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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
Secret of Mana composer Hiroki Kikuta has released two original albums to fans in the form of ANGELICFORTRESS and ANGELICFORTRESS DOUBLE HELIX. ANGELICFORTRESS is an album series created to combine Kikuta’s love for progressive rock, jazz fusion, and game music as well as to say thank you to patrons of music in general.
“I was exposed to an endless catalog of awesome progressive rock and jazz fusion albums throughout high school. It had the biggest impact on the formulation of my view of the musical world. Now I want to mix up these genres with modern day videogame music.” – Hiroki Kikuta
You can also keep on top of Kikuta’s other upcoming works and news by following him on his official Twitter.
Coming soon from OCRemix: Super Mario RPG: Window to the Stars, a digital 3CD described by them as a tribute album to the music of one of the greatest RPG’s ever created. OC Remix has released a trailer for the album which you can watch below.
Do you think Super Mario RPG is one of the greatest RPG’s ever created? How about it’s soundtrack?
Niamh Houston, also known as Chipzel gave an excellent TEDtalk on chip tunes this past November 5, 2016. If you’ve ever wanted an explanation on how she creates her music, she gives a full demonstration as part of the talk. She also talks about the overall idea that we are all hackers, and the importance of being authentic in any creative pursuit.
The ‘hacker ethic’ is central to Niamh’s musical creativity as she takes us on a journey into the Chiptune genre, a subculture creating music from augmented hardware and software, and why such expression resonates with Millennials and others who are seeking to create raw and unfiltered music for an online generation.
She is a BAFTA nominated and award winning independent composer from Northern Ireland. In 2015, Houston received the Best Music award in XBLA Fans’ Game of the Year awards, as well as being named VGMO’s best independent composer.
She has scored the original sound tracks for six video games, including the critically acclaimed Super Hexagon. Houston continues to compose music for forthcoming video game projects while working on her next studio album and touring the world. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.
The TEDtalk runs around 17 minutes, and it definitely worth your time. If you’ve had something on the creative back burner for a while, this might be the pep talk you need to hear. You can learn more about the TEDx event here, and check out chipzel’s music on her website.
What did you think of Chipzel’s TEDtalk?
Brave Wave’s first release in 2017 continues their goal to give the freedom to game music composers to create their dream projects. Lingua Franca is the life’s work of Dugo, the alias of composer Takahiro Izutani who has composed for the Metal Gear Solid and Bayonetta series since 2006.
After a decade in design, Lingua Franca is now available to pre-order for $10 on digital or $16 on CD through Bandcamp and will be released on January 27th. While we wait you can check out two tracks from the album and read a message from Izutani below.
“First of all, I appreciate the entire audience of Dugo for supporting me. Dugo is my life’s work. I think […] you can indeed find some affinity between my work for Dugo and my compositions for video games. I was always taking experimental approaches during the process of making Dugo’s songs, and then sophisticating, developing, and introducing them into video game work.
Actually, you can explore the headstream of all of the video game music that I have ever made through this album. I think it is fantastic that Brave Wave is contributing to the video game music industry and supporting composers in such a way.”
For some time now I have been meaning to write about the soundtrack to Titan Souls. The music was composed by David Fenn, who has also composed the music for the mobile game Telepaint! and the platformer Leaf Me Alone. If you’re not familiar with Titan Souls, it is a challenging game where the player must battle numerous large bosses armed solely with a bow and arrow while trying to avoid a one hit sudden death.
Visually it reminded me of The Legend of Zelda and Shadow of the Colossus and what really makes the game special is David Fenn’s musical score. Its use of instrumentation creates at times a sense of awe and mystery as you traverse it’s ancient environments. The music also can be adrenaline inducing with it’s excellent use of percussion and electric guitar.
Read on for our interview with David Fenn where he talks about scoring Titan Souls, and gives some insight into his musical method.