Senoue, Tokoi, Ohtani, and Makhlouf Answer Fan Questions
You may remember back in February when Sega put out a call to its fans for questions regarding the music behind Sonic Generations. Nearly three months later, the best questions from the call to action have finally been answered.
The Sega blog released a lengthy Q&A pairing the more popular inquiries with several members of the Generations sound team, including Jun Senoue, Tomoya Ohtani, Kenichi Tokoi, and Cash Cash’s Alex Makhlouf. A wide range of topics were covered from broad inspirations to specific tracks included in-game. One piece of insight from Tokoi explains why he composed the classic mix of Planet Wisp with such a distinct difference versus the original themes in Sonic Colors:
[....] I didn’t compose the piece with some certain music in mind. Given that the game includes Classic style, what I thought about right away when I was working on the music arrangement was what would it be like if the levels were to be designed in a nostalgic way. For “Sonic Colors,” Planet Wisp was composed while imagining a planet rich in nature being destroyed by a crazy construction machine, and I wanted to get across this image once more in the Classic stage, only this time, a bit more vividly. So I suppose the pieces do share some elements with each other, and that may be the reason for such impression.
Perhaps the most intriguing portion of the entire Q&A is when all four composers chimed in on what they felt best described the “Sonic sound:”
Jun: Sonic himself is a free-spirited guy, so I try not to limit myself when making music. Instead, I try to make the desired tempo first, and then attach a catchy and memorable phrase to that using edged sounds.
Kenichi: To me, “Sonic sound” has to be cool. Of course, we need to have a unified concept in each title, but to make it cool and groovy we will use a guitar sound and sometimes use soulful rhythm, too. I feel that being unconventional is some of Sonic’s appeal, so I think it’s important to have the sounds and tracks to be free and unconventional too.
Tomoya: I think that there is no one style that says “this is how Sonic sound should be”. In any genre or composition of instruments, we can express the Sonic-like sound. I think that “Sonic sound” is free and varied.
Alex: The beauty of Sonic music is its diversity. It all depends on the game, and the level. When I picture modern Sonic running at full speed through loops, I hear nothing but fast Crush 40 jams like “Live and Learn” and “Open Your Heart”. Songs like that fit the Modern Sonic attitude so well, and enhance the high-speed gameplay. But when I picture something like Classic Sonic platforming through an underwater level, I hear swung hip hop/electro beats with a nasty synth bass line. I think the reason why Sonic music has always been so special is because it’s constantly evolving along side of Sonic. This keeps the franchise from getting stale.
By far, this session is the best Sega has done in a long while, and it is well worth the time to read over at the company blog.