Game Music

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Return of Hiryu – Strider 2014 OST (Review & Interview)

Email This Post Share on Facebook Return of Hiryu – Strider 2014 OST (Review & Interview)Tweet This Post Print This Post 03.19.14 | | Comment?

It has to be hard to have to be the person who is tasked with creating the soundtrack to a remake of a beloved classic game. The expectations are high from the studio creating the game and even higher from the fandom of the original. Will you have the same tracks as the original game arranged? Will you make completely new tracks? Will it be a similar style as the old game or something radically different? Or will it be any combination of these traits? It certainly cannot be an enviable position to be in and have such pressures weighing you down.

However when it came to composing the soundtrack for the updated Strider game from Double Helix Games, Michael John Mollo took the ball from original Strider composer Junko Tamiya, ran with it, and didn’t look back.

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Game Music, Japanese

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Piano Opera: Final Fantasy VII/VIII/IX Has Been Announced!

Email This Post Share on Facebook Piano Opera: Final Fantasy VII/VIII/IX Has Been Announced!Tweet This Post Print This Post 03.14.14 | | 4 Comments

Fans of Final Fantasy music rejoice!! The third Piano Opera: Final Fantasy album has been announced. For those unfamiliar with the Piano Opera albums, they are albums that feature piano arrangements of pieces from the Final Fantasy franchise. Despite the name, there is no actual opera music in any of these collections. Each album in this series focuses on three specific Final Fantasy games. The first Piano Opera album contained arrangements from Final Fantasy I, II, and III, while the second album featured the music of Final Fantasy IV, V, and VI. These first two albums were released back in 2012, with only a few months in between each release.

Predictably, this latest album will focus on the music from Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX. Tracks on this album will include “Opening ~ Bombing Mission” and “Those Who Fight Further,” from Final Fantasy VII; “Liberi Fatali” and “Force Your Way,” from Final Fantasy VIII; and “Rose of May” and “Melodies of Life,” from Final Fantasy IX. The album is set to be released on April 23, 2014 in Japan and will cost around 2,800 yen.

There is no word yet on a release date for the United States or Europe. Considering that the previous albums have received western releases, through services like iTunes, this album hopefully won’t be far behind. The Piano Opera: Final Fantasy VII/VIII/IX album will be available on Amazon Japan and Square Enix’s e-Store on the day of release. So for those of you outside of Japan, who have some skill at reading Japanese and don’t mind paying for importing the album, you will potentially have a means of acquiring this latest album on day one. I know that I’ll have this album on my wishlist. Hopefully we’ll be getting a release here in the west in the near future.

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Experimental, Software

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Amnesia Fortnight Bundle Includes Game Prototypes and Their Soundtracks

Email This Post Share on Facebook Amnesia Fortnight Bundle Includes Game Prototypes and Their SoundtracksTweet This Post Print This Post 03.12.14 | | Comment?

The game prototypes created from Double Fine’s Amnesia Fortnight 2014 are now available on the Humble Bundle store. As with other bundles, this one also includes the soundtracks for the games. The games include Dear Leader, Mnemonic, Steed, and Little Pink Best Buds. These are not full or complete games, but prototypes that were created during this year’s Amnesia Fortnight.

For those of you not familiar with Amnesia Fortnight, it’s a two week long event held within Double Fine. The company selects a handful of game pitches from company employees. Once the projects are chosen, the employees who came up with each selected pitch is made the leader of a small team. These small teams spend the next two weeks building a prototype of the game idea. It’s a chance for employees to gain some experience designing and creating a game, and it allows them to see their own ideas being formed into an actual game.

This year’s Amnesia Fortnight included guest team lead Pendleton Ward, the man behind the TV show Adventure Time. The two week event was also recorded and broadcast as a documentary series by 2 Player Productions, that you can watch on Double Fine’s Youtube channel. It’s an interesting set of game prototypes and it’s also a great way to grab the soundtracks to these unique games. For those of you interested in trying out some interesting game experiments, this may be worth a look. The Amnesia Fortnight 2014 Bundle will be available for the next few weeks on the Humble Bundle store.

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Game Music, Miscellaneous

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Dwelling of Duels – February 2014 Beat ‘em Up Month Review

Email This Post Share on Facebook Dwelling of Duels – February 2014 Beat ‘em Up Month ReviewTweet This Post Print This Post 03.11.14 | | 2 Comments

Welcome to the first OSV review of the monthly video game music arrangement competition Dwelling of Duels (DoD). This competition has a few major rules: each song must be (unless otherwise specified) greater in length than two minutes and the primary instrument(s) (there must be at least one) be live-played. Backing tracks that are sequenced are permitted.

Having recently celebrated it’s 10th anniversary and still going strong, there should be no shortage of material to get down and dirty with. The structure of the content may change from time to time but for this first article, let’s hit it with a review of each song.

Also worth noting: if you tend to listen to only the top 3 songs or so, you’re missing out on some incredible music! (you’re also “doing it wrong.”)

