Stéphane Picq is a French composer and sound designer who mainly worked for ERE Informatique/Exxos and Cryo Interactive. Some of his most famous video game soundtracks include Dune and MegaRace.
Picq started coding video games in 1983 on the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC. Initially, he wrote music as a hobby, playing electric piano and analog synth. To make money, he ported games to different systems including the Amiga. When porting over the Amiga, often times the initial version of the game barely had any sounds nor music, so he started to add music and sounds to the game using tracker software. The company he was working for at the time, ERE Informatique asked him to write music for other peoples games and soon became exclusively a music programmer. During this period, he also wrote music for ERE's label, "Exxos".
When ERE Informatique was bought by Infogrames, several of the Exxos team members were laid off and subsequently formed Cryo Interactive Entertainment. The Cryo team went over to publisher Virgin Games, where they obtained the license to create a video game based off the best selling sci-fi novel, Dune. Working with programmer and Cryo co-founder, Remi Herbulot, he came up with HERAD, a music tool for the FM soundcard AdLib, which allowed the music written for the FM chip to be more expressive and to achieve more unique sounds. Using the HERAD system, Picq wrote the soundtrack to Dune, which has been critically praised as being one of the best soundtracks for DOS games. Philippe Ulrich, the art director on Dune was such a big fan of Picq's soundtrack, he convinced Virgin Records to release a CD album for the game. Both Picq and Ulrich reworked several tracks from the game and re-recorded them using professional instruments. Again, all instruments were performed live and many of the samples used were recorded by Picq personally, utilizing very little presets or sample libraries.
Growing tired with the video game industry, he left France in 1998 and moved to Ramena Beach, Madagascar, where he currently resides. He was briefly attached to a planned reboot of MegaRace but the game has been stuck in development hell since 2015. He's now working in the precious stone business, selling star sapphires and designing jewels.
Picq has used The Ultimate Soundtracker.
For Cryo's first three games, he and Remi Herbulot designed the HERAD system, which allowed for more expressive music to play on the AdLib/Sound Blaster OPL FM chip. For writing MegaRace's music, Picq used Cubase Score.
|1985-??-??||Captain Blood (ZXS)|
|1989-??-??||Purple Saturn Day (ZXS)|
|1988-0?-??||Bubble Ghost (AMI)||
|1989-??-??||Purple Saturn Day (AMI)|
|1990-??-??||Chamber Of The Sci-Mutant Priestess (AMI)|
|1990-??-??||Jumping Jack'Son (AMI)|
|1995-??-??||Lost Eden (DOS)|
The following is a list of equipment Picq has used circa 1998. Taken from his own personal website, archived via Wayback Machine
- Kawai K4
- Korg WS (Only for the DUNE CD)
- Yamaha SY77 (Only for the DUNE CD)
- Roland D70
- Roland S750 18 Mb.
- Novation Bass-Station
- E-mu Morpheus
- Yamaha TX-81Z
- Vocoder Roland SVC 350
- Midi-ized EMS synthi-A (with the 1973's AKS digital sequencer, still working! )
- Pentium 150 32Mb/5Gb storage+ Steinberg Cubase+Session+many appz...
- Digidesign Audiomedia III
- Creative labs AWE32
- Mackie CR 1604 mixer
- Roland A-880 midi patcher
- Lexicon LXP-5
- Boss SE-50
- Berhinger Ultrafex II
Some more traditional instruments that he has used before include:
- Double stone-flute
- Tibetan bowls
- mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,9933/ - MobyGames.
- issuu.com/expireddesigns/docs/ancestrymagazine/21 - Ancestry Magazine Interview with Stéphane Picq.
- soundcloud.com/st-phane-picq - Stéphane Picq's SoundCloud.
- youtube.com/watch?v=pHjfbwSDFsI - Rare video interview with Stéphane Picq (French audio).
- eklecty-city.fr/interviews/interview-with-stephane-picq-the-composer-of-lost-eden-and-dune/ - Interview with Stéphane Picq from July 2020.