Trent Reznor Scores “Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2” Hysteria: “Sexy Isn’t The Right Word…But, Intriguing”

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Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Countless fans camped out across the country to be among the first to buy Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 when it was released at midnight (November 12), with the highly anticipated title expected to be the most successful video game launch of all-time.

Players who pre-ordered the Hardened and Care Package Collector’s Edition of the game will also receive the soundtrack, composed by Jack Wall and featuring a hauntingly aggressive theme by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame (the soundtrack is available to purchase separately through select retailers).

Reznor is no stranger to making soundtracks for games, going all the way back to 1996 when he was tapped to compose the music for Quake.  

Quake came about because I was so blown away by id Software’s work back in the day. We became friends when Nine Inch Nails went through Texas,” Reznor said to the Wall Street Journal about connecting with the company that developed the popular game franchise. “They brought me into the fold of what they were working on. It seemed interesting to me, challenging. I’d always been a fan of gaming. I also worked on Doom 3 a bit, but then that just sprawled into something that went beyond what I was able to do time-wise, commitment-wise.”

As a lifelong gamer, Reznor’s roots go back to classic arcade titles like Pong, Space Invaders and Asteroids.

“I was fascinated by it, because it felt to me like a really engaging new form of entertainment,” he explained of the then-emerging video game culture. “I loved these abstract puzzles that could be created with such a small amount of code; these mystery boxes were being installed in the pizza shops around the whole town. I made a network of friends who I met through their three-letter initials that I would see on the game’s high-score screens.”

Reznor worked closely with the software developers at Treyarch in crafting music for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, making sure the sounds fit perfectly with the mood of the first-person shooter.

“What felt right to me instinctually was something that felt it shared the sense of remorse and dread; the longing, melancholy, and hesitation that they explained to me the character was feeling,” he related. “I wanted to take something that was a bit down but give it some balls, give it some aggression. So that equated to something that was kind of a blend of rock band instrumentation—guitar, bass, drums—but set in something that was darker. Sexy isn’t the right word…but, intriguing.” Listen to the theme song here.

The same day as the launch of the Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 game and soundtrack (November 13), Reznor’s new band, How to Destroy Angels, releases a new 5-song EP simply entitled An Omen, featuring the single “Keep It Together.”

–Scott T. Sterling, CBS Local

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