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suikoden-tierkreis-interview-masaharu-iwata-of-basiscape-shares-his-thoughts

Suikoden Tierkreis Interview: Masaharu Iwata of Basiscape Shares His Thoughts

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You’ve likely read our interview with Suikoden Teirkreis’s lead composer, Norikazu Miura, and our review of the game’s soundtrack, and now we’re taking time to speak with Basiscape’s Masaharu Iwata about his work on the title. This is the first Suikoden title to feature contributions from outside composers, so I was interested in finding out how Iwata was chosen to work on the title.

We discuss Iwata’s collaboration with the team as well as his approach to the game’s music. We also briefly touch on some Basiscape topics including the possibility of a soundtrack release for Opoona and the loose association of the team. And again, we’ll have more Suikoden Tierkreis coverage in the coming weeks, so watch for it!

Hear what Masaharu Iwata has to say about Suikoden Tierkreis after the jump.

OSV: Iwata-san, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your work on Suikoden Tierkreis. We were surprised to hear about you involvement, as Konami typically handles the audio for Suikoden titles in-house. How is it that you came to work on the title?
Iwata: Miura-san from Konami decided to create the project using external composers. Once we were asked, I was chosen after providing demo music.

OSV: Suikoden is a long-running series that has a rich history and many interesting characters. I’m wondering how familiar you were with the series before you started work on Tierkreis, and if you had to study past Suikoden titles to give you an idea for the atmosphere and style of the series.
Iwata: Since Suikoden is a very famous series, I roughly knew the contents of the games, but unfortunately I’ve never had the time to really get into them. I was able to get a very good feel for the game’s atmosphere from the material that was provided, so I didn’t have to see and study any of the past titles.

OSV: Miura-san, the sound director for Suikoden Tierkreis at Konami, has told us that he didn’t give you much direction in terms of the sound he expected from you. Instead, he told you about the locales and themes you would be working on in the hopes that you’d create appropriate music based on those ideas. How did this method work for you on Suikoden Tierkreis? Do you feel that the music created by you and the other team members comes together as a cohesive listening experience?
Iwata: Because each location in the game features a different composer, we decided that as each location has its own characteristics and feelings there was no problem. Because of that, I didn’t really have to think about a cohesive listening experience with the other composers. They gave me sufficient information about each location and characters that I was in charge of composing. Miura-san did a final check of the music once I handed it in. This way is similar to making one whole game, so it was easy to work on as I felt it was a quite orthodox method.

OSV: Can you describe your experience working with Miura-san and others at Konami on this project? Did you mainly work off-site and submit your music to Miura-san, or did you come to the office for meetings or catch up with the team via phone conferencing?
Iwata: I went to Konami’s office for an initial meeting. After that, I sent each demo via email from my office as I completed them. I then modified and completed the music after Miura-san’s had checked them.

OSV: Miura-san also told us that you would be handling the “Blades of Night’s Veil” and its hometown, Pharamond. What can you tell us about the music you created for these areas, and did you find the area and this city particularly inspiring?
Iwata: There’s a certain very famous revue group here in Japan, and the instruction was to “create an atmosphere like that revue group” so there is some music like that. I hadn’t really written that kind of music genre before… It was hard, but also an interesting experience. I was inspired by the material they provided, the scenarios, images etc.

OSV: Can you tell us approximately how many minutes of music you wrote for Suikoden Tierkreis? Will all of it be featured on the 3-disc soundtrack that is being included with the special edition set that is being released in Japan?
Iwata: All up, it’s about 13 minutes. All the music I contributed to the game will be included in the soundtrack.

OSV: You know that we recently spoke with Sakimoto-san about Basiscape, and he mentioned that you are a large group of talented musicians. I’m wondering about your work on both Soul Calibur IV and Suikoden Tierkreis, both of which you did alone, without the help from others at Basiscape. Do you see Basiscape as more of a loose association of composers that allows you to find your own projects and use Basiscape as a general brand and support system, or do you see it more as a collaborative group of musicians who work together on projects, like with Opoona?
Iwata: My personal opinion, it’s a bit of both, depending on the project. I think Basiscape could be called a loose association of composers that allows me to find my own projects, but at the same time it’s also a collaborative group of musicians who work together on projects.

OSV: I have to ask, as the format for the Valkyria Chronicles interview didn’t allow it: is there any chance that we’ll see an Opoona soundtrack in the future? When speaking with Sakimoto-san when the game was released in the United States, he said a release would depend on the international reception. I personally feel that Opoona represents some of the best work that Basiscape has put forward, and would love the opportunity to hear the music on its own official soundtrack release. Do you have any thoughts about this score?
Iwata: I’d like an Opoona soundtrack release as well. But I can’t really comment about it. It was a great experience having a recording with live music in Australia.

OSV: Are you able to say at this time what you’ll be working on next? We’re looking forward to hearing what you’ll be working on in the future.
Iwata: I can’t really say anything in particular, but I will keep trying to make music which everybody can enjoy.

OSV: Do you have any final thoughts on your work on Suikoden Tierkreis? Would you be willing to work on other Suikoden titles in the future, and do you think Basiscape will be working with Konami on other projects in the coming years?
Iwata: I really appreciate everyone from Konami giving me this opportunity. It was a really great experience. I’d like to work on other Suikoden titles if the opportunity arises. I can’t say anything about any work specifically between Basiscape and Konami, but I’m sure we can keep this good relationship headed into the future.

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