Adam ‘Scorpik’ Skorupa is the best known and most experienced Polish video game music composer and sound designer.
His career began in the early 1990s, when he composed soundtracks for Amiga demos – audio-visually alluring computer programs created by amateur groups which were supposed to surpass the hardware limitations of the machines they were produced on. Skorupa occupied himself with this sort of work as a teenager. He is self-taught in terms of music – he got involved in it because the group which he wanted to join was looking for a music artist. Skorupa quickly became recognisable on the Polish demoscene and decided to start working on video games as well. His first soundtrack was for Behind the Iron Gate (1995) – a brave attempt to create an Amiga first-person-perspective game which could compete with releases for PC, technologically more powerful at the time.
Skorupa’s professional career started with his cooperation with the Wrocław-based company Leryx Longsoft, for which he composed soundtracks for the Leon the Lion series and for Clash (although both games were released on PCs, Skorupa still composed on an Amiga). However, the young composer soon moved to Warsaw to do sound design for one of Poland’s most important game developers at the time – Metropolis, established by Adrian Chmielarz and Grzegorz Miechowski. Skorupa created music for Metropolis’ biggest hits, such as Gorky 17 and The Prince and the Coward. He also worked at Chmielarz’s next game studio – People Can Fly. He is responsible for the music in Painkiller (2004) – one of the first Polish video games to become big internationally. In this case not only the music was important, but also the sound design for which Skorupa was responsible and which was appreciated by both players and critics.
A turning point in Skorupa’s work was the soundtrack for the first part of The Witcher trilogy (2007) developed by CD Projekt Red, which he composed together with Paweł Błaszczak. Great stylistic range is noticeable in it – it moves freely between the conventions of monumental film music and Slavic folk. The title theme, later recurring in the third instalment of the series, soon became one of the most recognisable pieces in video game music.
RPGFan’s reviewer noted that The Witcher’s music is a ‘landmark achievement’, in many ways comparable to the work of Jeremy Soule – one of the video game industry’s most celebrated composers. IGN dubbed The Witcher’s music best soundtrack of 2007. Skorupa is also the co-creator of music in The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. Working on it was especially important for Skorupa because its opening scene was created by Platige Image (and directed by Tomasz Bagiński). As co-operation with Skorupa went well, Platige took him on board for more projects. He composed music for Grzegorz Jonkajtys’ Ark and Bagiński’s The Kinematograph. Skorupa also made music for City of Ruins – a film directed for the Warsaw Uprising Museum.
In 2017, at the Pixel Heaven Festival, Adam Skorupa received the Golden Pixel award for his outstanding input in the Polish game industry.
Originally written in Polish by Paweł Schreiber, August 2017, translated by Patryk Grabowski, October 2017