If you’ve also been thinking about the year in game music releases you may remember 8Bit Music Power from way back in February. It was the album from Japanese chiptune artists like Hally, Professor Sakamoto and Saitone that was released on an actual Famicom cartridge. While Play-Asia sold out of their allotment fairly quickly (Amazon Japan still has 8 left in stock) there’s now a much easier way to listen instead of dragging around an old console.
A much more convenient (but way less cool) CD version of the album was released last week in Japan with two bonus tracks. The album is available from Play-Asia for $22.99 but if you can hold out until February 2017 there’s an even sweeter deal coming. For just $1 more you can pre-order the CD and an 80-page, full-color book with exclusive interviews and stories about the album’s creation. The best part, it’s been translated into English. You can take a look at some of the vibrant page layouts here and put down the $23.99 to secure a copy for yourself.
Square Enix held a livestream in Japan on Wednesday, October 26th to finally go in-depth on NieR: Automata. Naturally, it’s all in Japanese but there was plenty to see and hear as the team showed off the game, its Collector’s Edition contents and talked up the NieR Music Concert & Talk Live Blu-ray that we covered last month.
The half-hour gameplay demonstration starts at the 19 minute mark and finally shows off the larger world that ties together the boss fights and cutscenes we’ve seen of the game so far. There’s a subtle piano ambiance through most of the footage that ramps up during fights and a nice new town tune similar to “City of Commerce” from the original game. The majority of the demo shows off the special skills and abilities of main character, 2B, and her accompanying bots. One of which is a vastly simplified fishing mechanic for those who remember the overwhelming frustrations from the previous game.
After the demo the team talks up the NieR Music Concert & Talk Live Blu-ray which is releasing in Japan on December 14th. They end the segment by showing the entire “Song of the Ancients / Fate” performance from the Blu-ray which makes a fairly compelling argument to pick up it up come December. The livestream ends with a new trailer that highlights the voice actors for the Japanese version of the game and is ironically lacking almost any actual voice acting. It is, however, full of new sights and surprises and is accompanied by another new piece of music from series composers Keiichi Okabe.
Have a look and listen for yourself above, check out the game’s official site for a few more background tracks and then continue waiting (im)patiently for the February 23, 2017 release date.
Announced just a few weeks ago, Square’s performance of Final Fantasy XV music at the historic Abbey Road Studios really snuck up on us. The one-hour show, performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra with an appearance by composer Yoko Shimomura, airs live from London tonight at 7pm. That’s 2pm EST today on the East Coast!
Zuntata, Taito’s legendary house band, has quietly built a huge presence on iTunes over the last 8 years culminating in a current catalog of 114 albums. It isn’t just their modern mobile games either, although Groove Coaster and Space Invaders Infinity Gene are well represented. Albums go all the way back into the 80’s with The Ninja Warriors, Rastan Saga and Bubble Bobble. The rarely exported Densha de Go! series has several albums up for sale and naturally, there’s a ton of music from the Darius games and the Ray trilogy (RayStorm, RayCrisis, RayForce).
To hear all of that music would cost over $1,000 but Taito has just announced that “more than 3,000 songs” from their catalog are now available to stream through Apple Music. Similar to Spotify and Google Music Unlimited, Apple Music costs $10 a month and allows you to search and stream millions of songs from the iTunes catalog across your Apple devices. It’s worth noting that new users can try Apple Music free for three months which should give you enough time to explore all of the service’s game music offerings.
If you suddenly feel overwhelmed with choices we have plenty of reviews to guide you through Zuntata’s discography and there’s more coverage at VGMOnline. Do you have a favorite Zuntata album or are you planning to dive into their catalog now that it’s available on Apple Music? Let us know in the comments.
Iam8bit is taking the vinyl arms race to a whole new level for the release of Rez Infinite — the HD remake of the original Rez for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR — this October. Along with releasing a physical copy of the game on disc (and plenty of swag), iam8bit is offering two vinyl packages that commemorate the cultural touchstone of the original Sega Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 title.
Both versions feature two 180-gram, full sized LPs of the original game’s soundtrack, remastered for vinyl, and a bonus 7-inch record of Rez Infinite’s new “Area X” level. Inside is a 48 page art book with huge imagery from the game and retrospective interviews from the original team. Written by Nick Hurwitch, the book includes new discussions with Rez producer Tetsuya Mizuguchi, art director Katsumi Yokota, programmer Osamu Kodera, artist Jake Kazdal, and Takashi Ishihara, the artist behind the new “Area X”.
The only difference between the $75 and $85 editions are the “Player Form” images stamped into both sides of the three records, and the limited quantity of 1,000 copies for the fancier set.
Pre-orders for the soundtrack collection and the physical copy of the game begin August 19th at 9am PDT exclusively at iam8bit.com. Shipping is expected in October for the $75 version of the soundtrack and December for the fancy printed edition.
