September 18, 2021 — Following last month’s release of King’s Bounty II, Kurgan Compass™ wanted to highlight one of the game’s most outstanding features, namely its soundtrack. Specifically, the first piece of its musical encapsulation — ‘Greflet’s Song’. Before we jump into the melodies that join Kurgan’s quest to inform of the future of neofolk, let us head back in time — to the earliest days of King’s Bounty.
“Between the two of them, Shockne and Alina Gingertail are supremely qualified for the creation of the original, fantasy-inspired soundtrack of King’s Bounty II.”
Building Up A Bounty
It has been over 30 years since (now defunct) New World Computing and game designer Jan Van Canegham published the turn-based fantasy RPG King’s Bounty on the Amiga 500 and other home computer systems. Widely considered the progenitor of the first three or four games in fan-favorite turn-based strategy franchise Heroes of Might and Magic, King’s Bounty has remained a cult classic — everpresent in the minds of veteran gamers and video game journalists.
Since the first “modern” King’s Bounty release, 1C Entertainment (who purchased the IP in 2007) has produced no less than five King’s Bounty titles, with King’s Bounty II being the sixth — each one gradually helping the classic title turn into a fleshed-out and expansive franchise.
(On a side note, after the incredibly competent Heroes of Might and Magic franchise was acquired by UbiSoft in 2003 for a neat $1.3 million USD, Ubi somehow managed to run the popular franchise into the ground, and gamers now consider the once-popular series fragged beyond repair.)
All King’s Bounty titles produced by 1C Entertainment, with the exception of King’s Bounty: Dark Side, have been continuations of King’s Bounty: The Legend’s story. While each title is not a direct sequel to the game before, their stories exist in the same universe. The most recent of which, King’s Bounty: Warriors of the North, releasing in 2012. Released in late August, King’s Bounty II sends players right into the heart of this rich, familiar, and much-loved fantasy world, playing as one of three factions vying for power and control.
Of Story and Song
’Greflet’s Song’ is the combined work of composer/producer Raney Shockne and the Russian YouTube star and vocals-capable musician Alina Permina (whose artist name is Alina Gingertail.)
Raney Shockne (based in Los Angeles) has contributed to the production of numerous soundtracks, ranging all the way from Zoolander 2 to Dragon Age: Inquisition, and has worked with big-name record labels (RCA, for example) on several occasions. Shockne’s discography is varied, so it is no surprise he had a hand in crafting the timely track that fits all-too-well in the world of King’s Bounty.
As mentioned above, Alina Gingertail is a YouTube star who has amassed an impressive (by neofolk standards) 1.4 million subscribers on the platform at the time of King Bounty II’s release. It is no wonder she was approached as her typical style fits within the folk-style genre Kurgan Compass™ often calls neofolk. Alina Gingertail is proficient with a number of interesting, if less common, instruments that fit well within the instrumental pantheon of folklore. For example, she created a Mortal Kombat cover using a bouzouki which is a traditional Grecian pluck instrument. Alina is skilled with the aforementioned bouzouki, the hurdy-gurdy, hammered dulcimer, accordion, mandolin, to name a few folksy instruments.
Between the two of them, Shockne and Alina Gingertail are supremely qualified for the creation of an original, fantasy-inspired track. First released on Alina’s YouTube channel on July 2 earlier this year, the tale told in ‘Greflet’s Song’ is born forth through a beautiful, lilting melody — and its addictive cadence bodes well for the rest of Kings Bounty II’s soundtrack. Gingertail is clearly in full form on this likable masterpiece, capturing the whimsy of each featured instrument to perform a song that tells a story fit — by way of music — for the events surrounding the King’s Bounty II franchise.
At the time of writing, the official King’s Bounty II soundtrack is available digitally on the Epic Game Store and Steam. We would not be surprised if hits Spotify, Apple Music, and the rest in a near future. Of course, her best work has been added to the Kurgan Compass playlists on Spotify — listen here.
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