Tomoya Ohtani


Tomoya Ohtani on Sonic Lost World Original Soundtrack:

It turned out that I would take charge of the music as Sound Director of Sonic Lost World, and the time when joining the project was around the end of 2011. First of all, the kick-off meeting with Producer Iizuka (referred to as Iizuka below) and Director Kishimoto (referred to as Kishimoto below) was arranged regarding the Wii U version. To prepare rich playing variation with new terrains becoming the scenes of this game, to stress symbolic expressions like lucidness, friendliness, and ease of playing, to want to decide a title that an extensively large number of people could seem to enjoy, etc. I confirmed the points in which I should pour some efforts. And in continuing to reconsider the ideal way of the music of Sonic series, “In this game, vocal songs will not be made,” that had also been decided in the beginning. Personally, I did not want to create restrictions in the expression methods of music for promoting the charms of the works, in others words, I wanted to enjoy stuffing all the expressions of music and techniques with things like having vocal song and orchestra, but “How’d I make it with that condition?”, it became that challenge in this game, and I started to work out the whole plan by thinking, “Let’s try to introduce it from right in front of the instrumental game music anew!”

The main theme of this game has been arranged to go with orchestra. After all, if there is orchestra music, the work will be compact. Iizuka thought that the music title Wonder World is the piece that he feels the world’s expansion the most in the game. For the orchestra themes of Sonic Unleashed, the theme song took charge of lively, edgy feeling and scamper sensation, and the orchestra theme was in charge of the size of scale of story, scene, and others, but in this game, it turned out that I would condense various things in one orchestra theme in this game. The most particular part is the one being the orchestra theme of the action game after all. In the intro and hook’s melody, I made them carry the melody with strong core as if Sonic would go running off towards the new adventure and world. I tried to imagine the arrangement that would go on changing for each structure since the composition stage and expressed the varied playing being packed. While repeating the communication many times over with Mr. Eguchi, who took charge of the orchestration, I continued to fill the arrangement. In order to include the orchestra to the extent of all the 50 members and strongly work out the beat sensation, I added the drum, synth bass, and piano backing, and for showing the strange land feeling, cheerful atmosphere, and others, I composed it appending steelpan and the like as well. “How’d I record the orchestra?” About that, there were some choices depending on what kind of sound fulfillment I demanded, but in this game, for recording the performance with higher precision, I selected the dubbing method for each section in studio recording spanning a total of four days. The performance was by the top-notch studio musicians in Japan, so there is no doubt that they are professionals. I spent time and recorded it, and as one would expect, it became a satisfying completion.

The theme music is also important of course, but after all, I think that the thing that will become the exposure for the longest time while playing the game is the music of the action stages. It is not an exaggeration even though I say that I had poured the efforts the most at that area in this game. I had kept in mind the task of accurately and lucidly expressing the elements that each stage is carrying with music as well as considered the most suitable expression in precisely capturing the stages’ characteristics in terms of the melody composition, instrument formation, and others. It is the lucidly symbolic music to the extent that you could be reminded of the kind of stage by just listening to it, and I had chosen the timbre that characterizes it. Adopting and richly making up the various modern music production techniques at the same time in the track making like programming, the live instruments recording, etc in terms of sound while compositionally making it carry the symbolic melody frame like former game music, I had aimed at the compositions that combined the good parts of both sides. I think the style that goes on making the composition while blending the many kinds of live instruments performance and programmed sound is a prideful approach. Above all, there are also times when I myself am enjoying the music of varied genres, and I think that the “mixture feeling” inside those knowledges and experiences had been utilized. As a result, it turned out that I composed all the pieces of action stages alone excluding Sugar Lane (Desert Ruins - Zone3) composed by Hataya and Tornado Time (Hidden World - Zone2) in which I arranged Believe in Myself that was composed by Senoue from Sonic Adventure 2. They were tough in their own ways, but the characteristics of each stage were clear, so I could fill the assorted musical ideas without problems. It also became the title in which I composed the most pieces in Sonic series that I had taken charge of in the past up to this point.

