Sound Byte: The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection

Game designer Fumito Ueda shares his thoughts on the music in the upcoming HD collection.

Team Ico fans are still patiently waiting for the release of The Last Guardian or any bit of news on it. To keep you occupied for now, the HD remake of the beloved Ico and Shadow of the Colossus games will be hitting store shelves soon. Those who have taken the journey as the young boy with horns or as Wander know that the music plays a pivotal role in creating the perfect atmosphere in the game. We asked designer Fumito Ueda about what we can expect from the HD collection, as well as what's planned from an audio perspective for The Last Guardian.

GameSpot: When you were working on Ico and Shadow of the Colossus originally, what were you looking for in a composer?

Fumito Ueda: What I paid the most attention to was making the music not fit into typical video game soundtrack stereotypes. I wanted the music to fit naturally into the gameworld and enhance the experience like many great movie soundtracks have been able to accomplish.

That being said, I looked for a specific ambient yet melancholic sound for Ico. For Shadow of the Colossus, I wanted a soundtrack that complemented the spectacular world settings and was able to add a somber emotion to the overall gameplay.

GS: Both games had great atmosphere that relied heavily on the visuals and sound. How did you approach the sound design in the two games? Were they different or similar?

FU: For Ico, we started working back from the ending theme "You were there." The music was delivered almost a year after our initial discussions with the composer, Michiru Oshima. In addition to the music we requested, I also asked her to work on some other individual sound samples that go along with the characteristics of various game areas. Unfortunately, we couldn't keep all of them, and many didn't make their way into the final product. My overall goal for Ico was to represent the feel of a European classic cinema experience.

During the creation of Shadow of the Colossus, it was slightly more complex. We wanted to choose a unique sound and feel for each colossus the player faced. There were many meetings with the composer Kow Otani to finally get each one right. For the opening and ending cinematics, the final videos were not ready at the time we reached out to him. Through artwork and storyboards, we attempted to explain the concepts behind each of these scenes. We eventually used the music created in an entirely different section of the game. Overall, I envisioned the soundtrack for Shadow of the Colossus to have the feel of a traditional Hollywood epic.

GS: What was the inspiration behind the music in Ico and Shadow of the Colossus?

FU: Besides our goal of going outside the normal realm of previous video game soundtracks, I do remember feeling inspired by the opening theme from Silent Hill by Konami.

GS: Did the music turn out the way you had planned? Or did you let the composers experiment?

FU: For both titles, we created prototype videos using some sample music we had on hand. While reviewing these, we started to create the final vision for each title. Once those videos were complete, we chose composers and invited them in to listen and watch so that they too could be inspired and realize the overall direction we wanted to go.

Now that some time has passed and I can take a more objective approach when playing through and listening to the music within these games, I can wholeheartedly say that we were extremely lucky to be working with such talented and brilliant composers. I sincerely appreciate the great work done by both composers.

GS: What role do you think the music played in both games?

FU: I think anytime you are telling a story, music plays an integral part. Just like some of the best classic movies, what people remember most is how well the visuals and music blended together.

GS: Is there anything you wish had been done differently?

FU: My only regret would be that we started work on the music too early in the production cycle. If we would have waited until the game and cutscenes were closer to completion, it would have been a far more efficient process.

GS: For the upcoming HD compilation, has the audio been reworked or enhanced at all?

Yes. In terms of the audio enhancement to both games, the HD versions now support 7.1ch surround sound.

GS: Can you share what direction the audio design or music will take in The Last Guardian?

FU: What I aimed to achieve for Ico was to go above and beyond the typical video game music and to express something emotional by means of sound and music.

As for Shadow of the Colossus, I wanted the synchronization of audio and visuals to exceed what we've seen in movies. With The Last Guardian, I want to take what I've learned from both previous products and integrate all these concepts.

GS: Thank you for your time!

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Discussion

23 comments
The_Djoker
The_Djoker

This game will blow your brains OUT.

LAnoirFAN
LAnoirFAN

there is no reason not to buy this game ....I'M IN

Thug2Wasteland
Thug2Wasteland

28.75 on my preorder doposit. I am so excited for this game on Tuesday! :)

Slyfur
Slyfur

Really can't wait for this game, and The Last Guardian. The music is amazing, of course. And the game itself is only $40, so there's *no* reason why you shouldn't get this game.

Pete5506
Pete5506

Can't wait to get my hands on these games, love them both

BenderUnit22
BenderUnit22

Great interview. I've been playing ICO & SotC Collection the past week and they're just gorgous. Especially the SotC intro music is fantastic.

Joedgabe
Joedgabe

Wow I just checked the price, It's only 40 dollars.... there's no way not to get this.

jhandou
jhandou

sorry ueda san but shadow of the colossus soundtrack surpass every hollywood epic !!

jhandou
jhandou

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

romulus45
romulus45

I remember playing these games on the PS2 it was worth owning the unit for these two games alone! I can truly say that theses titles are amongst the best games I have ever played. And are the only reason I kept hold of my PS2. Now that its being released on the PS3, it will be spellbinding. The PS2 was pushed to its absolute limits with both titles, now we are going to see them as they should be seen. For those of you who have not played either one of these works of pure genius, trust me and many others who have taken the journey, your going to LOVE this.

oChampion
oChampion

They should just come out with these two games AND The Last Guardian for a trio.

Hellavation
Hellavation

I never played either of these games but the visuals, friendly recommendations, and now listening to them talking about the amount of work has definitely sold me on the HD Collection.

mrhagane
mrhagane

GOD I want this game and Last guardian right NOW!!

johny300
johny300

Best games i have ever played, Ueda is a god in this world and his team creating a masterpiece after another, the soundtrack is the best, just listen to Shadow of the colossus soundtrack mind=blown. GET the collection people and i'll be waiting for The Last Guardian my most anticipated game ever.

Joedgabe
Joedgabe

These games are one of the few true art works that gaming has to offer. If you never played any i would recommend that you do because you're missing something great. I would like to say that xbox players should deserve to play this masterpiece as fellow gamers however this generation has turned people into enemies and would just be a Fan Fight somehow so it's better this way.

kyacat
kyacat

Need get Ico/ Shadow of Colossus colletion and Have a feeling that in last guardian when we beat it there won't be a dry eye in house

psycho75
psycho75

Only two games manage to make me cry in the end(no joke)MGS4 and ICO,these games truly are awesome and special,i love my PS3.

chingchingbrown
chingchingbrown

can't wait until tuesday and the last guardian!!!!!!!!

bugbag
bugbag

In complete honesty, I have never played a video game, or seen a movie with better soundtrack than Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. It's my favorite game story, and even at this moment I'm listening to the Shadow of the Colossus Soundtrack. Ueda is truly a mastermind.

NeoIostars
NeoIostars

I hope they would release the remastered soundtracks, I would definitely grab them in a heartbeat. Both games have some of the most mesmerizing, haunting, and emotionally atmospheric music in the medium ever. IMO, the soundtrack's right up there with past masterpieces such as Ultima 6 and Heroes of Might and Magic 2.

TheGuardian03
TheGuardian03

Man i can't wait for the collection, the soundtrack is phenomenal in ICO and SOTC, now all we need is last guardian release date.