Behind the scenes of the “What Could Have Been” song in Arcane

By Nicholas James

|

Dec 21, 2021

Reading time: 2 min

Arcane, League of Legends’ hit animated adaptation on Netflix, got heaps of praise for its soundtrack and the original compositions made for it. Artist Alex “Mako” Seaver took fans behind the scenes on the creation of the ninth episode’s chilling finale song “What Could Have Been” and explained what it took to create it.

In a video on his official Youtube channel, Mako breaks down the long and complicated creative process that lead up to Arcane’s release. Mako remarks that by the time he began to work on prototypes for Arcane’s haunting final moments, he’d been involved with Arcane and its characters for nearly three years. According to Seaver, once he received the visuals for Arcane’s cliffhanger ending, the song came to him rather easily.

Seaver recalls regularly getting emotional while showing the song to coworkers due to the length of time he’d spent crafting all of it. Seaver even showcases different iterations of the song, including the first proper demo of What Could Hvae Been. The slow and haunting piano with gentle vocals were present from even this first build of the song. From there, Mako shows how tweaking the song further improved it.

Mako highlights mistakes in What Could Have Been

After making adjustments to an early verse, Mako comments on the difficulties encountered with the song reaching its apex too quickly. He walks through the process of the audio team finding their way back on track to the purpose of the song, and the pressure to get a final sound before a full album release. These mistakes are all part of the creative process, and he ultimately was able to achieve something great with What Could Have Been.

Mako also touches on the process of working with Sting, who was Riot Games’ number one choice for vocal artists to be featured on the What Could Have Been track. Seaver says he never expected the music legend to say yes, but was overjoyed to hear that he had accepted Riot Games’ proposal.

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