Presidents of the United States of America Singer to Score Portal-Style Puzzler

Categories: Digitalia

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Chris Ballew, the basitarist and singer of Seattle band Presidents of the United States of America, will be the man behind the music for an upcoming first-person puzzle game from Square Enix called Quantum Conundrum.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of music in a video game. Would BioShock have been as eerie and disturbing without Garry Schyman's oppressive score? Well, the man who gave us surrealist alternative hits like "Lump" and "Peaches" wants to take a stab at joining the likes of Nobuo Uematsu and Jonathan Coulton in adding his two music cents to Quantum Conundrum.

Kim Swift, who previously worked with Valve as the lead designer of the first Portal, is helming the game. It follows a young boy who visits his inventor uncle's mansion only for it to be wracked by an explosion.

The boy decides to find his uncle with the aid of a special dimension-shifting glove. The glove allows him to move between four different dimensions where the boundaries remain the same but physics differ widely.

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Photo by Brian Kasnyik
Chris Ballew
For instance, there's a "fluffy" dimension, where everything weighs a tenth of what it does in our normal world.

This allows the boy to manipulate objects much larger than he normally would, switching back to our dimension after completing the necessary puzzles. All and all, it should assuage the addictive need for Portal 3 until Valve decides that that number isn't taboo.

Ballew, who now releases children's music under the name Caspar Babypants, is looking forward to helping bring the adventure to audio life a great deal.

"I like making music for kids because I admire their inventive imaginations, and as an adult I nurture that same creativity in myself," said Ballew in an official press release. "The gameplay, humor and art style in Quantum Conundrum embodies that same sentiment."

"Chris was our top choice to score Quantum Conundrum," continues Tom Smurdon, audio director for Quantum Conundrum at Airtight Games in the same release.

"The team wanted someone who would be fun and quirky and would really fit the style of the game. He's a ton of fun to work with and all of that comes through in the music he writes."

Ballew has been nominated twice for Grammys with PUSA, and went quadruple-platinum with the band before they semi-broke up. They've reformed, toured, and recorded sporadically over the last decade, and previously made contributions to the video-game world by playing "Can't Stop (Catchin' 'Em All)" at the launch of Pokemon Black and White in March of last year.

Quantum Conundrum is scheduled for a possible fall release later this year.


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