When Far Cry 6 was released last month, one of the major standout aspects of the game was the amazing soundtrack that had been created. The music was the work of Pedro Bromfman, who went out of his way to not just capture the spirit of the area that the fictional island of Yara is based in but set the tone for the chaos of trying to take back the land from a ruthless dictator. We had a chance to chat with him about the making of this soundtrack and everything he went through to bring Yara to life through music.
BC: First thing, how have things been going for you during the pandemic? How are you holding up?
Bromfman: Things are good! Fortunately, I had Far Cry 6 to keep me busy and sane while the world shut down. My work life didn't change much, I'm usually by myself in the studio creating music. The social and family life were the more difficult aspects, kids at home with no school, or needing extra help with online classes. We ended up moving because the pandemic made us realize we needed more space.
Aside from the game, what kind of projects had you been working on the past couple of years?
I've done two video games back to back. I finished Need For Speed Heat right before the pandemic and got deep into Far Cry right after that. I've also worked on a short film with Jessica Sanders, a long-time collaborator, and a feature film entitled The Blackout, directed by my very talented wife, Daniela De Carlo.
How did the conversation come about with Ubisoft to work on Far Cry 6's soundtrack and what made you decide to do it?
I had worked on a presentation video for a different video game with Ubisoft. I was brought in by Simon Landry, a music supervisor at Ubisoft Montreal. As we finished that short project, Simon mentioned they were working on a game he thought would be perfect for me. He introduced me to the team and two weeks later I was hired. Far Cry is obviously a huge franchise owned by a fantastic studio Ubisoft, that alone would make any composer salivate. Having said that, once I had a chance to speak with the audio director Eduardo Vaisman and the narrative director Navid Khavari, I was sold! Their passion and vision for Far Cry 6 were explosive and highly contagious!
What kind of material did they give you and how much of the game did you check out ahead of planning it out?
I was working on the game as they were building the world of Far Cry 6. Initially I was given images, a "look book" for Yara and its characters. We'd also have extensive conversations with Navid, the narrative director, where he'd break down the story and history of the Island and along with the detailed story of each character. It was fantastic to come in that early and see the music come together as the island took shape. As we advanced through the game, I'd get quicklimes of missions being played by someone in their offices, and work with those captures in the background.
I read the music was influenced by the music of several South American/Caribbean countries. Who were some of the artists that struck a chord with you for those influences?
No specific artists but a general understanding of Caribbean and Latin American rhythms and instruments. Luckily I already had deep knowledge about the area having grown up in Brazil and studied Caribbean and Latin American music from a young age. We wanted to root the score in those elements but build something completely new in the end. So I used what I knew and spent a lot of time in the studio experimenting, processing sounds, and playing around with synths.
What kind of a challenge was it creating music that hit both a revolutionary tone but also captured the seriousness of what was happening in the story?
The revolution is very serious, it's life or death for the main characters. The music was supposed to carry that heaviness while also portraying the beauty of the Island and the hope of a better future. My music, in general, is very layered, I tend to score dark character and moments without being too dense and over the top. No character or situation is black or white and I try to interpret them that way musically.
What was it like working with Ariel Contreras Esquivel and Hilario Duran on making tracks for this soundtrack?
We were working separately. Our work didn't really overlap during the process. My job was to score the characters and compose for the open world and all of the missions. I was creating the sound that represented Yara and its characters. Hilario and Ariel were creating the music played on the streets of Yara by local musicians and the national marches imposed by Anton's regime.
How did the opportunity come about to work with Gabylonia on some of the music as she lent her voice to some of it?
Again that was Eduardo Vaisman's idea and I wasn't involved working with Gabylonia. Having said that, I was sent her tracks when we were scoring the Central region of Yara, with the idea of infusing some of my score with the urban and hip hop element present in her tracks.
What are some of the tracks you feel most proud of from this entire soundtrack?
My favorite tracks are Clara's theme, an acoustic guitar piece written for a key character in Yara's revolution, "El Presidente", which showcases the theme I composed for Anton Castillo and Libertad, the theme for the revolution taking place in Yara.
How was it for you to see the music in the game and hear it over specific scenes?
I was in Toronto for the release of the game and finally had a chance to play a bit and see how my music had been implemented into the open world and some of the missions. Eduardo and his team did a fantastic job with all of the music I delivered, along with the rest of the music that populates the game. To hear the final product after more than two years of hard work was a treat, truly gratifying!
What do you personally hope people get from hearing this music as they make their way through Yara?
First of all, I hope they are entertained. That's our job, to create quality content and stories that resonate with audiences. I hope all of the hard work that went into this game is enjoyed for years and years to come by players all over the world. Finally, it would be great if our game helps more people fall in love with the beautiful and soulful elements of Latin American and Caribbean culture and music.
What can we expect from you going into 2022?
I'm currently working on a series about the amazing life of the Brazilian Star, Xuxa, along with a five-episode mini-series for Netflix.