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Psychonauts photo

Feel doubly fine with Adam WarRock's Psychonauts single

Download "Basic Braining" for free exclusively on Destructoid
Jun 07
// Tony Ponce
Asian sensation Adam WarRock is a pretty chill dude. Our own Tara Long of course loves him to pieces, but it was I who managed to score a brotastic fist bump at last year's Nerdapalooza in Orlando. He's so skilled, he can tu...
Castlevania hip hopera photo
Castlevania hip hopera

Preview Mega Ran's Symphony of the Night hip hopera

Castlevania: The Nocturnal Cantata on sale June 4
Jun 03
// Tony Ponce
I gotta give it up for my man Mega Ran, without a doubt one of my favorite nerd music acts around. He's got quite the spread, from Mega Man to Final Fantasy VII and even to River City Ransom. And next on the block is the tur...

Cart Life dev reveals new game, is humble and lovable

Get to know the people that make great videogames
May 18
// Jonathan Holmes
I'd like to pay Richard Hofmeier to talk to me about videogames. During last week's Sup Holmes (now on iTunes), he told me about so many great things, like the free online "game" Geoguessr, surrealist interactive text auteur...
Banjo-Kazooie Symphony photo
Banjo-Kazooie Symphony

Preview the upcoming Banjo-Kazooie Symphony

Blake Robinson's new orchestral tribute releases on May 31
May 16
// Tony Ponce
Abridged soundtracks to Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie were recently released online for free, and Banjo composer Grant Kirkhope has been popping his head seemingly everywhere. Is it just me, or is the classic Rare platforming...

Confirmed: Game sequel in development right now

Devolver Digital CFO spills the beans
May 14
// Jim Sterling
Today, Devolver Digital has confirmed that a sequel to a game you like is in development as we speak. This exciting news, delivered by CFO Fork Park via Twitter, could be taken as absolute confirmation that Shadow Hearts IV i...

Remember Me exclusive music samples, composer commentary

May 07 // Jayson Napolitano
[embed]252904:48471:0[/embed]On his overall approach to Remember Me"The main goal was to digitalize a live orchestra to manipulate and transform it to reflect the game universe and the confusion of Nilin, the main character. There is no synth in these tracks except for the lead sound. This music had to feel alive, a struggle to get the memory back that Nilin has lost." On "Nilin The Hunter"[embed]252904:48472:0[/embed]"This is the main theme, during its first half it represents Nilin, a strong female character whose memory has been wiped out. The main melody is performed by a morphed sound between a synth and a voice. Throughout the whole cue you can hear "Remember Me" several times in the far back (listen carefully: five times). The second half is more about Neo Paris and the echoing sounds of memories. The last part is back to Nilin’s reconstruction up to the end. During the entire game the main melody is exposed piece by piece (as Nilin is reconstructing her memory) and this track is played at the very end of the game, when Nilin gets her full memory back." On "The Fight"[embed]252904:48473:0[/embed]"This music plays during some big fights. It's mostly hand-to-hand and the music reflects that with the punchy orchestra. The full cue is completely dynamic and reacts to the player's behavior. Its real length is about nine minutes to make sure all the situations are covered. I wanted the music to support as much as possible how the player will apprehend every situation. The final part of the track is when the player succeeds in doing many successful combos in a row, it's like a perfect play! (Once again, a lot of "Remember Me" hidden)" On "Hope"[embed]252904:48474:0[/embed]"Although Remember Me is an action game there are a lot of emotions throughout the whole adventure. One of them is hope. With the help of her old but new friends to her, Nilin gets support to continue the fight. This track is one of the most natural and truly cinematographic."
Remember Me Soundtrack photo
Sample the upcoming soundtrack with commentary from the composer
Are you looking forward to Remember Me next month? I've been looking forward to the game's soundtrack, composed by Olivier Deriviere, who some may know from Alone in the Dark and Of Orcs and Men.We're now getting a sense of w...

Meet the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm sound team

May 03 // Jayson Napolitano
Glenn Stafford (Blizzard Entertainment)Role: Audio Lead / ComposerSelected Past Works: WarCraft II, StarCraft, World of Warcraft series, Diablo IIIOn being the “Terran” guy and leading the StarCraft II sound team“Yes, you’re probably right that I’m most known for the StarCraft terran music—but players seem to like it, so I suppose that’s a good thing! It may not be as well known that I do work regularly on other Blizzard series. For example, I composed well over an hour of music for Diablo III, and I contribute to World of Warcraft expansions and patches whenever possible. In fact, Jason Hayes and I collaborated on some tracks for patch 5.2, which came out recently.With that in mind, I’ve always considered the StarCraft team to be my home base here at Blizzard. While I enjoy all our games and franchises immensely, the RTS series of games is what I love and play the most. I previously supervised audio production and composed for Wings of Liberty, and following that narrowed my focus to music. For Heart of the Swarm, it seemed a natural progression for me to continue supervising the music production. It was very refreshing to explore new sonic territory, and I was also grateful to have Derek Duke onboard to help us evolve the zerg sound he first created for the original StarCraft. We worked closely together, discussing musical ideas that seemed unique to the zerg, and we also took advantage of a variety of Derek’s incredible eclectic and vintage gear to record strange new sounds and source material. We then both used these ideas and material as a basis from which to create more music.For the in-mission music in this expansion, our goals were to add as much new music as possible, and to evolve and expand on the zerg sound for use in different settings—primal jungles, ice planets, and so on. The zerg conform to different rules, and it might be tempting to be too musical where it isn’t called for. It’s also a big challenge to address how the music might sound in these various settings. Heart of the Swarm focuses mainly on the zerg, of course, but there are forces at play throughout the missions too. At times, you’ll notice various combinations of different racial influences in the music—maybe something not altogether zerg or terran, but exploring the spaces in between.In terms of what’s changed since Wings of Liberty, beyond the obvious changes in focus and style, we added more music than we’ve ever added to an RTS expansion. In the missions, there are more custom-scored and edited moments than ever before, with plenty of cut scenes and in-game cinematics, as well as some complex music-handling throughout missions. Having more music to work with overall, and by refining our tools and implementation methods, we can greatly extend the possibilities and refine the presentation—offering a more variable and interesting music experience when playing and re-playing missions and multiplayer maps. Even the loading-screen music has more variation now. We were fortunate enough to have Neal Acree on board once again, not only taking on the hard-hitting cinematic scores, but also adding to our in-game arsenal with new themes and variations on cinematic scores. Russell Brower reprised his role from Wings of Liberty, composing new protoss tracks as well as mission music, including some patriotic themes that come into play later in the game. Add to that some edgy tracks by veteran freelance composer Cris Velasco; and with the return of Blizzard composer Jason Hayes late in production, we even have an unexpected collaboration between he and Russell.The sound design team, supervised by industry veteran sound designer Evan Chen, brought some amazing new talent and sound design work to the StarCraft universe. I’m honored to work with such a talented group, and thankful for everyone’s unique skills and perspectives. The result is a diverse blend, and yet and it all stays true to the StarCraft universe.The music for this expansion is unique and moody. You won’t hear many big epic themes and soaring moments—but we believe it represents the essence of this expansion and the zerg well. We sincerely hope everyone enjoys it.”On his exclusive audio sample[embed]251947:48207:0[/embed]“This is a medley of a few different pieces. Up to about 50 seconds, this is a piece for a mission cut-scene involving Kerrigan and some terrans. There are two versions of this piece in the game—one without any drums and guitars, which completely removes the terran flavor. The next section up through 1:40 features legendary guitarist David Torn, who Derek and I were fortunate enough to have perform on several tracks. Following that, we hear a more strictly zerg-influenced track until about 2:40, where we revive one of the mission themes from Wings of Liberty, now recorded and remixed with a live orchestra. Then at 4:20, we wind down with a small sample of a piece designed for Kaldir, an icy moon where Kerrigan encounters the protoss.”Derek Duke (Blizzard Entertainment)Role: ComposerSelected Past Works: StarCraft series, WarCraft III, World of Warcraft, Diablo IIIOn being the “Zerg” guy and his contributions to Heart of the Swarm“Helping Glenn out with this one was a lot of fun. With so many other composers dipping into zerg territory, it really forced us to clarify a lot of what’s at the heart of zerg music. Glenn wanted to build off of the Queen’s theme, as heard in the zerg rollout trailer and in various incarnations in Liberty. Sharing certain scales and chord voicings that are particular to the zerg was also cool. It’s not always just strange sounds and textures that make zerg music.We spent time each week for a while specifically creating zerg music textures and source at my home studio, using all means of analog and digital music paraphernalia... analog modular synths, vintage synths and hardware effects, alternate controllers, and so on. We got some great 'music design' source material from those sessions. We were also able to expand upon the electric guitar vocabulary. We had the opportunity to involve guitarist and composer David Torn, who has a very unique and extraordinarily musical approach to the guitar. In contrast to the guitar and Dobro stylings used in Wings, David was in our 'infested' guitarist.”On his exclusive audio sample[embed]251947:48208:0[/embed]“This comes from a piece called “Corruptors,” written for the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra and David Torn. You’ll hear the zerg Queen’s theme featured and various nods to the zerg music from the original StarCraft. I was unable to attend the session—always a challenge—so having conductor Eimear Noone there at the podium worked out great for the music. She had also conducted for Wings, and really 'gets' a lot about my musical language.”Russell Brower (Blizzard Entertainment)Role: Composer / Audio Director of Blizzard EntertainmentSelected Past Works: World of Warcraft series, StarCraft II, Diablo IIIOn his contributions to Heart of the Swarm“Since Glenn Stafford founded the Blizzard sound department and, along with Jason Hayes and Derek Duke, defined the sound and musicscape of StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War, my own musical responsibility—as the “new guy,” relatively speaking—continues to focus on staying true to the series’ roots wherever I have influence, and to suggest ways to evolve things where it makes sense in context. As composers, we also strive to cast ourselves into roles that are the best fit for our individual strengths. In the end, every Blizzard game to date contains the art of multiple composers—I believe this is part of the 'secret sauce' that makes Blizzard’s music and games timeless.For instance, on StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, I had the opportunity to write a couple of themes that covered new territory or expanded character development: specifically, melodies for Jim Raynor, Zeratul, and the 'space opera' main title piece, which was a special request from Chris Metzen. I also had a hand in suggesting that we add to the terran music vibe with virtuoso, legendary live players—Tony Levin, Jerry Marotta, Jesse Gress, and others. The terran musical composition, production, and DNA, however, are 100% Glenn, and stay very true to StarCraft tradition. In fact, the majority of the Wings score was written by the original StarCraft composition team; I wrote what made sense for me to write, and wore my administration hat for the rest of that project.This brings us to StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm: With the focus squarely on the zerg, Glenn and Derek built on their established musical vocabulary, as they’ve described, and created a spine-tingling score... and that’s really the heart of this particular musical swarm."[embed]251947:48209:0[/embed]"My musical contributions to Swarm happened in two waves. During the earliest recording sessions, the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra was so good, we realized that we were going to run out of music to record before the sessions were over, and it was too late to cancel the unneeded time. Gasp... ka-ching! This afforded me an awesome opportunity and challenge: I wrote about six minutes of additional music to leverage the remaining session time, with the clock ticking, in the control room—all while Neal Acree’s cinematic scores were booming live over the speakers. With pencil, paper, and an iPad piano sound in headphones, I wrote fast and furious during the sessions. No pressure! I’m proud of those two pieces, affectionately and nonsensically titled 'Zergs in the Banana Patch' and 'The Protoss Take Kiev.' These cues found their way into some of the later missions, and, yes, they’re big and loud... I couldn’t waste a world-class 87-piece orchestra!As the later missions’ gameplay matured, we found some opportunities for additional music, to which I contributed. Jason had rejoined the team by then, and he and I finally got to collaborate in person, on purpose, after all these years. A personal highlight is a piece called “Overdrive,” which was composed and produced by Jason and arranged for orchestra by me from his piano demo—It was such a blast to truly create something together. That experience pretty neatly sums up why I find Blizzard to be such a unique place to work, collaborate, and create."Jason Hayes (Blizzard Entertainment)Role: ComposerSelected Past Works: StarCraft, WarCraft III, World of WarcraftOn his return to Blizzard Entertainment“Being back at Blizzard is like coming home for me—I couldn't be more thrilled! And yes, it was especially exciting to arrive during the final push on Heart of the Swarm. Working on StarCraft again is so cool.” On his exclusive audio sample[embed]251947:48210:0[/embed]“I came up with the idea for 'Overdrive' while thinking of the past between Arcturus Mengsk and Kerrigan—his unquenchable thirst for power, and hers for revenge. As I was coming up with ideas, a musical theme from StarCraft: Brood War occurred to me. This was in the intro cinematic, where Admiral DuGalle abandons a group of confederate colonists to be overrun by the zerg. There seemed to be a symmetry between this and Kerrigan's situation—after all, she was also abandoned to the zerg by Mengsk. I found that by taking this musical idea and punching it up with a militaristic insistence, it could help to frame some important events to come. Collaborating with Russell on the arrangement was a lot of fun—after years of indirect collaboration with him on a number of pieces, it was great to work with him in person.”Neal AcreeRole: ComposerSelected Past Works: World of Warcraft series, StarCraft II, Diablo IIIOn being the king of cinematics and contributing in-game tracks as well“First of all, it was an absolute thrill to be involved in helping tell the continuing story musically through the cinematics. So many talented people put their hearts and souls into making them what they are, and getting to write music to that is a dream come true. What made it even more fun is that the story runs the gamut of emotions and stylistically asked for some very different things from I had done before. I felt a huge responsibility in taking on the cinematics, but it was ultimately a lot of fun and I'm really proud of the final result. Getting to work with the Skywalker Symphony Orchestra and choir was a thrill as always. They are some of the best musicians in the world, and I never get tired of recording there. I wouldn't say we did anything too wild with the orchestra but we did hire an extended low brass section for an absolutely massive sound. See if you can spot those moments in the soundtrack.As for in-game music, I had done a bunch for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria, so I was familiar with the process, which is quite different than writing for the cinematics. Though I very much enjoy the process of writing to picture, writing without it can be a very freeing experience. Writing for the cinematics takes a lot longer because the music tends to evolve as the cinematic evolves due to the collaborative process. This can result in some really cool stuff that none of us had necessarily envisioned when we started out. In the case of Heart of the Swarm, Glenn wanted me to write some in-game music that would incorporate some of the stylistic and thematic DNA of the cinematics, which was a lot of fun. I got to blend a lot of orchestra with synthesizer and get really experimental, which is the most fun part for me—there’s definitely a lot of zerg-specific stuff in there.”On his exclusive audio sample[embed]251947:48211:0[/embed]“This is a standalone version of a theme written for Kerrigan and Raynor that underscores some of the cinematics in Heart of the Swarm. It's a slow-building piece that is somber and tragic with an epically heroic yearning... I hope that's not reading too much into it. It's not your typical love theme, but this isn't your typical love story. My inspiration for it was the story and the characters who have a lot going on beneath the surface. It was really cool to be able to write something like this for a game. It also features vocals by Laurie Ann Haus, who was a big part of the Kerrigan sound on both Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm.”Cris VelascoRole: ComposerSelected Past Works: God of War series, Darksiders, Borderlands series, Soul Calibur VOn being brought on to contribute to Heart of the Swarm and his love for StarCraft“StarCraft is one of my all-time favorite games. I cannot even begin to count the number of hours I put into the original one. A couple of friends and I used to pull all-nighters, just building our units up, and then having a massive 3-way battle that would ultimately crash the computers. So even though I didn't have a huge role this time around, I still consider it one of my favorite projects to work on simply because I couldn't believe how amazing it was to be writing music for this franchise."[embed]251947:48212:0[/embed]"Writing for the zerg let me be really experimental with my music. There was a definite dark slant to it, although not necessarily horror. I did some fun things like taking the sound of an insect, slowing it way down, pitching it down a few octaves, and then using it as a percussion bed. Another fun one was taking the sound of a heartbeat, reversing the sound, then lowering the pitch again and adding a touch of distortion. I used this sparingly as a percussive hit. These kinds of things felt in line with how creepy, weird, and insectoid the zerg are.”Evan T. Chen (Blizzard Entertainment)Role: Sound Design LeadSelected Past Works: Diablo III, Starhawk, Killzone 3, Dawn of the Dead, FuturamaOn the scale of StarCraft II’s sound design and the unsung heroes who undertake it“I'm just one of many sound designers on this project. The other members of the StarCraft audio team did all of the heavy-lifting with the support of the audio department at Blizzard and a myriad of other amazing talent. Here's a sound design montage that offers a glimpse of our collective work, which includes contributions from sound designers Jonas Laster, Ed Cerrato, Pedro Seminario, JP Walton, Paul Menichini, and Alex Ephraim.[embed]251947:48213:0[/embed]I'm relatively new to Blizzard and started on the project fairly late in the game, so a big challenge was acclimating to this new environment in a way that respected the legacy of Blizzard, the StarCraft series, the aesthetic precedence of Wings of Liberty, and what had already been created for Heart of the Swarm... while simultaneously trying to chisel a unique and appropriate sonic thumbprint. Collaborating with the StarCraft development team in creating the soundscape was fantastic because they embraced our ideas and helped us achieve them—there are so many development team members not directly on the audio team that play crucial roles in what the player hears, including producers, programmers, data specialists, technical gurus, and—naturally—all of the artists and animators.One memorable moment involved a request to have a visual for the Medivac's new ability, Ignite Afterburners, added to complement the sound of them turning on. I made the case that the audio by itself was too disconnected and might easily be misunderstood during gameplay without some sort of associated visual. This was extremely late in the development, so every possible addition needed to carefully considered, but I heard back later that my argument helped pushed the case for this late addition through. It just goes to show how everyone's instincts as a player are valued here, and that there are many ways to contribute outside of your immediate responsibilities.We also made lots of under-the-hood improvements in audio. There's better headroom and dynamic range now, meaning things can get louder when needed without distortion. We completely revamped the dialog-processing workflow. We also improved the automatic mixing parameters and did more scripted mixing in-mission, which all translates into being able to hear important things more clearly and distinctly. It used to be when certain objectives were completed in a mission, everything would often happen simultaneously: lots of things would explode, the Objective Complete stinger sound would play, other sounds would be ducked to make room for this stinger, new dialog would announce your next objective, music would change, you'd get an achievement alert. In extreme situations, this can be pretty incoherent. We did a lot more sequencing so things don't happen all at once but rather more serially for the sake of sound, to let the audio breathe and be more informative and emotionally satisfying.There were plenty of other sound-related challenges, too. We had several big boss fights, and we did some epic, bombastic sounds for those. We introduced a new physics system into the game, so designing a tasteful, uncluttered sound system for that was a challenge. There were nearly 100 non-prerendered, in-engine cinematics to edit and mix, and we strived to make them sound as good as the prerendered ones. We also made more use of the audio engine's DSP effects, so you'll hear a wider variety of reverb and real-time filtering in this game. We took more advantage of surround-sound speakers systems too, and those with the equipment will hear some specific spectacular moments in the LFE channel and the surrounds.As far as subtlety goes, some of the world ambient sounds are more detailed, layered, and peppered with perspective and depth, and in general, our philosophy was to make the sounds feel more 'in the world.' Finally, listen carefully to Swarm hordes—I won't give too much away, but suffice it to say, this is just the tip of the iceberg for this tech. There are also some great audio easter eggs to find, but you won't hear them—pun intended—from me!”
StarCraft II Music photo
Over 20 minutes of exclusive audio mixes included
Maybe you played StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Maybe you enjoyed the soundtrack disc that came packed in with the collector's edition, or perhaps you simply enjoyed it in-game. With this expansion focusing on the Zerg, I ...

Halo 4 OST Volume 2 is everything I wanted out of Halo 4

Apr 15 // Jayson Napolitano
Top PicksHALO 4 ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK VOL 2.Release Date: April 8, 2013Price: $9.99Availability: Halo 4 Soundtrack WebsiteArtist(s): Neil Davidge and Kazuma Jinnouchi[embed]250730:48105:0[/embed]I’ve been waiting for this album even though I never knew it was coming. I enjoyed the Halo 4 soundtrack, but did feel it was a bit too cinematic. It contained only a fraction of the in-game soundtrack and was meant to tell the story of the game through sound. That makes Volume 2 the perfect place to explore the amazing atmospheres that Neil Davidge and Kazuma Jinnouchi were able to create for the game. This album is much darker and much more atmospheric, featuring lots of orchestral elements with interwoven electronics.Half of the tracks are provided by Jinnouchi, who was mostly absent from Volume 1. His opener, “Atonement,” will have you thinking of Halo soundtracks of old with its use of choir, and he even goes as far as to remix a past Halo track. From there, we launch into chugging electronics with heavy-hitting bass in percussion in “Intruders,” “Mantis,” with added glitchy percussion, and “Gravity” with its ominous pulsating bass synths.Davidge returns with similarly-cool soundscapes. “Kantele Bow” and “Pylons” give off a very bad ass vibe along with “Convoy,” which really gets down to business and reminds me of some of my favorite Halo moments. I love the siren-like sounds in “Escape,” the reverberating electronic tones in “Swamp,” the familiar tribal percussion in “Push Through,” and the Metroid-esque ambiance of “Foreshadow.” Finally, “Aliens,” my favorite track on the album, sports deep bassy tones and exotic female chanting.Halo fans who didn’t appreciate the Halo 4 soundtrack last year will want to give this album a try. It more effectively combines the old and the new quite nicely, and having played the game, I knew these moments were in the game despite not appearing on the soundtrack album, so I’m happy to be able to enjoy them outside of the gaming experience.FINAL FANTASY XI: Seekers of Adoulin Original SoundtrackRelease Date: March 27, 2013Price: 2,000 Yen ($21)Availability: CD JapanArtist(s): Naoshi Mizuta[Official soundtrack samples]We posted about this album a few weeks back, and with its lovely packaging and over 50 minutes of new music, I have to say this is the most excited I’ve been for new Final Fantasy XI music in a while.After an upbeat orchestral opener titled “A New Direction,” the album launches into a number of playful tunes including the adventurous “Breaking Ground” with its funky slap bass, the fun rhythmic pizzicato strings in “The Pioneers,” the prehistoric vibes of “Into Lands Primeval – Ulbuka” with its bongos and bell tones, and the relaxing tropical escape, “Mog Resort.” My two favorites are “Water's Umbral Knell” with its abstract use of water drops and metallic bell tones that are dark and unsettling and the decisive and foreboding “Hades.” Two bonus tracks, likely from content updates between major expansions, are also appreciated inclusions.This price is right with this one. Naoshi Mizuta continues to grow with the series and shows off some of his best.Magical Chase Original SoundtrackRelease Date: February 26, 2013Price: 2,625 Yen ($27)Availability: CD JapanArtist(s): Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata[Official soundtrack samples]Get ready for a history lesson. Back before Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata became known for their orchestral RPG scores for Ogre Battle and Final Fantasy Tactics, they worked together on this PC Engine shmup title that earned quite a following for its vibrant visuals and upbeat and bubbly soundtrack. Yes, Sakimoto and cute videogame music.If I had to pick a title that this music most closely resembles, it would be Fantasy Zone, which I also love. From the incredibly catchy chorus section of the first stage theme, “Rampish Chase” to the playful “Ripple’s Theme,” there’s lots of sticky sweet melodies to enjoy. Then there’s the rambunctious “Azure Way,” the decisive “Waltz of Meditation” that hints at the Sakimoto/Iwata that would appear in later years, the chippy final stage theme, and boss themes that will have you bopping your head. The ending theme is also incredible.And that doesn’t even touch on the 26 minutes of arranged and unused tracks provided by Basiscape Records to commemorate this album. There are five arrangements in all, updating the retro sound of the originals with orchestral or electronic sounds, although Sakimoto’s Sakimoto-esque version of “Ripple’s Theme” is probably my favorite. The undiscovered tracks are similar to other tracks found on the album, so no biggie.I’d always heard about this game and soundtrack. After listening and watching some gameplay videos, I want to play it. If you’re a fan of Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata, you need to pick this up. It’s a piece of history and it’s amazing that it’s finally out there.Other Releases[embed]250730:48106:0[/embed]Alter Ego Dreamwalker OSTRelease Date: March 21, 2013Price: Name Your Own PriceAvailability: Bandcamp via UbiktuneArtist(s): Ken “coda” SnyderYogurtbox is back. Well, at least half of it. We’ve featured coda a few times here on Destructoid, and this time he’s bringing his chiptune magic to a game soundtrack courtesy of Ubiktune. In addition to providing some upbeat and pumpin’ chiptune action with a swagger (the pop-oriented and super catchy “Sweet Home” and powerful epic final stage, “Void,” being my favorites), there are also some fantastic remixes from other artists including the amazingly talented kulor, Madbrain, Blitz Lunar, and DJ Bouche. All for name-your-own-price, so do it now.[embed]250730:48107:0[/embed]Fly’n OSTRelease Date: November 9, 2012Price: $4.99 EURAvailability: Ankama ShopArtist(s): Guillaume PervieuxWe need to give Ankama’s Guillaume Pervieux some love. He wrote a lengthy and amazing score for the beautiful Islands of Wakfu a couple years ago, and his latest work for Fly’n will also surprise you with its eclectic and abstract electronic soundscapes. The meandering and gamey opener, “Adcoffe,” hints at aural joys to follow which include the tense yet playful “Andndamm,” the bassy chill-fest “Yservat,” the Radiohead-esque “Sonwide,” the comical and mischievous “Fucus,”and the dreamy and psychedelic “Oysicide" and “Carbonic.” There’s lots of gamey stuff and other more serious electronic music, but it’s all great, and there’s nearly two hours of it. Check it out.Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory Sounds of that other GamindustriRelease Date: March 21, 2013Price: Not for SaleAvailability: NISA Online Store (Sold Out)Artist(s): Nobuo UematsuI admit that my primary draw to this game was its soundtrack by Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu. I’ve since found myself interested in the game’s world and characters more so than the music!What you have is a lot of bubbly electronic music and typical JRPG rock themes. That’s fine, as that’s what we know and love Uematsu for, but this isn’t his most inspired work. The upbeat tunes fit the game’s visuals and quirky sense of humor perfectly, but the sticky-sweet melodies lack substance and memorability. Aside from several character theme remixes from previous titles (“Rom's/Ram's Theme ver. V” is particularly cool), you’ll mostly want to keep your ears peeled for the Japanese-flavored “The Rock Garden” and the Earthbound Papas rockfests, “4th Dimension” and “Invader 1960,” but I wouldn’t feel too bad if you missed out on this one.[embed]250730:48108:0[/embed]The Mystic Quest For MetalRelease Date: July 12, 2012Price: $4Availability: BandcampArtist(s): Daniel TidwellFinal Fantasy: Mystic Quest is one of my favorite games (ridicule all you want!), and that’s in large part due to the game’s amazing soundtrack. In fact, one of the highlights of my many years writing about game music was an interview with the composer about this game.It’s heavy metal rock in game music at its best, and Daniel Tidwell (previously of Lords of Thunder) has given it a fitting tribute with some amazing guitar solos and great metal production work. You get the game’s three battle themes as well as the epic final dungeon and rockin’ “Lava Dome." Thanks to Nubuwo for turning me on to this one.NanoSweep 15 / overdrive hell 9: Hizumi Tengoku Moeru MaharajaRelease Date: December 31, 2012Price: 500 Yen / 325 YenAvailability: LimitedArtist(s): SuperSweepHere’s another round of original electronic music from SuperSweep Records.In what’s probably my favorite NanoSweep to date, I loved the hell out of the dreamy chillout track, “Focus,” and the super funky “Oscillation” which features some great rhythmic electric piano. Ayako Saso’s appropriately-titled “Patchwork” combines a lot of different ideas, the most interesting of which is a modified female vocal section that reminds me a lot of The World Ends With You, while Hosoe himself closes out with “Killing Terramorphous,” a hammering electronic track that gallops along with mind-crushing bass synths.Overdrive Hell 9 yields an ethnic experience focusing on what sounds to be Indian music. Lots of vocals abound with the lovely “Ethno Vibration,” which is pretty tame by overdrive hell standards. “Curry Burns,” “Screaming Yoga,” and “Go Go West” get back on track, however, with crazy effects on the vocals and throbbing bass drums that never let up.As always, these are hard to come by as they’re sold at events in Japan, but they do exist![embed]250730:48109:0[/embed]Sidetracks - Music from SidescrollerRelease Date: June 25, 2012Price: $9.99Availability: iTunesArtist(s): High Frequency BandwidthThis month concludes my look back at the PixelJunk franchise. Sidetracks is similar in style and even borrows a few tracks from PixelJunk Shooter (including an even more laidback version of “Fotographik,” my favorite track from that album). There’s the grungy opener, “Dog is No Hero,” which combines rock and electronic elements, but aside from this and the glitch rock track, “Zodiac 3 Arts Klub” with its catchy male chorus section, it’s mostly an icy trip-hop affair.“More or Less” is a perfect example of chill hop with its snazzy hip hop stylings, while “Planet Thanet” brings in alien-sounding synths, “Ghetto World” gets funky bass and percussion, and “MNP” goes for a spooky vibe with lots of weird sound effects and organ. The two remixes featured of “Planet Thanet” and “More or Less” get more icy ambiance and reverb, and are nice additions.As my favorite tracks from Shooter are also presented here, this is definitely by favorite PixelJunk soundtrack to date. We’ll see what the future brings![embed]250730:48110:0[/embed]TOMB RAIDER ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACKRelease Date: March 5, 2013Price: $15.51Availability: Sumthing Else Music WorksArtist(s): Jason GravesWe reviewed the limited edition soundtrack disc last month, and this is the follow-up review of the stand-alone release containing twenty tracks as opposed to ten. Everything said last time remains true: this is a wonderful soundtrack full of tense moments that covers the Tomb Raider setting perfectly.Key tracks from the beginning and end were featured on the other album, so this fills out things in the middle with plenty of great moments that include the ominous “Exploring the Island,” the ambient percussion and bassy didgeridoo of “Infiltrating the Bunker,” the buzzy and tense “The Scavenger’s Camp,” the emotionally-tinged “On the Beach,” and the fantastic rhythms of “The Oni.” This is the definitive way to enjoy this soundtrack if you have the LE and wanted to hear more, if even better, if you don’t own the soundtrack at all.
Latest Game Soundtracks photo
Note Worthy 014: Soundtracks you should be listening to!
Welcome back to Note Worthy, our monthly soundtrack round-up. This issue marks one year of Note Worthy, and I'm changing up things a bit with formatting. In the past, I've featured our ten monthly reviews in alphabetical orde...

Chainsaw Pogo Gorilla photo
Chainsaw Pogo Gorilla

I-Mockery's next game is Bionic Chainsaw Pogo Gorilla

Man's greatest question answered
Apr 11
// Tony Ponce
Last year, fans of I-Mockery's irreverent brand of pop culture humor were treated to Abobo's Big Adventure, a mashup of all things NES starring the muscle-bound Double Dragon boss Abobo. As hilarious as Abobo's Big Adventure ...
Planescape OST photo
Planescape OST

Torment: Tides of Numenera OST sample just for you

Exclusive full-length sample by composer Mark Morgan
Apr 05
// Jayson Napolitano
Maybe you've been following the slew of information being released by inXile Entertainment about their recently-funded title, Torment: Tides of Numenera. While the release date is quite some time off, we've got something...
Edge of Twilight photo
Edge of Twilight

Edge of Twilight has a new iOS prequel in the works

Two mobile games, one console game, all on the horizon
Mar 29
// Jim Sterling
Edge of Twilight developer Fuzzyeyes has revealed to Destructoid that it will release a second Edge of Twilight iOS game following Athyr Above, which launched yesterday. This game will be a prequel, and aims to explain the ga...

Blacklight dev: 'Sony is really in to win this one'

Mar 26 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Furthermore, Sony is going beyond simply approving projects to offer more direct support to independent developers like Zombie. "They could have just been like, 'Yeah, put it on the PlayStation 4. Cool,'" Jared told me. "But they're sending us kits, they're sending us everything, they're pulling us into PR groups, they're setting up these events for us, and it's just awesome." It's especially significant that Sony is working with Zombie "considering the game's been out, most publishers had been 'yeah we don't understand cause the game's already out so whatever.' But [Sony's] been really awesome. 'Yeah let's get this, here you can talk to these guys, let's introduce you.' It's been really, really cool." Check out my full interview with Jared where we discuss the fear of self-publishing, and how the studio imagines using the PlayStation 4 controller's touch pad. 
PlayStation 4 photo
Blacklight: Retribution developer speaks on the PS4's strategy
Sony revealed several more indie titles last night during the Game Developers Conference that are set to hit the PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 3, and even PlayStation 4. Sony has been showing a lot of support to smaller devel...

Blacklight: Retribution is coming to the PlayStation 4

Mar 25 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Once Jared got the rights back for Blacklight, he spent some time shopping the title around to other publishers to bring it on consoles. After not finding anything desirable, Jared decided take matters into his own hands. "So I went back to Zombie and said 'Let's just publish it all ourselves,'" Jared told me. "So we're going to be developing and publishing Blacklight on the PlayStation 4 all ourselves. Literally no safety net, it's really freaking crazy. That's kind of why with Daylight we've been doing a lot of things to figure out how to actually do our own marketing and PR with everything. It's going to be pretty interesting going from Daylight straight to Blacklight. "The really exciting thing is us publishing it, we have full control over it. Scarier existence, you know? [Before] we could say 'Oh, that wasn't us! That was those guys!' But now, we're going to be the holders of all things, which kind of sucks. That's the thing, back in the day 'Oh, wasn't me! Not me, not my fault.' But now it's like 'Shit. Yeah, okay, we'll get on that. Sorry. Okay, we'll fix that. Sorry.' That's the thing about developers that are willing to say sorry, versus developers that just don't even acknowledge it." [embed]249645:47781:0[/embed] The content and the gameplay of Blacklight will be the same as the PC version, but Jared tells me that the experience will still be different. Plus, they have the freedom to do whatever they want to the game now. "We're redeveloping everything. The content and gameplay will still be the same, but we're redeveloping all of the controls for the controller. We're going to start using the touch screen for it, and doing all sorts of fun stuff with that. Anything that makes sense that the PlayStation 4 has we're going to try and integrate it into the game. "The big thing that we're doing is the experience is going to be completely different. Not only the experience but the game just inherently changes when it goes from the PC market place and PC user base versus console. "We're also going to be doing a lot of things that we wanted to change but we had none of the control over. We're completely restructuring the monetization system. It will still be a free-to-play, which is really exciting, but we're going to be doing a lot of new things with it just as far as content, and also the game itself." Jared told me they'll be revealing more stuff as we get closer to E3, but some things he was able to share was that they're going to be putting a big focus on the eSports scene with a spectating system similar to a sports program, making use of the uStream service, and working with outside partners to get actual prizes for players. They're pushing for more maps and other content as well. I also asked Jared if they have any plans to use the PlayStation Move. "Only if it makes sense," he told me. "We have everything at our disposal, but if it doesn't make sense we're not going to make something do it. I really want to do stuff with the screen, but if it doesn't make sense for the game I'm not going to make them do it. There are ideas that we have with the Move that I think will make sense, but not until we prototype it. "That's the coolest part, we're not afraid to throw away work, and our guys work so quickly. HRV for Blacklight, when I told them 'Hey we're going to make it so you press a button and you can see through walls,' half my devs were like 'You're a fucking idiot. Why are you doing that!' It was like 'Well let's try it, let's just prototype it out.' We did it, we kept it in for a week, and then after we took it out, everyone was like 'I really like it. Let's put it back in.' For now, they're focusing on getting the thumbsticks and the general controls perfect for the console gamers. Plus, they want to focus on making use of the new PS4 controller's touch screen in interesting ways. "With Blacklight, the cool thing was we tried doing some interesting things like the mini-games, you'd come up to something and you'd have to do a mini-game. That's the first thing we thought of when it comes to the touch screen. Instead of just holding E, maybe you'll have to be like 'Oh shit, I need to do this thing.' "'Cause that gives that frantic nature. Those are the first things that we've thought of for touch screen, but we'll probably make it so that it will be a major part of the customization system, or instead of having to always use the thumb sticks to rotate. We need to get it really working and see what looks right and also the fidelity of the screen. "We have [a PS4], but we haven't gotten in our own art, and we haven't gotten it really dialed in. I honestly don't even know if the [controller] actually has LEDs in it, truthfully. We have it, and I've been like 'Holy fuck, this is so awesome!' but we're still focusing so much on just getting the engine updated, getting it to actually talk to the PlayStation, getting all that stuff to actually build that we're not even rendering yet. It's just so much that the guys are working on right like building our own backend, connecting it to the PlayStation Network -- I have a feeling by E3 when you see me I'll just have gray streaks everywhere. "It's pretty wild, it's fun. If we can even make a moderately successful free-to-play that's going to be a huge success for us. With most free-to-plays, the money that you have coming in is not going to buy a Lamborghini or anything, it's to keep the game going. If it becomes a success then the game will become even bigger and we'll be able to put it back into the community and all that fun stuff." Zombie Studios is aiming to release the new Blacklight a few months after the PlayStation 4. "I'd love to be able to do day one," Jared tells me, "but that's completely out of my control sometimes."
PlayStation 4 photo
Still free-to-play, but with a restructured monetization system
[Note: The images used in this article are from the PC version of Retribution.] Developer Zombie Studios has announced that its free-to-play first-person shooter, Blacklight: Retribution, will be coming to the PlayStation 4...

Four Swords makes Shovel Knight dev's brain 'go electric'

Mar 24 // Jonathan Holmes
I talked Sean into letting me write this story about his electric brain because I trust that the level headed, insightful readers of Destructoid will understand that this is not a promise that Shovel Knight will have any multi-player components. Super Meat Boy once was set to have multi-player components, but they never made it to the final game. Time, budget, and how current ideas will fit with future design epiphanies can change everything development. Speaking strictly as a fan of Shovel Knight, I'd love to see multi-player happen, maybe in a Coin Battle/Boost mode side game like in Super Mario Bros. U. It could work as a place to really push your skills to the limit while teaching/learning from your friends in the process. Make it an endless mode filled with fun unlockables and you'd have me really freaking out.  At this point in Shovel Knight's development cycle, anything is possible. If you want to be a part of it, follow Yacht Club Games them on Twitter/Facebook and let them know what kind of features you want in the game. More importantly, help keep that Kickstarter going by spreading the word. It's easy to imagine that if and when the game makes its goal that additional backing funds could go towards stuff like multi-player and/or endless modes, but before that, we need to make sure it gets funded at all. We have the power to help make the games that we want a reality, so we might be noisy about it. (Oh, and if you want an exclusive interview with Sean, with some special Shovel Knight reveals to boot, check out the new issue of Nintendo Force. It's pretty good.)
Multi-player is a dream-feature, but no promises
Warning: Sean Velasco of Yacht Club Games doesn't want you to get your hopes up. Shovel Knight had a great showing at PAX, and is chugging along on Kickstarter, but the game is far from done and there is no way of telling wha...

Daylight trailer photo
Daylight trailer

Exclusive: Debut trailer for Zombie Studios' Daylight

New psychological horror game for PC
Mar 20
// Jordan Devore
Zombie Studios has shared details and screenshots for its procedurally-generated horror title Daylight, but now we're getting to see the Unreal Engine 4 game in motion. While the video is indeed a teaser, it should help put ...

Note Worthy 013: StarCraft, Metal Gear, and Tomb Raider

Mar 15 // Jayson Napolitano
Dive into PixelJunk MonstersRelease Date: May 22, 2008Price: $2.99Availability: PlayStation StoreArtist(s): Otograph[embed]248311:47557:0[/embed]We’ve dove into PixelJunk Eden and Shooter 1&2, and now I’m tackling PixelJunk Monsters. The colorful tower defense game features less music than the previous PixelJunk titles we’ve covered with only 40 minutes of music. The tracks are short and sweet in that regard.What you have is some seriously dreamy electronic music. I’d say it’s highly reminiscent of Square Enix’s Mitsuto Suzuki’s solo productions paired with the whimsical melodies of Hiroki Kikuta. And I mean this in a good way, as those are to my favorite artists out there.Even though the tracks are generally short (around the two-minute mark) and blend into one another, it’s a wonderful 40 minute journey. Very few tracks will jump out at you and prove memorable, but the overall listening experience certainly is. My favorites are “a-maze-ing maze” with its layered acoustic guitar and bells and the reflective lullaby, “bye bye monsters.”This is great stuff. If it were more fleshed out, it could be my favorite PixelJunk score to date, but for now, Shooter 1&2 takes that honor with its innovative approach. Still, anyone looking to relax with some great electronic soundscapes, check out PixelJunk Monsters.Emil Chronicle Online Original Soundtrack 6th Anniversary Memorial SoundtrackRelease Date: January 11, 2012Price: 4,200 Yen ($45)Availability: CD JapanArtist(s): ACE+While Gravity picked up the publishing rights to Emil Chronicle, I was apparently too busy playing Ragnarok Online to pay much attention. This is also a highly-stylized MMORPG that instead employed the talents of Japan-based ACE+, who you may remember from their work on Xenoblade Chronicles and Code of Princess.This four-disc collection adds a single disc of new music to the 4th anniversary soundtrack that was released years ago. I love the upbeat nature of the music that matches perfectly with the game’s aesthetic. There are tons of Celtic influences, bouncy towns, vibrant fields, and tasty pop-oriented themes to enjoy. I feel it’s ACE+’s best work, as Xenoblade Chronicles was a little on the ambient side and Code of Princess a bit lacking in the memorability department.There are some key moments on the album, including the opening theme, “FAR AND AWAY,” which brings a heavy Celtic sound with woodwinds and a beautiful and touching string section. The distant and solemn “Sound of the ruin,” the fun accordion-laden dance tune, “Beyond the Destiny,” the pumping rock fest “Over the infinite helix,” the dark and reflective “Phantasmagoria,” the upbeat and jazzy “Theme of Emil,” and the weird (but good!) vocaloid vocal track, “Song for Battle Field” are some of my favorites. As far as the new stuff on the fourth disc is concerned, you’ll want to listen for the opener, “Lands of Groundbreaker,” which is also a moving orchestral theme, and the closing vocal theme, “12sec seno mano -the voice from yourself-.”It’s great to get in touch with ACE+’s history, and this looks to be some of their best. There’s some great artwork to enjoy, although the booklet is admittedly pretty thin. Still, I recommend checking it out if you liked ACE+’s other works.Etrian Odyssey IV: Legend of the Titan Rough Drafts & OuttakesRelease Date: February 26, 2013Price: Not for SaleAvailability: First press bonusArtist(s): Yuzo KoshiroWe reviewed the Etrian Odyssey IV soundtrack in Note Worthy 005 and loved it. Koshiro has done an amazing job transitioning the series from the retro FM synthesis featured in preceding titles over to a live orchestral soundscape featured in Etrian Odyssey IV. I was immediately interested, then, when it was announced that the bonus CD included with early shipments of the game would feature outtakes and rough draft versions of the tracks used for recording purposes.What you get are five rough drafts and two outtakes. The rough drafts, as interesting as they sound, won’t do much for you if you’ve already listened to the OST versions. These are synth mock-ups that Koshiro created to prepare for the recording sessions, so they aren’t as vibrant or warm as their OST counterparts, although they’re fun to listen to for comparison purposes.The outtakes are both village themes. “The Wind’s Gentle Touch” meanders about dreamily, sounding almost like a lullaby, while “All is Well” goes classical with harpsichord (one of my favorite instruments ever) and a lovely woodwind accompaniment. It almost sounds like something Koichi Sugiyama would write for a Dragon Quest game.So there you have it. I’d say if you missed out on the disc, you’ll be okay. Just pick up the OST, which is one of the best albums released in 2012.GUN FRONTIER/METAL BLACK/DINO REX Sound Tracks for Digital GenerationRelease Date: December 21, 2012Price: 3,780 Yen ($40)Availability: Limited (SuperSweep Shop)Artist(s): Yasuhisa Watanabe, Hidetoshi Fukumori, TAITO[embed]248311:47531:0[/embed]A new entry into SuperSweep’s GameMusic Discovery Series, this is a collection of arcade soundtracks from Taito’s catalog including two shooters and a fighting game. There are also some arranged tracks and a DVD containing complete playthroughs of each game (cool for those who want to know more about the music’s context).The album kicks off with my favorite soundtrack of the bunch, Metal Black. This is a side-scrolling shooter about a fight against an alien invasion of Earth. There are a number of great melodies, including the intro stage, “Bone to be free” with its triumphant and sweet melody as players take back Earth. I also dig the ambient “Waste days” and the many boss themes which are somewhat atypical. I’m used to heavy action in my shmup boss themes, but all of these here take a more interesting approach, some slow and mysterious, and others a bit terrifying, highlighting the weird and alien-y appearance of the enemies you’re fighting.The other two soundtracks don’t stand out as much. Gun Frontier is also heavy on the melody side, but nothing really stuck with me. Two remixes from the game, however, really shine as some of the best that this collection has to offer with a bumpin’ dance remix and a sort of world music/electronic jazz remix that somehow manage to take the unmemorable OST and make it into something worthwhile. Dino Rex, a strange fighting game featuring a variety of dinosaurs, gets a stereotypical dose of tribal percussion and sparse melodies. You have to watch the DVD footage, as this game looks truly terrible.There’s another disc containing the Sega Saturn versions of Metal Black and Gun Frontier. The two versions are similar, except there’re more reverb effects on the Sega Saturn version, which I think I enjoy slightly more.This is a nice collection for fans of Taito shooters. Metal Black is excellent, but probably not worth the price alone. If any of these titles have your interest, however, you may want to check this out.Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance SoundtrackRelease Date: February 19, 2013Price: Not for SaleAvailability: Limited Edition bonusArtist(s): Jamie ChristophersonThis soundtrack is a surprise in so many ways. Generally, Konami keeps to itself with Metal Gear titles, relying on current Konami composers and former Metal Gear composers to maintain that “Metal Gear” sound. But Platinum Games had other plans, turning to Jamie Christopherson who certainly had a few tricks up his sleeve.This album is the soundtrack disc that comes housed with the pricey limited edition version of the game. It contains in-game music by Christopherson, and doesn’t have much overlap with the Vocal Tracks album that has been made more widely available.While it retains the Hollywood action stylings of past Metal Gear titles, it strays from that sound in many ways. I’d say it’s more of a Hollywood orchestral/electronic fusion with heavy rock elements. It’s really moody and cool in a lot of ways, but reminds me of, say, Deus Ex: Human Revolution more than Metal Gear.That’s okay though. I love the opening track, “Title,” to death with its great melody and distant guitar work beckoning from beyond, while the furious drum ‘n’ bass “Chase” and exotic “Old City” are also pleasing. The gritty Western movie-esque “Plaza,” the Asian-flavored “Japanese Garden,” the ominous “Tension,” and the techy “Result” are also awesome. A few battle themes make an appearance in their vocal-less forms, but more about those later.In all, this is a wonderful soundtrack. I haven’t played the game, but from what I can gather from Conrad, it works amazingly well, and Platinum Games ought to be pleased with their choice and Christopherson proud of his accomplishment. He had big shoes to fill and has successfully injected new life into the franchise.Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Vocal TracksRelease Date: February 18, 2013Price: $15.44Availability: Sumthing Else Music WorksArtist(s): Jamie Christopherson, Various Artists[embed]248311:47530:0[/embed]Here’s the previously mentioned vocal tracks album. Contained within are the boss battle themes from the game that coincidentally are all vocal tracks. The tracks fit in well with the score, incorporating a blend of rock and electronics that is somewhere between ‘90s alternative metal and Linkin Park. Shredding guitars, wailing solos, and gritty vocals litter the album.Before you balk, however, it’s important to note how the music is used in-game. In battle, the pieces generally appear in their instrumental form with cross-fades into the vocal versions as the action picks up in battle, which Conrad tells me works incredibly well to drive the action home. With that in mind, though, and the fact that many of the instrumental versions are included, even if the vocals aren’t your thing, you can still enjoy the musical backings as I found myself doing for tracks where the vocals didn’t really strike me.Some of the vocals really do stand out, though. The explosive “Dark Skies” with its choppy vocals, the bass-heavy “A Stranger I Remain” with a great female vocalist, and the amazing guitar work in “The Stains of All Time” are among my favorites. The deep vocal stylings of Jason Miller in “Red Sun” are also particularly memorable. The moody and slower “The War Still Rages Within,” the longest track on the album, provides a nice closer.My only complaint would be that the tracks are generally pretty short. In the two-minute range, actually. Still, fans of the game might even prefer this album to the OST, and it’s a lot more easily to obtain since it’s being sold separately. It’s worth checking out if this kind of music is your thing.RARE SQ - BONUS DISC -Release Date: December 5, 2012Price: Not for SaleAvailability: Tower Records / Village Vanguard customer bonusArtist(s): Various ArtistsHere we are with yet another exclusive disc to fans in Japan who purchase Square Enix music at brick-and-mortar stores in Japan. This is the accompaniment disc to Final Fantasy Tribute -Thanks-, and features a compilation of past SQ customer bonus disc tracks along with new ones, and I have to say that this compiles some of the best SQ series music to date.In terms of re-released material, you have the amazing “Aria” from Final Fantasy VI, redone by Reign of the Kindo, which is easily the best version of the touching opera scene I’ve ever heard despite it being sung in English by a man. There’s a lot of great new stuff, too, including an arrangement from Soukaigi (composed by Secret of Mana’s Hiroki Kikuta), which is a rare treat, and a great arrangement. There’s a dreamy electronic remix from Einhander, a funky version of “MEGAROMANIA” from LIVE A LIVE that will have you thinking of The OneUps, a bumpin’ chiptune medley from Final Fantasy VII, and dubstep versions of “Battle on the Big Bridge” from Final Fantasy V and “TWISTER” from The World Ends With You (which is fantastic). Finally, we get a 20-minute DJ set from a recent live event that Square Enix held which combines popular Final Fantasy themes including “Red Wings” from Final Fantasy IV, “Battle” from Final Fantasy VI, and more LIVE A LIVE in a great set.This is a great album, but unfortunately it’s only available to those who purchase the album physically in Japan. CD Japan cells a combination of Final Fantasy Tribute -Thanks- along with this bonus disc, but it comes at a premium. So think hard as to whether these remixes sound worth it. I think they are.StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm SoundtrackRelease Date: March 12, 2013Price: $10.99 (digital)Availability: Collector’s Edition bonus / iTunesArtist(s): Blizzard EntertainmentI can’t help but be a fan of the musical universe of StarCraft. There are the rockin’ Terran, the creepy and textural Zerg, and the regal and serene Protoss. Wings of Liberty touched on all of these, but focused on the Terran race, and now we get our hands on a lot of Zerg-tinged themes, which is actually my favorite race, musically.Derek Duke, the musical voice of the Zerg, does a lot of heavy lifting alongside sound lead Glenn Stafford (resident Terran specialist), and even Jason Hayes who was responsible for the Protoss in the original StarCraft returns to Blizzard Entertainment and is featured with Audio Director Russell Brower, cinematics expert Neal Acree, and contributor Cris Velasco.So, how does it sound? This album is certainly much darker and heavier than Wings of Liberty. It really nails the Zerg sound right out of the gate with “Corruptors” which touches on classic Zerg themes that will awaken that sense of nostalgia within. Duke does an amazing job with textural electric guitar and ambient electronic backings, marrying them to tense strings and defiant brass. We get these sounds throughout.Other tracks, including “Heart of the Swarm” and “Fire in the Sky,” bring in that bombastic Hollywood action sound with big orchestra with cool electronics in a very tasteful way, while there are a number of foreboding pieces featuring great choral work in “The Coming Storm,” moody rock in “Phantoms of the Void,” and some fantastic booming percussion in “Conscience.”Other times I was reminded of Halo (and I make this comparison in the most flattering way possible), with “Collateral Damage” featuring emotional strings and bassy piano notes that are followed by the blistering electronic-infused rock that is typical of the Terrans, while “Stronger” really channels that badass Halo sound with rock percussion and heavy electronic guitar work. The final track, “Whispering from the Stars,” has some finality to it, although things sound pretty bleak. Be prepared for what sounds to be a pretty distressing end to the game.This is really a fantastic soundtrack filled with great music and great production values. I have to say it’s one of my favorite Blizzard Entertainment albums in recent memory, and that’s saying a lot given the quality they are consistently able to deliver.The Black BoxRelease Date: March 8, 2013Price: Name Your Own PriceAvailability: BandcampArtist(s): Aivi “waltzforluma” Tran, Steven “surasshu” Valema[embed]248311:47529:0[/embed]This album is so good that I had to post about it when it was released last week despite knowing that I’d be reviewing it here. The team, who you may recognize from the recently-funded Cryamore project, combines piano and chiptunes through a number of original tracks and remixes. Tran’s piano work is fantastic, and Valema’s chiptune work, constructed in Impulse Tracker, adds a dreamy quality that sounds so natural.In terms of remixes, there’s my favorite track from Katamari Damacy, “Lonely Rolling Star,” which is upbeat, fun, and classy, while the bonus track, “Mabe Village,” from Link’s Awakening is simply sweet and adorable. The final remix is from Asturias’s Cryptogenic Illusion album, titled “Distance,” which gets a bubbly treatment.The originals cover a lot of territory, with “Shapeshifter” exploring what feels like a contemporary jazz style that is smooth and mood-setting, while “Diamond Dove” flutters about an adventurous atmosphere and “Here’s How!” gets into some swankier jazz territory. “Mika” is an emotional ballad that feels rooted in classical piano, and “Pocket Universe” explores jazz-tinged pop.It’s all quite lovely, and I can’t quite get over how natural this combination of sounds is. It also comes packed with a comic series that is “to be continued,” suggesting that we’re going to see more collaborations between Tran and Valema. I can’t wait! Stream it, and if you like it, throw some money their way! This is great stuff.TOMB RAIDER ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACKRelease Date: March 5, 2013Price: Not for SaleAvailability: Limited edition bonusArtist(s): Jason Graves[embed]248311:47528:0[/embed]This is the Tomb Raider soundtrack disc that comes with the limited edition version of the game. It comes with ten tracks totaling a little over 35 minutes of music, comprising only half of the tracks featured on the full-length soundtrack being released by Sumthing Else Music Works.What’s here is quite good. You have your typical action cues with heavy tension, not too unlike what Graves was able to do with Dead Space, but this score is a lot more dynamic. There’s tribal percussion to highlight the more organic locales of the game as well as tracks that bring out a more personal side of the game’s protagonist. “First Blood” in particular stands out for its emotional melody tinged with desperation, while the deep and broody brass tones in “The One” had me thinking of The Terminator. Everything culminates in the intensely chaotic “The Ritual” before listeners reflect on their journey in the contemplative “A Survivor is Born.”It would have been great to have seen the full-length soundtrack included with the limited edition, or at least the inclusion of some exclusive tracks. If you really like what you hear here, you’ll probably want to pick up the full-length OST from Sumthing Else Music Works.
Latest Soundtracks photo
Soundtracks you should be listening to!
Welcome back! We're looking at recent soundtrack releases, and there are a number of big ones this month. We've got impressions of the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and Tomb Raider soundtra...