That a new Final Fantasy game is going to release in a sprawling Collector’s Edition with a soundtrack sampler is no surprise. We’ve known for a while that World of Final Fantasy — the action/RPG mashup of Final Fantasy fan service and monster raising — would have its own limited edition bundle but Square Enix has finally announced the wallet-busting details.
Exclusively available from the Square Enix Online Store, the $120 Collector’s Edition features an elaborate pop-up book style package that includes the PlayStation exclusive game on disc, an 80-page hardback art book, three figurines and, of course, the Selections from Grymoire album. The tracklist hasn’t been revealed yet but details surrounding the music are slowly getting out there ahead of the October 25th release.
In an interview with Nova Crystalis, composer Masashi Hamauzu talks about creating the score and mentions that around 50 songs comprise the full soundtrack. With the game mashing up fan favorites like Squall and Lightning it’s no surprise that Hamauzu had the chance to create new arrangements of classic themes to accompany his original compositions. Guest composers and collaborators will also be involved but the only one Hamauzu has mentioned is German pianist, Benyamin Nuss. Nuss is no stranger to Final Fantasy having performed in both Distant Worlds and Symphonic Fantasies concerts as well as releasing his own tribute album, Plays Nobuo Uematsu.
If $120 is a little steep or if you just can’t wait to hear more from the game you can check out several preview tracks from YouTube user MasashiHamauzuFan. And don’t miss a fresh new trailer for the game up above. Are you planning on picking up this ridiculous Collector’s Edition or aiming for the more sensible $60 Limited Edition? Let us know in the comments.
Everyones favorite reason to own a PlayStation Portable is coming back again. Lumines: Puzzle & Music is out now on iOS and Android in Japan and Australasia, bringing the classic tracks that made the game a hit as well as new music and visuals to a whole new generation. While the name may bring to mind the gameplay fusion of mobile titles like Puzzle & Dragons, Lumines is sticking to what it knows best: mesmerizing block dropping set to trippy tunes. Even series creator, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, is back on board to help develop this mobile iteration.
Very much like previous entries in the series, Puzzle & Music sees players rotating multicolored blocks and dropping them in place as a timeline sweeps across the screen and clears like colored pieces. As the beat pounds and pieces stack up it’s easy to fall into a zen-like rhythm as the game moves from track to track. The combination of music, visuals and rhythmic action are what made Lumines a classic and that legacy looks to live on with Puzzle & Music.
Six classic songs (spoiler: yes, “Shinin” is in here!) are joined by eight new tracks with more on the way. Japanese Indie Pop group Sekai no Owari will be joining the roster and there’s an exclusive collection of music from the Ultra Japan Electronic festival coming in September. September is also the month when Puzzle & Music is expected to hit the U.S. app stores for around $2.99. Check after the break for the game’s current track list and enjoy the brief glimpse above in the launch trailer.
Following up the Splatoon soundtrack album from 2015 comes a new official collection of live performances from the in-game idol group, the Squid Sisters. The tracks come from two shows that the duo put on earlier this year in Japan which the majority of the world was only able to see over livestream archives.
Along with recordings from the Niconico Tokaigi and Choongakusai music festival venues, SPLATOON LIVE IN MAKUHARI will include in-game music not included on the original soundtrack as well as a demo version of “City of Color” and two bonus songs: “Tokimeki * Bomb Rush” from Callie and “Sumisoae no Yoru” from Marie.
Play-Asia has the CD up for pre-order now for $29.99 and it’s expected to ship on July 13th. If you can’t wait for more jammin’ Splatoon music you can always fall back on GameChops’ fan arrangement album, Splatunes, from last June.
If you’re not a guru of the Japanese game music scene, then you might not yet heard of the group Basiscape. The group is comprised of nine composers and sound designers and headed by Hitoshi Sakimoto (Final Fantasy XII, Valkyria Chronicles). Sakimoto created the group, along with Masaharu Iwata (Ogre Battle, Final Fantasy Tactics) and Manabu Namiki (Bloody Roar, Contra ReBirth)
Basiscape provides complete sound and music production services for all digital mediums including video games, television series, film and television commercials.
With our artists and staff carrying out projects of any scope and size, Basiscape delivers the utmost excellence in quality and creativity, while keeping with the usual tight deadlines of the industry.
The group has been responsible for a huge amount of video game soundtracks over the course of the past decade, including Odin Sphere, Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Dragon’s Crown and more. The mobile game Metal Saga: The Ark of Wastes, the fifth game in the Metal Max series, was composed by Basiscape and Yoshimi Kudo (Tekken 6). Grand Kingdom will also see its soundtrack released on June 23rd by Basiscape and composer Mitsuhiro Kaneda. Valkyria Chronicles Original Soundtrack was recently released in its full orchestral glory as well.
