Returning to our conversation about the very beginning, Nagamatsu-san, after Kondo-san had told you "we can't have a good tune here", what did you first think when you were told "Your next job will be Super Mario Galaxy 2"?
Development on the project was already underway when I joined, but I was nervous, and I couldn’t sleep for a few days. It's a series with a history, with tradition, and at first I just thought, "What am I going to do?"
What, really? When I told you, "Go work on Super Mario Galaxy 2," you said "All right!" and flexed your muscles! You even asked to shake my hand, remember?
No, I, uh...!
Nagamatsu-san had been saying he wanted to do an orchestral soundtrack ever since he joined the company.
He had, hadn't he?
So your heart's desire was finally granted.
Yes. That's right (laughs). That's why I went and yelled "All right!", but once I was alone and had calmed down, I got nervous.
Well, I'd assume that writing arrangements for a full orchestra and having them recorded is quite a bit different from just creating music normally. When you have musicians performing it live, it means you can't think, "I should have done it that way instead" later. You only get one shot at it, don't you?
That's exactly it. That's the biggest difference, I think. I'd worked with live performances in the past, and of course sometimes we use live instruments. I'd never experienced anything on a scale of this size before, though, especially not when we're recording and there's no going back. Nothing even close. That's the part that made me the most nervous. So I kept checking with Yokota-san, asking him, "Are you sure this is okay?"
On top of that, we'd asked Nagamatsu-san to handle several tunes this time, and he wrote a really large-scale piece for us.
It's a tune called "The Final Bowser Showdown".
The final showdown? Nagamatsu-san, they assigned you to work on orchestral pieces, and at first you were so nervous you couldn't sleep at night, and even so, they left the last, really important piece to you?
That's right. That made it even harder to sleep.
So, I worked as hard as I could on it, but I ended up working too hard, and it turned into a really difficult piece to perform. Then, when I asked Yokota-san for advice, he said, "Let me fiddle with the notation a bit". So I waited a while, and the corrected score came back. But it was even more difficult than before.
It was even more difficult? (laughs)
Yes (laughs). Then we had the orchestra perform it. When they finished playing it through the first time, all the musicians, to a man, had grim expressions on their faces, and you could almost hear this deep sigh... So I thought, "Seriously, this can't be good, can it...?"
If this had been classical music, they would have had about six months to practice, but...
With songs that we'd ordered from them like this, everyone had to practice it that day and finish recording it the very same day.
Right. You see, though, Nagamatsu-san seems to have been very worried, but I'd actually rewritten the score to make it easier to perform. Not only that, since the musicians performing it were professionals among professionals, I was sure it was going to go well.
It's just as Yokota-san says. After only two or three practice runs, they played it perfectly.
On top of that, once the performance was over, all the musicians gave themselves a round of applause.
That must have been quite moving.
Oh, absolutely (laughs).
I don't suppose we could let our readers hear that piece?
If the final showdown music got leaked before players had a chance to experience the final battle for themselves…
It would be better to wait until players had that opportunity.
Yes. There's a mixed-voice chorus in the piece as well; it really turned out to be a piece with great depth, so we'd love for them to play hard and hear it. Besides, as it turns out, we're releasing the Super Mario Galaxy 2 Original Soundtrack as a new item for Club Nintendo.9
9 Club Nintendo: Nintendo's members-only points service, begun in 2002. You can earn Stars by registering your Wii or Nintendo DS hardware or software, and exchange those Stars for original items.
Just as you did with the first one, then.
We'd be thrilled if everyone bought the game, got the soundtrack CD, and enjoyed listening to the music as well. It has comments on all seventy tunes from the people who were in charge of them, so it isn't lacking for content. Editor’s Note: The promotion mentioned above refers to a Club Nintendo offer for club members outside of Europe.
To wrap up, then, I'd like each of you to say a few words to our players.
I completely cleared the entire Mario Galaxy 2 game. Since I was involved with New Super Mario Bros. Wii before this, it was hard to mentally switch gears.
You mean, until you played the game thoroughly and absorbed the game's world-view from the software, you couldn't begin writing songs.
That's right. So it took quite a while before I started writing music, but as I played the game over and over, when I managed to clear it perfectly, there was this tremendous feeling of achievement. Of course the game is made so that beginners can enjoy it too, but I'd really like those players who feel confident in their skills to try to clear it completely.
Yokota-san, what about you?
We tackled all sorts of things this time, and one of them was reducing the disc's load time.
There's a lot that even the sound team can do regarding load time reduction.
Yes. For example, when you start playing Mario Galaxy 2, the title screen comes up right away, with the orchestra background music playing just the way it should. We got a bit tricky there. So players won't have to wait while the game loads, they can just press the button and start right away. In that sense, the short load time is another of this game's characteristics; you can enjoy Mario's adventures as much as you want, without feeling stress.
And let's have you finish things up, Kondo-san.
Speaking for myself, I really worried over the five tunes I was in charge of for this game. Even though I took a lot of time on them, I couldn't make them come out very well, and I may have made Yokota-san and the staff a bit impatient. But I think, because I took that time, I was able to write tunes that satisfied even me. The game itself can be tough, but it has a cheerfulness to it that makes you want to give it one more try, so I'd love to have everyone play it.
Thank you very much. The orchestral soundtrack that went over so well in the last game is even better this time, and it's full of absolute top-of-the-line musical elements. In that sense as well, you'd like to have players experience it from various angles.
That's right. And we'd like to have lots of people listen to the music.
Thank you all for your time today.
Thank you very much.
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