Guild Wars 2: Stan LePard – A Musical Guide and Legacy
Living World Season 2 has just returned in Guild Wars 2. The journey back to Dry Top is a kind of opportunity to look back on the journey Tyria has taken and the people who guided the Commander to the end of the day. end of the dragons. After lifting the kickoff of Wintersday, meeting the Asura, and pushing back Mordremoth, a core member of the Krew has left the game in a much broader sense this year. Stan LePard passed away in February 2021 and as we pursue Caithe in the sand again and search for the seeds of truth, I had the opportunity to speak to ArenaNet about the exact influence of Stan’s work throughout Tyria. .
The first time I really noticed Stan’s work on Guild Wars 2 was around the introduction of Mad King Thorn. This candy corn bully brought an eerily loud track in Court of the Mad King, and Stan’s own experience clearly shines through here, leaping into the holiday spirit with a dark, casual twist to the orchestral piece that always hits like one of my favorite reasons to get into the Scary Spirit every year. We spoke to Maclaine Diemer, who has worked with Stan extensively on Guild Wars 2, and asked him what their Stan favorites were.
Maclaine: Stan’s first musical contribution to the game actually started with the first Halloween Festival in 2012, shortly after the base game’s release. Since then, his music has been featured for just about every release, be it Living World or Expansions. It is not possible to tell the story of the game’s music after launch without mentioning Stan at every turn. More recently, he’s really carried the bulk of the music load of the Icebrood saga, increasing the aggressiveness and thorny sound of Charr and the Frost Elder Dragon Jormag.
Court of The Mad King is still one of my favorites. I also think his music for The Lost Shores is seriously underestimated. This bundle of content came out between the first Halloween and Wintersday festivals in 2012, and I think it was largely overlooked by gamers, which is unfortunate. I think his piece for the Edge of the Mists map is also awesome and a masterclass for telling a story with music and making it grand and epic.
Beyond the edge of the mists
Stan’s influence, however, extends far beyond Tyria. Digging through my own catalog of games, it’s clear to me that Stan has been roaming my own life for longer than I thought. For those of you old enough to remember the evolution of home computing, the PC video game market, and the 33K baud modem whine, Stan may have crossed your path long before that. you do not log in to defend Tyria or take control of Master Chief. Do you remember MSN and setting up Windows XP for the first time? Yes, Stan kept us company while the loading bar slowly settled down, when we log out of Windows 98, and supported us in Age of Empires III. It was a career that led to playing a starring role in the Halo series, a sound that still resonates today in the era of the new Xbox.
Between then and the Icebrood saga finale, Stan did more than create epic recordings live on ArenaNet. His own experience both in and out of the game was instrumental, pun intended, in giving us some of the highlights of the Guild Wars 2 musical journey. live orchestra and Maclaine described how important that experience was in creating the music we are returning to as Living World Season 2 returns in the ArenaNet MMORPG.
Maclaine: I was incredibly nervous as we approached the first live orchestral recording session for the game in 2014. I was terrified that the session would be a disaster, wasting studio money. and the time of musicians. Stan was basically my safety net, offering me advice and even a little comfort with my music. Fortunately, the session went well and we have been able to do a lot more since. Even though I became more confident in my writing, I still appreciated Stan’s comments. His musicality and his experience were invaluable to me and pushed me to become a better composer. The game’s soundtrack just wouldn’t be the same without it.
While the Return to Living World Season 2 is a bit of a nod to Stan’s help shaping the sound of Guild Wars 2, the ArenaNet team chose a very different memorial and more. publicized for Stan Le Pard. If you’ve heard the news, or if you go looking, you’ll find a Charr NPC named Van Leopard lurking in the background of Grothmar Valley, as well as a statue at Lion’s Arch, where you can listen to some of the great music. It’s a bit similar to Maclaine’s initial ideas for an in-game tribute, as he describes it.
Maclaine: My initial suggestion for a memorial was to have some sort of space where players could go and listen to the best of Stan’s music and enjoy it. The team was on board for this, and what started out as a plaque and possibly props from various parts of Tyria that he wrote music for eventually turned into a statue. This kind of launch kicked off the idea of having an NPC in the game, which I was also very much in favor of. Considering Stan’s involvement in the Icebrood saga, I thought it would be appropriate to have him play Charr. Stan had a great dry sense of humor, and I thought he would be amused by the idea of a giant cat version of himself. Considering the heavy nature of Metal Legion music, the team decided to make the NPC the manager of the band, giving it the name “Van Leopard”, referring to both big bands around the world. real and being a fun game named Stan.
And in case you thought a Metal Legion addition wasn’t in the character of someone who rang the bells of Wintersday, it turns out it was more fitting than many Tyrians might think. . Thanks in memory of Joseph Clark, Lead Sound Designer at ArenaNet.
Joseph Clark: A little known fact, but Stan was part of an industry group in the 90s called “Steel Porn Rhino” with two former members of our ArenaNet audio team, (Jerry Schroeder and Jason Wolford.) So, I would write a Metal Legion track, then send a rough mix to Stan, which would make it heavier and more professional. Stan’s diverse musical background and experience in drum programming really helped shape the sound of Metal Legion.
Having had such an influence in video games and digital audio in general, it seems fitting that Van Lepord’s legacy continues beyond the Kingdoms of Tyria. Maclaine has created a fund and memorial in Stan’s honor, which you can donate to if you wish.
Maclaine: The life of a professional musician is often unpredictable and doesn’t come with a lot of the safety nets you might get when working in a more stable job. I thought it would be a good opportunity for Stan’s friends and fans to show their appreciation for him and ease the burden on his family as they face such sudden loss. The wave of support has been incredible. I have been in contact with Stan’s wife the entire time, and she also deeply appreciates everyone’s kindness and generosity. The memorial fund is open, so if anyone is curious, they can find more here:
Stan was also an incredible presence in the Seattle gaming audio community, and after his passing I heard stories from a lot of people about how he greeted them when they came to town and were trying to launch an audio career. and composition in the game. I wanted to make sure that the spirit of his generosity continued, so I got together with a few other notable game composers who worked with Stan to create a scholarship fund for the Game Developer’s Conference. This year, we are sponsoring three conference audio track passes in an effort to welcome new faces to the amazing gaming audio community and give them a chance to learn from the best professionals in the industry. Pass requests are open until July 2, and hopefully this is something we can continue to do each year. More information can be found here:
Stan LePard may not have actively caught my ear until the Mad King kicked the cauldron, but his legacy is clearly written on the soul of Tyria. Thanks for the music, Stan.