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Ragnarok: The Imperial Princess of Light and Dark (Interview)

Ragnarok: The Imperial Princess of Light and Dark (Interview)

March 6, 2012 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Ragnarok: The Imperial Princess of Light and Dark (Interview)on Twitter

I love Ragnarok Online. While the original PC title will always been one of my favorite games, we’ve checked out the Ragnarok DS spin-off here on OSV, and it looks as though GungHo Online is set on redefining the series with a number of spin-offs that have been slated for iOS (Ragnarok Violet), PSP (Ragnarok: The Imperial Princess of Light and Dark), and the PlayStation Vita (Ragnarok Odyssey). The Imperial Princess of Light and Dark is a strategy title for the PSP that was released in Japan on October 2011, but as of yet has no release planned for North America.

Still, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by the score for the game, composed in part by composer Hideki Sakamoto who has impressed us with his work on echochrome and other titles. He’s joined by composer team 12sound to create a blend of orchestral fantasy music that is a lot of fun, even if distinctly different from the music soundTeMP wrote for the original PC game.

I was curious as to how Sakamoto was brought on board for this title and the nature of his contributions, so join us after the jump as we inquire!

OSV: Hello Sakamoto-san, thanks for talking about your work on Ragnarok: The Imperial Princess of Light and Dark with us today.

Hideki Sakamoto: The pleasure is all mine. Thank you for creating this wonderful opportunity.

OSV: Can you start by telling us how you were approached by GungHo Online to work on this game? Given that the franchise is rooted in Korea, was it explained to you why they were looking for a composer from Japan to score the game?

Sakamoto: I had received a direct offer from Mr. Yokoyama who is a game producer at GungHo. It appeared that he took an interest in the music in my titles, Echochrome and What Did I Do to Deserve This, My Lord?. I think that because the release is to be handled by a Japanese company that a Japanese individual such as myself was brought on board.

OSV: The music from the Ragnarok franchise is famous for its memorable pop-oriented compositions by soundTeMP. Previous spin-offs (including Ragnarok DS) featured re-used music from the online game. Do you know what went into the team’s decision to create an all new score for this game, and did you feel pressure to meet fans’ expectations given their love for the original Ragnarok Online soundtrack?

Sakamoto: I didn’t feel any pressure at all. I think it is important for me to have creative freedom without having to be constraint by previous titles. This time all the tracks are brand new but it is not my plan to take away from the series’s image as seen in previous titles.

OSV: Did you take the time to familiarize yourself with the music from Ragnarok Online before taking on this project?  As an originally-developed Korean title, did this have any bearing on what you went about to create for the game?

Sakamoto:
I wanted to have a fresh take on the series so I must apologize that I did not listen to the music in the original Ragnarok Online before starting my work. I am not very familiar with the differences between game music in Japan and Korea and truthfully I am not influenced by anything in particular when I begin composing. This time what I did to familiarize myself with the project was to look over scenario and character materials and game system mechanics to shape what I’d imagine the music would be like in my head.

OSV: The visuals in the Ragnarok universe are also very distinctive. How did the vibrant graphics and other gameplay elements (including the strategy RPG genre) factor into your sound for the game?

Sakamoto: When composing music, I thought I would make music that would not be distracting. Compared to my other works, it is a bit rare but I think there is a lot of tracks that have a melody with a restrained rhythm in them.

OSV: The music we’ve heard in the gameplay videos is very pop-oriented, almost emulating the original Ragnarok Online music in style. What directions were given to you regarding how the game should sound, and was it challenging to write this kind of music?

Sakamoto: Although the producer did not indicate that he wanted the soundtrack to have an especially pop-oriented sound, perhaps in requesting for me to work on this project that may have been the intention. I am rather skilled in that type of music so I was able to compose music with very little difficulty.

OSV: You’ve been known for your work with live session players, so what tools did you use to create this soundtrack? Are there live players, and do you perform yourself on the soundtrack?

Sakamoto: This time around, I created all the music electronically via a computer. Thus, there was no performances by myself or other studio musicians. However, the timbre is real so maybe it will sound like a live performance to some people.

OSV: How many minutes of music are you writing for the game, and will all of the music be featured on the special soundtrack disc that is launching with the game in Japan? Do you know at this time of the game will be released in Korea and elsewhere in the world, and will the soundtrack be available outside of this limited edition

Sakamoto: I wrote 11 tracks for the game, totaling around 20 minutes of music. As for the soundtrack release, it will only be available as a pre-order bonus as of this time.

OSV: What are some of the unique challenges and most rewarding moments you experienced while working on this title?

Sakamoto: This time I thought about how I shouldn’t overuse electronic instruments where I could. For battle tracks, I knew it would be the easy route to just use an electric guitar but I stubbornly tried to utilize an acoustic guitar where possible. So in trying to bring out the intensity of a battle, it did prove to be a bit of a challenge but it was a good experience.

OSV: If you had to pick a character class from the Ragnarok universe that best represents who you are as a person, what character class would you be and why?

Sakamoto: Without a doubt, I would be an acolyte. Despite my outward appearance, I’m an indoor-type of a person who is a bit lacking in energy.

OSV: Is there anything you’d like to say to fans in Japan and abroad who were fans of the original Ragnarok Online game and its soundtracks regarding your soundtrack to Ragnarok: The Imperial Princess of Light and Dark? Is there anything they should keep in mind when they listen the soundtrack?

Sakamoto: I think everyone can experience a whole new Ragnarok in this game. There is a lot of music that has orchestration at its core, so at any rate I’d like to some day perform some of the music at one of my concerts. I would be rather pleased if everyone enjoys the passionate and sentimental tracks in the game.

OSV: Thank you for your time. We can’t wait to hear your music in the game!

Sakamoto: Thank you very much for this opportunity!

