The Video Game Orchestra (or simply “The VGO” to the hip kids who follow their work) have taken their show on the road before … but never like this. Fans of the Boston-based orchestra, led by Shota Nakama, can start their drooling now: on March 25th, The VGO will be putting on a concert in Tokyo. The show is being promoted by Pony Canyon — which, if you didn’t know, is “big deal” territory, they are Japan’s equivalent of “Live Nation,” save that Pony Canyon has existed as publisher and promoter of entertainment products for far longer.
The 3/25 show will have music from almost all the major game publishers, including Konami, Namco Bandai, Square Enix, Sega, and more. We don’t know the full list of games yet, but here’s what we have so far:
CASTLEVANIA (series) CYTUS
D4: DARK DREAMS DON’T DIE
FINAL FANTASY XV
GOD EATER 2: RAGE BURST
METAL GEAR SOLID (series) SILENT HILL 2
SONIC (series) TALES OF ZESTIRIA
On a personal/editorial note, I must urge the reader to consider the long-term value of this concert. To have a project with this many Japanese publishers sign on for a third-party entity (The VGO) to perform their work, in Japan, is a big deal. I have always advocated for collaboration among the game music artists and those who represent them, and whenever it happens, I can’t help but celebrate. This concert represents a big reason to celebrate.
Unfortunately, it isn’t something that I can celebrate … not in person. I won’t be able to attend the Tokyo show. But hey, maybe you can! The details for the show are found here: vgo.jp — and, if you want to purchase tickets, the website to do so offers information and instructions for ticket purchase in Japanese, English and Chinese! You’ll find that here!
And if anyone among our reader-base makes plans to attend the show, please let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear about your thoughts after the event.
As a fan of late-90’s techno and drum & bass music I made a lot of crummy recordings from games that never stood a chance of getting an official soundtrack release. Nearly 20 years later I assumed it would only be me who made the next highest quality recordings so I was surprised to see that Throwback Entertainment beat me to it. The Canadian studio made headlines in 2006 after they bought up nearly 200 of Acclaim’s properties when the publisher went bankrupt. It’s been a long time coming but Throwback is finally bringing some of those old games back to market.
The first with a focus on the music is TrickStylewhich was originally released on Dreamcast and PC in 1999. The futuristic hoverboard racer from Criterion Games was quite a sight at the time but the music by Richard Beddow stuck with me much longer. The version that Throwback released to Steam on February 21st includes the 11-track soundtrack as free DLC in OGG and MP3 formats. For those wondering, both the Dreamcast and PC versions had the same soundtrack.
Things are a little more complicated for Throwback’s April release of Extreme-G 2. Probe’s 1998 combat racer was released on both Nintendo 64 and PC where its soundtrack from Simon Robertson and Steve Root exist in similar but unique forms. On PC there are vocals, samples and more layers to the trancey music, not to mention a few extra tracks. The Nintendo 64 version is much simpler but it’s still one of the most impressive soundtracks to come out of the console and the version that I personally know by heart.
When I asked about Extreme-G 2’s upcoming Steam release on their Facebook page, Throwback teased that “we are planning a little surprise . . . with the soundtracks”. Hopefully that results in a complete package with both PC and N64 versions represented but we’ll have to wait a little while longer to find out.
I am always looking for the chance to post about new music from Mitch Murder. The Swedish musician helped to popularize the synthwave genre but most of his work is only tangentially tied to video games by its reverence for the trappings of the 80’s. He’s created a few imaginary OSTs to non-existent Genesis and Sega CD games (the last of which I didpost about) as well as the soundtrack to the 80’s homage short film, Kung Fury.
Finally, after his soundtrack to the indie game Megamagic early in 2016, Mitch Murder is returning to for-real video games with Impact Winter. Coming to Steam and PC on April 12th from Namco Bandai Europe, Impact Winter is an indie survival game set in a new ice age. Hunt, scavenge, craft and upgrade by managing a huddle of survivors and hold out for 30 long winter days until rescue arrives.
Setting the sounds of this winter wasteland is a much more somber score by Mitch Murder but one that’s still thick with his familiar style. Ominous synths twinkle behind a sad piano theme in the title track while the latest YouTube trailer features snippets of both hopeful and foreboding melodies. You can grab the theme for free right now and if you pre-order the game on Steam you’ll receive the full soundtrack upon the game’s release. For those on consoles, Bandai Namco has also announced that Impact Winter will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later in 2017.
