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Journey composer presents score with text commentary

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Audio commentary for films is ubiquitous on DVDs and Blu-rays, but Journey composer Austin Wintory has put together something more rare: a text commentary on his Grammy-nominated score.

Wintory presents his notes through annotations on a YouTube video of the nearly hourlong score. The beautiful music is accompanied not by gameplay footage but by pieces from Matthew Nava, Journey's art director and author of the book The Art of Journey, as well as artwork Wintory found on DeviantArt.

The wide-ranging commentary contains information on topics like the creation of the compositions themselves — Wintory wrote the first piece, "Nascence," in 2009 before production on Journey had begun — as well as on the instrumentation and the art that's running at a particular moment.

Wintory's annotations don't just illuminate the music; they also provide details on the development of Journey. In an early piece of concept art by Nava, the game's central rock formation was a canyon, not a mountain.

Journey launched last March on the PlayStation Network and came in third on Polygon's 2012 Games of the Year list. Wintory's next video game project is the score for the Kickstarter-funded Leisure Suit Larry remake, Replay Games' Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards: Reloaded.