__

[Thanks to Christopher Ling and Kai Ohler for translation]

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OSV:
坂本さん、新「ラグナロク」ゲームの取り組みに対して私達とお話し下さってありがとうございます。

Hideki Sakamoto:
こちらこそ、今回はこのような素晴らしい機会を設けていただきありがとうございます。

OSV: まずはどうやってガンホーはこのゲームに取り組むに誘われました?そのゲームシリーズは韓国会社が作った作品が何故日本の作曲家は必要と教えてされました?

Sakamoto:
ガンホーのゲームプロデューサーである横山氏から直接のオファーがありました。私の作品である『無限回廊』や『勇者のくせになまいきだ:3D』の音楽を聴いて興味を持っていただいたようです。今回は開発も日本の会社がおこなっているということもあり日本人の私を誘ってくれたのだと思います。

OSV:
soundTeMPが作曲しましたのポップ的な忘れられない曲は結構有名です。スピンオフ作品、例えば「ラグナロクDS」が「ラグナロクオンライン」の曲を再利用しました。ガンホーのチームはゲームのために全く新しいな楽譜を作る決定は分かりますか?「ラグナロクオンライン」のサウンドトラックが大好きのファン達の期待を満たすのプレッシャーはありました?

Sakamoto:
プレッシャーはまったくありませんでした。私にオファーをしてくれたからには、過去作にとらわれず私の自由に作ることが大切だと思いました。今回はすべての曲が新しく作られた曲になりますが、それは本作のゲームのもつイメージを、良い意味で過去作から切り離す狙いもあったのではないかと思います。

OSV:
ゲームの楽譜を取り組みする前に「ラグナロクオンライン」の音楽を親しみました?もしそうだとしたら、soundTeMPさんの作曲はどう思いますか?ゲームから、好きな曲はありますか?自分が作った曲に影響を与えましたか?もし「ラグナロクオンライン」の音楽を聴きなかったら韓国からのゲーム音楽についてコメントしてください。もしゲームの韓国的な物が影響を与えましたら教えてください。

Sakamoto:
今回は過去作とは音楽面で一線を画すという狙いがありましたので、誠に申し訳ないのですが過去の「ラグナロク」の音楽をあえて聴かずに制作にとりかかりました。私は日本と韓国のゲーム音楽の違いについて詳しくありませんが、もともと何かに影響を受けて作曲をすることが少ないので、今回私がやったことは、シナリオやキャラクター資料、ゲームシステムなどを把握した上で、自分の頭の中に聞こえてくる音楽を形にした、というただそれだけなのでした。

OSV:
「ラグナロク」の世界は独特な映像があります。このゲームの明るい映像やゲームをする要素(例えばシミュレーションRPGとして)の影響はありましたか?

Sakamoto:
作曲をする上で、思考の邪魔にならない音楽を作ろう、という思いはありました。ですので、私の作品の中では珍しく、メロディはやや抑えてリズムを目立つようにした楽曲が多いと思います。

OSV:
ゲームプレイデモからの音楽はとってもポップ向け、まるで「ラグナロクオンライン」のスタイルを真似ます。ゲームの作曲の方向の指示は何ですか?そのような音楽を作曲するのは難しかったですか?

Sakamoto:
プロデューサーから特にポップにして欲しい、という指示はありませんでしたが、私に依頼をしてくれたということは、そういう方向を目指していたのかもしれません。私はそのような音楽を作るのが最も得意ですので、まったく難しいことなく作曲を進めることができました。

OSV:
サウンドトラックを作るためにどのツール使いました?スタジオミュージシャン使いましたか?サウンドトラックに坂本さんもう演奏を行いました?

Sakamoto:
今回私が担当した楽曲はすべてパソコンの中で完結する打ち込みで制作したものです。ですので私やスタジオミュージシャンによる演奏はありません。ですが、音色がリアルなので、もしかしたら生演奏に聞こえるかもしれません。

OSV:
set?ゲームの音楽は何分作りました?日本版と一緒に付いて特典サウンドトラックは全曲は入りますか?そのゲームは韓国や海外にリリース予定はありますか?サウンドトラックは限定版以外に発売予定はありますか?

Sakamoto:
※ごめんなさい。これは私の方ではわからないので、ガンホーさんに確認してもらえますでしょうか。

OSV:
プロジェクトを取り組みする時に珍しい難題とかやりがいを感じた瞬間はありましたか?

Sakamoto:
今回、電子楽器の使用はなるべく控えよう、という考え方がありました。戦闘曲などにはエレキギターを使うのが王道だったりしますが、あくまでアコースティックにこだわったので、戦闘の迫力を出すのにいささかの苦労があり、やりがいもありました。

OSV:
「ラグナロク」シリーズのキャラクタークラスからどちが一番自分っぽくと思うならどのクラスを選びますか?

Sakamoto:
これは間違いなくアコライト (聖職者)でしょう。私は体格の割に意外と力が無くインドア派です。

OSV:
日本と海外にいる「ラグナロクオンライン」のゲームとサウンドトラックのファン達に「ラグナロク~光と闇の皇女~」について言いたい事がありますか?サウンドトラックを聴くと覚えおくべき事とか「ラグナロクオンライン」のサウンドトラックに関連して物はありますか?

Sakamoto:
音楽面ではまったく新しい「ラグナロク」を体験してもらえると思います。オーケストラを主体とした音楽も多いので、いずれ私のコンサートでも楽曲を演奏したいと思います。より情熱的で感傷的な楽曲たちをご堪能いただければうれしいです。

OSV:
お忙しい中お時間を頂きましてありがとうございます。ゲームの作曲を楽しみに待ってます!

Sakamoto:
こちらこそありがとうございました!

__

[Thanks to Christopher Ling and Kai Ohler for translation]

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