Haydee 2: Behind The Music With Vlad Plotnikov


Image: Haydee 2 by Haydee Interactive

Haydee 2 by Haydee Interactive is a single player action game available on steam. The developers describes the game saying, "Haydee II, like its predecessor, is a game about a female protagonist locked in a strange complex with no clue of what’s going on or how to get out. It is another maze of 6 themed sections and 160 rooms filled with enemies, puzzles and hidden items, where your only friends are your gun, your wits and item management. It is you against the challenge. You either give up or accept it. The choice is yours." 

Haydee's music composer, Vlad Plotnikov, was asked to come back to write music for the continuation of Haydee 2; and without a doubt, the game has gotten a positive response from its players. This third-person puzzle-shooter game is a thrill that you'll want to dive into in the support of an indie developer.

Image: Haydee 2 by Haydee Interactive

Interview with Vlad Plotnikov

Vlad Plotnikov is a music composer, audio producer, and co-founder of VP Production. For over eight years, Vlad has been creating audio, and for during the last few years, he was mainly focused on composing music for various games. Since 2019, he has worked on sonic branding together with his team.

What was your musical vision for Haydee 2?

"Since the Haydee sequel had a narrative, I knew right away that it had to determine the game’s soundtrack. My team and I had several sessions with the developer to learn more about the story and main character. 

Here’s some info on the game’s plot without spoilers: Haydee II takes place in a mysterious complex, where terrible things have happened to certain people. And the main character is a victim of these events. She tries to understand what happened and to get out of this complex. This storyline defined the spectrum of emotions of the soundtrack.

Once all the information had settled in our team's heads, we started working on the concept of the game’s audio which we based on all our initial ideas. We defined the set of instruments, textures, emotions each track should evoke, and which kind of information it should give to the player. In terms of sound, we wanted to create a mix of orchestral music, electronics (Korg Minilogue synthesizer did a great job), electric guitars, and different samples we gathered along the way.

First, I wrote the main theme, 'You Don't Belong Here', which became the game’s audio DNA and vectored the whole soundtrack. Next, I created themes for the rest of the complex. This complex has several sections, and like in the first game, each area has its unique musical theme. Tracks for these sections are intense and put a lot of pressure on the player. Also, each of them has several hints about the lore.

'Will It Aid?' is a theme of the safe room and has a little bit of a different structure. It is a place where players are supposed to feel safer, take a break, and gather their thoughts. That’s why it has an emotional cooling effect. Still, music makes them feel that it's only a short break from their dangerous adventure.

There's also a very energetic track called 'The Emergency' Let’s say it is an alarm and spoiler of the upcoming critical game moments. The plan was to make a very spine-chilling track to raise the tension of the players. The final track is 'Every Story Needs to Have an Ending'. The title is a reference to the composition «Raider II» by British musician Steven Wilson. The track plays at the very end of the game and signifies that the journey is over. Or maybe not?"

Image: Haydee 2 by Haydee Interactive

How did it feel to be back on the team to write music again for the continuation of Haydee?

"First of all, I was thrilled that the developer decided to have me back on the team to write music for Haydee II. He also mentioned that the game's audience wanted my return. It was a huge surprise for me!

Four years have passed since my work on the soundtrack for the first part, and, of course, my approach and skills have changed. I had worries about finding common ground with the developer again, but in the end, everything went smooth and well."

Has anything changed in the sound concept between the first game of Haydee and Haydee 2?

"When we started to discuss the sequel’s music, I immediately felt that the soundtrack had to differ from the first part. One of the main reasons was that I didn't want to take the easy way of repeating myself.

 The first part's soundtrack was quite abstract, background-ish, with limited emotions and thoughts, but it worked perfectly for the atmosphere. For the second part, I wanted to create the complete opposite. This time, I focused on the emotion, the narrative, the incorporation of the events, and the main character. Plus, as I have already mentioned, the second part has a narrative that brought my ideas together with the developer's vision.

 There was a certain risk because the tracks had to play on a loop. The challenge was to avoid drawing attention from the gameplay. So I had to find the right balance between being melodic and low pressure. I can't say that it was easy because I really like bold game music that doesn't hide behind the horizon. But judging from the feedback of the players, we did everything right."

Image: Haydee 2 by Haydee Interactive

Was there any specific type of sounds that you were going for in your music compositions?

"Yes! When I was composing the medical section track, 'Flat Line', I invited my friend (she's a doctor) to my studio and asked her to bring medical equipment. We recorded a cardiograph, a blood pressure monitor, and a stethoscope. I processed those sounds, and they became an essential part of this composition. It was an incredible experience! Plus, I checked my health."

What was your experience like working with the developers at Haydee Interactive?

"I am thrilled that we managed to create such a fantastic product together. You can't achieve something like this without solid teamwork. So I am grateful to the developers for their trust and opportunity. Maybe they had a different vision for music initially, but we'll never find out, haha. Anyway, I'm sure that everybody was satisfied with our collaboration, even though there were bumps along the way. But that's what it takes if you want to find new solutions."

Were you given any reference songs from the game director for Haydee 2?

"We didn't have any specific references for the soundtrack. We talked about the music of the Resident Evil series, but only as a similar game genre and a possible musical vector. But in general, I had complete creative freedom."

Image: Haydee 2 by Haydee Interactive

What was the sound design process to create sounds for Haydee 2? What are some sounds that were created?

"Our agency only partially developed the sound design for Haydee II. We created footsteps on different surfaces, the interaction of the character with the surrounding objects, and shots from various weapons.The working process on sounds was quite particular. 

The game lacks animation of interaction between the character and the surrounding world. But the sounds had to be as if these animations were there. Thus, the sound has to give more information to players than what they see on the screen. That wasn't an easy task. As for the sounds of footsteps and gunshots, the developer had his own visions and ideas for these. We just had to get into his head and recreate them correctly."

Image: Haydee 2 by Haydee Interactive

What challenges did you face?

"As I mentioned before, the challenge was that we decided to abandon the traditional background-ish ambient music in favor of full of emotions music. First of all, game fans loved the first part's soundtrack, and we weren't sure how they would react to an entirely new concept. 

Secondly, I understood that many of the tracks would play on the loop, but I really didn't want to make them sound too background-y Plus, it was hard to create sounds of the invisible things while respecting specific timings. But these challenges only spiced things up!"

What are your thoughts on the result of the game?

"The audience received the game positively, and what's more, many people loved our work on the soundtrack. I'm still getting positive feedback, and I'm head over heels about it. I'm proud of the work we have done. I couldn't even imagine that my soundtrack could get over 20,000 views on YouTube (not counting other streaming platforms!)"

Do you see a possible Haydee 3 in the future?

"Who knows! For now, I have nothing to say. But I would be glad to return to this story."

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