Kenichiro Fukui is a composer that few likely know off the top of their head. He began his career as a member of the Konami Kukeiha Club in 1990 under the moniker "Funiki Fukui". The first game he worked on was Sunset Riders in 1991, but he only did the sound effects for the game. His first full composition job was Konami's light gun arcade game Lethal Enforcers. He worked on a few more arcade games at Konami, including 1992's GI Joe with Tsutomi Ogura and 1993's Violent Storm with Seiichi Fukami.
Continue reading Composer Compendium: Kenichiro Fukui
Early in tri-Crescendo's existence, the company looked to expand its portfolio beyond audio work for tri-Ace games. These plans included Sakuraba being the main composer. The company struck a deal with another young development house called Monolith Soft, and the two worked to co-develop Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean for Nintendo's Gamecube in 2003. A prequel followed, Baten Kaitos Origins, in 2006. Eternal Sonata came the following year for the Xbox 360, and also to Playstation 3 a year later. tri-Ace also developed and released an all new game, Infinite Undiscovery for Xbox 360.
Posted on Aug 27th 2015 at 08:00:00 AM by (SirPsycho
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Continue reading Composer Compendium: Motoi Sakuraba Part 3: All Over Japan
Alongside Radiant Silvergun Sakimoto composed the arcade shooter Armed Police Batrider before moving over to the Nintendo 64 for Ogre Battle 64: Person of Lordly Caliber, working with the Quest Trio alongside Hayato Matsuo and longtime colleague Masaharu Iwata. The following year, rounding out the 20th century. The new millenium started with a bang, with a solo composition for the much beloved game Vagrant Story.
The follow up to Vagrant Story included Iwata and Sakimoto composing the soundtrack for Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis, a solo composition for Kuusen, and then moving onto Legaia 2: Duel Saga with Yasunori Mitsuda and Michiru Oshima. Next was Tekken Advance before he got to work with Capcom on Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter. At about this time Sakimoto, Iwata, and Manabu Namiki founded their own company called Basiscape, which has grown into the largest company of freelance composers.
In 2003 Sakimoto worked with Squaresoft once again on the long awaited follow up to Final Fantasy Tactics, FFT Advance for the Game Boy Advance. He got the chance to work with Ayako Saso, Kaori Ohkoshi, and the legendary Nobuo Uematsu on this project. The next year he worked with Treasure and Konami on Gradius V, then on Stella Deus for Atlus along with Iwata. With is Basiscape crew he helped compose the Cave shooter Mushihimesama, making 2004 a busy year.
His schedule let up a bit in 2005, but then kicked into full gear in 2006. For the former year Basiscape composed Wizardry Gaiden: Prisoners of the Battles, Bleach: Heat the Soul 2, and Zoids: Full Metal Clash. By now many of the games would be credited to the quickly growing Basiscape. In the latter year the list just gets longer, with the Basiscape credits including Monster Kingdom: Jewel Summoner, Digimon Battle Terminal, Digimon World Beta Squad, Battle Stadium D.O.N., and Fantasy Earth: Zero. Last but certainly not least was his contribution to the soundtrack of Final Fantasy XII along with the rest of the Quest Trio, Taro Hasuke, Yuji Toriyama, and Uematsu once again!
Basiscape continued to get many contracts in 2007, and Sakimoto is credited on Bleach: Heat the Soul 4, GrimGrimoire, Odin Sphere, Opoona, Deltora Quest, and continued with his Final Fantasy compositions with Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings, the PSP FFT remake War of the Lions, and the sequel to FF Tactics Advance, Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift. His days beyond the PS2, GBA, and PSP would include the PS3 instant classic Valkyria Chronicles in 2008.
This year would continue with some different games that Basiscape worked on. The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road for the DS was one of them, along with Elminage, and Coded Soul. The following year saw the company work on Elminage II, Tekken 6, Lord of Vermillion II, and Muramasa: The Demon Blade.
