Titan Quest sound designer Scott Morton answers two pages of questions about the action RPG's music and sound effects in a new interview on Creative's official Sound Blaster website.
Q: The historical setting for Titan Quest proposes a unique challenge for you, the composer and sound designer. How do you first approach creating the sound design of an ancient world?
A: First I power up my time machine ... heh, doesn't everyone have one of those? Seriously though ... my approach to the score and the sound design in the game was challenging in several aspects. First off, I came onboard at Iron Lore mid-production, so there had already been some music and sound created. I had to evaluate what was there and try to wrap that in with the additional content that I'd be responsible for. There are also three different regions in the game - ancient Greece, Egypt, and the Orient. Each region has its own distinct sound and instruments, historically speaking. Yet I still had to maintain a connectedness in the score as a whole, so that even when you travel to a new region, it still has that Titan Quest sound. After doing some research and listening to source material, I then had to find that precarious middle ground where the music I was writing wasn't completely Hollywood (that is, stereotypical but not necessarily accurate) and also not so historically traditional that it came across as boring. Real ancient Greek and Egyptian music is rather simple and not entirely suited for an action-packed game. I did try to capture as much of each culture's flavor as I could while maintaining a full and exciting score.
From the sound design perspective, there's a fun contrast in there because you've got these extremely realistic worlds with historically-accurate architecture and what-not, but you have the mythology and the magic right alongside it. So for example, the ambiences you hear throughout the different environments are very much "real", where the monster and magic sounds are fantastical and over-the-top. One must definitely go over-the-top when designing sound for a frenetic click-fest of a game.