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June 2010

 

Tomoya Kishi and Marika Suzuki
Finding Lost Planet

 

 

Tomoya Kishi

Audio Director

Lost Planet 2
Lost Planet: Colonies
Lost Planet: Ext. Cond.

Sound Designer

Devil May Cry 4
Onishuma 3
Onishuma 2


 

 

Marika Suzuki


Composition Credits (Games)

Lost Planet 2
Bionic Commando Rearmed
Ryuusei no Rockman
Dead Rising
Sengoku Basara

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Obviously the game is a very large scale game in every way, and having that full orchestra and the full range of sounds that it brings really helped the sound of the music match the scale of the game itself, and I'm very proud that we were able to do that.  - Tomoya Kishi


Capcom Audio Director, Tomoya Kishi and composer Marika Suzuki discuss their unique approach to the music and sound design of LOST PLANET 2: the collaboration with composer Jamie Christopherson, their use of Source Connect and Skype to virtually attend the recording sessions in Los Angeles and the possibility of more for the land of E.D.N. in the future!

This interview has been transcribed and edited from the original audio interview.

  Listen to this interview and our interview with Jamie Christopherson on The SoundCast. (Use dropdown menu)
 


Used by Permission

 

 

Buy Lost Planet 2

   

CC: KISHI-san and SUZUKI-san, I want to first say “omedetou” (congratulations) on the release of LOST PLANET 2. I also want to welcome you to the SoundCast and thank you for taking time out of your really busy schedules to talk with us today about LOST PLANET 2. KISHI-san, maybe you can tell us a little bit about how long you've been at CAPCOM and how you became the sound director there?

TOMOYA KISHI: This is my 10th year at CAPCOM. Some of the first projects that I worked on were the ONIMUSHA games. I worked just a little bit on the first ONIMUSHA, and also ONIMUSHA 2 and 3. Then I became the sound director for LOST PLANET and now I'm the sound director on LOST PLANET 2 as well.

CC: Suzuki-san, same question.

MARIKA SUZUKI: I've been at CAPCOM for about 7 years. I've worked on a number of CAPCOM titles including DEAD RISING. I worked on the cutscene music in DEAD RISING, and this time on LOST PLANET 2, I'm the main composer, basically heading up the composition of the music in LOST PLANET 2.

CC: KISHI-san, let me ask, what was the biggest difference for you in developing the audio and the plan for the audio for LOST PLANET 2 versus the first LOST PLANET?

TOMOYA KISHI: Well, both LOST PLANET and LOST PLANET 2 are certainly two games in a series, so the sound isn't hugely different on the surface. One thing I tried to do different in LOST PLANET 2 that I wasn't really able to do in LOST PLANET 1 was try to emphasize the difference in the sounds; basically the differences between the big explosions and the breathing of the characters, things like that. Of course LOST PLANET 2 is a very realistic game, and we wanted to bring that realism to the fore-front as well, but I also wanted to make it a bit fantastic and “gamey”. Well, “gaminess” might be the wrong word, but we wanted to make it feel like a really fun gaming experience by making the sound more fantastic as well.

CC: Was there something that you wanted to do in LOST PLANET 2 that you couldn't or didn't do in LOST PLANET?

TOMOYA KISHI: I can speak a little bit about the sound effects and the music. First off, for the sound effects, I think the things that come to mind is maybe the sounds of the weapons. I really liked the sounds in LOST PLANET, but I still feel that we could've done a little bit better if we brought a little more realism and a little more “umph” to the weapons, especially to the firing sounds. That's a very important part of the user experience; the sound of the weapons as you fire them is a big part of the satisfaction of the game. I think with LOST PLANET 2, we were really able to fulfill that user expectation of getting these really big, satisfying sounds when they fire these guns, so that's something I'm very proud of in terms of improvements in LOST PLANET 2.

As far as the music goes, I think the biggest thing is definitely the fact that we were able to compose the music using a full orchestra. That was really, really huge. Obviously the game is a very large scale game in every way, and having that full orchestra and the full range of sounds that it brings really helped the sound of the music match the scale of the game itself, and I'm very proud that we were able to do that.

CC: Now, KISHI-san, there are six distinct episodes in LOST PLANET 2. Each one has it's own hero and story-line, and different environment. What was your approach with the music and sound effects in giving each episode its own feel, but especially in terms of the music, keeping it all coherent?

TOMOYA KISHI: Well in terms of the music, we tried to give each of the episodes its own feel. Certainly these places aren't real countries, they're obviously made-up places, but we tried to use familiar cues in the music to give them a bit of personality. For instance, there were times when we used a little bit of Spanish guitar to give certain flavor to certain scenes. In the jungle scene, we added a bit more percussion to try and bring out that feeling of a jungle. Certainly with the characters as well, in the way that they talked, we gave the voice actors some direction in terms of just adding a little bit of a spin on their words to separate the characters a bit.

CC: SUZUKI-san, let me ask you a question, as I don't want you to get bored. You've collaborated and contributed to a lot of well-known titles: DEAD RISING, of course, the BIONIC COMMANDO franchise, and now LOST PLANET 2. At least here in the States, composers tend to really want to get out there and do their own solo projects, where they can do all of the music for a game. Is this something that you're anxious to do, or do you prefer working collaboratively on game scores?

