Masafumi Takada is possibly the breakout Japanese game composer of recent years - soundtracking cult titles Killer7
and No More Heroes
and contributing to the Smash Bros
and Resident Evil
series - Gamasutra goes in-depth with him
on his art.
Describing how video game soundtracks complete the gaming experience, providing a deeper connection between the player and what's displayed on TV screens by filling the space around the player:
"Music is really tied to your experiences and memories, similar to how your sense of smell is. If you hear music that you've heard before, it should bring memories from that previous time rushing back. So the game is of course a virtual world, where there are naturally things that don't have any relation to reality.
But perhaps these experiences could happen to you in the future. The music will be tied to these potential future experiences. So I want to create music that will tie you to, and remind you of, the virtual world, but also come back to you in the real world, and create future memories. The soundtrack should recall your old memories, but also help forge new ones.
After you've played the game, when you listen to just the music, I want players to be able to remember the feelings they had at that time, and their feelings of that era."
Takada went on to describe the specific techniques he used to make his music more distinctive in video games, including using leitmotifs, recurring musical themes, in The Silver Case
and varying a single melody throughout No More Heroes
"No More Heroes is structured to have smaller squad battles and boss battles. There's a specific melody that is used for the smaller squad battles throughout the game which is also used in the game trailer. The entire game, from the opening to the ending, is constituted by this one melody. [Takada hums it.] That single melody is rearranged in a variety of ways, with varying complexity.
In the small squad battles, because lots of identical characters or enemies with the same look come out at once, by playing the main theme, you make a stronger impression of the No More Heroes game itself on the players. On the other hand, because characters in boss battles stand alone and have a greater presence, I try to omit the melody and include music with less impact."
You can now read the full interview
with Masafumi Takada for more on how he puts together his characteristic video game soundtracks and how he works with game designer Goichi Suda with his vision of developer Grasshopper Manufacture's games (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites)