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China’s video game industry is investing in the creation and production of high-quality music, and Enhui Xia M.M. ’20, is at the forefront of this initiative. As a music producer at Tencent, China’s largest video game company (and the “largest player in the global video game market,” per Grand View Research), she works with composers to ensure their music matches up with the game—in terms of genre, period, mood, instrumental sound, and other factors—and that it fits the gameplay seamlessly.
An alumna of Berklee Valencia’s Master of Music in scoring for film, television, and video games (SFTV) program, Xia says that experience working with music and game engines is critical for breaking into the video game music field, as game companies look for this expertise in potential producers.
At Berklee Valencia, Xia received training on industry-standard video game software, such as Wwise and Unity, which helped her gain the confidence and skills needed to progress in her career. She also credits Jeanine Cowen, a former interim dean at Berklee Valencia and film scoring professor, for instilling in Xia and her classmates that a composer-designer mindset is necessary to be successful in game scoring.
“[Cowen] taught us…that a game is not like a film,” Xia says. “It is not linear music and is all about interaction.”
In Valencia, Xia gained experience in composition, design, conducting, and recording, and these skills helped her stand out as a competitive candidate to several companies. Shortly after graduating, she landed her first job in video game composition at China’s second-largest video game developer, NetEase, before moving on to Tencent. She’s had opportunities to work with Sony Music, the post-production studio Hexany Audio, renowned composers Christopher Tin and Inon Zur, and Japanese singer Nana Mizuki.
Xia says that for women composers to succeed in the male-dominated gaming industry, it’s important to learn a range of skills, from music and sound design to the use of various software and game engines.
“Most men are doing sound design and technology-focused tasks, while women do music design,” Xia says. “Because sound design requires a deeper knowledge of the game engine, they often represent the audio core of a game, but women can also show their abilities using technology.”
Xia links much of her success composing music for video games to her time at Berklee Valencia, highlighting two faculty members, Lucio Godoy and Alfons Conde, who she says gave her encouragement, confidence, and a love of composition.
“I liked every class I took, and I found them very useful,” Xia says. “If I were to go back two years, I would still choose Berklee SFTV in a heartbeat.”
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