☆ NintendObs Weekly – Monday, December 26, 2016 – Sunday, January 1, 2017.
The Wonderful 101 Soundtrack’s Distribution Comes to a Close: Director Hideki Kamiya’s Favorite Picks
*As per December 28th 2016, the Wonderful 101 soundtrack is unfortunately no longer available on iTunes. We hope you enjoyed it!
Hello everyone, this is Hideki Kamiya, the director of The Wonderful 101. I’m happy to have the opportunity to write to you again. It is with a heavy heart that I say The Wonderful 101 soundtrack will be out of distribution within the year. There are no current plans for a re-release, so if anyone has any interest in the soundtrack, now is the time to act.
We’ve shared the top 10 most downloaded songs on our company’s Twitter, but I felt (if I may say so) that the soundtrack is full of unforgettable tracks and it’s a shame to have to bring things to an end with just the most popular top 10. That’s why I’ve decided to share some of my favorites from the songs that haven’t been mentioned yet. I’ll be sharing my thoughts and spoilers may abound, so be forewarned!
EV02 Briefing Part 1
This is the theme that plays when the Wonderful Ones are briefed before each mission, or in other words, what plays before you begin each stage. If you’re familiar with Japanese hero team shows you’ll be right at home. These Briefing themes were broken into three different parts to align with the player’s progression in the story, and serve to get the player pumped with a “Let’s go get ‘em!” kinda feel. I like all three parts, but this first theme, which also happened to be the first completed, helped me get into the “fighting spirit” when development for the game started to kick off.
Round Around March
So, stepping out of battle for a second… let’s switch gears with something a little less tense. The Wonderful 101 is, of course, supposed to be a game centered around heroes passionately fighting for justice, but you know how they can be. Sometimes they need to kick back a little. Honestly, I think this track shows an important side of the game as well.
EV12 A Theme for Luka
This track just has “little brat” written all over it. It’s always a fun listen. When I develop games, I often ask for music data as the tracks finish and listen to different tracks at my desk while I work. During The Wonderful 101, this one in particular was in heavy rotation. It’s a little known fact, but this theme was originally intended for Professor Shirogane, and his theme (EV13 Shirogane’s Theme) was supposed to be for Luka. After listening to both I thought they might be better if we flipped them, and I tweaked the characters ever so slightly to best match their new themes also.
EV14 A Little Too Laid Back
We’re starting to see a continuation of sillier tracks here, but I almost think this song might best fit the image of this game in certain ways. The Wonderful 100 are destined with the arduous task of saving the Earth from absolute peril, but maybe it’s tracks like these that create a contrast that helps our heroes look their best when they really need to step forward and give it their all. And, honestly, when I’m writing the story for a game, I have the most fun writing scenes that go along with themes like this. It also helps the staff, destined with the arduous task of game development, relax a bit in their times of peril.
Hitchin’ a Missile
Like its name, this track is played when the team’s flyin’ on a missile, but it gets used in the shooting stage in the middle of the game, and later when the team finally lands on the Geath Wahksay as well. Sometimes tracks like this make multiple appearances in a game because the schedule’s a little too cramped to make a unique track for every area, but sometimes you just think “hey, what about that track for this area, it would REALLY heat things up…!” It all depends on the situation. Picking songs can be a tough call. But when you find a song that works with so many different scenes like this one, I think that’s the sign of a real quality track.
Gazziopeia-Class Planetary Assault Mothership Diejeah
This is another example of a track that gets used somewhere other than just where its name implies. It’s pretty close to the end, who remembers? If your memory’s a little fuzzy, I think that means you need to pop The Wonderful 101 back into your Wii U. When you get near the end of the development cycle, unless the scene absolutely NEEDS an original song, sometimes you need to look for an existing track you can reuse. This is a song I came across in one of those situations and immediately said “THIS. This is the track!”
This song is used a few times throughout the game, but I think it stands out most when it’s used on Geath Whaksay near the ending, though it was originally created for the falling out between Red and Blue.
I’m sure more than a few are familiar with the track’s composer, Rei Kondoh, as most of what he touches turns to gold. This time, however, the song he sent us was so full of drama I felt it might not fit the situation it was originally intended for, so it got put aside so we could find a home for it a little later. After this happened, our own Takizawa took over the Red and Blue scene, which gave birth to “Red vs. Blue.” Eventually this song, Intertwined, was used when Blue challenges Vijounne, and when the group finally reaches the Geath Whaksay.
Right, I wanted to mention the song that gets played in the first half of the first stage gets reused as a theme in many other songs in the game; you can hear it arranged in this song as well. After we finished “ST01: Roll Out, Wonderful 100!” we used pieces of its main hook in and made this song. I remember pleading to Hiroshi to make a fanfare that would accurately fit the W101, and he would always say, “Ok, but it’s not going to be easy… just give me a little more time.” and then finally, after a long, hard struggle, he mustered the strength to put this fanfare together, and it was brilliant, and we used it in tons of other songs.