Meet Skyrim composer Jeremy Souleís first symphony

Mar 14 // Jayson Napolitano
[embed]240075:47558:0[/embed]1) A soundscape similar to Skyrim In Jeremy Soule’s own words, “This is not a sequel to Skyrim, but rather a continuation of that energy.” It sounds as though Skyrim had a profound impact on Soule, and the setting of the game, specifically the far north, has resonated with him. “I spent a lot of time in the Canadian Rockies and the North Cascades. It feels like an escape whenever you head north in life,” commented Soule when talking about doing some first-hand research on the theme that will guide his first symphony. “I spent enough time while working on Skyrim exploring the mythos of that game and wanted to start reading about real-world mythos. I explored the natural beauty and sciences of the Northern Lights, the self-reliance of Inuit people, and the great Nordic tradition.” In terms of specifics, Soule reveals, “I’m trying to make something as aesthetically beautiful as possible, paying attention to every detail. My goal is to create something that is uplifting and has a spiritual dimension that breathes, moves, and has reality to it.” The work will contain four movements and will clock in somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes. There will be a choir featured as well as vocal soloists with lyrics in English. 2) Kickstarter as a shared investment in art Soule tells us that creating a Kickstarter campaign to fund The Northerner is a “Creative decision.” “The symphony is a collection of people on the floor playing instruments. Those people are connected to other people who helped them get to where they are. Instrument craftmans, educators, supportive family members. Without a lot of love and affection we wouldn’t have the symphony. It’s really a Huge achievement in collaboration. In order to reach out in this way and say, ‘how would you like to help make the bricks, mortar, wood, and materials to build this structure?’ That’s a great focus of energy.” Jeremy Soule will not be pocketing any of the money from the Kickstarter project, and funds are being used solely to prepare the rewards and book the orchestra that will be involved with the recording of the work. Soule wants fans to have a stake in the creation of this art. “The symphony is about people, and I want people to experience it as it comes into this world, as I hear it.” 3) A modest goal and great rewards The funding goal for this project is $10,000, and I’ve already mentioned where that money will go. There are five different funding tiers as follows: $15 - You will receive an autographed CD copy of the Soule Symphony No. 1,"The Northerner” recording. $50 - You will receive a personalized autographed CD copy of the Soule Symphony No. 1,"The Northerner” recording. $100 - Reward 2 plus a special thanks credit in the album’s booklet. $500 - Rewards 2 and 3 plus an autographed bound copy of Soule Symphony No. 1, "The Northerner" conductor's score. $1,000 - Rewards 2, 3, and 4 plus page one of the conductor's manuscript written entirely in the composer's hand. Marking a moment in history, this is the ultimate display item in 11"x17" museum quality paper and ready to be framed. This item will only be available to Kickstarter participants and will never be produced again. 4) Supporting a composer’s true expression of self I’ve always wondered to myself why my favorite videogame and film composers aren’t more active in writing work that comes from within themselves, inspired by their own imagination. It seems odd to me that they can so effectively score a project and nail the thematic content perfectly, yet don’t have an outlet that is purely from their own life experience, liberated from the scenes that unfold on a screen. Soule concedes, “A symphony is the hardest thing you can write as a composer. You set yourself up for ridicule if people don’t like it, and some composers have ended careers or even lives because they weren’t able to make people happy in the concert hall.” In other words, this is truly a labor of love and an extension of a composer’s soul. The reason it’s not attempted more often by modern composers is because it’s risky, not only in terms of time and possibly finances, but also professionally. “I wanted to tackle this in my 20s, but I didn’t have the life experience. I’m now in my latter 30s and have enough experience and knowledge.” The Northerner has literally been in the works for nearly 25 years, as this has been a goal of Soule’s since he was 12 years old. 5) The right guys as inspiration How often do you hear the names Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, or even Nobuo Uematsu as an inspiration for today’s composers? When I asked who some of Soule’s classical inspirations were, I got Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, and Strauss. “I want to feature tonality,” noted Soule, “My goal is to create a piece that people want to listen to over and over again,” to which we both laughed that he has a lot of experience writing music that’s listened to repeatedly through his work on games. I am incredibly excited to hear what Jeremy Soule is able to come up with based on his preference for the Neo Romantic period in classical music. It will be interesting to hear how it draws from both this period as well as from his thematic energy from Skyrim to give us something truly unique. We apparently won’t have to wait too long, as the Kickstarter page is already live and he’s already begun work on the symphony. “The work is obscured in a fog in my head at the moment, but there are clear patches in that fog,” and we’ll hopefully be getting a taste of that very soon. __ Let us know what you think. Is the traditional symphony an art form worth saving? Will Jeremy Soule’s beloved works in videogames act as a bridge to bring a new generation to the symphony? The success of Soule’s Kickstarter campaign will answer these questions for us very soon, so join me in my support for the Soule Symphony No. 1 “The Northerner.”Here's the audio clip in higher quality via our SoundCloud account: [embed]240075:47559:0[/embed]
Skyrim Composer photo
'The Northerner' takes to Kickstarter for funding
Jeremy Soule's Skyrim soundtrack was one of my favorites in recent memory. I've been a huge fan of his work since he entered the videogame industry with his soundtrack to Secret of Evermore at the young age of 19, and he's si...

Archie Sonic / Mega Man photo
Archie Sonic / Mega Man

D'aww! Sonic and Mega Man chibis adorn these comic covers

Variants for Archie's "Worlds Collide" Part 9
Mar 13
// Tony Ponce
HNNNNNG! My heart can't take much more of this! I think I'm going to slip into a coma before the Archie Sonic / Mega Man crossover even begins. But I've got to hold on! Just one month left! To bring everyone up to speed, the ...
Fan-requested VG raps photo
Fan-requested VG raps

Castlevania and Zelda get Mega Ran's nerdcore treatment

Simon Belmont, Alucard, and Link nod their heads to these tracks
Mar 11
// Tony Ponce
Mega Ran, everyone's favorite Philly rapper not named Will Smith, started a new project earlier this year called Time and Space. On the second Tuesday of each month, he will release a short EP of hip hop arrangements that sam...

Everything you need to know about Hawken's newest mech

Mar 05 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Here's some lore behind the new mech: Once known as "Armed Merchantmen", Raiders were originally used by freelance pilots as escorts for energy corporation shipments. Though they functioned primarily to load and unload cargo, their utilities were also applied offensively against the occasional, petty thief en route. As resources grew scarce however, so too did contracts. Hard-working, honest folk modified strong clamps and nail guns to tools more suitable to their needs. Raiders emerged, outfitted with the traditional M5 Muller model, but armed with weapons of war and the knowledge of every commercial trade route by land and sea. §  "When we first spotted 'im, he looked like yer typical Merchantman hailing, 'Hellooo there, friend'! Then the sun flared… and I blinked. As my eyes peeled open, I caught a glimpse of 'im, charging straight at me, guns blazing. But by then it was too late." -- Captain S. Daunders And here's a bunch of stats on the Raider's weaponry: Class: B Chassis: Muller Difficulty: 4.0/5.0 Summary: Very Short-Range Burst Damage NEW Ability: Blitz Increases movement speed and allows firing while boosting for a short duration. Level 1 Upgrade: Increases duration by 1 second. Level 2 Upgrade: Increases movement bonus by 5%. Level 3 Upgrade: Reduces cooldown by 5 seconds. NEW Primary Weapon: ReFLAK-35 A rapid-fire shotgun with ricocheting flechettes (projectiles), ideal in tight quarters. Damage: 3/6 Rate of Fire: 3/6 Accuracy: 2/6 Effective Range: 1/6 Heat Generation: 3/6 Level 1 Upgrade: Reduces heat generation by 3%. Level 2 Upgrade: Reduces maximum spread by 5%. Level 3 Upgrade: Reduces spread increase per shot by 5%. NEW Special Weapon: Corsair-KLA A dual-mode short-range weapon that fires airburst MIRVs or slung grenades. Use the ALT Fire button (middle mouse button by default) to switch modes. Damage: 5/6 Rate of Fire: 1/6 Accuracy: 4/6 Effective Range: 4/6 Heat Generation: 5/6 Level 1 Upgrade: Reduces mode change time by 0.25 seconds. Level 2 Upgrade: Increases airburst mode range by 10%. Level 3 Upgrade: Reduces heat generation by 5%. NEW Alternate Primary Weapon: T32-BOLT A versatile, quick-loading trinity shotgun that can be charged by holding down the fire button. Damage: 4/6 Rate of Fire: 3/6 Accuracy: 1/6 Effective Range: 2/6 Heat Generation: 4/6 Level 1 Upgrade: Increases effective range by 5%. Level 2 Upgrade: Reduces heat generation by 3%. Level 3 Upgrade: Reduces firing spread by 7%. Prestige Primary Weapon: EOC Repeater Starting Item: EMP The Raider also features an assortment of customizations, taunts, and more: NEW Holo Taunts: Use "H" to toss a holo-puck that projects the Holo Taunt of your choice during a match. Holo Taunts can be swapped out during a match by clicking on Holo Taunt icon in the Staging area. Holo Taunts work similar to Countermeasures in that all Holo Taunts are available and they share a single consumable inventory of uses. Unlike Countermeasures, this inventory can be refilled using HAWKEN Credits or Meteor Credits. Our first Holo Taunts include: POOR BEARCITO OMG VICTORY! BETTER CLUCK NEXT TIME LORD OF THE DASH NONONO NEW Mech Taunts: Use "G" to execute your selected Mech Taunt during a match. Each mech class starts with a default Mech Taunt. Even though the default Mech Taunt may be used during a match, in order to visually equip the Mech Taunt in the store, the player must unlock it for free to add it to their inventory. This is due to technological limitations. Our first Mech Taunts include: Class A Mech Taunts: THE PLEASURE WAS ALL MINE (Default) and DIRTY DOG Class B Mech Taunts: THAT JUST HAPPENED (Default) and THE ROOSTER Class C Mech Taunts: GLHF (Default) and THE SHOTGUN NEW Camouflages: WOODLAND-GRN, HAZMAT-Z10, BRAIN-WAVENEW Thruster: JT-H0TSH0TNEW Repair Drone: RD-QU4TERNIONNEW Chassis: Muller (Class B)   Hawken is free-to-play right now, just head on over to the official site to download your copy for free!
New Hawken mech photo
The new medium Raider class mech
Last week we showed you what the newest mech to join Hawken looks like. Well now our exclusive look continues as we have a full breakdown of everything the mech has to offer players in the free-to-play first-person shooter fo...


