Matt Uelmen

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Matt Uelmen
Uelmen on guitar in 2006
Uelmen on guitar in 2006
Background information
Birth nameMatthew Francis Uelmen
Born (1972-07-31) July 31, 1972 (age 48)
South Bay, California
GenresVideo game music
Occupation(s)Composer, sound designer
InstrumentsKeyboard, guitar, flute and percussion
Years active1994–present

Matt Uelmen (/ˈlmɪn/; born July 31, 1972)[1][2][3][4] is an American video game music composer and sound designer. He is best known for his work in Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo series, which was recognized with the inaugural Excellence in Audio award by the IGDA in 2001. He also worked as a sound designer for the real-time strategy game StarCraft, and worked on World of Warcraft's expansion The Burning Crusade in 2007. From 2009 until the studio's closure in 2017, Matt Uelmen worked as a member of the Runic Games team, as a composer and sound designer for the Torchlight games.[5]

Early life and work[edit]

Growing up in the South Bay area of Greater Los Angeles, Uelmen began taking piano lessons at age six from his tutor, Lenee Bilski,[6][7][8][9] who provided him with a strong theoretical foundation.[6] At 13 years old, he moved with his family to San Jose, California, where he completed high school. During this time, Uelmen was self-taught, mostly influenced by jazz, classic rock, and classical music, especially Liszt and Debussy while he was in high school, and Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix and Tom Waits later on. He later diversified his instruments to include the flute, guitar, keyboard and percussion.[6][8]

He studied at Georgetown University from 1989 to 1993, where he earned the Mary Catherine Mita Prize for his thesis Cannibal Culture, Technology and American music in 1993.[10][11] During college, he was also a keyboardist in a six-member bar band, where he acquired practical experience and learned about "arrangement, interaction and economy".[6][8] He began working in video game music in 1994, when he was hired by Condor.[6] His first notable work in this period was on the game Justice League Task Force for Sunsoft, released in 1995 for the Sega Genesis.[8][9]

Blizzard Entertainment[edit]

In March 1996, Blizzard Entertainment acquired Condor, which was renamed into Blizzard North.[12] On December 31, 1996,[13] Blizzard released their first game of the company's successful series, Diablo.[14][15] His work in Diablo was so well received that Uelmen was loaned to Blizzard's StarCraft team (but stayed in Redwood City), where he did sound design; that game was released two years after Diablo, in 1998.[16]

On June 29, 2000, Blizzard launched the second game of the Diablo series, Diablo II.[17] In 2001, Uelmen, who composed the Diablo II Soundtrack, and cinematic soundtrack composers Jason Hayes, Glenn Stafford and Andrea Pessino won the International Game Developers Association award for Excellence in Audio for their work on Diablo II.[18] Continuing his work in the Diablo series, on June 29, 2001, Blizzard launched what would be believed to be the last game of the series, the expansion pack Diablo II: Lord of Destruction.[19][20] In an interview with Gamasutra, Uelmen was asked about his time at Blizzard between 2001 and 2005. When asked whether he had worked on the earlier version of Diablo III prior to the shutdown of Blizzard North, he responded, "I guess at this point I can say, yes, more or less. Blizzard has always had a number of projects, though, that may or may not see the light of day. Some of those have been talked about, but there definitely was more than one thing going on development-wise at the time."[5]

From 2005 to 2007, Uelmen created some of the sound and music for Blizzard's popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft's expansion pack, World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade; his work represents the majority of the music in the new area of the game, Outland.[21] He is one of about ten composers who have contributed to World of Warcraft. After his departure from Blizzard, his work was used as the basis for some of the tracks in the Blizzard Entertainment and Eminence Symphony Orchestra collaboration, Echoes of War (2008).[22]

Runic Games[edit]

In 2009, Uelmen joined the newly formed Runic Games, which includes several former Blizzard North and Flagship Studios employees.[11] He composed the score for their 2009 game, Torchlight and served as sound designer.[23][24] He continued to work at Runic on Torchlight II, which released in September 2012. Runic Games closed down in November 2017, shortly after releasing Hob.

Echtra Games[edit]

In 2016, Uelmen followed his former long-time colleague Max Schaefer as he started the new game company Echtra Games.[25] As of April 2020, he is working on the soundtrack to Torchlight III.[25]

Works[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Matt Uelmen". Spock. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  2. ^ "Matt Uelmen". youmix.co.uk. Archived from the original on December 23, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  3. ^ "Matt Uelmen". OverClocked ReMix. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  4. ^ "Matt Uelmen". VGMdb. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  5. ^ a b Remo, Chris (July 16, 2010). "The Real Story Of Torchlight's Music". Gamasutra. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Interview With Matt Uelmen". RPGamer.com. February 19, 2001. Archived from the original on September 30, 2009. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  7. ^ "Matt Uelmen". MobyGames. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c d Studnicky, Dan. "Interviews: Questions with Matt Uelmen". Gamesmania. Archived from the original on October 6, 2001. Retrieved August 29, 2009.
  9. ^ a b Kelly, Ryan. "Masters of the Craft: Blizzard's Composers". GameSpy. Archived from the original on May 31, 2010. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  10. ^ "American Studies Program: Thesis Directory". Georgetown College. September 28, 2009. Archived from the original on June 10, 2010.
  11. ^ a b "Matt Uelmen". LinkedIn. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  12. ^ "Davidson & Associates, Inc. Signs a Definitive Merger Agreement With Condor, Inc". PR Newswire. March 6, 1996. Retrieved September 28, 2009.[dead link]
  13. ^ "Diablo". MetaCritic. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  14. ^ "A criatividade vs. O óbvio: A música inovadora de Diablo I e II" (in Portuguese). Gamecultura.com.br. March 27, 2007. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  15. ^ "The History of Computer Role-Playing Games Part III: The Platinum and Modern Ages (1994–2004)". Gamasutra. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  16. ^ "Starcraft Tech Info". Gamespot. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  17. ^ "Coda & Roger and Me – Matt Uelmen". Phantasmelodia. July 2008. Archived from the original on December 3, 2008. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  18. ^ "1st Annual Game Developers Choice Awards". Game Developers Choice Awards. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  19. ^ "BlizzCon 08: New Diablo III Tunes, New Co-Composer Announced". Original Sound Version. October 12, 2008. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  20. ^ PC Gamer US (August 1, 2008). "Diablo III Preview". GamesRadar. Archived from the original on June 16, 2011. Retrieved August 2, 2008.
  21. ^ "Interview with Blizzard Entertainment Audio Director & World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Lead Composer Russell Brower". Music4Games. April 20, 2007. Archived from the original on July 23, 2009. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  22. ^ "Echoes of War: The Music of Blizzard Entertainment Legendary Edition". VGMdb. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  23. ^ "Torchlight Trailer: The Valiant Vanquisher". Shacknews. September 14, 2009. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  24. ^ "Torchlight Interview With Lead Composer and New Screenshots". Curse.com. August 24, 2009. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  25. ^ a b "Interview with Matt Uelmen". Diablo 3 ESP. May 6, 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2020.

External links[edit]