Soma Bringer Original Soundtrack Liner Notes
Yasunori Mitsuda - Composer
About two years have apparently passed since I became involved in the development of Soma Bringer. In the meantime, the direction of the game has changed to some extent and I have also tried a few changes in the musical direction. I initially had no idea what the goal of the project was and kept composing music by relying on the gradually emerging visuals and scenario, finding few clues from them. The project didn't make the progress that I desired because I also suffered from hardware limitations (e.g. memory space or noise) every day. As these kind of troubles were never shared with anyone else, some thought that only the soundtrack department appeared to be delayed. However, I aimed for top quality more than anyone else and have always thought that one should work hardest during challenging times to reach a new realm. Thus, I faced the situation and challenged it till the very end. As a result, despite some twists and turns, I feel proud of producing a satisfactory work. I just hope, if anything, that you like these numerous compositions that I've put so much effort into.
Creating the Ultimate Sound
Despite my usual policy to never compromise just because a soundtrack is sequenced, I couldn't easily ensure the desired music and sound quality this time and nearly gave up numerous times. Still, I managed it thanks to Junya Kuroda, a staff member who came up with one new technique after another to improve the sound quality. He motivated me to try hard and offered hope throughout my struggle. It's almost impossible to surpass the sound quality of Soma Bringer when limited to the amount of memory we were allocated (it's possible if one has more memory, though). Also, thanks to Hidenori Suzuki's hard work, the vocal track in the opening sounds unbelievably clean. It was not until the sound staff worked hard on this project that I was able to shape this soundtrack into something of satisfactory quality. Thus, I can say this soundtrack is built upon the efforts of many competent staff members.
Between Hope and Reality
I know every creator would like to produce good work, but this kind of aspiration can be put aside so easily due to various factors. Even with my experiences of working on other projects, I still think it was really hard to progress with things as planned on Soma Bringer. However, I could eventually elaborate on the music in depth thanks to commitments of Nintendo and Monolith Soft who wouldn't release anything until they produced something good. Frankly, there are no other works for which I felt I did everything possible to this extent. It's really satisfying to bring a work like this to the public. I expect that more and more interesting works will be released if the future gaming industry follows this example.
I'd like to thank several people: Shingo Kawabata and Erina Hashimoto, director and planner respectively, who willingly led me to the end; Yoshinori Tsuchiyama from Nintendo, who helped us to get along smoothly; Tetsuya Takahashi, who invited me to this project; and Soraya Saga, who always impresses me with her wonderful scenario writing. I'm deeply grateful for all of them. I sincerely hope this game will be loved by many people.
Junya Kuroda - Synthesizer Operator
You might have already been aware of this, but if you usually play a Nintendo DS game with headphones, the console has a distinctive 'rough' sound. It's not so jarring with light and flashy music, but it's something of an incompatible sound for a composer like Mitsuda who often uses lyrical and thunderous timbres. For this reason, I had intended to make sound data that wouldn't sound rough even with headphones on when working on the sequenced data of Soma Bringer.
Technologically, we were aware of some ways to run music cleanly on DS, but the data editing became a hard task nonetheless because the optimal method varies depending on the type of timbres and even the chord structures used. There was therefore a lot of trial and error, but given the specifications and ROM size, I think this game features one of the cleanest sounds ever created for the console. I'm not sure whether if sticking with this concept is best, though, as the DS has a wide range of music playback functions, from PSG (NES sound) to streaming (playing music as recorded like CD). What's used can vary depending on the game or composer as well. I think we'll figure out what's the best method on a case-by-case basis.
Well, now I've talked at length, let's get down to the subject of soundtrack (laugh). While one would normally record music from DS development kits or use PC emulators in a CD recording session, we used a somewhat unique method as a company that also deals with sound programming. We kept the texture inherent to the console, yet made it more listenable than what is heard in the game. We adjusted the balance for standard audio components or headphones, but the tracks are otherwise almost the same as the originals.
Now, please enjoy this with memory of the game. Also please try the game if you haven't already. It will enhance your experience!
Liner Notes Translated by Cedille. Do not republish without written permission.