2010 saw a return of the old, as well as some newer faces in Sakimoto's life. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together was remastered and re-released for the PSP late in the year. But there was also Lord of Arcana that he worked on with Uematsu, and Valkyria Chronicles II as a solo effort. Valkyria Chronicles III released in the following year along with Rikishi: Legend of Paper Wrestling.
I want this game translated so bad.
Most recently he has worked on games such as Dragon's Crown, Crimson Shroud, and The Denpa Men series. An upcoming game with his compositions listed is Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians.
Noriyuki Iwadare: Chapter 2
When we last left off with Iwadare's career we just stopped at Der Langrisser, and covered the big Lunar games and one remake, now its time for a new series to rise, and Lunar to continue with its remake train.
In 1996 Iwadare and Pack-In-Video worked together to make Monstania, a short tactical RPG for the Super Famicom that you guessed it, was never localized anywhere. It was quite late in the Super's lifecycle by then and Japan already had the Nintendo 64 to play with. Also, Pack-In-Video almost never localized their games anyway.
In the same year Iwadare and Game Arts released the Playstation remake of the first Lunar, adding Story to the end of the title for some reason. Anyway, this is more than just a simple remake, since the Playstation has more power than a Sega CD the developers were able to upgrade graphics, sound, music, everything, and with the upgrades came new songs.
A year later saw the Japanese exclusive release of Langrisser IV for the Sega Saturn, Iwadare worked with a couple of others to produce the music for the game. The aforementioned remake of Lunar Walking School, Magic School Lunar, also released for the Saturn and only for Japan in 1997.
What the rest of us got from the wonderful year of 1997 is another work from Iwadare and Game Arts, a new project, one that's not Lunar. Grandia. Grandia originally came out in 1997 for the Sega Saturn (for Japan only of course), but it was ported to the Playstation and released internationally in 1999 (2000 for the Euros out there). Because of its similarity to Xenogears in appearance and camera control it is the cause for some finger pointing ire amongst RPG fanboys, or did back when people cared.
1998 would see a couple more big projects from Iwadare. Langrisser V would release for the Saturn and Playstation (what geographical area do you think it was released in?) This is currently the latest game of the Langrisser series until Schwarz releases. Iwadare is credited as the composer for this upcoming game as well. But, the big news, at least internationally, was the remake of Lunar 2, getting the full Playstation treatment just like the first game got.
The next year was fairly quiet for the international Iwadare fan. None of the games would release outside of Japan but one did start a brand new series. Well, it is a new game in a way. Growlanser released in Japan only in 1999, but we would get some of the later games in the series.
In 2000 the world of role playing would be shaken to its core, or it should have been if it didn't, because Game Arts and Iwadare came out with an all new Grandia for the new at the time Sega Dreamcast! I consider this game to be in the Holy Trinity of Dreamcast RPGs alongside Skies of Arcadia and Phantasy Star Online. Just ignore the PS2 port and get the DC version!
Let us start the 21st century by saying that the next couple games had no chance of releasing outside of Japan. Mercurius Pretty is a remake of an old Japanese PC-98 game, there was no exposure when it was originally released and most likely not going to attract even a niche fanbase at the time. True Love Story 3 is a dating sim, that's about it for that one.
So the next music the international crowd was introduced to is a Grandia spin off, Grandia Xtreme. I have not played this game yet as I have never owned it and did not rent it back in the day, it is on my hunting list though as I have been digging the music.
Another True Love Story would come out along with an... 'adult' visual novel called Wind: A Breath of Heart. All the good stuff is in the PC version as it was cut for the console market. 2003 would see Iwadare work on that timeless PS2 classic Mega Man X7 with an entire music crew. Counting him, there are 9 credited composers for that game. Yikes!
