Atlantis: The Lost Tales Soundtrack, Pierre Estève / Stéphane Picq, 1997
By the second half of the 1990s, French developer Cryo Interactive had found its niche: lavishly produced, Myst-style adventure games. The reception of these titles amongst critics remained somewhat ambivalent, but there’s no denying that Cryo’s approach was effective. Their biggest success might well have been Atlantis: The Lost Tales. Sporting panoramic 360-degree first-person views of the pre-rendered environments and significant amounts of pre-recorded speech, Atlantis was praised by reviewers for its visuals and strong atmosphere. At the same time, perceived gameplay flaws once again often resulted in average scores. That didn’t stop the game from selling more than 300,000 copies by late 1998, starting a franchise that would generate four more titles in future years and outlast Cryo itself.
Scoring duties for the Atlantis: The Lost Tales soundtrack went to the duo of Pierre Estève and Stéphane Picq. Picq had been Cryo’s main composer since the company’s very beginning, writing the entrancing music for its breakthrough hit Dune. Estève was a more recent addition to Cryo’s musical team, approaching the developer in 1995 after having worked as a rock musician and composer for French television and radio. His first project with Cryo turned out to be Dragon Lore II: The Heart of the Dragon Man. In the years to follow, Estève would create the music and sound effects for several other Cryo titles, even remaining with the Atlantis franchise after the developer had closed its doors in 2002. His anthropological interest in a vast range of musical cultures – witnessed by his solo albums Bamboo and Metal – was a perfect match for Picq’s eclectic composition style.