“Main Theme” – Valkyria Chronicles
However, they’ve been making the rounds on the indie game music scene recently. The recently launched Kickstarter for the indie rogue-like adventure game Death Story by Team Neko features a stretch goal which would bring Sakimoto and Iwata on to compose the main theme for the game, so fans can contribute to see to it the game receives a fantastic contributing score.
Don’t be surprised if you see Basiscape’s name continue to pop up in the near future, so keep an eye out for Sakimoto and his team on upcoming titles!
Sometimes you stumble upon a fascinating fandom, dip a tentative toe into their murky waters and then seize up in uncertainty, unsure if you’re ready for the plunge. Maybe it’s the world of Persona or a MOBA but for me it was Fire Pro Wrestling. A couple years ago I picked up Fire Pro Wrestling Returns because it was a PlayStation 2 game with sprites and that seemed uncommon. I’d heard the name and seen some scuzzy VHS dubs of Japanese wrestling in the 90’s but that was all the exposure I had. Bewildered by the game’s complex mechanics I turned to the internet and that’s when my toe hit the chilly surface of the Fire Pro waters.
First appearing in 1989 and with a library of 30+ titles steeped in the mystery of Japanese Pro Wrestling — saying nothing of the fan communities that have grown around them — I found myself frozen. “It wasn’t a lake,” I repeated the words of Alan Wake, “it was an ocean.” I shied away and haven’t invested myself in the game since but every now and then I think about the series. So when I was perusing Bandcamp last week and saw Fire Pro M: Volume One I couldn’t help but take a tentative look inside.
The album is a re-release of a 2009 collaboration from various Fire Pro communities and boldly states that it’s “for Japanese wrestling game enthusiasts by Japanese wrestling game enthusiasts”. Despite that warning and the numerous names I’d not heard of — SonnyBone, Jason Blackhart, DJKM, RapidFire, Wackydeli, R’lyeh Liberation Front, OctoberRaven, Wonderland — I continued listening. I don’t think I understand Fire Pro any better but I’ve now spent more time with this album than any of the games in the franchise and think it’s worth a listen: fan, fanatic or not.
Today I learned: Japanese composer and multimedia artist, Baiyon, wasn’t already an employee of Q-Games. After years of friendships and collaborations with the Kyoto based game studio Baiyon has officially joined the full time staff as a Creative Producer. He initially worked with Q-Games as art and sound director on the studio’s trippy plant-former, PixelJunk Eden, in 2008. He then returned for PixelJunk 4am in 2012, helping the studio create a player-controlled music synthesizer and visualizer. In between he contributed music to LittleBigPlanet 2 and more recently provided music and art for indie titles Panoramical and Fotonica.
“For nearly 15 years I’ve acted as a freelance artist, but now I’m taking on the challenge of being a Creative Producer at Q-Games,” Baiyon says of the new position. “I’ve had the privilege of collaboration with many other artists and studios from around the world and accumulating the experience and knowledge that comes with that, but was starting to feel that fully utilizing those as just one person had become difficult. I felt like I needed a place that I could call home in order to do things right.”
No projects were announced with the news but as Q-Games’ latest title, The Tomorrow Children, nears completion Baiyon will most likely be fully involved in whatever comes next. Today I also learned that we’ve got loads of Baiyon coverage right here at OSV! Patrick dedicated a whole week to him back in 2012 so if you’re interested in what might come next from Q-Games, have a look at some of our fine featured posts.
What would you like to see Baiyon and Q-Games do next? The studio has been all over the place from top-down racers to side-on shooters, tower defense and soup capitalism simulators. How about a MOBA?
Brave Wave has officially cast their spotlight on another legendary video game composer having launched pre-orders for Terra Magica from Saori Kobayashi. The 12-track album is a wholly original creation that fans of her work on Panzer Dragoon Saga and Orta will surely appreciate. A “love letter to her fans”, the album doesn’t accompany a new Panzer Dragoon game but the sound and artwork invites listeners to envision their own dream sequel.
Adding to the Dragoon vibe are a slew of collaborators on the album including Eri Ito and Yumiko Takahashi who provided vocals for Orta, Saga and Suikoden 2. Bringing new flavors to Kobayashi’s familiar Dragoon sound are guitarist Takahiro Izutani and Castlevania composer, Michiru Yamane. Even the cover harkens back to Panzer Dragoon having been designed by series illustrator, Manabu Kusunoki.
You can sample two tracks from Terra Magica right now (both of which I’ve had looping all morning) or pre-order a digital or physical copy. Both will be released on April 13th with the digital album going for $13 and the limited edition CD at $16. The CD version is limited to 500 copies and features liner notes from Kobayashi, most of the collaborators and even Panzer Dragoon series director, Yukio Futatsugi.