Ahead of it’s April 11th release date, the original game soundtrack for Yooka-Laylee is now available for pre-order. The spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, composed by Grant Kirkhope and David Wise, has been an anticipated release since it’s Kickstarter wrapped up funding in 2015, with it’s colorful cast and fun gameplay reminiscent of it’s Rare predecessor.
With the game’s release right around the corner, Laced Records has thrown up the game’s soundtrack for pre-order in multiple formats, including digital, CD and double LP releases.
The soundtrack to Konami’s Bucky O’Hare for the NES is one of my personal favorites. It’s also one of the few soundtrack composed by Tomoko Sumiyama that I wrote about in detail for Game Soundtracks For Your Soul: Level 15. Searching bandcamp last week I ran a search for “Bucky O’Hare” and came across RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION: A Bucky O’Hare Tribute Album.
The cover album was released on June 26, 2016, as a thank you to Luis Guevara, who has helped promote many bands and artists in the VGM community, and who also thinks the original game’s score is one of the best ever created.
The album took 10 months to complete and features several prominent artists in the VGM and Chiptune scenes such as Ailsean, DJ Rockman, Dya, 1-Up, and individual members of bands such as Gimmick, The Returners, Droidekka, and Descendants of Erdrick.
Although it’s been out for a while, the nine track album is a fitting tribute to Tomoko Sumiyama’s work, and is available as a free download on bandcamp.
Are you a fan of the original Bucky O’Hare soundtrack on the NES?
To say Ubisoft’s extreme sports title, Steep, had a compressed PR cycle is quite the understatement. The game was revealed to the world at E3 2016 and released just six months later amid the madness of the holiday shopping season. If you weren’t paying close attention you could easily have missed the original soundtrack behind the din of it’s licensed playlist that featured in the trailers.
The original soundtrack from European post-rock collective, Zikali, has been out there for a while on the major streaming services but Sumthing Else Music Works has announced they’re once again teaming up with Ubisoft for a physical release. Available from Sumthing Else for $10 digital and $15 on disc, the 19-track album features a surprisingly emotional score to what looks, at first glance, to be an Xtreme Sportz title that fell out of 2002.
“The musical artistic direction consists of the encounter between a post-rock formation (drums, bass, guitars, synths), to which is added an orchestral dimension (strings, brass) and a set of original instruments (hang drum, duduk) that define the sound identity of the project,” explains Zikali. “The energy of the rider is represented by a modern and electric sound associated with the action; And the orchestra characterizes the different places (summits, narrow corridor or wide spaces) by the variety of its modes of play, bringing a strong emotional dimension.”
As described, the music is full of subtle sound combinations from airy and atmospheric twinkles to explosions of heavily effected guitars driven by a pounding percussion. It’s been a pleasant, if not totally cohesive, surprise as I’ve listened throughout the day. If you were looking for more from last year’s soundtrack to No Man’s Sky’s there’s definitely some of that vibe among the first half of the playlist.
Project Phoenix is upcoming Indie JRPG that ran a successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2013. Since that time the developers have been posting regular updates on the progress of the game. On February 15, 2017 in the 140th update, a new music track composed by Tomoki Miyoshi was revealed. Tomoki Miyoshi received a lot of praise (mine included) for his work on the piano based soundtrack for I Am Setsuna which was released last year.
Since the update fell close to Valentine’s Day, Hiroaki Yura, Director/Producer shared music that is from one of the romantic moments from Project Phoenix. You can listen to the track by following the link to the Project Phoenix Update here (Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the music link). The track features some lovely high noted flute, soft piano and graceful strings.
In reading through the past updates I also noticed that another track by Tomoki Miyoshi was shared on Soundcloud this past October in Update #135. According to Hiroaki Yura, this music is planned to be used whilst traveling between towns, hopefully, on horseback. You can listen to that track “Plains of the Far Realm” below.
More details on Project Phoenix is available on their official site. Although the game won’t be released until 2018, I have a feeling the soundtrack will show up on my most anticipated list for 2018!