WayForward's Ivansmith talks Wii U, game length, and more

Exclusive reveals and good time squeals.
Mar 01
// Jonathan Holmes
Last Sunday on Sup Holmes (now on iTunes) we spent a very fruitful hour and a half with one Mr. Austin Ivansmith. Austin spoke of a many splendorous thing, from starting out as a painter, to the pros and cons assessing a gam...
Hawken exclusive photo
Hawken exclusive

Here's an exclusive look at the next new mech for Hawken

The new medium Raider class mech
Mar 01
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Hawken is the badass twitch based first-person shooter that sees you controlling giant mechs of destruction.The game offers a few different types of mechs ranging in different sizes and classes, and the collection of giant ro...
Free Quest Download photo
Free Quest Download

Free DLC: Download a new Dtoid quest in Etrian Odyssey IV

Scan this QR code to access the Destructoid Quest
Feb 27
// Dale North
How are you liking Etrian Odyssey IV so far? I've talked to several of you and it seems that everyone is digging it. Some have asked for gameplay tips, so here they are. For now, Destructoid has an exclusive quest in Etrian O...
Mighty Switch Force 2 photo
Mighty Switch Force 2

Mighty Switch Force 2 announced for 3DS

Austin Ivansmith of WayForward teases the sequel
Feb 24
// Jonathan Holmes
[Here's the segment of the episode where Austin makes the announcement; Full episode coming soon! -Ed] Sup, Holmes? (Dtoid's live stream videogame industry talk show/podcast) just wrapped with WayForward's Austin Ivansmith, ...

Anarchy Reigns: it's all about music with Platinum Games

Feb 21 // Jayson Napolitano
"MDK's"[embed]245924:47033:0[/embed]Composer Naoto Tanaka:"This track might be the perfect example of our conceptual approach to Anarchy Reigns music. Like MadWorld, Anarchy Reigns' soundtrack features hip hop; however, I wanted to bring something different to Anarchy Reigns. I thought it would be boring to just copy MadWorld's feel of black and white visuals and underground hip hop, so I gave Anarchy Reigns a taste of electro to fit its gritty, full color SF world. Vstylez also has an unusual style that made me take a step back the first time I heard it, but this track grew on me almost like an addiction."Lyricist Vstylez:"For me as an artist [this track] presented a challenge initially, but after finally getting the melody down I had to figure out what I wanted to call it because Platinum Games allowed me to actually be a part of the game by allowing me to name the song 'MDK's.' My man Shuzz at Joint One Radio sent me  the script and track for the game and it had instructions like what I could and couldn't say and things that were offensive to the Japanese culture. Salute to them, it was like studying for a movie role in a way [Laughs].I was at my parents' and I fell asleep on my mom's favorite recliner. I woke up at 2am and Demolition Man was on, and every time in the movie when someone got killed a lady on the intercom would come on and say, "Murder, Death, Kill," and when I heard that it stuck and 'MDK's' was created. That's what the script described so I wrote the hook first and the lyrics followed, and they loved it and allowed me to do another joint, "Days of Old." It wasn't hard, but was more of a challenge. I'm just honored to be a part of a videogame and Anarchy Reigns is dope!""Play For Keeps”[embed]245924:47034:0[/embed]Composer Naoto Tanaka:"This track is actually a combination of reworking two unfinished tracks together. It wasn't just a simple matter of copying and pasting though; all the tracks needed to be broken down to individual phrases and entirely reconstructed. The track that resulted was a complex mix of both tracks' musical phrases. Composing it was like putting together a puzzle, which I found to be an interesting experience. Of course, I also have to mention how talented SickYG is at writing lyrics. The 'ichi, ni, san, shi' in the middle of the track means '1,2,3,4' in Japanese. This follows with SickYG saying 'go,' which in Japanese also happens to mean '5.' Was this an intentional play on words on just a coincidence? You'd have to go to him to make sure, but I think that this play on words between the English and Japanese was intentional."Lyricist Sick YG:"Well, when I had gotten the news from Joint One that we going to go another round in the Platinum Games saga, I was excited and all for it. Jack was a character that had grabbed my interest from the beginning; so, when I was granted a chance to make another appearance in a whole new game, but, with familiar characters, I was ready to write.The track titled, 'Play For Keeps' grabbed my attention immediately. When I first heard it, I had sat and wrote the song in about 15 minutes, that's how much I liked the track. I was mesmerized by the script and a had a sense of familiarity with the story line. Thus, the challenge for the writing of the first set of tracks for MadWorld as opposed to Anarchy Reigns was the use of the imagination factor. Although I was handed a script to adhere to in MadWorld, it was more like I was creating the ambiance for the track from sheer imagination of my interpretation of what I thought the game may be like.Working with the music for Anarchy Reigns set me on edge with the discovery of the fact that the game would now be in color and on two different gaming platforms that weren't included in the availability of the first title.  'Play For Keeps' is a song that stands out to me as being 'above the law-esque,' which fits the title perfectly. Also, I had a lot of fun recording 'Play For Keeps' as you can hear in the energy of the performance. I love what Platinum Games is doing as far as game development and hope to be on board for future projects. In all, I wanted everyone to enjoy a track that was strictly created, crafted, and sculpted for the game that they, the consumer, was playing in contrary to pressing the mute button and resorting to listening to their own collection of music which in essence may have altered the experience of the game play.""Testin’ Me”[embed]245924:47035:0[/embed]Composer Naoto Tanaka:"This track serves as the theme for Leo, one of the game's protagonists, and has a relatively more serious tone than the other songs in the game. I remember during the selection process that I wanted an artist with a more serious tone, so we went with Doujah Raze. He met expectations many times over. I was particularly impressed by the choice to sing in the chorus rather than rap. It increased this song's appeal immensely. Also, instead of just copying his performance for the last chorus, Doujah Raze does things like stepping up the emotional tension in his singing, which really speaks to his dedication to the recording process."Lyricist Doujah Raze:"I'm glad to be able to write about 'Testin' Me' because it was probably my favorite track to write out of all the work I've done for [Platinum Games]. When I first started writing for MadWorld, I liked that I got to step outside of my box and write in a new genre... horrorcore! I had never written anything like the MadWorld tracks before, and it was fun to get more in touch with my dark side and write some material that was way outside of the scope of my personal work. I took to the challenge and was pretty impressed with the new music I created. I liked it more than I thought I would and I even gained a new following strictly from the work I did on the first MadWorld game.When I was asked to participate in the second game, I figured it would be more of the same - killing for fun and themes like that. And I was asked to do a couple songs in that vein, but then also asked to do something else... a song about being sick of the killing. The scope for 'Testin' Me' was way different than the other scopes. In fact, it was pretty opposite to the other scopes, but that meant it was a lot closer to home and easier to write.In 'Testin' Me,' more of the real Doujah Raze shines through - it's like something I would have written for an album of mine. It was definitely a lot more natural than writing about gruesomely killing people, and it made sense. Tough guys are tough guys, but they are human. And if someone went through everything that the character in the game went through, he'd have a lot of conflicting feelings. Being sick of the death, and caring about finding your loved ones are very human emotions - emotions that 99% of the people on this earth could relate to if they were in that situation. Taking someone's head off with a chainsaw... not quite as universal. So yeah, writing 'Testin' Me' was actually a breath of fresh air. The first several tracks I did for MadWorld allowed me to step outside into the horrorcore genre, and 'Testin' Me' allowed me to reel it in and bring it back home. I'm glad that the MadWorld fans got to see that side of Doujah Raze.As far as the chorus, I'm no singer, but I do play one on CD sometimes. If I'm writing a singing hook, it's gotta be pretty simple - simple enough for a guy without any vocal training like me to sing. Luckily, the chorus came to me really easy, kinda like the chorus of my first song ever, 'Hard Times.' I was just listening to the beat and it started flowing. First just the melody, then I filled it in with the words. Hooks aren't always that easy to write - in fact, most of the time they are the hardest part of the song. But I was lucky to find it so quickly with 'Testin' Me.' When you write that great hook, it makes it easier to write the rest of the song.Anyway, yeah - 'Testin' Me' is my favorite of all tracks I've done for [Platinum Games]. Sorry to any fans that like the murder, murder, murder, kill, kill, kill side of Doujah better, but that's not the real me. It is fun though! Peace..."  
Anarchy Reigns soundtrack photo
Commentary from composer Naoto Tanaka, rappers, with samples included
We had a blast with the Anarchy Reigns both in our soundtrack review and later with some music samples. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I wanted to speak with Platinum Games composer Naoto Tanaka (MadWorld, Anarchy R...