Next, I will touch on the theme of Deadly Six. When I had a business meeting with Kishimoto about the music for boss battles, it was not to produce six pieces suitable for the Deadly Six, and he requested, “I’d like it in one piece!” I understood the meaning that he wanted the melody (symbol) that strongly impresses the Deadly Six because it is a work that stresses the symbolic expression and rendition entirely spanning the game. If it is fine in one piece, there is no possibility that I would say “Easy!”, and this is again a difficult order. (Laughs) One piece is equivalent to one version indeed, and thinking that it is strict to use it in all the 12 boss battles, I made the version of The Deadly Six Theme as the original first while taking the intention, which has the request’s foundation, into consideration. When I made it, mixing those conditions that also seem to fit the music in which the thrilling boss battles would appear to be fun while having the fearfulness, tension, and others as well, and the pop character designs of Deadly Six, it became this kind of music for some reason. After that, I prepared the orchestra version with the form of unchanged original melody composition as well and the separate music just for the battle of Zavok whom you will fight in the end. The theme of Deadly Six has an unusual addictiveness and it is also one of my favorites in this game.

For the orchestration and music used in the cutscenes, I requested the composer and arranger Mr. Takahito Eguchi whom I rely on. He is a professional of making the music that followed the structures and renditions of each scene. Similar to the main theme, the orchestra is recorded for the opening scene. He had put the instruments that distinguish every character into the scenes where each of the Deadly Six appears. The compositions’ commentaries by Mr. Eguchi himself had also been written, so please try to read those by all means, too. Also in this game, a lot of compositions that adopted the horn section had been made. Actually, I think that it was not featured much and there were rather more strings in the series of recent years. Mr. Takeshi Watanabe, who has also helped me in Rhythm Thief, participated in the horn arrangement. We recorded the horn section in which the formations are different depending on the pieces for a few days, but throughout the day, we efficiently went on recording multiple pieces with different formations while gradually decreasing the number of people with the sense such as one piece with formation of twelve wind instruments first, then one with seven, and three with five. It would be endless if I started to also talk about the recording of other instruments, but as many as all the 70 musicians, who are active in Japan’s music industry, participated.

I think I will slightly touch the 3DS version as well. Actually, Nintendo 3DS is a console that I quite like. I can fill the sound with enough quality for the games, the sound is also good for the earphones output, and what’s more, I can easily play it, so I think it is very good. I prepared the pieces suitable for Wii U version’s specification first, and while arranging those in 3DS version as well, I discussed with Director Hirabayashi about the lacking parts and produced them as the compositions exclusively for 3DS version at the same time. The pieces of Tails’s lab, Special Stage, original Color Powers of 3DS version, etc are so.

About the album title of this soundtrack, I named it Without Boundaries concentrating on the intention and request of the fact that 360 degrees and all the directions are the action field for this game’s terrain, of aiming at things which are unbiased to specific genre and that everyone could seem to enjoy for the music in the game, and last but not least, of wanting to deliver those to all the people without boundaries as well as having such boundless potential. Actually, it is difficult to make the music that would seem to be liked by all the people and I might not be able to make such things, but I think that I can probably approach the extremely nearby spot if aiming at it, and that it is an unavoidable path in order for more people to enjoy Sonic series, and the introduced outcome is included in this soundtrack. I do not mean to determine the maximum of the music quantity and the like but just produce the compositions needed in the game’s specification every time, but this work became a volume of 93 tracks and 3-disc set in total as well. I had put the brief commentaries to all those compositions. In fact, there are a lot of characters, but all the music is made, having some concepts, intentions of production and rendition, and others, so if I wrote out what I thought at that time, it would not be a tough job like that (probably…). Instead, I myself am a fan of reading every nook and cranny of the commentaries of my favorite titles, therefore I have strong hopes that the people who have bought this soundtrack could enjoy it more deeply! Of course, I had been particular about the artwork, too.

Finally, in the former interview of a magazine, there was a question “What is game music to you?” and I answered, “Entertainment (of music).” I would be happy if you could like the entertainment of Sonic Lost World. Thank you for reading this long writing until the end. Please support Sonic series even from now on!