Anyway I'll skip the Mega Man X7 for now and move onto something else completely awesome. Lawyers. Namely, Capcom's resident lawyer Nick Wright and crew. Yes, Iwadare started in the Ace Attorney series with the 3rd game, which we know as Trials and Tribulations. These games originally released as Game Boy Advance games. They were later remade for the Nintendo DS and released internationally a few years later, when I got in on the series.
Iwadare finally got to work for the big name in console RPGs, Square Enix, to compose the soundtrack to Radiata Stories before going back to compose the music for the Grandia I wish I could forget, Grandia III. After this he went back to making music for some Japanese exclusive sims primarily he made a return to the Ace Attorney series with Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth in 2009, and its UNLOCALIZED sequel Gyakuten Kenji 2 in 2011.
Alongside the new Ace Attorney spin off Game Arts and Iwadare made ANOTHER Lunar remake for the Playstation Portable. Lunar: Silver Star Harmony came out in 2009. The awesome Limited Edition has some sexy Lunar girl cards and a sweet CD soundtrack of all the music in the game! This is more of a slight enhancement to the PS1 remake than a different overhaul of the Sega CD original.
Grandia Online released in 2010 with Iwadare composing the entire soundtrack. Yes, this MMO is exclusive to Japan. I think its getting quite clear why Noriyuki Iwadare might not be as well known as he should be. Half his music never made it across any body of water!
The most recent games that Iwadare has worked on are the aforementioned Grandia Online, Gyakuten Kenji 2, and Kid Icarus: Uprising. Upcoming games with his music are the newest Ace Attorney game and Nick's return; Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies, as well as Langrisser Schwarz.
Composer Compendium LP - Stewart Copeland
Introducing the Composer Compendium Limited Play, or LP for short. The idea behind the LP is to highlight a short career in video games. Perhaps a life was tragically cut short, or an artist made music for a handful of games and moved on, or, and this is the most common one, they exist as a popular entity outside of video games already. They have a made name with clout behind it, whether the person was in a famous band, does Broadway music, movie and TV soundtracks, whatever else they were doing beforehand does not matter.
As an extra to the conclusion of Noriyuki Iwadare here is the Limited Play of The Police's drummer Stewart Copeland's work in the video game industry.
Sadly, he only worked on one series of games and one other random game, but the best games in that series. Mr. Copeland composed the music for the first four Spyro games. He started work on the very first one for the Playstation, and finished with Enter the Dragonfly on PS2.
This time coincided with many musicians outside of the realm of video games entering the medium in the West. They no longer needed in depth knowledge of a system's sound capabilities with the rise of CD gaming. The CD brought incredibly high quality music with it since NEC first introduced the Turbo CD as an add-on to the Turbografx-16. You did not need to be Yuzo Koshiro and create your own music coding language just to create high quality music. This brought many new audio styles to the world of mid-late 90's gaming.
I love me some Insomniac, and part of that reason is that I grew up with the PS1 trilogy of games and this music. I still like to try and play through them every other summer for some fun and nostalgia. Even back then I thought the music was much different from anything I had played on the Super Nintendo and PS1 beforehand. This may have to do with Copeland's lack of experience with the overall gaming market. He wasn't listening to the soundtracks of other games to get a style of what a game should sound like, he just made great music to fit the style of the one game he was working on at the time.
The one non-Spyro game soundtrack Copeland did is Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare. I have not played this game so I don't know how it holds up, but I know its supposed to at least be creepy and mildly scary at times. I'll leave you with this nice, pleasant, limited little Spyro sample and this interview footage of the man himself.
Have you ever started a career that can be said to have started with a bang? Most of us have not, you show up at work, go through training, and the employer unleashes you amongst the wilds to fend for yourself in most cases. Music is a career path that one does not go down unless you already know what you're doing, its hard to get paid to learn how to make music. Thankfully, Noriyuki Iwadare is one of those that had a career that practically exploded as soon as it began, so let's dive on in!
1988 was the first year Noriyuki Iwadare made music for video games, and it was a bit of doozy, or rather, a cult classic video game with a powerful soundtrack. Alien Crush for the Turbo Grafx-16 is this game, if only the developers made it scroll vertically instead of having seperate screens.
A couple years later would mark the transition to a new decade and the next step of Mr. Iwadare's career. Here's the list of games that the man did music for, first off, the sequel to Alien Crush, Devil's Crush, After Burner 2 (Genesis), Space Invaders '91, and Granada (Genesis). Where did all this time come from? Logic would say, the 2 year hiatus. Nevertheless there is some awesome music in those 4 games, but I'll tease you with some Devil's Crush.
Did you really think a man like Noriyuki Iwadare would slow down though? Logic might be wrong in finding the time to make that much music in 2 years since the list of games he worked on from 1991-1996 is immense! 1991 was largely quiet. Now you know that Noriyuki Iwadare had a hand in the creation of one of the internet's oldest and undying memes. All your base. Yes, Noriyuki Iwadare worked on Zero Wing for the Sega Mega Drive (no Genesis release), but there are a few games he worked on where it is unclear what he specifically did, whether it was actual composition, arrangement, or a straight conversion (making the music for a game on one system friendly to another) for some games, this is one where he probably did the conversion for the Genesis release. It was fairly common for newer music workers to be assigned to conversions and arrangement instead of making their own compositions.
We've all probably heard that remixed version, what about the original song?
The other games he worked on in 1991 included another conversion to the Genesis, Ys III: Wanderers from Ys, compositions from Wings of Wor, Warsong, Blue Almanac, and Head Buster. Again, it seems like Mr. Iwadare does not sleep and constantly makes music. When you get paid to create passionate music then why stop?
The next year, 1992, could be said to be the breakout year for Mr. Iwadare, mainly because of his involvement with Game Arts that would lead to some of the best, yet criminally underrated RPG soundtracks. He won an award, Best Game Music for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis for Lunar: The Silver Star. That really put him on the map and pretty much put an end to his conversion and arrangement days outside of prior commitments. Now, he was a full fledged composer. Lunar's soundtrack would go on to probably be the most re-released and remastered RPG ever made, with competition from Ys I & II, and Final Fantasy. The rest of the year was cool too, with games like Steel Empire and Gley Lancer receiving some more Iwadare music.
The success of Lunar's soundtrack lead to a few other RPG soundtracks outside of Game Arts, like Maten no Sometsu that never released outside of Japan, the last few non-composer related jobs fizzled out by 1995 so all Noriyuki Iwadare could do is make more music. He returned to the world we know as Warsong, but is really Langrisser everywhere else with who could be called his sidekick, Isao Mizoguchi, the two having worked together on most of the composition jobs since the first Langrisser (Warsong). The game was Langrisser II, which has still never been released outside of Japan.
Finally, after two long years of waiting, Japanese gamers were blessed with another Game Arts and Iwadare meeting. The long awaited Lunar sequel, this one titled Lunar: Eternal Blue, released very late in the Sega CD's lifecycle. Japanese gamers got to play this game in the holiday season of 1994, while us Americans did not get the game until the tail end of summer in 1995. Was anybody even paying much attention to new Sega CD games by that point in time? Somebody somewhere was.
1995 saw the release of a little known Lunar game, Lunar: Walking School released in Japan (where it would remain forever) on the Game Gear. Like all early Lunar games this one recieved the remake treatment, getting new graphics, anime cutscenes, remastered music and such for the Sega Saturn in 1997. The remake is known as Magic School Lunar in its anglicized name and is a prized import for hardcore Lunar fans. Basically, this game is a super prequel that outlines the shenanigans surrounding the founding of the Magic School. Now have some Der Langrisser music, this came out in 1995 as well.
Since I'm going into much more detail than I was before I have decided to split this entry into 2 chapters. Chapter 2 will cover 1996-2013. We made it 8 years in the first chapter, but did you see how many games there were?