End of Eternity Original Soundtrack Liner Notes
Kohei Tanaka - Composer
In early 2009, the good people at Sega asked that I write music for this game, End of Eternity. It has been my privilege to work with Sega on Sakura Taisen for a long time now, so I anticipated that this would be an interesting project.
This game is the first collaborative project between Sega and tri-Ace, and from the beginning they requested me and Sakuraba-san, respectively. I have been on many projects with two music directors working on a single project, and it is a trying experience. Above all, it is difficult to get both composers to respond to the project's worldview in the same way, to conform to each other's methods.
We were always close by, but since we worked separately the entire time, this is our first meeting. (That is to say, I still haven't met him.) In this circumstance, it was for the best that we kept our music completely separate, relative to the individual settings. If two composers' works blend seamlessly, then one might wonder "whose piece is this," but in this game it is immediately evident. I feel there's something pure about having the difference be clearly audible in this way.
My pieces were nearly all performed by orchestra. Rather than using an existing Japanese orchestra, I recorded with a group of very talented studio musicians in Hitomi Memorial Hall on January 27, 2009. They achieved a "sound" that was intense and full, equal to a foreign orchestra. They were able to create something that could withstand working fully both as one part of the game and as a stand-alone soundtrack. I wonder if these pieces will resonate with your heart. I hope you all enjoy them very much.
Motoi Sakuraba - Composer
The pieces I did for this project were those with strong rock flavor, and those that used synthesizers and samples. The director already had a concept for the music. He wanted "old-fashioned rock, emphasizing riffs over melody. Make the drum parts cheap, not extravagant, and don't distort the guitars like in metal." So I used a variety of methods to come as close to his concept as I could.
For the rock tracks, the electric guitar, bass, drums, hammond organ, electric piano, acoustic piano and so forth were recorded live. Since the pieces are supposed to have an old-fashioned rock flavor, they seem simple, but I used a number of patterns that were actually quite difficult to perform. I asked the bassist and drummer to play with as much passion as possible even when they had to play the same riffs repeatedly and their hands and feet hurt. The electric guitarist is someone who I always work with, and when I told him to play without much distortion, he brought in a different amp head.
Also, I have usually composed the pieces out before recording them, but this time some of the pieces were created improvisationally. There were two pieces that were created in the studio for this project, but I believe that no matter how many pieces you may have written before, you have to start by making a proper piece out of the material. You can hear our efforts on "Fighting with the devil" and "The end of eternity." To unify the two I used common phrases in both.
I also composed some pieces that are somewhat outside my style, amplifying the effect of analog synthesizer and electric piano, and playing a sampled rhythm through leslie speakers and recording the result to alter the sound. In the game, there are times when the music becomes more intense. To do this, I created two versions of each piece.
I believe the music contrasts well with the wonderful orchestral pieces composed by Kohei Tanaka-san. I was worried at the beginning that I would only be writing this one type of music, but the two are very firmly separated, and it worked out well. I will be very happy if you enjoy these pieces that I created through a number of methods.
Mitsuhiro Shimano (Sega) - Producer
This is the producer of End of Eternity, Shimano (of Sega). I'd like to talk about the details of my requests to the two composers who wrote the music for the game.
Since most of you do not know already, there are several key concepts that we had in mind while developing this original game, End of Eternity. Among our "unprecedented" concepts:
- A new RPG from tri-Ace and Sega
- An RPG that focuses on guns rather than swords or magic
- A world in which machines control even the destinies of people
- An original worldview and deep story
In addition to these concepts, I also wanted to add "the in-game music." It could not be unprecedented simply by requesting prominent composers; it had to be a "collaborative work." As the game progressed forward, and I could expand my concepts a little, I wondered "so, what should I do now?"
"Something unprecedented." Would I be able to find a composer that met this criterion and matched End of Eternity's worldview? And not just one, but two. Would they be able to create a collaborative work?
I listened to the music from a number of titles, from a number of genres, but I found that both those from tri-Ace and Sega were unanimously satisfied with Motoi Sakuraba-san, who has produced the music for many tri-Ace games in the past. Unsurpassed battles focusing on guns. Sakuraba-san's powerful, feel-good sound would fit the t.A.B. battle system perfectly! Even though we hadn't yet decided on his composing partner, he readily accepted.
And then the other. I could not find someone who could fit the concept "unprecedented" so easily. The staff met many times to discuss the issue. And then someone expressed that since one of the concepts we had in mind was a title between Sega and tri-Ace, that obviously the other composer should be someone with a connection to Sega! The name that came up was Kohei Tanaka-san's. He is an influential composer who has worked in anime, games, and as a singer.
"Wow! If we are able to make this into a reality it will be amazing!" To think that we could combine the efforts of Tanaka-san, with his orchestral bent, and Sakuraba-san, with his rock bent, into a collaborative project! But would Tanaka-san want to take on the project? I talked to him directly, and he readily agreed!
Have there been any other titles which have realized such a collaboration between such eminent composers? The game features music from two composers in an unprecedented and brilliant collaboration with the combination of two different musical styles, befitting the name of the overseas version, Resonance of Fate.
I think that you will understand when you hear the result. It's amazing!
Takayuki Suguro (tri-Ace) - Director
For this project, Kohei Tanaka-san and Motoi Sakuraba-san both wrote music. When we approached the two, we asked them to make sure their music contrasted greatly.
Sakuraba-san primarily wrote the battle music. The game's world (particularly the areas with battles) is a vision of decadence with steel and rust. In the graphics as well, we aimed more at an "oppressive" ambiance than a "flashy" one. In order to match this concept, we asked Sakuraba-san to write the band music to closely resemble the rock of the 60s and 70s.
I felt that in that way the pieces would fit better with Tanaka-san's orchestral pieces. I requested a primarily live sound, pretty much entirely recorded. It was probably very hard on the performing musicians (even though Sakuraba-san performed as well).
On top of that, I had planned for the piece to change when the battles became more intense or subsided. I'm sure that it took a good deal of careful thought to write two versions of each piece, and that it was very exacting work. But the result was spectacular. I enjoyed this different side of Sakuraba's music.
Tanaka-san was in charge of the music for the title, the cutscenes, towns, and so forth. I asked him to focus on regal orchestral music, in contrast to Sakuraba-san's work. I gave Tanaka-san the production materials and images, and he wrote music that matched the game perfectly. For many of the cutscenes, instead of writing various pieces of all-purpose music to be fit in, he wrote many pieces to fit the scenes exactly. (For this reason, the amount of music written was greater than had been expected.)
In addition to the quality of the music, thanks to the recording of a full orchestra and the hall in which they were recorded, the performances and the sound are stunning. Incidentally, in the game, the music is played back in 5.1 channel surround sound. (The recording itself was done in 5.1.) Those of you who have the necessary equipment should take advantage of the 5.1 surround when playing the game.
I feel that the game has been completed magnificently, despite the tight schedule; it is of the greatest scope, a top-notch title. Although I was not without my doubts about whether Tanaka-san's orchestral pieces and Sakuraba-san's rock pieces would contrast too much, the end result was magnificent, highly contrasted yet without any feeling of incongruity. Sakuraba-san's music has renewed itself with the change to a new game system, and Tanaka-san's music was written to match the game completely. Instead of just in this soundtrack, please be sure to take in the visuals and sounds within the game as well.
Liner Notes Translated by Ben Schweitzer. Do not republish without written permission.