ST06: The Lost City of Kowrule
I think rather than the track itself, the big shock here is hearing the fanfare change at the beginning of the stage. This is the same trick I used during Viewtiful Joe: a more serious arrangement of the boss theme would surface during the game’s later stages. In TW101, we did this with the fanfare. Hiroshi struggled with creating the first fanfare a lot, but I think that prepared him for this second version a little better.
EV33 Platinum Robo
Platinum Robo, sworn defender of Mother Earth! For those who have played the game there’s little need for an explanation of what this robot is. To correctly capture the merciful and nurturing feeling I wanted it to have, I listened back to the track “Okami Shiranui” from Okami; I remember giving directions to bring it close to that song specifically. When the Earth finds itself in crisis, what form shall its divine protector take when heeding the call again?!
Pegasus-Class Gimme Custom Assault Mech Giga-Goojin
Yet another song that ended up getting used here and there. I can still remember this track for how surprisingly well it fit with the extra situation we wanted to use it in.
Like its name, this is supposed to be used for Giga-Goojin, but there’s another very important place to the story this track is used. Who happens to remember? Here’s the answer: right near the end, where Platinum Robo is facing down the enemy fleet, ready to fire the Shirogane Comet.
In said scene, the heroes ready the Shirogane Comet, aim, pull the trigger, and Red launches the Anti-Matter Particle Cannon “Justice Arrow”. The timing for this scene and Giga-Goojin’s theme fit perfectly.
When we were making this scene, as it so happens, there was no time left to write a track to go with it. I talked with Hiroshi about what we might be able to do for the scene, and he played this track with the scene just to try it out. Well, what do you know… readying the cannon, firing the laser… the track matched the entire scene perfectly, almost as if it had been made for this scene in the first place. We both just looked at each other and started laughing. The god of gaming had smiled upon our valiant determination to continually exert our best effort towards making the game.
ST09-1 Into Space
This track plays right as the game reaches its climax, with our heroes heading off into space. I had decided I wanted to conclude things in space and incorporate my favorite shooting game elements in the game since development kicked off. This song, though, was actually first created to be used as a mid-boss theme in one of the first stages of the game.
This was another Kondoh track that, like I mentioned above, was way too epic to use for a measly mid-boss, so I went to Hiroshi (the game’s music director), and said, “instead of using this for a mid-boss… don’t you think this track deserves to be somewhere near the end?” The more I listened, I started to notice this spacey Star Wars-vibe it had to it that fit perfectly with the ending I had been imagining. Thus, we put this aside to use near the end, and had Kondoh write another mid-boss track for us (which eventually came to be “Team, Unite Up! 1”).
EV46 Happily Ever After
Hearing peaceful tracks like this always reminds me of the hell ride that is the final stretch of game development. Maybe it’s the peaceful quality, or maybe just because it’s a song that gets played near the end, but they always remind me of the trying times that come about near certification. In the end, it might be a happily ever after scene, but for us on the dev floor, pushing ourselves as hard as we can under extreme circumstances to meet some hard deadlines, sometimes it’s not so happy. Nevertheless, finishing ending songs like these lifts my spirits as I know that the end is in sight.
Thinking back, the first time I worked on a game with two songs for the end credits dates back to my first directing job, Resident Evil 2. At that time, the two songs were used for the “A” and “B” endings, but in Devil May Cry and Bayonetta, both songs simply became the first and second half of the same credits. When the credits begin, there needs to be a passionate song playing that carries over the energy of the last fight, and then halfway through you need to drop the tone and calm things down so the player can just let the ending sink in. I imagined the player would probably set their controller down and be lost in thought, takin everything in. Though, in actuality, during “ST10: Roll Out, Wonderful 101!” the player still has to fight, so I guess they can’t put their controller down yet.
“End Credits”, which plays during the second half, has some inspiration from the A endings of Resident Evil 2 thrown in. Mostly the reason being that that’s one of my favorite songs. Try listening to the two back to back and see if you can notice any similarities.
This song was made at the very end of our development cycle (as I’m sure most ending credits songs are), so I remember passing certification and listening to this song while stumbling home, looking at the stars, feeling almost like an empty shell of a person, reflecting on how everything had finally ended.
That about wraps up the commentary on my favorite TW101 tracks. As you can see, there are a lot of other great tracks in there outside the top ten. A while has passed since development concluded, so I had to strain to remember some parts, but I hope you enjoyed reading it.
The songs I talked about here represent just a small fraction of the soundtrack, and there are a lot of staff besides myself that put their heart and soul into writing these songs. I hope our efforts enabled us to reach as many people as possible.
Until next time!
— Hideki Kamiya
Source: Platinum Games.
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