How Chrono Trigger’s Composer Yasunori Mitsuda Worked On Sea Of Stars

Yasunori Mitsuda has worked on dozens of games since the mid-90s, but he is best known for his work on Chrono Trigger. The story of how he started working on the game is surprisingly simple. “[Sea of Stars creative director Thierry Boulanger] like, ‘We have a point of contact with all these people. And he just put out his hand, and [Mitsuda] liked what he saw. And so he said, ‘Yes, I would, I would love to be a part of this,'” Sea of ​​Stars lead composer Eric W. Brown said. “There are no words to describe this. Like, that’s… we actually got the guy.” Mitsuda committed to creating about 10 tracks for the game, and the process went smoothly.

“We just kind of said, ‘This is what we were looking for,’ and then he and I sat down, and we discussed that we definitely wanted a town theme from him, we definitely wanted a battle theme, a boss theme – we looked at all the stuff we definitely wanted,” Brown said. “The whole story was planned for a while, and then we just rearranged all the beats. So we had a high-level look at all the music we needed.” There was some talk of going bigger and getting mixed up for some of the tracks, but it was decided to keep things classic and in keeping with the old intent of the game.

Boulanger was similarly appreciated by Mitsuda and his involvement and describes an initial interaction when he asked the group through a translator if they would like him to switch his compositional style from Chrono Trigger or not. “This is the only time in this career that we have had to respond to an e-mail with a ‘Yes!’,” says Boulanger.

We had the opportunity to speak with Mitsuda via e-mail about composing the music for Sea of ​​Stars. You can find the discussion below.

Game information: In a recent video, you shared the details of your involvement with Sea of ​​Stars and said the music is dedicated to the sound of the Super Nintendo. What does that mean, and how does it work?

Yasunori Mitsuda: On the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), sample tones are configured in the system’s limited memory and played back in 8-voice polyphonic. Also, while very cheap by today’s standards, the “echo” effect can also be considered a feature of SNES-style sound. While keeping the feel of the time but also using modern technology, I tried making the music for Sea of ​​Stars as if it were coming from a slightly upgraded SNES. Normally, the synthesizer sound could be used as-is, but this time I purposely reassembled the audio at 32 kHz and applied the effect with the same settings as the SNES “echo”. It sounds a lot better than before, but I think somehow you’ll be able to get that SNES feel.

Do you want to revisit your Super Nintendo musical roots?

It feels incredibly nostalgic. As I did, I thought about how difficult it was in the past to use these types of techniques, techniques that are no longer necessary today. The joy of mixing each sound together was one that was often experienced only with consoles of the time.

How would you personally describe Sea of ​​Stars?

That is a difficult question. If I were to describe the game in a single word, I think I would choose “imaginary”. There’s nostalgia for pixel art and other elements, but for this game, I’ll choose “fantasy”.

What is the step-by-step process to create a work by Yasunori Mitsuda? Where do you start, and what is the final step?

For a long time, my writing process hasn’t changed. I try to fully understand the world and atmosphere of the game, read the script over and over again and imagine the kind of music it needs. When necessary, I make a relationship diagram of the characters. While doing so, the music the game is asking for starts to pop into your mind naturally.

For a deeper dive into the Sea of ​​Stars soundtrack, head here. for Sea of ​​Stars is coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on August 29. For more information on the game, you can check out the latest issue of the game. Game Informer magazine.


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