Having said that, here we go!

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Game Music

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Rayman Legends OST (Review)

Email This Post Share on Facebook Rayman Legends OST (Review)Tweet This Post Print This Post 03.10.14 | | Comment?

One of the things that’s been a growing issue for me with Triple A games is the method in which orchestral music is used. There’s been a tendency in recent years to have the music of these games mimic the scores of big budget hollywood movies. The approach certainly works for certain types of games, but the pervasiveness of this trend has gotten to the point of being cliche. I’m all for dark, dramatic, and symphonic music finding an audience through games. The problem for me has been that it has become an over-saturated genre.

Luckily, a few soundtracks have come out that spice up the tonal palate of their orchestral music. One such soundtrack from this past generation was the Rayman Origins OST. While it was orchestral and had some dramatic moments, it also had a signature sound. Written by composers Christophe Heral and Billy Martin, the soundtrack was lively, eclectic, and was the breath of fresh air that the orchestral soundtrack genre needed. It wasn’t long before the game’s sequel, Rayman Legends, came about and both composers returned for the second round. In this review I’ll be looking at the Rayman Legends OST and examining how they’ve improved things and how well the music works with the game. Read on to find out more. (more…)

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Miscellaneous, Music Production

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PAX East’s “Maestros of Video Games” Panel

Email This Post Share on Facebook PAX East’s “Maestros of Video Games” PanelTweet This Post Print This Post 03.08.14 | | Comment?

If you happen to be one of the lucky people able to swipe a badge for PAX East next month in Boston, you probably know it’s a big deal to spend your time wisely at such a huge event. Why not take in a panel dedicated to music composers and their craft?

“Maestros of Video Games” panel will feature a bunch of notable game composers from across several well known titles and genres such  as Garry Schyman (Bioshock Infitnite, Dante’s Inferno, Destroy All Humans), Cris Valesco (Mass Effect 3, Borderlands, God of War series), Peter McConnell (Broken Age, Psychonauts, Sly Cooper series) and several more and they share their experiences in the industry and their works on some of the biggest franchises in gaming.

The panel will be on Saturday, April 12th at 12:30pm in the Condor Theatre. Be sure to check it out!

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Miscellaneous

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International “IN FLUX” Collaboration Album Released!

Email This Post Share on Facebook International “IN FLUX” Collaboration Album Released!Tweet This Post Print This Post 03.06.14 | | 1 Comment

The team behind the fantastic World 1-2 and World 1-2: Encore collaboration albums, has just announced the release date for their next compilation album, IN FLUX, set to debut on March 4, 2014. The album, overseen by Mega Man and upcoming Might no.9 composer Manami Matsumae, will feature a diverse selection of music genres from chip music to electronica to metal from a menagerie of notable composers and artists such as Saori Kobayashi (of Panzer Dragoon Saga), Keiji Yamagishi (of Ninja Gaiden) and Akira Yamaoka (of Silent Hill) from Japan; Stemage (of Metroid Metal), Tim McCord (of Evanescence) and several more!

Brave Wave Productions president and IN FLUX director Mohammed Taher comments,

“Instead of replicating what we did with World 1-2, we went in a new and inventive direction: having the Japanese and Western composers collaborate. The album isn’t exclusive to this idea, but we have a number of tracks where it’s this eccentric mix of more than one composer contributing significantly to a track, leaping over the language gap and creating music that matters.”

The album will retail for $10 on Bandcamp with a limited edition digipak for $15, and $12 on iTunes. The physical copies have been pressed in limited quantities and will be available to purchase in person at Bit Summit MMXIV in Kyoto, Japan in March 7-9, as well as online at: http://store.bravewave.net

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Featured, Game Music

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Dracula’s Dirge – Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 OST (Review)

Email This Post Share on Facebook Dracula’s Dirge – Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 OST (Review)Tweet This Post Print This Post 03.04.14 | | 5 Comments

Castlevania has gone through the gauntlet of interpretations and variations throughout its near-30 year tenure, and its music has always been a huge part of that diversity. From the upbeat catchy 8-bit bleeps of the NES titles to the haunting atmosphere of Super Castlevania 4; from the pop-oriented tunes of Rondo of Blood/Dracula X to the orchestral and symphonic tones used in Symphony of the Night and Lament of Innocence. To say the series had a menagerie of different styles of music would be an understatement, but somehow the music always seemed to work for the game it was composed for.

The first Lords of Shadow game took a different approach with its style of music. Mercurysteam and director Dave Cox had put Oscar Araujo (Animated film Ed Cid) at the helm of incorporating a different kind of soundtrack for the different kind of Castlevania game they were making. As Jayson summed up in his review of the first game’s soundtrack, the new direction being taken was fresh and some tracks were interesting, but in the end it was too big a departure from previous series titles to make it feel like it was really a Castlevania game and was instead simply its own stand-alone Lords of Shadow soundtrack. Indeed, it was a subject of much debate in the Castlevania fan community whether the music of the game helped or hindered its attempt at being both a Castlevania title and also its own creature. The sub-series’ interquel, Mirror of Fate, didn’t do much to quell the arguments.

