Just as we did for last month’s PAX South, we’re giving you the rundown of what you can expect to see from a game music and audio standpoint at PAX East 2017 next week in Boston. Some new and some returning musical performances shall be gracing the main stage concerts, as well as other tidbits you can check out through the event.
A little over a week ago OSV reported on the launch of Resonator Game’s Kickstarter campaign for Anew: The Distant Light. Gamasutra recently posted a video interview with composer Wilbert Roget II on his work, you can find their original post here.
The interview is conducted by Jeff Spoonhower who is the Art Director for Anew: The Distant Light. Jeff and Will discuss how they came together on the project, their working relationship, where they find creative inspiration, and much more. My favorite segment was “Using themes to convey emotion” and the composer’s non-traditional thoughts on how to approach the alien theme. You can find the full index of the video interview below:
0:17 – Introductions
0:45 – Initial contact, starting up on the project
6:00 – Musical inspirations, influences on the game
14:08 – Giving yourself enough time to create something unique
19:10 – Using themes to convey emotion, and to tell a story
24:45 – The working relationship between developer and composer
29:50 – Art inspiring music, music inspiring art
37:40 – What we like to listen to
41:15 – Reaper composition workflow demo
The Kickstarter campaign is still ongoing and there’s still time to support what sounds like an incredible soundtrack to a compelling game. You can find the whole details of the campaign here which at time of writing is just about two thirds funded.
What did you think of the interview with composer Wilbert Roget II?
Not too long ago, I touched upon the music of charming indie game Burly Men at Sea; a game about brothers stretching their legs on a journey of discovery of both the world and themselves. In my opinion, you can never have too many games that have that general kind of theme of subtle adventure and exploration.
Enter Soul Searching, a similar game by the Turkish duo of Tarık and Talha Kaya that focuses on survival, story and deeper connections between the narrative and gameplay.
Inspired by Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea series and movies like Life of Pi, Soul Searching is about growing up, leaving your homeland, standing on your own feet. It deals with themes like isolation, searching for meaning and direction, leading to depression and suicidal thoughts.
Talha Kaya acts as the composer of the game’s music, which is a combination of several different genres. Much like Burly Men at Sea, the music of Soul Searching is a mix of acoustic guitar and progressive rock with dashes of psychedelic tones to keep the tone interesting and captivating.
The 25-track soundtrack conveys a lot of emotions that go hand-in-hand with the game’s story and what the theme is trying to impress upon the player, from those of adventure and exploring new and strange territories, to themes of isolation and the loneliness of sailing away from your homeland in search of something you’re not quite sure of. The complex emotions that can be brought to the surface with this combination of music and visual gameplay appears to be the main goal of Soul Searching, and does so in a subtle way that doesn’t browbeat the player and can be invoked without even playing the game; a key component of a good soundtrack.
The Soul Searching OST is currently available for purchase on Bandcamp and streaming on Spotify. The game is current available on Steam for purchase.
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:
D4: DARK DREAMS DON’T DIE
FINAL FANTASY XV
GOD EATER 2: RAGE BURST
METAL GEAR SOLID (series)
SILENT HILL 2
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 TrickStyle which 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 did post 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.
— Grant Kirkhope (@grantkirkhope) February 21, 2017
The Yooka-Laylee soundtrack will release ahead of the game itself on April 7th, which you can head over to Laced Records now to pre-order for yourself and get ahead of the crowd.
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!
Are you looking forward to Project Phoenix?
Last year I wrote about my most anticipated video game soundtracks coming out in 2017, and Anew: The Distant Light was at the top of my list. On February 14, 2017 it launched a Kickstarter campaign to help get the game the additional funding it needs to be released.
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.