Game Music

Audio Strategery of Luminous Arc 2: Interview With Yasunori Mitsuda and Akari Kaida

November 20, 2008 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook Audio Strategery of Luminous Arc 2: Interview With Yasunori Mitsuda and Akari Kaidaon Twitter

I’m pretty sure you guys know by now that I am completely in love with Akari Kaida. Her work on Breath of Fire III is some of my favorite game stuff of all time, and she’s back on the Luminous Arc series with this week’s release of Luminous Arc 2 from Atlus on the DS.  Also, this game includes a music CD.  Did you notice the giant announcement on the box art above?

We were fortunate enough to have Norihiko Hibino catch up with both Yasunori Mitsuda, who acted as the title’s sound director, and elusive composer Akari Kaida to talk up their work on Luminous Arc 2. Oh, and I couldn’t help myself, so I had to ask Akari Kaida a bunch of questions about her past and her work on past titles. As far as I know, this is the first time Kaida has spoken with international media, so I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Hit the jump for our interview with Mitsuda and Kaida.

OSV: Hello to everyone on the Luminous Arc 2 team. Kaida-san, we’ve been fans of your work for a long time, and it’s great to finally be able to speak with you and the rest of the team. Let’s jump right into Luminous Arc 2, and then we’ll come back to some of Kaida-san’s past works.

Given that the two of you worked on the first Luminous Arc title, describe your approach for Luminous Arc 2. Can we expect something different from you and the rest of the team this time around?
Mitsuda: For the original Luminous Arc, we worked on each stage separately (one person would handle the field, battle, event, etc.). However, I learned each composer’s style after working on this title, and for Luminous Arc 2, I mixed things up and assigned each composer differently. Kaida-san handled most of the orchestra pieces, for example. In the end, I think we created a more consistent sound for LA2.

OSV: What tools did you use to create your portion of the score for Luminous Arc 2? Describe your experience working on music for a handheld system as opposed to a console?
Kaida: I used to compose music for the GBA, and I enjoyed trying to make the sound “rich.” Composing on the DS wasn’t much different, and I take the same approach for both handheld and console games.

OSV: So, the complete staff includes Akari Kaida, Yoko Shimomura, Yoshino Aoki, and Shunsuke Tsuchiya for composition as well as Yasunori Mitsuda as a producer. Describe the collaboration with this team of all-stars. Given that Kaida-san and Aoki-san collaborated on Breath of Fire III in the past, were you already comfortable working together?
Kaida: I just tried to enjoy myself.  It was a lot of fun!

Mitsuda: Like I said, most of us had worked together before, and we knew each composer’s strengths and approach before we saw the song list. Basically, we did not co-compose any of the music, and I assigned each track to the individual composers. We had a lot of fun listening to the music when we all got together and trying to figure out whose song it was based on their approach.

OSV: Mitsuda-san, you’ve been working on a lot of DS titles recently. Tell us about your role as producer for Luminous Arc 2, and how you approached the title.
Mitsuda: I was asked to gather up “famous composers” as always, and I felt confident after finishing the first game because we were able to compose the world of Luminous together, utilizing each person’s specialty. I tried to emphasize this same direction for Luminous Arc 2.

OSV: Tell us about the Luminous Symphony arrangement album that was released as a pre-order bonus in Japan. What can you tell us about the creation of this album?
Mitsuda: This was created by Procyon’s in-house composer, and was a simple conversion from the DS to the MIDI sound module. There was almost no actual arrangement involved.

OSV: Kaida-san, excuse us for a moment, but let’s take a step back and ask about your musical background and how you came to work in the gaming industry. You write a lot of jazz-oriented music, so I’m wondering where that influence comes from.
Kaida: I personally liked computers a lot when I was in high school. When I was in college, I was jazz piano major, and spent my first year at the Osaka music college (which Hibino-san has close ties to, so Hibino-san and I actually have a lot of the same friends!). The reason I decided to work for Capcom is very simple: it was the closest to my house.

OSV: You worked at Capcom for a long while where you worked on numerous titles, and now you’re freelancing. Tell us about your time working at Capcom.
Kaida: Well, it was all right. When comparing freelancing to working for a big company, there is both good and bad. At Capcom, I sometimes encountered conflicts with my superiors regarding my musical approach, so that made it stressful at times.

OSV: Your score for Breath of Fire III is one of my favorites of all time. I’m a huge proponent of jazz in games, and your upbeat jazzy music for the title sticks in my memory to this day. What can you tell us about this project? Was it challenging, and are there any interesting stories about the project? Perhaps you Aoki-san has some interesting details to share?
Kaida: Breath of Fire I and II were very RPG-like in terms of their orchestral sound, and I didn’t want to follow that. I wanted to challenge myself with every song, even though my superiors were telling me to create music similar to the previous titles

OSV: You’ve also released music under the aliases Akari Groves and Akari Grooves. What can you tell us about these aliases, and will they be used again?
Kaida: Akari Groves is right. Someone used this name on the web when mentioning me, and I decided to use it when I composed music outside of games.

OSV: What can we expect to hear from you in the future? Are you currently working on anything that you can tell us about?
Kaida: I want to try working on movies, and I want to try some other kinds of games too. I like to put music into motion picture.

OSV: Any last words regarding Luminous Arc 2 from the team?
Mitsuda: Please enjoy Luminous Arc 2 when it is released. We do not know if Luminous Arc 3 will happen or not, but if it does, please look forward to it!

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