MARIKA SUZUKI: Certainly it'd be really great if I could maybe do just that, take one game and work internally with our CAPCOM creators, who are very talented, and write all the music myself and direct it. Certainly I would love to do that; that would be great. Having said that, I do like collaborations as well. When you work with outside artists, and people not only from other teams, but from other countries, it really helps to widen the experience and widen the final score as well, so I do appreciate doing that.

CC: SUZUKI-san, one of the themes that you wrote for LOST PLANET 2 really stood out to me when I listened to the whole score, because it has a very beautiful melody. Can you talk about that theme? In the title that I have it's just called the “Sub-Theme”.

MARIKA SUZUKI: Thank you very much for the kind words about the Sub-Theme. One of the biggest differences between LOST PLANET and LOST PLANET 2 was the fact that in LOST PLANET 2, we don't have one singular main character going through the story. Each episode you're playing a different character. Yet one of the things that's a constant thread throughout the entire game though, is battle, of course. Every character is fighting, and through the Sub-Theme, what I was trying to bring out in that, was the feeling that all of these characters share when they're fighting. All of these characters are either fighting just to live, just to survive in the situation, or fighting to accomplish some type of objective, some kind of goal or reason why they're fighting. That is constant, and we didn't have the character to carry that, so that's what the Sub-Theme is for in the game.

CC: SUZUKI-san, since you were collaborating to a large degree with JAMIE CHRISTOPHERSON, can you talk about how you worked with him on this project?

MARIKA SUZUKI: The great thing about JAMIE was that he just “got” what LOST PLANET was all about. We didn't really have to go back and forth a lot in terms of trying to nail what the song should be like, because he just really understood LOST PLANET and the songs that he wrote are so very cool. They really match the feeling of the game. So that was really wonderful. I think that's probably the biggest thing that stands out in my mind.

CC: I was there at the recording session myself; I was photographing it so I saw both of you both on the big screen, listening to the session. I wanted to ask you what it was like, for both of you to watch and listen to the recording session over the internet.

TOMOYA KISHI: Obviously, the biggest thing that I felt was “It's too bad I can't be there in person”, I really wished I could've been there in person. However, having said that, we used this plug-in called Source Connect, which allowed us to hear the session. Honestly, it was a much higher fidelity than I initially thought it would be, basically about the quality of a stereo MP3 that you would listen to. Of course, we didn't get the full surround effect of actually being there, but we were able to get a really good feeling for the sound and the session, so it was really great to be able to participate all the way from Japan.

MARIKA SUZUKI: Certainly as KISHI-san said, as a composer I definitely wanted to go and be there, and it was a shame that I couldn't. But, having Source Connect was a really good chance to participate in that level. It really was a lot better than not being able to see or hear what was going on at all. That was really cool and I really felt like the music that I had composed was coming alive, so I'm really glad that I was able to see the session over the internet.

CC: I think you stayed up for the entire session, is that right?

MARIKA SUZUKI and TOMOYA KISHI: Yes, we were up all night. [laughs]

CC: I don't know if this was possible, but did you guys also listen in or take part in the mixing sessions that took place the next day?

TOMOYA KISHI: Yes, we did actually listen to the mixing sessions as well.

CC: Have either of you ever used Source Connect like that before, and been part of a recording session that way, or been part of a mixing session like that before?

TOMOYA KISHI: No, actually, for LOST PLANET 2, this was the first time we were able to use something like Source Connect and be able to participate in the sessions, so that was really wonderful.

CC: And since?

TOMOYA KISHI: Well, not for a big recording session like that, but during the voice recording sessions for some of the games' voice-actors, we were able to listen in, so that was wonderful.

CC: I see the amount of music that's available in Japan for games, anime, and film, and it greatly outnumbers that which gets released here in the States. In general, do you feel like there's a greater appreciation for the music that they write and the audio work that they do in Japan than in the West?

TOMOYA KISHI: [laughs] Yes, I definitely agree with you, I think that there's maybe a greater appreciation and a greater market for the game/film/anime music to be listened to separately from the actual game or anime. I think in Japan, the music is treated in a special way or separately when compared to the States and the West. In games, it seems like the background music in Japan is treated differently than the sound effects; whereas, in the West, the sound effects and background music are part of the overall experience. Maybe that's part of what you're seeing with the music being more popular in Japan.

CC: Last question then, what are the odds that we can look forward to hearing more great sound design and more great music from the world of LOST PLANET in the future?

TOMOYA KISHI: Definitely, I do hope that we can bring you some more great music from the LOST PLANET series. One thing that I love to do is create music and create sound that matches the gameplayer's experience, and I think we did a really great job of doing that in LOST PLANET, and I can't wait to get the chance to do even more in the series.

CC: I appreciate so much of your time today, and for doing an excellent job on LOST PLANET 2. I can't wait to get into the game myself, when I get some free time finally. I really do hope, and I also think the fans hope that there'll be more for us to experience and listen to in the future. So once again, I want to thank you and say arigatou gozaimashita for coming on the SoundCast today.

TOMOYA KISHI and MARIKA SUZUKI: Thank you very much, and we really enjoyed it.

------------------------

Translator: Jonathan Airheart (Capcom).  Transcription: Vince Chang.  Editor: Christopher Coleman.  Special thanks to Capcom team members: Peter Fabiano, Shinya Okada, and Ryo Kanaya.
 

Want more Lost Planet 2?
Behind the Score:  Lost Planet 2 - Jamie Christopherson, Tomoya Kishi, Marika Suzuki

 

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