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A Music Blog (#34: I'll be here for a while)
Updated December 6th, 2013 at 4:43 AM by bobandbill
Another entry! Once again uni sure liked to eat up my life, but now I have time for LPs and writing and even this again! :V
For this entry (continuing the songs-with-string-instruments-from-video-games theme challenge), I'm going with tunes from the rather popular game Xenoblade Chronicles. This is a JRPG for the Wii, which a lot of people never got to play, actually! But more on that in a bit. First for the video of probably the most popular song of the game... and with good reason.
Without knowing anything about the game, imagine this. You've recently had to go through a tunnel full of not-cool things like spiders, with a cutscene of plot and boss fight near the end, as one tends to encounter in these sorts of places. You get out to the other side for the Protagonist's Epic QuestTM, back to outside to a narrow canyon. No music plays, just the wind blowing through the grass and the trees.
But after passing a couple of NPCs, you'll suddenly hit a gigantic field.
And this begins to play.
...Unless of course, you were playing in the middle of the night time for the game! Then you'd just get the alternate version of the tune, which is also good. Just not quite this good. And also with much less strings, so it doesn't count for this. =p But it's still worth a listen! And it's neat for the day/night system to extend to the music for every area in the game as well - really helps with the mood and variety to the rather massive soundtrack.
The vast majority of the song is by string instruments, save the odd few points when it'll stop to have a drum 3-beat before the song continues again, and a moment near the end before it loops. It has a generally simple beat in the background and backing instruments. The melody is mostly what carries this long tune through though, and it's something that fits the area of the game very well (it's the largest area to explore in the game). This tune is by a group called ACE+, who did a lot of the battle themes and some area themes. And yes, this is one of the groups - akin to Kid Icarus, there were six main composers for the game. Which gives you some idea about the size of the whole darn thing. On that note, for anyone interested in this sort of thing here's an interesting read particularly about the music of the game - an interview with the sound team, and how they got the music to fit together.
Xenoblade is an interesting game, not least for the issues it had in localisation. In fact, it never was going to come outside of Japan, along with a bunch of other games for the Wii from well-liked series. But then a group formed, called Operation Rainfall. The general gist was that it was a collection of people who all petitioned to Nintendo to bring these games over and show that there was a market for these games. The amazing thing: it worked. All three games, including Xenoblade, got their releases, and pretty decent sales out of it too.
There's a lot of other songs that I could mention, including this one which has mostly strings and some woodwind too, which'd also fit this theme challenge (worth a listen - quite a relaxing song!). However, I'll do a second video based on what a friend told me to do. Given he lent me the game, I think it's only fair to do so. =p It's a battle theme that only plays once in the whole game. Note that playthroughs can easily be above 100 hours. And it's by Yoko Shimomura ['She has been described as "the most famous female video game music composer in the world"']. Whoops!
It's not a bad choice to feature though given it's rather different in style to Gaur Plains. The piano adds to it nicely, and it has a few different melodies going throughout too if you listen. It's much faster paced and good for listening to when you want to do something quickly, say frantic writing.
Needless to say, Xenoblade is most certainly a game to get if you see it. It is very, very long, and not only has an amazing soundtrack but a battle system that sneaks up on you in how it builds up, quite nice visuals (extremely pretty), and a great story. I quite like the part when [spoilers] happened after that whole [spoilers] with [spoilers spoilers spoilers].
Sorry if this entry became a bit of an advertisement of sorts, but it's most certainly something to look into, and the soundtrack overall is solid. So it's worth the ramble. =p Hope this was of interest to you!