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Game Music

e3-2009-new-game-and-composer-announcement-highlights

E3 2009: New Game and Composer Announcement Highlights

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A lot of new games were unveiled at this year’s E3. Some of them were completely new to us, and others were just surprise localizations. Some of the games announced feature some fantastic composers with a long history of good VGM. After the jump, we’ll highlight some of the new games and the composers working on them.

Atlus USA kept a trump card up their sleeve to play on the first day of E3. The Wii iteration of Shiren the Wanderer was that trump card, and it features music from the venerable Koichi Sugiyama (and his protégé, Hayato Matsuo). To date, there have only been two soundtracks released in Japan for the Shiren series, and neither of them are for the Wii game Shiren the Wanderer 3, which was only released in Japan a year ago. Atlus USA is known for their “spoils,” and they told us they’ll do their best to release a bonus CD with the game. Mind you, that’s not confirmation that anything will actually come; we’re nervous about it, because it is generally difficult to obtain rights to publish Sugiyama’s work.

Nintendo had some surprise DS RPGs on the floor. One is Golden Sun DS. Though we do know that Camelot is developing the game, there is no confirmation as of yet that Sakuraba is back. But we’re hoping he is, and we’re also hoping the resurrected interest in the franchise will finally lead to a soundtrack release for the games in this oft-overlooked series.

Glory of Heracles was another game that came out of left field. This DS title resurrects a franchise that has laid dormant in Japan for over 15 years (it was originally an NES/SNES RPG series from Data East). The new DS game features music from Shadow Hearts composer Yoshitaka Hirota (thanks to Jeriaska @ Nobuooo for this tip). The little bit of music from the playable demo suggests the score may not rival Shadow Hearts, but is still enjoyable, and very fitting for Hirota-san.

The second game in the Professor Layton trilogy is also coming to the US, thankfully! All three games’ soundtracks have been published in Japan, and the composer (Level-5′s own Tomohito Nishiura) packed a strong French/European influence into the game’s score.

I had a chance to meet with Kentaro Hisai, producer for Disney’s Spectrobes series. The newest game in that series takes the franchise from the DS to the Wii. Spectrobes Origins will not follow in the music of its predecessors (Masahiko Kimura). This time, the game’s score is being handled by the veteran group T’s Music, which includes Hiroshi Kondo, Yasutaka Hatade, and others. The music, as we heard it at E3, maintains the same light and adventurous spirit, particularly during battle sequences, as what Kimura-san wrote for the DS.

Over at Capcom, it was difficult to hear the music to Dark Void (which wasn’t unveiled at the show, but this was the first time anyone got to really get hands-on impressions), because there was so much else going on at their booth. But it’s set to be a strong score, as it’s being composed by Bear McCreary, whom Battlestar Galactica fans may remember as being the sole composer for the hit sci-fi television series. Sumthing Else will be publishing the soundtrack for Dark Void, so that’s pretty exciting too.

Let’s see, what else, what else… oh, right. Final Fantasy XIV! Square Enix’s surprising announcement came with the revelation that Nobuo Uematsu would be returning as the sole composer for the game (for the first time since Final Fantasy IX, nearly a decade ago). The only music we’ve heard so far are from the trailer and the game’s official site.

There was plenty of good game music at E3. Unfortunately, given the nature of the show, it was hard to hear any of it. Fortunately, the new announcements included plenty of familiar names among VGM fans. So, which composer’s new works are you most looking forward to? And who is “missing” from the scene as of late, that you’d like to hear more from?

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