Hello everyone. I’m Vanquish composer Erina Niwa. I’ve been on the Vanquish team for over 2 years now, so my memories of the start of development are a bit hazy these days. However, I’m going to do my best to recall what I can and give you some insider information about the music you will hear in Vanquish.
Vanquish, as you know, is a shooter with strong action and speed elements. As the world of Vanquish is set in a SF imagining of the near future, I realized that the game would definitely need heavy synth elements, and then went to work.
With a lot of Western TPS games, the soundtrack is either rarely used, or when it is used, it seems to lack punch, but one of the things that Mikami-san told me that he wanted for the Vanquish soundtrack was for the music to “be the backup dancers for the game.” As we developed the game, a clear sense of speed emerged, as did the game’s hook, so the background music had to match that. This all lead to the up-tempo, banging soundtrack in the game today.
Even within PlatinumGames, there were those who said that the soundtrack didn’t sound like a shooter soundtrack, but since Vanquish is so aggressive, we made the soundtrack more along the lines of something from an action game. It is a blending of genres, from techno, to industrial, to breaks, metal, jungle, and even some Hollywood style scoring.
Another thing Mikami-san said was, “Make sure it doesn’t end up P.N.03-esque.”
“Make it a battlefield. Make it militaristic,” he added. “The game may look like SF, but the soundtrack should be gritty and war-like.”
Having that SF-style feel of the near future but matching it with grittiness is something that is very hard to pull off at the same time with music, but I took the tracks and genres that we were already working on, and looked at how we could add the grittiness of war into these tracks. Then it was a matter of dissecting these key ideas, and reassembling them as music.
Actually, when I started thinking of militarism, it reminded me of the track that they used in the Advanced Wars commercial here in Japan, and even during production, that track would pop into my head from time to time. Those were the days… But I digress…
The game won’t be released for a little while longer (October 19 in North America, October 21 in Japan, and October 22 in EU/PAL territories), but I really hope you all get your hands on Vanquish and give it a try.
One more thing…
The Vanquish Original Soundtrack will be released in Japan on October 27, 2010. It’s all the intense music from the game, spread across a wonderful three disc set.
It also features tracks from our awesome collaborators on this project, Masafumi Takada, of The Silver Case, killer7, God Hand, and No More Heroes fame, and Masakazu Sugimori, composer on Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (GBA) and Viewtiful Joe (GC) amongst others. At 3990 yen, it is a bit pricey, but once you get great at the game and then start thinking the music was awesome, the soundtrack is the perfect companion!