With this kind of contention as well as Mercurysteam’s assurance that Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 would have many of the shortcomings of the first game tweaked, does this third game in the series manage to capture the old feel of past Castlevanias? Or does it again fall short of its potential?

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Game Music

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New Shnabubula Album “Continue? Philly Under Fire”

Email This Post Share on Facebook New Shnabubula Album “Continue? Philly Under Fire”Tweet This Post Print This Post 03.03.14 | | Comment?

New work from Sam “Shnabubula” Ascher-Weiss came out today, and it’s quite a listen! The soundtrack for the game based off of the webshow Continue?” features a delightful mixture of chiptunes and comes at the even more delightful Name-Your-Price structure on Bandcamp. The 11-track album is exactly what you would expect a Contra-styled soundtrack to sound like, complete with high-energy pieces such as “Whirlpool Battle” and “Alien War-Machines”.

If you like some Shnabubula in your life and need some awesome chiptunes for your ride into work tomorrow, why not grab Continue? Philly Under Fire‘s OST and enjoy some great oldschool jams?

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Featured, Game Music, Software

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Circuits: A New Puzzle Game About Reconstructing Music

Email This Post Share on Facebook Circuits: A New Puzzle Game About Reconstructing MusicTweet This Post Print This Post 02.27.14 | | 1 Comment

Every so often a game concept comes along that grabs our attention. A new music game called Circuits has done just that. Developed by the studio Digital Tentacle, Circuits is a puzzle game that asks you to reconstruct a piece of music. In the gameplay video shown below, composer David Garcia walks the viewer through an early level of the game. Different nodes of the circuits represent patterns, rhythms, and instrument melodies that make up the piece of music. Essentially, each node is a piece of the puzzle. The task of the player is to assemble each node in the correct spot on the circuit board to reproduce the full and finished piece. You not only have to worry about the order of the music’s individual elements, you must also make sure you repeat the nodes the correct number of times.

From the looks of it, a lot of the game will rely on the player’s listening abilities, in addition to their puzzle solving skills. The game was recently Greenlit by members of the Steam community and will hopefully make progress to an eventual release on the platform. The game was also released recently on the iPad. It’s definitely an interesting game concept. Hopefully it can find an audience in the puzzle and music game crowd.

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Chip Music, Featured, Indie Music

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The Glory Days (Review)

Email This Post Share on Facebook The Glory Days (Review)Tweet This Post Print This Post 02.24.14 | | Comment?

With the help of Kickstarter, another chiptune album has been brought into existence. Most people probably know Jimmy Hinson (a.k.a Big Giant Circles) and his music from games like Mass Effect 2 and Call of Duty Black Ops 2. It might surprise some people that in addition to the game music he writes, he also composes chiptunes. This latest album, The Glory Days, is a new collection of original pieces written by Hinson. The Glory Days was funded through a very successful Kickstarter campaign that far exceeded its original goal. Not only did the Kickstarter hit the goal of $5,000, but every single stretch goal was met as well. The Kickstarter receiving over $60,000 in pledges, allowing Big Giant Circles to hire several remixers and fellow game composers to help construct an extra remix album for release at a later date.

The Glory Days is a sequel to Hinson’s first album of original music, Impostor Nostalgia. This original album was a collection of music written by Hinson and featured several music remixers and composers. The concept behind Impostor Nostalgia was that while the music mimicked the sound and energy of chiptunes from older videogames, the music itself was original work that was never featured in any game, past or present. It was a cool experiment and generated some excellent new tunes. This time around, Hinson is flying solo with this sequel album, The Glory Days. Like the first album, this one aims to celebrate the sound of older game tunes while enhancing it with modern synth and electronic sounds that weren’t available years ago. Does Big Giant Circles pull this off on this second solo album? Read more to find out. (more…)

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Game Music

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Monarch: Heroes of a New Age OST Released

Email This Post Share on Facebook Monarch: Heroes of a New Age OST ReleasedTweet This Post Print This Post 02.22.14 | | 1 Comment

If you’re a fan of MMORPGs and the music associated with them, this might just tickle your fancy. The Korean game Monarch: Heroes of a New Age features a gorgeous orchestral soundtrack and an accompanying arrangement album that is sure to please fans of sweeping score and memorable melodies.

Korean composer Goomin  “Nauts” Nam, who composed for games like the drink mixing sim game Bar Oasis, has put together a fantastic and diverse assortment of music to accompany the fantasy MMORPG. If that’s not enough, the arrangement album, Monarch: Heroes of a New Age Arrangements & Variations, features an equally diverse cast of guest arrangers including Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater composer Norihiko Hibino and pianist AYAKI, as well as arrangements from Dale North and Joshua Morse. (more…)

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