The music for the game is composed by Wilbert Roget II, who has done the music for for hit games like Lara Croft and Temple of Osiris, Dead Island 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Monkey Island Special Edition. He also released the excellent anime inspirational album Beyond Libra which OSV reviewed here (It’s awesome). You can listen to another lovely track from the score above called “Lullaby” that features some fantastic piano.
Pledge levels for the game start at $1, there’s 200 digital copies of the game available at $14 (109/200 left at time of writing), and $34 will get you a digital copy of Wilbert Roget II’s soundtrack, along with some other sweet extras. Physical CD fans like myself can snag a copy of the CD by pledging $89 for the Collector’s Edition of the game.
The campaign’s goal is $30,000, and they’re already more than a third of the way there! You can find the full details of the Kickstarter campaign here.
Check back with OSV soon for more on Anew: The Distant Light and composer Wilbert Roget II. Is this a Kickstarter campaign you’ll be backing?
Chime Sharp, the follow-up to the 2010 music puzzler, launched on Steam last July. Though they didn’t reach their original Kickstarter stretch goal for console ports the team has just announced that the game will finally be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One next week; on the 21st and 24th, respectively. Chipzel is just one of the EDM and chiptune artists whose music is featured in the game.
“My track, ‘Psychonaut’, was created with [the Chime] gameplay style in mind, said Chipzel. “Through entwining multiple layers, which progressively build to compliment the final arrangement, I wanted to portray the intention of rewarding the player as they advance, through the use of evocative melodies and euphoric transitions.”
Did you check out Chime Sharp on Steam or are you planning on picking it up next week on consoles? Let us know in the comments.
If you were waiting for the release of the Legend of Zelda 30th Anniversary Concert to come out to CD, wait no longer. Both the regular and limited edition of the tribute to 30 years of The Legend of Zelda releases today.
Recorded live this past October at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Theater by The Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and conducted by Taizo Takemoto (Press Start – Symphony of Games-), the 14-track album captures the musical essence of the Zelda games, featuring several classic tracks performed along with music from Wind Waker, Ocarina, Link Between Worlds, Skyward Sword, and Twilight Princess, with an encore of the Breath of the Wild theme.
The audio import of the album can now be purchased by several retailers in both the regular and limited edition (shown above), including Amazon and CDJapan.
Though neoGAF speculators had already guessed the composer’s name based on some livestreams, Sumo Digital has made it official by announcing David Wise as the man behind the music of their physics platformer, Snake Pass. Being inspired by classic Rare titles in design and visuals alike, it was a natural fit for David Wise given his history with the studio and longtime work on the Donkey Kong Country franchise. He even composed Snake, Rattle ‘N’ Roll on the NES which I can’t help draw a little comparison to given Snake Pass’ starring serpent.
“Once I played the game and saw the captivating world Sumo created, it set my mind on fire. I immediately began composing melodies, then worked with the team to develop these and nail down the feel of the soundtrack,” said David Wise. “We’ve ended up with something that not only pays tribute to the game’s classic inspirations, but also brings something new to the table, just as the game’s mechanics do!”
Check out two painfully brief snippets of Wise’s compositions above and then take a look at some of Sumo’s footage from the game. It looks delightfully Rare-ish with a vibrant world, cute critters and a really interesting gameplay mechanic. Snake Pass is due out in “early 2017” and will be hitting every major platform when it does including Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch. A soundtrack release will hopefully not be far behind.
Escaping the horrors of Resident Evil by running to one of the impenetrable Save Rooms has always helped me cope with the survival horror gameplay. The songs that accompany these rooms aren’t upbeat by any means but they’ve always been some of my favorites, offering just a hint of hope in their despondent melodies.
Now artist Mono Memory has taken one of my favorites from Resident Evil 2 and given it an even more foreboding synthwave makeover. Dripping with sounds of faux 80’s synths, I’m suddenly realizing that a full rearrangement of the soundtrack is something I never knew I wanted.
That may never happen but Mono Memory has plenty of similarly synthy tracks to check out including “Outrun the World” which serves as a teaser for his debut album coming this Summer. He’s also given the Game of Thrones theme a similar overhaul on his YouTube channel and has some other tracks and EPs available on Bandcamp. And if this track has stirred your desire for more old game music done up in the style of their times, check out Metroid Resynthesized by Luminist.
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