Game Music

First Impressions of GEM Impact’s Score for Ninja Blade on the Xbox 360

September 1, 2008 | | 8 Comments Share thison Facebook First Impressions of GEM Impact’s Score for Ninja Blade on the Xbox 360on Twitter

So, you may or may not know by now that Ninja Blade has been announced for the Xbox 360. Developed by FromSoftware (creators of the awesome King’s Field series… oh, and Armored Core), and published by Microsoft, this action game looks and sounds like it’s going to be a huge hit. The title of this post says it all in terms of who’s handling the music, and the team at FromSoftware, who Hibino has had a strong relationship with over the years, is very excited to announce GEM Impact’s involvement with the game’s audio.

Well, the game isn’t due out until 2009, but we’ve been given a special sneak-peak at Ninja Blade’s score, and we’re here to tell you it’s amazing. With all the members at GEM Impact contributing, I think this is the best work the team has produced to date, combining the heavy electronic and orchestral sounds that the studio has been known for on the Metal Gear Solid series along with the Eastern stylings of the ninja. It’s definitely an emotionally charged listening experience, and I personally can’t wait to see how the music enhances the gaming experience.

Hit the jump for a preview of the main theme from Ninja Blade as well as comments from Norihiko Hibino regarding GEM Impact’s contributions to the upcoming title.

In Hibino’s own words, the score is “very thematic, and of course it’s an action score similar to what you hear in the Metal Gear series, but it’s more based on same melody and theme throughout the game. It’s mixture of electric and orchestra, east and west.” That melody is the Ninja Blade’s main theme, which Hibino is taking a hands-on approach to, commenting that he’s “composing the main theme and ending theme [himself], playing saxophone, recording a lot of Asian instrument samples,” and is relying on the rest of the team for help with the rest of the score.

So, let’s get down and dirty with Ninja Blade’s main theme.

Eight minutes long and unquestionably epic? Check. Norihiko Hibino on saxophone? Check. Stealthy ninja influences? Check. Absolutely gorgeous string progressions? Check. The main theme for this game is mind-blowing, and definitely starts the score (and likely the game) off with a bang. Combining traditional Asian woodwinds with a saxophone provides a smooth and refreshing sound that was unexpected. Not only is this theme amazing, but it’s worked into numerous pieces throughout the score, conveying different emotions each time, which is a remarkable accomplishment in itself.

I wish I could discuss each and every track, as it’s all great, and I’m fairly certain FromSoftware knows it has a hit score on its hands and will likely be pushing a soundtrack release. “[The game] has almost 3 hours of music. Gameplay and cinematics are connected without loading times so music is used during both.” We’ll keep you updated if we hear anything, but in the meantime, be sure to watch out for trailers for Ninja Blade to catch a glimpse of this epic score as I’m curious to know what you think.

The GEM Impact team has already completed the game’s score, so I’m sure it’s quite difficult to sit on this when it’s such a powerful and moving soundtrack. Hibino believes that that this project is a huge deal for the studio, saying “This is a landmark work for the team for sure, as well as Blassreiter. We really did our best, and it has a nice mixture of totally acoustic and heavy electronic stuff. We couldn’t have done this without collaborating as a team. We are looking at a breakthrough after soundtrack is released.” I think he’s right.

Are you looking forward to the release of Ninja Blade in 2009? Are you a fan of GEM Impact’s work on Metal Gear Solid and are itching to hear what they have in store for fans with Ninja Blade?

[Special thanks to Norihiko Hibino, the GEM Impact team, and FromSoftware for giving us the opportunity to preview Ninja Blade’s soundtrack].

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