Game Music

DJ Max Fever Interview: Developer, Publisher, and Korean Composers Nauts and ESTi

January 22, 2009 | | 2 Comments Share thison Facebook DJ Max Fever Interview: Developer, Publisher, and Korean Composers Nauts and ESTion Twitter

We posted awhile back that the Korean-developed DJ Max Portable series is finally making its way to the States as DJ Max Fever.  While you’ve likely read our review of the related DJMAX TECHNIKA arcade soundtrack, DJ Max Fever is poised to please fans on the PSP with its blistering difficulty and amazing track selection come January 27.

With the release date so close, we thought it’d be a good time to sit down with some of the people who worked on the title to learn more. While executive producer Michael Yum from PM Studios and Kalos Kim from Pentavision Entertainment in Korea answer questions on the development side, we also get some questions in with soundTeMP composer ESTi and fellow Korean composer Nauts.  This is definitely a big deal for me as a crazed soundTeMP fan, so I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Read the full interivew with this talented group after the jump.

OSV: Hello!  It’s great to speak with all of you.  The DJ Max Portable series has been pretty big in Asia, but this is the first time the two titles are coming to the United States, combined into a single title. Let me start by asking what took so long?
Fever Team: There were many aspects but the two main problems were SCEA approval and timing. Pentavision did not have a publishers account with SCEA and could not get the game approved. The timing was not right until now. Pentavision wanted to choose the right partners to ensure the best release. We really wanted to give the fans what they wanted and not change too many things.

OSV: What went into the decision to include both DJ Max Portable titles in DJ Max Fever? Are there any changes being made to the original PSP titles to cater to a Western audience?
Fever Team: We didn’t want to release Portable 1 then 2, because Portable 1 was just too old. So the best thing to do was combine the best of both titles and include new songs. We are trying new things with the ranking system and link disc. For the ranking system, we will have tournaments and contests and give out special prizes like limited edition versions, t-shirts, soundtracks, etc… As for the link disc, we are trying something new like expansion packs. This way the customers only need to buy one version and pay less for new songs and features.

OSV: There are a lot of rhythm games out there, so what are some features that set DJ Max Fever apart from its competitors?
Fever Team: DJ Max Fever really separates itself from others with its fan base service. DMF includes collections, an mp3 player, movie player, customization options, and a fresh soundtrack. We design each song and animation from the ground up so it enhances the game play.

OSV: The title was developed in Korea, and I’ve said time and again that developers in Korea seem to understand the importance of audio in games, and the DJ Max Portable series is no exception. Tell us about the collection of music that will be featured in DJ Max Fever.
Fever Team: The sound team at Pentavision is amazing. When I had a chance to visit them, I saw the dedication these musicians have in the creation of each song. The great thing about DMF is that our sound designers are also composers. These guys know how to create each soundtrack to really enhance the game experience. We cannot disclose too much information on which songs will be featured in DMF at the moment.

OSV: Regarding the soundtrack, perhaps ESTi and Nauts would like to comment about what it means to have the music that they created for DJ Max Portable finally available in the United States? Is there anything you’d like to say to your international fans regarding your music in the game?
ESTi: My music is actually inspired by music from various countries around the world, including the United States. I’m very glad that my music in the game will be heard around the world. I think with my music making its way to the United States, and gamers there listening to my music, it will be an interesting experience, like a two-player game of ping-pong. If the response is good, I’ll have to take this into consideration when creating new music!

Nauts: I never thought that the game would be released internationally. Honestly, I don’t think anybody would be unhappy about a game carrying their music spreading throughout the world. I hope this is an opportunity for me to communicate with gamers around the world through music.

OSV: Do you feel the involvement of a number of Korean composers, including ESTi and Nauts, on this title gives the game a distinct feel? What are some of your favorite tracks from the game?
Fever Team: Definitely! This one is hard to answer because we love them all and work closely with these guys. Mike’s personal favorite is “Bye Bye Love.” Kalos likes “Syriana.” Looks like you got 2 songs out of us.

OSV: ESTi and Nauts, would you like to comment about the type of music you created for the DJ Max Portable series? What can we expect to hear?
ESTi: Well, the music I created for the DJ Max series contains a lot of Asian influences. I hope it inspires fans to travel to Asia and enjoy what it has to offer.

Nauts: I’ve created two pieces for the series – “Mess It Up” and “Sunset Rider.” “Mess It Up” sounds like a spy game, and even the artwork gives this vibe. Though the artwork for “Sunset Rider” shows a scooter, when I created it, I was thinking of riding a motorbike on a coastal road. Neither of them are traditional trance or electronica pieces.

OSV: SoundTeMP is a highly-regarded studio in Korea, responsible for the audio in Ragnarok Online and Granado Espada.  As you know, ESTi and Nauts are both members of this team, so are you guys fans of soundTeMP?  How did you go about contacting the musicians featured in the DJ Max Portable series to get them invovled with the title?
Fever Team: It pretty much comes down to connections. Everyone knows everyone and people refer them to us. We are definitely fans of soundTeMP and love the work they do.

OSV: As members of soundTeMP, can the two of you tell us if any other members from the team contributed to the DJ Max Portable series?
Nauts: Although people seem to think I am, I’m not an official member of soundTeMP. I just supported them between 2003 and 2005. So I’m not too sure whether any of the soundTeMP members participated in this game or not, but when I came on board, I didn’t see any other soundTeMP members on board aside from ESTi.

ESTi: Well, it’s actually possible that another member of soundTeMP will be preparing music for an upcoming DJ Max title… you’ll just have to wait and see!

OSV: Other rhythm games out there seem to rely on additional peripherals packaged in with the game. The DJ Max series, however, relies only on button-presses on the PSP. Tell us your take on the flood of plastic peripherals that are flooding the market. Do you think they are necessary?
Fever Team: The other titles that use the extra peripherals are amazing. In all honesty, they really do enhance the experience because the players feel like they are actually playing that instrument. I don’t think they are completely all necessary because the designers can always find a way to recreate that same experience by being creative. Plus it’s really expensive. For the price of a rock set, you can almost buy a PSP and DJ Max Fever.

OSV: What are some of the team’s favorite rhythm games? Are there any rhythm games out that that have done everything right in your opinion?
Fever Team: In Korea none of the rock games have been released so most of the team members have not played any of them. From what we have seen, it really looks like Rock Band has set the standard very high.

OSV: When the games were released in Asia, they were packaged with a special UMD soundtrack. Will there be something similar for the US release, or will we be seeing an official soundtrack release in the future?
Fever Team: We are definitely trying to release these things for our fans. Since PM Studios is relatively new, we just got our product into all of the vendors. It is very hard to release a limited edition package at the moment but we are working very hard on getting it out there. Just to let you know, they will be extremely limited. As for the soundtrack on UMD, we’ve included that feature into the title so a separate UMD disc will not be necessary to listen to the tracks.

OSV: Does the release of DJ Max Fever in the United States suggest that perhaps we will continue to see DJ Max Portable titles both in Asia and abroad moving forward?
Fever Team: For sure. We will be making new announcements from PM Studios and Pentavision very soon. If it hasn’t already leaked on the net.

OSV: Thank all of you for your time. We’re really looking forward to checking out DJ Max Fever when it’s released later this year.

[Special thanks to TaekSung Song for translating for Nauts]

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