Sound Byte: Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy
We talk to composer Ishimoto-san and the band Kidneythieves about its work on the newest Dissidia.
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Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy is the sequel to the popular Dissidia: Final Fantasy, a hybrid fighting/role-playing game that features some of your favorite characters from across the franchise. It's a game that's clearly aimed at fans of the series and boasts an impressive amount of content so that you can spend hours upon hours with playing as Terra or Kain. The blend of familiar and new music also heightens the experience; the game is a compilation of some arrangements of memorable tunes from series composer Nobuo Uematsu, as well as new tracks from Takeharu Ishimoto, who has also worked on Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (an amazing soundtrack that I highly recommend) in addition to some other titles. If you're looking to purchase the music, you can do so at the Square Enix Music CD Online store or Square Enix music iTunes store. In today's Sound Byte, learn a bit more about how Ishimoto-san approached the sequel and hear from lead singer of the band Kidneythieves--which is featured on the album--talk about how she got involved.
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GameSpot: Could you tell me a bit about yourself and your role on the team?
Takeharu Ishimoto: My name is Takeharu Ishimoto. I work as a composer; I also manage the team that arranges the score.
GS: What is your musical background? What other video game soundtracks have you worked on?
TI: I listen to a variety of music but mainly rock. There are quite a few musical artists I like, such as Muse, Radiohead, and Nine Inch Nails. I've worked on the soundtracks for Crisis Core, The World Ends With You, and of course, Dissidia.
GS: What are some of the challenges when working on a soundtrack like Dissidia 012: Duodecim Final Fantasy?
TI: Final Fantasy is a game with a long history, so the arrangement team did its best to keep a fresh approach. We had quite a challenge with the production of the song called "Cantata Mortis & God in Fire." This time, we had to visit Prague and LA for recording, so searching for bands and coordinating schedules was tough. I kept telling myself, "Quit complaining and get to work!" [laughs]
GS: How many new songs/tracks are in the soundtrack compared to the remixed versions of familiar tunes?
TI: I'd say there are more of the arranged songs, but the soundtrack incorporates original new tracks for Dissidia 012.
GS: How did you approach the soundtrack to Dissidia 012 compared to the previous Dissidia?
TI: I think traveling overseas to record was a completely different approach compared to the last Dissidia. Final Fantasy is a title known worldwide, so I wanted to measure up to global standards with recording. I'm glad I was able to record real reverb in a large concert hall.
GS: What is your process when working on a new arrangement for a melody that everyone is already familiar with?
TI: We don't alter the melody; instead, we arrange the background music to a more modern sound. The process starts off with just the melody, and we later add on rhythm and chords.
GS: What are some of your favorite styles to work with?
TI: I love many types of genre and styles--as long as they sound awesome!
GS: What's next for you?
TI: I just want to keep doing what I love doing and continue to spread the music!
Interview with Free Dominguez (lead singer from Kidneythieves)
GS: Could you give us a bit of your background and tell us about your band Kidneythieves and how it got started?
Free Dominguez: Bruce and I originally met at Newsroom Cafe in LA--a place I where I was a regular. The manager there knew both of us and our musical endeavors and made it happen. Then we started working together on projects for film composer Mark Isham. We had a supernatural chemistry and love for the same types of music, and one day he said, "Why don't we do our own thing…?" And I said, "Like a band?" And, the rest is history.
GS: How did you get involved in video games, more specifically with Square Enix?
FD: I think our music has a theatrical dynamic to it and goes well with film and video games. We started with having a lot of the music on Deus Ex: Invisible War, and I also was the voice for the character NG Resonance in the game. It worked really well for us. Then, we got a couple other one-off placements, and late in 2010, we were approached by Square Enix and its composer, Takeharu Ishimoto, who was a fan of the band.
GS: What was that collaboration like?
FD: So amazing! We had never done anything like that before…where the song was written and they asked us to put our stamp on it. They really let us go for it. Bruce and I love the collaborative process, and everyone was so generous and easy to work and communicate with. We hope to do more of it!
GS: Do you play any video games? Have you tried Dissidia?
FD: Something's up with my video game mojo. Maybe I am just waiting for the right tutor. I always die in the first moments or my adrenaline gets so crazy I'm like, "What the f*** am I doing?" I just got Dissidia yesterday, and Bruce and I are gonna pull it up…supposedly where our song "God in Fire" is…you kind of have to be an expert. I may need to read the spoilers, ha ha.
GS: How do you feel about having your work featured in a video game?
FD: Love it…being part of video game culture, where music influences on so many levels. We're honored to be a part of such a huge franchise as Final Fantasy. I'm addicted. More, please.
Sound Byte is GameSpot's game music blog, which covers every aspect of music and audio in games, including interviews with top game music composers and sound designers, as well as discussions of new or classic game soundtracks. Have a question or suggestion? Leave us a comment below or e-mail us at email@example.com. For a list of previous Sound Byte features, click here. Follow us on Twitter! @gs_soundbyte