Now, to conclude the interview, I’d like each of you to give me your own take on what kind of game Xenoblade Chronicles is. Let’s reverse the order and start with the gamer’s perspective: Hiramatsu-san.
Okay! (laughs) Xenoblade gives me that same feeling of excitement and adventure that I’d get when playing games as a child. I think it’s a game that can make even grown-ups feel like that.
The first time I had a chance to play, I found it really pleasant to play as you feel relaxed just gazing at the scenery. So I hope people can not worry about the difficult bits, and just enjoy those parts at their leisure.
Quite simply, I think the script is incredibly good.
Ah, I can see your theatrical background coming through when you call it the ‘script’. (laughs)
Right, I mean the story, the scenario! (laughs) When I read it, I thought that a huge amount of care had gone into each and every line. So when I was on my own, I’d actually read it aloud.
Like a real actress!
That’s right. It meant that I learned to voice a whole range of the roles. (laughs)
The fact that you went that far would have been a big help when working on the music.
Yes. As you can imagine, I thought that really entering into that world would help me when it came to composing the music. But at the same time, I just really loved those lines. A lot of thought had also gone into the choice of voice actors, and I had the chance to see some of the actual recording in progress. There was a lot of discussion of how the voices should be: ‘Not like that, not that way...’ So no effort was spared in getting it right. I think that this, together with the music, makes for a really great game.
How about you, Kiyota-san?
Well, as someone who really loves games, I always have a strong desire to really get inside the game world. When I got the chance to play Xenoblade Chronicles, I really felt that I was walking around that world. Moreover, I wasn’t just seeing things from a distance: I really felt at one with the hero, which meant I felt like I could really enter into that universe. I’m in my thirties now, and people of my generation have loved games since we were children and grown up with them. I think when people like that feel like getting into an RPG again, I can guarantee that they’ll definitely find this one to their tastes.
It’s been quite a while since Takahashi-san’s last game was released, so I would imagine that this title is eagerly awaited by lots of people.
Well, when someone pours so much time and energy into something, it means that making one game takes time.
Right. I think that many players will love this fresh, new RPG, not just long-standing fans of the Xeno series.
And you, Shimomura-san?
When I was first shown Xenoblade Chronicles, I thought its visuals were incredibly appealing. The worldview in the game is inspired, with these huge gods. I was overwhelmed by the vastness of its scale and wondered how on earth anyone had managed to come up with this sort of idea. I found a lot of thoughts striking me throughout the game, at all sorts of points.
Can you give us an example?
The game takes place on the bodies of human-like gods and I’d find myself wondering how exactly gravity worked, and what was on the other side of this ocean, and things like that.
These might not be important things, but I really found the worldview in the game to be incredibly stimulating.
You couldn’t help wondering about these things.
Exactly! (laughs) Also, when I read the scenario, I found it really affecting. This spurred me on to want to create music that matched these emotions and could live up to the scale and ambition of the game. For this reason, I think that this game will really appeal to a lot of different people, in all kinds of ways.
Thank you very much. Finally, over to you, Takahashi-san.
On this title, I had a clear goal of what I wanted to achieve with the music. To this end, I’m afraid that I could be rather harsh, telling people: ‘You’re going to have to do this again.’ But the six people here today were good enough to respond to my single-minded demands and I feel that they really pulled together and crossed the finish line as one. Earlier, I spoke about sequencing the soundtrack, and I actually found that to be incredibly enjoyable. I loved selecting each song, pondering whether to use it in a battle scene, or where a character is reminiscing and so on.
I guess that if you had that much fun sequencing the soundtrack, this enthusiasm will naturally come across to the people playing the game as well.
I really do hope so. We’re even including a special game soundtrack CD for a limited number of copies of the game, and I’d love people to enjoy simply listening to the music, as well as of course hearing it in the game. The CD contains a sample of twelve of the best tracks, with music written by everyone here.
You can listen to a selection of these tracks:
A piece by Yoko Shimomura
A piece by Manami Kiyota
A piece by ACE+
Incidentally, Takahashi-san actually penned the lyrics for the song used in the epilogue, ‘Beyond the Sky’.
So everyone’s blood, sweat, tears and passion are packed into this CD. I’ve spoken to many people about the importance of music in games. Today, I found it fascinating to hear about the process whereby you started off having different approaches, but managed to all combine to form a single, united team. It’s been a really rewarding discussion. I have no doubt you had all sorts of trials and tribulations to overcome, but looking at you all today, I really feel that while it was a tough task, it was a really rewarding one. Thank you all for joining me today.
Is there anything anyone wanted to add?
Ummm... I’d love to have the chance to take a look at one of Takahashi-san’s first-draft mails...
That’s a terrifying thought! (laughs)
I’d like to have a look too.
Now that it’s all over, it wouldn’t be so scary to see it. (laughs) Takahashi-san, what do you say?
Er... Is that the time? I’m sorry, I really need to get going...
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