Friday, 17 May 2024

An Interview with the Composers Behind Resident Evil 2 and DMC5

Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5, two highly acclaimed games released earlier this year, captivated players with not only their gameplay but also their exceptional soundtracks. We had the privilege of sitting down with two extraordinary composers, Jeff Rona and Cody Matthew Johnson, who contributed their musical talents to both games. In addition to these projects, their work can also be heard in other popular titles like God of War III and Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite.

What Sets Video Game Composition Apart?

Composing for video games presents a unique set of challenges compared to other industries. According to Cody Matthew Johnson, the linear nature of movies and TV shows contrasts with the interactive and non-linear nature of video games. While the music in movies and TV shows follows a singular narrative path, video game composers must consider both the linear and vertical aspects. This means creating music that not only complements the game’s story but also adapts to players’ actions. Video game scores evoke passion and enthusiasm because players can connect with the music on a deeper level. Cody emphasizes that players can tap their feet to the beats and even sing along to memorable melodies. The creative freedom and immersive experience that video game music offers truly set it apart.

What Makes Working with Capcom Special?

When discussing Capcom, Jeff Rona highlights that the company is not a homogeneous entity. Each project, such as Marvel vs. Capcom and Devil May Cry, has its own unique team and vision. Capcom directors provide specific guidelines for the music, often using descriptive words like industrial, metal, or grunge to convey their desired sound. However, they also grant composers the freedom to explore and challenge themselves creatively. Capcom understands the importance of capturing each game’s distinct style and character, pushing the boundaries of what they have done before. They strive to honor the franchise while infusing it with fresh and innovative musical elements.

The Inspiration behind Dante’s Theme in Devil May Cry 5

Cody delves into the creative process behind composing Dante’s theme, “Subhuman,” for Devil May Cry 5. The game is a unique blend of dark and heavy concepts, such as demons and angels, with cocky and raunchy characters. Capcom provided Cody with specific keywords like aggressive, metal, guitar, and synth to capture the essence of the music. Combining these elements, Cody created a composition that he describes as aggressive, metal-hybrid with brain-shaking synths and requiem choirs. It was a unique and challenging experience to bring this musical vision to life.

Jeff’s Contribution to V’s Theme in Devil May Cry 5 and Kratos in God of War III

Jeff Rona discusses the contrasting musical approaches he took for two iconic characters, V in Devil May Cry 5 and Kratos in God of War III. For God of War III, the emphasis was on creating an ancient, epic, and dark ambiance with a blend of orchestral and ethnic influences. However, with V’s theme in Devil May Cry 5, Capcom wanted something entirely different. They requested a departure from the guitar-heavy sound associated with the franchise. The result was “Crimson Cloud,” an aggressive and electronic piece with a female vocalist and distortion. The goal was to create a stark contrast to other battle themes in the game.

The True-Ending Theme in Resident Evil 2: “Saudade”

Jeff and Cody collaborated on the true-ending theme, “Saudade,” for Resident Evil 2. Jeff explains that “saudade” is a Portuguese word with no direct English translation but carries the meaning of love that remains after something or someone is gone. The director specifically requested a song that captures the emotional essence of the game in just three minutes. The lyrics tell the story of a man who moves to a city to pursue his dreams, only to discover that the city is a facade. The theme explores the nostalgic reflection on youth and hope, resonating with the director’s vision of revisiting the original game and defining the survival horror genre.


Q: Where can I hear more video game music?
A: We recommend checking out our exclusive interview with the composer of Captain Marvel and Fortnite, or take a look at the detailed footage on the creation of Sekiro’s soundtrack.


Composers Jeff Rona and Cody Matthew Johnson have made significant contributions to the world of video game music. Their work on Resident Evil 2 and Devil May Cry 5 showcases their creativity, versatility, and ability to capture the essence of each game’s unique atmosphere. As they continue to collaborate with Capcom and other notable projects, we can expect more exceptional musical experiences in the world of gaming.