favorite song on the Undying soundtrack, and why?
Adgio: That is a tough one. But I would have to choose “House” as my favorite.
Does the soundtrack of Undying evolve over time as the game progresses and we get to know Anling and Cody (and the world they inhabit) a bit more?
Adgio: Yes, absolutely.
Jin: What he said.
Adgio, your daughter is the voice actor for Cody in Undying, how did she come to be cast in that role, and has it been fun to work on Undying almost like a family project?
Adgio: I recommended her because of her age and familiarity with Cody’s character. Yes.
Adding to that, has your daughter and her voice acting work for Cody inspired you in composing any of the music for Undying?
Adgio: Definitely, hearing Cody’s voice and reactions in the game has given me a closer connection to his emotional state and translating that into music.
Will the soundtrack for Undying be available for purchase separately, or included in special edition versions of the game?
Jin: Yes and yes! We will also be having a preview of the soundtrack available for free soon on Steam where people can check out a couple of tracks early!
Where can people go to listen to more of your work and music and support you in future endeavors, Adgio?
Undying - Soundtrack Preview
If you want to listen to some of the beautiful music from the Undying soundtrack, the team shared two songs with us that we're now really excited to be able to share with you. The first one, which you can listen to above, is called Memories of Home and it's one of our personal favorites.
That said, the second one – which you can listen to below – is also one we've fallen in love with after hearing it. We've been listening to both on repeat all day, and we hope you love them as much as we do!
As previously mentioned by Jin, the team will have a soundtrack preview for free on Steam soon where gamers can listen to a few songs from the soundtrack so keep an eye out for those.
To make that easier, make sure you wishlist Undying on Steam!
We want to thank Adgio Hutchings and Jin from Vanimals for taking the time to answer our questions regarding Undying and its beautiful soundtrack.
Undying is scheduled to release in 2021 for Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, PC, iOS, and Android.