Jesper Kyd

Jesper Kyd Jakobson (/ˈkɪd/; born 3 February 1972) is a Danish composer and sound designer who has worked on various video game, television, and film projects. He has composed soundtracks for the Hitman series, Assassin's Creed series, Borderlands series, Darksiders II and State of Decay, among many others. His scores use orchestra, choir, acoustic manipulations and electronic soundscapes.[1]

Jesper Kyd
Kyd in 2013
Kyd in 2013
Background information
Birth nameJesper Kyd Jakobson
Also known asJK, JJK, Jonesy
Born (1972-02-03) 3 February 1972 (age 48)
Hørsholm, Denmark
  • Composer
  • sound designer
  • Piano
  • personal computer
  • keyboards
  • synthesizer
Years active1986–present
Associated acts
  • Silents DK
  • Budapest Symphony Orchestra
  • Hungarian Radio Choir
  • Melissa Kaplan


Early yearsEdit

Kyd started playing the piano at an early age. Later, he took several years of training in classical guitar, note reading, choir singing and classical composition for piano. However, he is mostly self-taught.[2][3] Kyd started using computers for composing on a Commodore 64 at age 14,[4] and later an Amiga.[5] He and Mikael Balle became members of the demogroup Silents DK, and later started collaborating with a group of coders known as Crionics.[6] They eventually made the Amiga demoscene production Hardwired.[7] Kyd also created and scored the first wild demo, Global Trash 2, together with Mikael Balle.

Kyd then left the demoscene and started to work as a game musician. He and others created the computer game developer Zyrinx and a game called Sub-Terrania for the Sega Genesis. The team then relocated to Boston. Kyd composed music for two additional Zyrinx titles, Red Zone and Scorcher and the music for two externally developed games, Amok and The Adventures of Batman and Robin for the Sega Genesis. Zyrinx dissolved when their game publisher Scavenger went bankrupt.


Many former Zyrinx members returned to Denmark to start IO Interactive, but Kyd moved to New York City and set up his own sound studio in Manhattan called "Nano studios". He then worked as a freelance video game musician.

He worked on BioWare's MDK2, Shiny's Messiah and IO's Hitman: Codename 47.[8] The soundtrack to Codename 47 was based on urban soundscapes and ethnic instrumentation. He then recorded the soundtrack of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin with 110 musicians of the Budapest Symphony Orchestra and Hungarian Radio Choir.[9]

He recorded the score for the action/adventure Freedom Fighters with the Hungarian Radio choir. It was described by Film Score Monthly Magazine as "Vangelis on steroids". Billboard Digital Entertainment Awards nominated him for Best Use of Soundtrack, and Game Audio Network Guild Awards nominated him for "Best Original Vocal Song – Choral" (for Main Title and March of the Empire). Leading video game web site GameSpot awarded Freedom Fighters "Best Music of the Year".

He used modern electronica and symphonic and choral music in Hitman: Contracts. It was awarded Best Original Music by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts at the 2005 BAFTA Games Awards and won Best Cinematic/Cut-Scene Audio at the 2005 G.A.N.G. Awards.[10] Kyd followed up with Hitman: Blood Money, also performed by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra and Hungarian Radio Choir. Hitman Blood Money won IGN's Xbox Best original score,[11] and was also nominated for MTV's Video Music Awards in the Best Video Game Score category.[12]

Jesper then provided a cinematic middle eastern-based score for Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed. He then wrote music for the sequel, Assassin's Creed II, which was recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles and won the music of the year award at the 2009 G.A.N.G. Awards and Hollywood Music in Media Awards.[13] Jesper then wrote the scores for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Assassin's Creed: Revelations (co-composed with Lorne Balfe), Borderlands, Borderlands 2, and State of Decay. Kyd also wrote the soundtrack for the action/adventure Darksiders II, notable for being his first entirely non-digital score.[14] Kyd then composed the music for Syfy's television series Métal Hurlant Chronicles. Kyd's next few projects were Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, the virtual reality game Robinson: The Journey, and Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide.

In 2015, Kyd scored the Chinese fantasy film Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe. Kyd then scored State of Decay 2, Warhammer: Vermintide 2 and the Indian fantasy film Tumbbad. Kyd lives in Burbank, California and is represented by The Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency, Inc.[citation needed] In 2018, Kyd received the Nile Rodgers Global Creators Award for his work in video games scoring. Previous recipients of the award include Paul Shaffer, Spike Lee and Tony Visconti.[15]


Jesper Kyd's influences include composers such as Ottorino Respighi, Igor Stravinsky, Jean-Michel Jarre, Vangelis, Mike Oldfield, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, and bands such as Röyksopp, the Knife, Pink Floyd, and Underworld.[16][17][18][19][20]


