The EAvolution of Rob Hubbard - pt 4
Project Hubbard: 1992-mid 90s. The Road Rash years... and Sherlock Holmes.
This article is sponsored by Project Hubbard, The official Rob Hubbard Kickstarter, and gives an idea of the kind of topics we will cover in the associated book "Rob Hubbard - The Official Reference" - except with more supporting interviews and facts.
The definitive MT32 soundtracks from some of these games should also be on "The Rob Hubbard archive" album on "Project Hubbard Standard".
Read part 1 of this series of blog posts here.
Read part 2 of this series of blog posts here.
Read part 3 of this series of blog posts here.
As Rob got more senior within EA and they hired more people, over time Rob was gradually assuming more of a management role: supervising other musicians, making top level creative music decisions, evaluating technology, and participating in IASIG (Interactive Audio Special Interest Group, an industry body).IASIG and Rob were trying to define standards and come up with solutions for interactive or adaptive music and audio. Unfortunately, Rob remembers that "... the advent of licensed bands and music stopped all efforts in its tracks.".
This list is limited to games Rob composed music for: the ones that he just did sound for don't appear. There were a lot of ports of Populous (see Part 2 for the Amiga version) during this time, so let's cover those.
The ones Rob did were the PC...
... ah, CGA. How I (don't really) miss you.
... and now for the posh DOS version (MT32)...
Rob also did the Sega Genesis port:
But he did none of the other ports, which I'll list here for completeness.
Sega Master System: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9CrGvLgAm8
PC Engine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqVH_ggrC8M
Populous MT32: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHSSlAlKVCM
C64: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGCpOGSgHSU (tech demo)
Road Rash (1991)
Road Rash is probably the most famous Rob Hubbard tune on the consoles, and it originated on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis. Some of the music in the game was by Michael Bartlow, though the title track was definitely by Rob.
A playlist of the OSTs is here if you're interested, but Rob confirms that two in-game tunes are his:
... and a very good guitar remix...
The Mega Drive's smaller brother the Master System also got a look in with the conversion handled by Probe, and the music was ported by Matt Furniess, for a satisfyingly chippy version of the tune. Some of the heavy metal feel is gone of course, but... square waves!
The Game Gear version sounds pretty similar, and was also handled by Matt.
The Game Boy Color version was ported by the also-mighty and Project Hubbard-related Allister Brimble in 2000.
I wonder who converted it for the Game Boy...?
Oh, OK, it was Ocean :)
I don't have confirmation, but given Jonathan Dunn was Ocean's Game Boy musician at the time (for instance, he put the Comic Bakery theme into Jurassic Park), I think that would be a good educated guess.
Road Rash really was a who's who of C64 talent... programming not on the C64!
Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf (1991)
While Rob contributed music to this game, he wasn't responsible for the title screen music, not the music on the Amiga.
However, he did do these:
Opening (Part 1) - 1:26 - 3:12 in this video. It's VERY reminiscent of Lightforce.
Opening (Part 3) - 3:46 - 5:11 in this video.
Mission Briefing 3 - 9:51 - 11:24 in this video.
Ending Theme (Hail to the Chief) - 13:19 - 14:55 in this video.
Staff Roll - 14:55 - end in this video.
SNES-wise, he wasn't credited, and it seems only one of his tunes was ported.
Here's Opening (Part 1):
While the end tune was still "Hail to the Chief", it was a different arrangement to Rob's.
Team USA Basketball (1992)
And so, another sports franchise was enabled by Rob...
Rob seems to have charmed fans whereever he went:
That last comment sounds _awfully_ familiar to SID fans!
Road Rash 2 (1992)
A Mega Drive/Genesis-only release this time.
Youtuber "CloudTheLastSoldier" says it best: "This theme is fucking awesome. It truly makes me want to get on a motorcycle, whoop some ass, then ride away. Would be cool if someone did a guitar cover of this."
Rob did the title tune (above), the Arizona theme...
The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel (1992)
Sherlock Holmes marks a return to classical orchestration for Rob: it had long been a passion (albeit one constrained by technical resources), but here he could indulge himself with a wonderful collection of themes (composed specifically for the MT32). In fact, there are so many Sherlock tunes, they deserve their own blog post.
But here's the title (Adlib/CMS(?) version).
... and here on the MT32 in all its glory.
There was a ton of great music for this game in it.
Experience it in real-time with this walkthrough playlist.
IMG International Tour Tennis (Sega, 1994)
Occasionally Sega would go begging to EA for talent...
Sherlock 3DO (1994)
And, since Rob was the King of 3DO soundtracks around this time...
Shockwave: Operation Jumpgate 3DO (1994)
An add-on to the original Shockwave, it dispensed with the orchestral stuff, and gained this rather spiffing Zimmer-esque track suite from Rob.
...and later on, Rob's reach extended to the PS1, thanks to this game and PGA Tour Golf 96.
Madden 3DO (1994)
Wikipedia missed this one, but Rob confirmed he was the composer.
Fanfares, and rocking action, unfortunately ruined by actual gameplay.
PGA Tour Golf 96/486 (1995)
PS1 - Rob's only game on the Playstation 1 except for the port of 3DO Shockwave Jumpgate.
486 (PC Version)
"Most of my time later was spent out sourcing music and arranging dialog talent and setting up sessions. And sitting through technical design review meetings."
He left EA in November 2001 to return to the UK. The next game he was asked to provide music for was "Era of Eidolon" for Nokia in 2004 (unreleased, but will appear on Project Hubbard).
Just want to make a correction, it seems the MT-32 music for Populous posted here actually isn’t it at all, but possibly just the soundtrack played through General MIDI? One comment mentions that the piano instrument is actually wrong…
This, however, seems to be the MT-32 version, recorded from an actual Roland CM-32L, which was a variant of the MT-32 made for home computers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpe23vv2htQ
(Original video for posterity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHSSlAlKVCM )
BONUS – here’s the Adlib version of the soundtrack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6SN7PZEC94