Note Worthy 012: Final Fantasy Vocal/Orchestral, Wizardry

Feb 15 // Jayson Napolitano
DJMAX TECHNIKA TUNE Original Sound TrackRelease Date: September 27, 2012Price: 8,190 Yen ($90)Availability: Out of PrintArtist(s): Various ArtistsI love the DJMAX series. Actually, I’ve only played the arcade-based TECHNIKA series, but the K-pop heavy soundtracks has always been some of my favorites. With recent DJMAX soundtracks rehashing a lot of music, I’ve admittedly been a bit disappointed, but DJMAX TECHNIKA TUNE remedies that somewhat.There’s a healthy portion of new tracks (about half of a disc’s worth), bringing back everything that made me fall in love with the franchise in the first place. There are some great pop offerings right out of the gate with the smooth “Take on Me” by Cuve, the bubbly "Shining my Boy" by Astro Kid, and the dreamy “Silent Clarity” by Tsukasa. The game’s main theme, "The Max" by NDLee, is also a lot of fun with its heavily-accented English that still manages to leave an impression for all the right reasons.There’s the usual eclectic offerings, including makou’s joyous Celtic track, "Emblem," tasteful alternate rock with Planetboom's "Brand NEW Days," and an amazing rock remix of ESTi's "Oblivion," one of the best DJMAX tunes ever, by NieN.From there, the remaining disc-and-a-half revisits old material, but fortunately many classics are featured, including tracks by DINY, Nauts, Lin-G, Shinji Hosoe, and a few of my favorites that I'll call out by name: BJJ's "First Kiss," Rex's amazing ballad, "Propose, Flower, Wolf Part. 1," and what's easily one of the most catchy DJMAX tracks of all time, "HeartBeaT Part.2" by NDLee. The album closes with extended versions of some of the best new tracks, including "The Max," "Silent Clarity," and "Shining my Boy," along with tracks used for the game’s menus.In all, I’m happy with the new material presented here, and the booklet included features extensive credits, lyrics, and commentary on every track. The set also includes a visual art book and a screen cleaner. It’s a great package with some great music.[embed]244687:46938:0[/embed]Donpachi / Dodonpachi / Dodonpachi II SoundtrackRelease Date: November 2, 2012Price: 3,150 Yen ($35)Availability: CD JapanArtist(s): Various ArtistsThis album is a big deal. This series is from Cave’s early days, and the shmups featured some pretty twisted stories along with the standard electronic and rock soundtracks. Unfortunately, the soundtrack albums have since gone out of print, and here’s SuperSweep to the rescue with the music to the first three games in the series.Donpachi from 1995 didn’t really strike my fancy. It features some dated orchestral sounds without much in the way of a memorable melody. The funky name entry theme is probably my favorite of the bunch. Likewise, the Dodonpachi II soundtrack doesn’t really have a lot going for it, but you may want to take note of the third stage’s battle theme that blatantly rips the Final Fantasy IX battle theme.Where it’s at is the Dodonpachi soundtrack. Serious electronic music marks its entrance before it launches in live wailing electric guitars in the stage themes, all of which are amazing. The ending themes also stand out for their pop approach. It’s a shame that Dodonpachi II was such a step backward from the amazingness that is Dodonpachi.The album includes a second disc that really isn’t worth your time. It features the mono output versions of the Donpachi and Dodonpachi soundtracks (why does anyone want this?) and one of the console ports of Dodonpachi II.As somebody who’s never played these games, I can’t recommend this album to anyone but the most hardcore fans, but hey, I’m glad it’s out there for those who were looking for the out of print originals.Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New EyesRelease Date: October 16, 2012Price: $19.99Availability: Bundle ExclusiveArtist(s): Periscope StudioWhile Allistair wasn’t thrilled about the PC adventure title, Harvey’s New Eyes, one of the few highlights he noted was the game’s soundtrack. As “one of the best released [last] year,” I thought I should probably check it out.The 30-minute soundtrack comes bundled with the two games (Harvey’s New Eyes is a sequel) along with some other goodies. The track names are in German, so I won’t bother you with them, but I’ll say that what little is here is good, and as you’d imagine from the description Allistair gives of the game, the music is quite eclectic.There’s a catchy main theme that sounds like something out of a French café with the use of accordion and some dreamy acoustic guitar as well as a vocal version of the theme with German lyrics that comes later (an English version is available as well). Two organ pieces are featured, which is good for me as it’s one of my favorite instruments. They’re quite ominous, and probably my favorite tracks here. There’s a desolate desert right out of a Western film, a weird tribal track with most of the sounds made using the human voice, dark and broody jazz with a walking bass and all kinds of unsettling sound effects, and a tense orchestral/electronic fusion that comes in towards the end sounding like something Craig Armstrong would write for a big Hollywood action film (that means good).But before it starts, it seemingly ends. I’d love to hear more of this, as it’s all very well produced. It’d also be nice to see it available online outside of the bundle. I can’t say it’s really one of the best of 2012 given how little there is, but it is quite good.[embed]244687:46937:0[/embed]FINAL FANTASY Orchestral AlbumRelease Date: December 26, 2012Price: 5,250 Yen ($56) (standard) / 7,800 Yen ($84) (limited)Availability: CD Japan (standard / limited)Artist(s): Various ArtistsWell, here it is. We’ve been super excited for this album, and I already unboxed the limited edition for you. And now we have impressions of the over two hours of music featured.As the name suggests, this is all live orchestral music, most of which was recorded in Prague specifically for this album. Some tracks are borrowed from previously-released orchestral albums, which, while a little disappointing, could have been excluded altogether, so they’re still nice to have here.The arrangements and recording are all fantastic. You get two different medleys from Final Fantasy I-III that open the album, a new and amazing “Battle With the Four Fiends” from Final Fantasy IV, a regal arrangement of the Final Fantasy V main theme, and an awesome atmosphere in “Phantom Forest” from Final Fantasy VI. There’s a new version of “Maria and Draco” in Japanese (I prefer the English versions found elsewhere without the narration) followed by borrowed arrangements from the Final Fantasy VII Reunion disc that are still fantastic.A big deal was made of Crystal Kay recording “Eyes on Me.” She does a great job, but I must say I prefer the original Faye Wong, or even FFXII’s vocalist, Angela Aki’s, version. We get an unexpected new track from Final Fantasy IX, “Unexpected Feelings,” which comes as a moving ballad with sweeping strings. Final Fantasy XII gets orchestrated for the first time with “The Dalmasca Estersand,” which is easily one of my favorite tracks. The album closes out with a 15-minute medley of battle themes from across the entire franchise, and while I typically don’t like medleys (not enough time is devoted to each track), this one kicks some serious ass.All of this, plus the fact that this comes on a Blu-ray disc. Pop it into a Blu-ray player and it shows you the logo and track title for each track and displays lyrics in real time. Look at photo galleries from the recording session, listen to original soundtrack versions of the tracks to compare with the arrangements, download MP3s of the album to your computer, and watch a number of promotional videos for this and other recent albums. It’s a nice package, and that doesn’t even include the vinyl that comes packed in with the limited edition.Square Enix knocked the ball out of the park with this one. Get it before it becomes as difficult to come by as past Final Fantasy orchestral albums.[samples]FINAL FANTASY Vocal CollectionRelease Date: January 30, 2013Price: 3,150 Yen ($35)Availability: CD Japan / Play-AsiaArtist(s): Various ArtistsHere we are with Square Enix’s first album of 2013. It’s a compilation of vocal themes from across the series. Crazy that they finally have enough of it to fill a CD!Final Fantasy fans should already be aware of most of what’s here. “Eyes on Me” from Final Fantasy VIII was the first, and is still one of my favorites. Faye Wong is awesome. “Melodies of Life” from Final Fantasy IX is sweet, coming off as a children’s song, while “Suteki da ne” and “Otherworld” from Final Fantasy X explore different styles (ballad and hardcore metal). “Distant Worlds” from Final Fantasy XI has grown on me over the years, but original vocalist Izumi Masuda is almost a joke compared to the Susan Calloway version heard in the Distant Worlds concert tour. Final Fantasy IV DS also gets some love with the amazing vocal rendition of “Theme of Love.”From there, “Kiss me Good-Bye” by Angela Aki is my favorite Final Fantasy vocal theme. Final Fantasy XII wasn’t my favorite, but this pop ballad is so powerful and moving. Even lesser-known material follows, with the two vocal themes from Final Fantasy XIII’s Japanese release. They’re very convincing J-pop ballads, showing off Hamazu’s versatility, but don’t resonate with me much since they were swapped out in the international release of the game.Finally, we get the original recording of “Answers” from Final Fantasy XIV (a live version was featured on the Distant Worlds: Returning Home album), and it features the previously-mentioned Susan Calloway. It’s similar in style to “Distant Worlds,” with epic choir and moving vocal passages, but it explodes with electric guitar and rock organ, making for a very memorable experience.There are many fans out there like me who already own all of this music. The only exclusive is the in-game version of “Answers,” but if you’re a fan who doesn’t own many of these OSTs already, this is worth picking up to catch up on your Final Fantasy vocal history. It’s just a shame that RIKKI’s “Pure Heart” (an arrangement of “Aerith’s Theme”) wasn’t included! HFB: PixelJunked - The Original Soundtrack to Shooter 1 & 2Release Date: April 12, 2011Price: $7.99 (PlayStation Store) / $9.99 (iTunes)Availability: PlayStation Store / iTunesArtist(s): High Frequency BandwidthAfter not caring much for the PixelJunk: Eden soundtrack last month, I didn’t have high hopes for Shooter. I haven’t played Shooter, but I thought I’d give the soundtrack a try. As it turns out, I like it. A lot.In the album’s booklet, they classify the music as “chill hop.” This suits the album quite nicely. There’s a great spacey atmosphere with lots of reverb, exotic sound effects, and some fantastic beats. This soundtrack is actually a series of arrangements from one of HFB’s previously-released albums, with these mixes made exclusively to fit the areas of the game. They say it took them longer to remix the existing tracks to use in the game than it would have to write new ones.Right out of the gate with “Hundred Forty Billion” there’s a thick chill out vibe. You’ll hear lots of electric piano and gamey sound effects. “Happy Funkin' Birthday” sports gritty electronics, lots of bass, and is dark, while “Hill Film Blue” takes orchestral elements such as pizzicato strings and mixes them with spooky synths from outer space. The fat snare hits and exotic chants in “Hell Fire and Brimstone” are startling, while “Hidden Foto Banks,” my favorite track, is super funky with robotic vocals.There’s dreamy encompassing bass in “Nano Bytes,” icy hip-hop with rap lyrics in “More or Less,” scratching in “World Ghetto,” and some cool wah-wah guitar work and bells that remind of Shatter in “Come on Down.” The moody filtered guitar work in “Godisnowhere” had me thinking Dexter, and the final track, “Hippy in Transit,” won me over with its crystalline bells and electric piano runs.I guess I should listen to the original source tracks before I get so excited about this album, but as it is, this is some great music. After looking at gameplay videos and listening to this soundtrack, you’d think they were made for one another. The music is mixed into the game in an interactive way, where the music picks up and gets more lively as you approach enemies. It’s really cool, so get it![embed]244687:46936:0[/embed]Le Labyrinthe de la Grisaia Soundtrack & Theme CollectionRelease Date: March 7, 2012Price: 2,800 Yen ($28)Availability: CD JapanArtist(s): Elements GardenI was curious about this soundtrack based on the involvement of Elements Garden, a Japanese-based group of composers who’ve put out some great material in the past (see their VGMdb credits here). After listening and doing some research as to what the game was all about, the music presented here made a lot more sense: it’s an adult visual novel game for PC.What you have is a number of catchy J-pop theme songs for the game’s various characters and a lot of pop-oriented instrumental music. The production values are high, with some great strings and piano, and there are a lot of upbeat melodies and soothing backdrops (this album threatened to put me to sleep a few times), but there admittedly isn’t a wide emotional range covered with the tracks here. Even “the murder,” which introduces electronic elements, sounds kind of bubbly. The tracks are also a bit on the short side at generally under two minutes in length.The vocal themes are pretty good. “World End,” which acts as the main theme, is the most adventurous of the pack, while my favorite track, “Crystal Clear,” acts as one of the character’s ending themes, throwing in a funky bass line and some snappy percussion to mix things upOverall, this is some great music by Elements Garden. Even if I never play the game, I can appreciate what they’ve done, but it is a bit weak in terms of variety.MUSIC GUNGUN! Best Hit Tune!Release Date: August 31, 2012Price: 2,625 Yen ($33)Availability: Limited (Amazon JP)Artist(s): Various ArtistsThis is the soundtrack to MUISC GUNGUN!, an interesting arcade rhythm game where you shoot things in time with the music. The game was released by Taito and featured a lot of original pop and rock tunes along with arrangements from various videogames. With Taito’s relationship with Square Enix, there are also tracks by Takeharu Ishimoto (The World Ends With You) and Masashi Hamauzu (Final Fantasy XIII). Get ready for some upbeat pop, rock, and electronic music with interspersed vocaloid.Honestly, only a few of the originals stuck out to me. I loved "Beat the Sound" with its grungy rock sound, the super catchy “MUSIC STAR” which is sticky sweet in its pop incarnation and equally hip when it later gets a rock version. There’s a cool rock track that reminds me of Castlevania, but two of the highlights are “Dreamer” by Takeharu Ishimoto, which sounds like it’s right out of The World Ends With You, and "Shooting Star" by Masashi Hamauzu, using his signature strings and electronics with Mina (see our Black Ocean review) on vocals.In terms of remixes, they’re all fairly straightforward. There’s Bubble Bobble, which I love, complete with the hurry up jingle and increased tempo, as well as Elevator Action, the popular horse race jingle, and lots of other classical tunes that include a rock version of “Air” by Bach and an electronic “Swan Lake.”Overall, there wasn’t a lot here that stuck with me. The major things that caught my interest were Hamazu and Ishimoto’s involvement and the remixes. While the former are great, they only get a single track each, and the later aren’t worth the asking price.[embed]244687:46956:0[/embed]Sengoku BASARA HD Collection Original SoundtrackRelease Date: September 5, 2012Price: 2,500 Yen ($27)Availability: CD JapanArtist(s): Various ArtistsFor the uninitiated, the Sengoku Basara franchise tends to feature a lot of Japanese-flavored rock. That is, lots of chugging and wailing electric guitar with the addition of Japanese instruments like the shakahauchi and koto. This album, which is a companion piece to the HD collection (containing three HD remakes from the franchise) is no different, but the great thing is that the focus of these soundtracks is on character themes, so they really explore a lot of territory trying to give each character a distinct personality through their theme.The album sports everything from rock with orchsetral influences to pumping electronic tracks, playful jazz, and more. I would say that while the 36 tracks featured tend to be on the shorter side, at least there's a lot of variety. The guitar work throughout is quite nice, although the strings aren't very convincing, having a distinctly retro quality that I actually found quite enjoyable. This music, like the game, doesn’t take itself too seriously.There’s one track with a bumping electronic bass that had me thinking of Ninja Gaiden, while a jazzy tune with a walking bass line and big brass and a foreboding track with guttural electronics and a defiant French horn really stood out. There’s some organ, drum 'n' bass, and even a romantic cue thrown into the mix as well.This album is a good pick up for those who haven’t explored the music of Sengoku Basara before, while those who already own some of the previously-released soundtracks may just see this as a way for Sony to milk more money out of music they’ve previously released. Be that as it may, I like it.Wizardry Online Original Sound TrackRelease Date: November 7, 2012Price: 3,300 Yen ($36)Availability: CD JapanArtist(s): Akimasa Shibata, Kenji ItoWe’ve mentioned Wizardry Online a couple times recently. What you have is the classic dungeon crawler, now online, and man, the music is fantastic.After a sweeping orchestral theme by Kenji Ito (Romancing SaGa series), there are all the typical RPG trappings, including soothing town themes, dark and foreboding dungeons, heart-wrenching ballads, and an occasional playful moment here and there. It’s all wonderfully produced, and a lot of what’s here takes on a rather ominous tone that I think is perfect fit for the Wizardry franchise.There are some exotic twists thrown into the mix, including several tracks with tribal chants and rhythmic percussion, as well as a few Western-sounding soundscapes, and these are also enjoyable. The end of the album goes out with a bang, introducing some more action-oriented pieces that combine orchestral and electronic elements that really get the blood pumping.There are several tracks that really stand out on this soundtrack. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of music from Wizardry or RPGs in general. There’s over an hour and a half of music to enjoy, so dig in!
Latest Soundtracks photo
Soundtracks you should be listening to!
Do you like Final Fantasy music? This month we're reviewing both Final Fantasy Orchestral Album and Final Fantasy Vocal Collection, both of which we've been greatly looking forward to. We're also looking at the latest DJMAX t...