Video gamesEdit

Video games
Year Title Notes
1990 U.S.S. John Young[21]
1993 Pro Moves Soccer
1994 Red Zone
Unreleased Heavy Machinery
1995 The Adventures of Batman & Robin Sega Mega Drive/Genesis version
1996 Amok
1999 Time Tremors
Unreleased Soldier
2000 MDK2 with Albert Olson and Raymond Watts
Hitman: Codename 47
2001 The Nations: Alien Nations 2
Shattered Galaxy
2002 Minority Report: The Video Game
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
2003 Brute Force with James Hannigan
Freedom Fighters[22]
2004 McFarlane's Evil Prophecy
Hitman: Contracts
Robotech: Invasion
Dance Dance Revolution ULTRAMIX 2[23]
2005 Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory with Amon Tobin
2006 Hitman: Blood Money
2007 Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
Unreal Tournament 3 with Rom Di Prisco
Assassin's Creed[24]
2008 The Club "Main Theme" only, with Richard Jacques and Chris Chudley
The Chronicles of Spellborn
2009 Borderlands with Cris Velasco, Sascha Dikiciyan, and Raison Varner
Assassin's Creed II[24]
2010 Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood[25]
2011 Forza Motorsport 4
Assassin's Creed: Revelations with Lorne Balfe
2012 Soulcalibur V provided a remix of the track "Venice Rooftops" from Assassin's Creed II
Darksiders II
Borderlands 2 with Cris Velasco, Sascha Dikiciyan, and Raison Varner
2013 State of Decay with Dreissk
Soldiers Inc.
Sparta: War of Empires
2014 Pirates: Tides of Fortune
Stormfall: Age of War
Heroes & Generals
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! with Des Shore and Justin Mullins
2015 Moonrise with Jeff Broadbent
Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide
2016 Robinson: The Journey[26]
2017 MU Legend
Battle Chasers: Nightwar
2018 Warhammer: Vermintide 2[27]
State of Decay 2 with Dreissk
2019 Borderlands 3 with Michael McCann, Finishing Move Inc., Raison Varner
2020 Assassin's Creed Valhalla with Sarah Schachner and Einar Selvik


Short filmsEdit

  • 2000 – Organizm
  • 2001 – The Lion Tamer
  • 2001 – Going with Neill
  • 2002 – Day Pass
  • 2002 – Paper Plane Man
  • 2002 – Pure
  • 2003 – Cycle
  • 2006 – Impulse
  • 2006 – Virus
  • 2010 – The Auctioneers
  • 2011 – Somnolence
  • 2011 – Assassin's Creed: Embers

TV seriesEdit


  1. ^ "Jesper Kyd | About". Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  2. ^ "I Like To Know Which Music School Jesper Went To". Official Jesper Kyd forum. IP.Board. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011.
  3. ^ Köhn, Johan; Lundqvist, Niklas (12 August 2004). "Jesper Kyd interview with Spelmusik". Archived from the original on 13 April 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  4. ^ The Silents (31 March 2003). "Jesper Kyd collection". Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Jesper Kyd". Amiga Music Preservation. 14 December 2000. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Crionics". Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  7. ^ Crionics & The Silents (6 December 2012). "Hardwired". Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  8. ^ Taylor, Paul (9 January 2005). ""Raiders of the Lost Arts" Interview with BAFTA award-winning Danish composer Jesper Kyd". Music4Games. Archived from the original on 27 May 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  9. ^ Weedon, Paul (6 October 2014). "Jesper Kyd interview: Assassin's Creed, Hitman and more". Den of Geek. Dennis Publishing Limited. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  10. ^ "3rd Annual GANG Awards - 2004 Released Games". Audio Gang. 2004. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Xbox Best Original Score". IGN Entertainment, Inc. Ziff Davis, LLC. 2006. Archived from the original on 18 December 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  12. ^ "MTV - Video Music Awards". Game Trailers. 31 August 2006. Archived from the original on 25 December 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Staff (8 November 2012). "10 questions for Jesper Kyd – the composer behind Assassin's Creed, Hitman & Darksiders 2". Official Playstation Magazine. Future Publishing Limited. Archived from the original on 17 July 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Composer Jesper Kyd to receive Nile Rodgers Global Creators Award at 2018 Canadian Music Week". Electronic Musician. Toronto: Future Publishing Limited Quay House. 25 April 2018. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
  16. ^ "Jesper Kyd: Music Transcends All Platforms". Plarium. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  17. ^ Dodd, Adam (19 April 2014). "Jesper Kyd On Composing For 'State of Decay' and "Metal Hurlant Chronicles"". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  18. ^ Williamson, Steven (13 April 2006). "Jesper Kyd: Unreal Tournament 2007". Hexus. The Media Team. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  19. ^ Nguyen, John (29 November 2010). "Composer Jesper Kyd on Assassin's Creed Brotherhood and Curing Insomnia (Interview)". Nerd Reactor. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  20. ^ Webb, Charles (3 July 2012). "Interview: Composer Jesper Kyd, 'Metal Hurlant Chronicles,' And the Sounds of Sci-fi". MTV News. MTV. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  21. ^ D., Spence (11 December 2007). "Jesper Kyd and Assassin's Creed". IGN. Ziff Davis, LLC. p. 1. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  22. ^ D., Spence (11 December 2007). "Jesper Kyd and Assassin's Creed". IGN. Ziff Davis, LLC. p. 4. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  23. ^ "Songs by Jesper Kyd". Too Much Dedication, LLC. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
  24. ^ a b Tamburro, Paul (1 July 2005). "Assassin's Creed Composer Jesper Kyd on the Creative Process and His Favorite Soundtrack". Crave Online. Archived from the original on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  25. ^ Evoker (14 September 2010). "Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - Interview". Eighth Art Ltd. Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  26. ^ Makuch, Eddie (27 January 2017). "Listen To The Pulsing, Electronic Music From Crytek's VR Game, Robinson: The Journey". GameSpot. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  27. ^ "Jesper Kyd Scores Warhammer: Vermintide 2". Gamasutra. UBM. 18 January 2018. Retrieved 18 January 2018.

External linksEdit