Episode #221: Ben Prunty

January 22, 2015 · 23:44

Ben Prunty’s road to success was paved with good ideas… as well as toilets, broken computers, and audio books.

For Ben, the glamour of scoring video games did not come without effort. While working alternately as a janitor, Google diagnostician, and volunteer coordinator, he dedicated his spare time to honing his craft. After years of improvement, he received a call from the developer of the new game Faster Than Light (FTL). They asked for a score, and Ben’s life changed forever.

The elements of FTL are pretty simple – the player acts as the captain of a spaceship, and is responsible for getting it from point A to point B. Meanwhile, nearly everything in the galaxy is trying to destroy the ship. As the captain, the player needs to make real-time decisions about resource allocation, technical emergencies, and keeping the crew alive.

The score for FTL, too, has relatively simple building blocks. Based on chiptune sounds, Ben constructed a score both goofy and unsettling. The tone varies among hazy warmth, foreboding ambience, and funk-infused 80s sci-fi. IGN (a massive international video game-based news and media company) nominated it for Best Overall Music and Best PC Sound of 2012.

It’s safe to say that Ben no longer scrubs toilets to make ends meet. Now a full-time composer, he has several new games in the making. We had a chance to sit down with Ben to discuss FTL, his relatively new major success, and where his career is headed next.

Playlist, all from FTL unless otherwise noted:

Space Cruise (Title)
Deepspace (Battle)
Void (Battle)
Colonial (Explore)
Beyond the Biodome (Jesper Kyd, Borderlands: The PreSequel​)
Debris (Battle)
Milky Way (Explore)
Wasteland (Battle)
Civil (Explore)
Last Stand