Fan-requested VG raps photo
Fan-requested VG raps

More free fan-requested VG raps by Mega Ran

Samples Super Mario RPG, Illusion of Gaia, and Beyond Good & Evil
Feb 11
// Tony Ponce
Just after MAGFest ended last month, nerdcore rapper Mega Ran unloaded a new EP on the Destructoid doorsteps. A collection of tunes from games like Battletoads and Earthworm Jim with original lyrics added, Time and Space was ...
Final Fantasy VI photo
Final Fantasy VI

Exclusive: Final Fantasy VI Balance and Ruin preview

From the team at OCR, samples included
Feb 04
// Jayson Napolitano
Balance and Ruin, a massive remix project by the good folks over at OverClocked ReMix , quickly blew past it’s Kickstarter funding goal, but then there was a snag: yes, those pesky copyright issues. Now all of that has ...

Project Awakened REawakens courtesy of Kickstarter

Feb 04 // Jim Sterling
[embed]243714:46747[/embed] For those unaware of Awakened, here's a quick rundown. It's a game about creating your perfect videogame protagonist, essentially. A huge range of abilities lets you customize your power fantasy, from rock-hard skin, to super speed, to teleportation, to the summoning of whirlwinds, as well as proficiency with all manner of weapons. The early test footage revealed an unparalleled level of personalization, promising a game that speaks to me so precisely, I almost suspect Phosphor's been walking in my dreams.  Phosphor's Chip Sineni explained to us that, despite publisher interest in Awakened, nobody was willing to bite in an industry ruled by sequels and big franchise names. The developer found itself in a market of extremes, with publishers viewing games as all-or-nothing gambles. Either they're going to bet the farm on a game and sink obscene amounts of marketing dollars into it, or they'll provide zero promotion and send it out to die. There's no middle ground anymore.  "We shopped Project Awakened to every major publisher, and had a pitch meeting with most of them," Sineni told Destructoid. "Everyone we personally talked to loved the idea, and each of them would say 'we should do this game together,' and ask us for all this documentation and material so they could pitch it to the executives. Then a couple months later they'd have long faces and tell us the same thing we heard from every other publisher -- that the company was only investing in sequels or similar games to well known IPs ... 'tweaks' of  ideas already in the market. "From a publisher's standpoint, games are a big risk. They are beholden to shareholders. They really can’t do any games that don’t have 'metrics" or 'comparables,' which is why you just don’t see much innovation in the retail boxed game space, which is where all their big plays still are. The problem might be alleviated by digital download and less middlemen (console manufacturers, retail shops, cost of goods, shipping) getting a cut of a game, if publishers committed a lot more big budgets to digital, but I don’t know how their culture would work in publishing more innovative games -- it is still money going towards a unknown risk." This fear of new ideas is what painted Phosphor into the corner it now inhabits. The company needs to make money, and so has been doing contract work for other studios' projects. Of course, doing this means it can't dedicate its time and resources to Awakened. Despite plenty of headway made on the game, it's reached a point where the project is treading water, risking abandonment as Phosphor tries to keep itself profitable.  This is where Kickstarter comes in. Armed with a stable foundation of funding, Phosphor will be able to dedicate itself fully to Awakened, finally getting the game's launch closer to reality. Powered by Unreal Engine 4 (note: our screens are from the UE3 version), Awakened is shaping up to be something gorgeous, and intends to make maximum use of the PC format. The team plans to heavily support the modding community, providing simple tools at first, and hopefully releasing expanded features as the project goes on. "Project Awakened is an ambitious game and is still early in development," revealed Chip. "As an independent developer, we always have to find work that can pay our bills, which means our longer term game Project Awakened always gets staff diverted from it to help on projects that are closer to getting out the door. Kickstarter will make sure we can dedicate a team to shipping the game. "The funny thing about Kickstarter in general is people always told us we should try, and we had all these excuses why we shouldn't -- that it was a fad, or you had to be a big famous designer or IP to pull off a successful campaign. But it still seems like it is going strong and working for a variety of different cases. In hindsight, Project Awakened is such an ideal project for kickstarter because it is much more of a 'gamer's game' than something that would get approved on a corporate level." Another major benefit with Kickstarter, Phosphor believes, is the ability to directly evolve the game based on community feedback. The game will include cooperative and multiplayer modes depending on how much money it can make, and also hopes to include advanced modding tools and other neat, PC-centric features, provided the market shows an interest.  "When it was planned to be a retail box console game, there really was only so much you could do after launch -- the game pretty much is what it released with. On PC, you really can roll out betas earlier, and the fans can start making suggestions and help you hone in on a good game before you go in directions people aren't asking for. It is crazy when you think of what Minecraft is today vs what it first released as. "We'll be more polling for what features people are asking for -- the pledges for the kickstarter are to get it existing at all vs. specific features. Of course, the more we raise, the more of these features we can make available when it first launches. It is an interesting  idea for a major new feature addition to the game connected with a pledge level or something, but after that it's way too early to tell what our community will be asking for until it is funded and then in their hands." The aforementioned modding tools are one of the features Awakened originally wasn't going to have, but Sineni and his team are incredibly excited for now. The team hopes players will take the game's city setting and be able to change everything about it, adding swords, armor, skeletons, whatever they want. The goal is to "make it as moddable as the community wants it," and the initial release aims to have a pro-level tool set allowing users to fiddle with the A.I. and even craft their own superhero abilities. If the game is a success, Phosphor will roll out more user-friendly tools.  That's in the future, though. Right now, the game has $500,000 to raise, and a whole lot of heart to back it up. Various pledge rewards are in place, with high tiers allowing you to create your own in-game taunt, or getting a character modeled after you. The $1,000 reward -- an actual statue of a character you create using Awakened's tools -- is by far the most interesting to me, though I'd have to dig deep for a spare grand.  I'll definitely be tossing some money Phosphor's way, though. The team's history with Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy demonstrates it knows a thing or two about player empowerment, and I just really want to see Awakened in the flesh, after years of patient waiting. This is one Kickstarter drive I am emphatically behind, and I urge you, if nothing else, to at least check it out. Check out Awakened's Kickstarter page!
Awakened photo
Here's the lowdown on Phosphor's promising sandbox game
It's been a long time since Destructoid last got to speak with Phosphor Games about Awakened, the incredibly promising superhero sandbox game that caught our eye nearly two years ago. In that time, Phosphor's made a living wi...

How the Dead Space 3 team created new hellish monsters

Feb 01 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
"When we started [on Dead Space 3], we did a lot of [research] to begin with cause we didn't exactly know what all the creatures were going to be yet and we were still kind of developing the setting," Ben told me. "So we ended up [concepting] without any real coherent direction on it. We knew we were going to go to an ice planet, we knew we were going to do something a little bit more alien then we've done on previous Dead Space titles, and we also knew we were going to do a human component that was going to be more of this ancient kind of mummified look. "So with those directions in mind I worked with a concept artist in LA, Brett Marting, who's a really talented guy. He started to just kind of develop some ideas basically. I think he was originally going off the more of the alien feel, like what would be really ancient arcane alien kind of thing. So he did a bunch of key images that were interesting, and then at some point we started to gravitate towards this mummified look." Fodders are a new common form Necromorph that's unique from past designs as they have the mummified look to them. The ice planet players will be exploring in Dead Space 3 was attacked by the Necromorphs long before the events of the original Dead Space, and you'll be coming across these Fodders that have been dormant for centuries, hence the mummified look. "So mummies are naturally pretty creepy in a different way then say the normal Necromorphs are where they're kind of all guts and gore, and very fresh. I think it was a lot of fun to just explore what is freaky about mummies. They're just really bizarre stretched faces and they just have a lot of interesting elements to them." The outside physical aspect of the Fodder is one part of the new creature. The team didn't want to just create one basic repeated form, so you'll be getting multiple variations of it depending on the corpse that's used to create a new Necromorph. That also extends to the type of weapon the Fodders will use. Yes, actual weapons, another first for Dead Space. There will be Fodders that use ice picks, fire axes, surgical saws, and so forth. While they are using melee weapons, it's still pretty similar to fighting a Slasher. What's striking about the Fodder compared to a Slasher, however, is what happens once you've dismembered it. "At a certain point, we knew that we needed to develop the new baseline enemy," Ben explained. "We've been using the Slasher for a couple of games as our main guy and we needed something as robust as that, but had a completely different dismemberment strategy. We started going back to paper and going 'Okay, what do we want to see in this enemy? What would be the ideal version of it?' We knew we wanted something that would transform so you would always be surprised no matter where you hit the enemy would react in a different way, and it would transform in a different way. "With that in mind, we started just coming up with interesting forms that could evolve from a human being like if you had shot limbs off of it what would be the weirdest thing that could come out of it? The way the Fodder works is basically blow off its legs he'll grow something down below and he'll locomote in a completely different way. Shoot off his arms off and his whole top explodes, and something else happens. "I love just long gangly things," Ben continued. "I just think they're naturally creepy so a lot of the initial concepts kind of echoed that. We knew that in its intact form we wanted this thing to be just a very intimating creepy figure. Just kind of an imposing thing that just wouldn't say anything but looked human. You might see this thing swaying in the distance, looking at it and go 'What the hell is going on?' And then you realize too late that there's actually a creature inside of it." Another new enemy in Dead Space 3 are the updated Lurkers, Necromorph-infected dogs that are essentially the replacement of the baby and kid enemies from the last two games. No, they're not getting rid of young hosts due to any controversy or the like. In fact, there were never any complaints about the fact you could stomp babies and kids to death. Go figure. Rather, from a fiction standpoint, there were never any kids present in the world players will be exploring, but there were plenty of dogs. "They're kind of like sled dogs," Ben told me. "But they would use them for digging for artifacts, kind of like how you would have in an earthquake scenario where you have dogs trained to seek things out. "That was the idea behind [the new Lurker], what would a dog version of that creature be? We tried a bunch of different things, some of them were less dog-like than others. But I really wanted to have a little bit of a dog identity to it so we ended up with something a lot more like this. It's just this really dissected and deformed canine." The design is loosely based on a rottweiler, and other canine breeds you'd associate with finding things. Continuing with the fiction, the dogs that were taken with humans in space were on the small scale, as it's tougher to keep a larger dog contained on a spaceship. And like the original Lurkers, you can expect these news ones to shoot out long, menacing tentacles. One of the bigger creatures in Dead Space 3 is the Nexus. You first saw this creature in action at the end of the E3 demo, where the battle finished with the Nexus sucking up and swallowing players whole. Art director Alex Muscat described the process of creating this beast that went through 30 iterations before they settled on the final look. "What we usually do is start off with something really loose, just a really vague idea. Then somebody will sketch something out and it will look like weird blobulous kind of thing. The second idea is well okay what is scary? Sometimes we try to get inspiration from things that we already know are terrifying. Insects and bugs are pretty gross to a lot of people. If you actually look at the Nexus it almost looks like some sort of insect.  "Visually we have some basic framework there that's going on, and then we'll sketch something out. Then we'll start refining it over time. One of the things we do is we'll start adding some of our look to the enemies. One of the themes we have in our games is ribbing [that] adds that element of scariness and grossness to it. We have this idea of open carcasses, the rib cage -- you can actually see on the Nexus when he opens up his chest and his ribs and guts are exposed. We have that theme throughout all of Dead Space." Slasher, Fodders, Nexus, Lurkers -- there's a ton of new enemies and a lot of returning ones that have all been rebooted. There are so many enemy types now that Dead Space 3 offers the most enemy variety of any of the past games. Creating so many creatures is no easy task, due to technical limitations, and some other factors. "We tried all kinds of different stuff for the different forms that we create," Ben told me. "A lot of this ends up you write some stuff on paper and then you go and you match that up to your document and you try and figure out which one of these concepts is going to best convey the different states that you need to have for the creature. A lot of times the concepts will inform the designs. So the designers will see something and go 'Oh my god, that looks so cool! Can we make that happen?' and we'll come up with gameplay out of the concept. "It's kind of a mix and match. And then we usually we do a culling pass where engineering gets involved and they go 'Okay, you can't have 20 tentacles coming out of this thing cause we just can't render that.' And you start honing things down and trying to figure out what's going to be the most effective use of the asset. We knew with the Fodder we wanted to have as many of them on screen as possible just to make them a challenge, and we had to at least be able to support the same number of them on screen as we had with the Slasher. It was a balancing act of 'Do you really want this feature or do you want a whole bunch of them able to mob the player?' There's always that tradeoff but I think in the end, we ended up with a good mix of it. "It's always a challenge for every enemy to try and come up with something unique about them, something memorable," Ben told me. "You want each enemy to leave a lasting impression on the players. Not only so they remember what kind of enemy it is so they know what strategy to use, but just so that it's marked on their brain. That's part of the horror aspect of it, just finding things that psychologically resonate with people as freaky." Dead Space 3 will be out on February 5, 2013 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Check out our Dead Space page to see everything you need to know about the new horror title.
Dead Space 3 photo
Exclusive concept art galore
The Dead Space series features some of the grossest, most horrific creatures and scenes shown in gaming today. Visceral Games isn't afraid to pull out all the stops when it comes to terrifying players with the Necromorphs, an...

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