Kameo: Elements of Power Soundtrack, Steve Burke, 2005
It’s hard to say whatever curse it might have been, but throughout the 2000s, developer Rare struggled with cancellations or lengthy delays on several of its games. This fate also befell Kameo: Elements of Power, which was in development for a full five years. Initially announced under the name of Ariel’s Quest for the GameCube, production was moved to the Xbox after Microsoft purchased Rare. Ultimately, Kameo: Elements of Power became one of the launch titles for the Xbox 360. Given its protracted development time, it was no surprise to see just how polished Kameo was, with its lavish fantasy visuals praised by nearly every critic. Views on the game’s playability and length were slightly more divided, but while Kameo didn’t manage to capture the magic of Rare’s classic Nintendo titles, it enjoyed strong enough sales and a generally warm reception.
Kameo’s graphics were not the only aspect of the game’s presentation that drew compliments – Steve Burke’s lush soundtrack was equally well-received. This was the first score that Rare decided to have recorded by a live orchestra – a decision that was made quite late during development. Composer Steve Burke chose around 80 minutes of his four hours of material written for the Kameo: Elements of Power soundtrack to be performed by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and King’s Choir, led by always dependable orchestrator and conductor Nic Raine. The experience clearly was a positive one – the following year, Rare composer Grant Kirkhope returned to Prague to record Viva Piñata with the same ensemble.