Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Soundtrack, Mikael Karlsson, 2010
It’s hard to remember much about how Battlefield: Bad Company 2 managed to differentiate itself from the competition. Sure, the game’s reviews were very strong and 12 million sold units is an impressive figure. But thematically or aesthetically, there was little separating Bad Company 2 from the glut of other military-themed first-person shooters. One aspect in which this multi player-focused title stood out from the crowd was the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 soundtrack. After scoring Battlefield: Bad Company, Mikael Karlsson returned to write the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 soundtrack. Karlsson’s involvement in video game music is one of the industry’s more intriguing coincidences. As a successful writer of modern (sometimes avant-garde) classical music, with an impressive body of well-received orchestral works, ballets and operas under his belt, Karlsson seems like an unusual choice to score an first-person shooter.
The link between Karlsson and the Battlefield franchise is Stefan Strandberg, sound director at game developer DICE. Karlsson and Strandberg had met while working in a wine store in Stockholm during their student years. Bonding over their shared love of music, the two collaborated early on, chasing sounds in the fields of Skåne, Sweden. After moving to New York for his musical studies, Karlsson began sending out original compositions to friends back in Sweden. One of those tapes made it into the hands of Strandberg, who now worked at DICE. He suggested to Karlsson to produce a demo for Battlefield: Bad Company. Quickly organising an ensemble of volunteer musician friends, Karlsson recorded the requested demo and some weeks later landed the job.