Community SSFIV Developer Blog: BGM
The developers of Super Street Fighter 4 talk about the background music.
Thanks to Azrael once again @shoryuken.com forums for the translation!
How is everyone doing? It still doesn't feel like the New Year. But today I feel like I'd like to eat some New Year's dishes.
This is Tsukamoto.
If you're talking about Street Fighter, there are plenty of songs that are instantly recognizable that you want to sing along or hum to! So then, today we'll call on the Sound Creator Mr. Tomozawa to represent the sound team who creates these famous songs and sound effects.
Well then, please introduce yourself.
Nice to meet you, I'm the Sound Creator, Tomozawa. Continuing from SFIV, working together with the Sound Designer Mr. Endo I'm in charge of everything related to sound. My personality is that of a shut-in. As my job entails making sounds, I isolate myself so I don't bother everyone else. I also had the flu, so that played a part. At home, I'm in charge of babysitting, so that also contributes to my personality.
A recent picture of Mr. Tomozawa
First off, tell us about how you chose which character themes to make a remix version of in SFIV.
Up until now in SFII, the characters had their own stage and BGM, which were paired together. But in SFIV, for various reasons characters didn't get their own stages, so we decided to make the BGM go together with the stage. But we felt that just that wouldn't be enough for the players, so we also decided to make remixes of the character themes for the rival battles. But in the SFII series, basically you didn't get to hear your own character's music, but your opponent's. So, even if you were using Ryu, if your opponent picked Guy it'd be Guy's music, if your opponent picked Chun it was Chun's BGM, like that. In SFIV, the rival battles are handled the same way in that you hear your opponent's music. But then not all characters appear in the rival battles.
So that's why there are some characters without a remix of their themes.
Yes. But for Rose, Sakura, Cammy and Bison, those themes are extremely popular, so the development staff wanted to get them in somehow. So for those 4 characters only, their own theme plays as the BGM during the rival battle. Also, for Akuma and Gouken, their rival battle music is Ryu's remixed theme, but the previous sound director Endo said he wanted to get their themes in there, so we just managed to slip them in at the end of the development schedule. As that music was made for the promotional video and wasn't meant for the game, I felt we did a good job getting it in there. The players who saw the video also felt that the music was really cool. So we tried getting a loop, and when we did we felt like "we can do this!"
What do you mean by "getting a loop"?
In fighting games, we don't know exactly how long we need the BGM to play, and we can't have it stopping in the middle of the fight. So within the song, when it gets to a certain point, it will return back to another earlier point - so the BGM continues in a loop. With this in mind, the music for most fighting games is made to loop back to the beginning. But for those 2 songs, as they were made for promotional video, we had to go and look for a place where we could loop it back to. So that's what I meant by "getting a loop".
The flow of those 2 songs is really cool! In the promotion video version, I really liked the taiko drum part, it got my body moving. For the songs in Street Fighter, after hearing them it really gets you pumped up.
There are a lot of interesting character theme remixes in SFIV.
The guy in charge of the music and remixes at first, Mr. Fukazawa, made them sort of with no idea how to proceed. The first remix that was completed was Ken's, and in a lot of ways it was almost like an original theme. When Endo heard it, he said that he felt the SFIV players would really enjoy original remixes, and Fukazawa said "Well then, let's bust em open and go all out!" (laughs). That's how we decided on the direction of the remixes in SFIV.
In SSFIV all characters will be getting a remixed version of their theme - how did that come about?
The biggest reason was that this was a huge request from a lot of the fans. In the comments on the official blog, even if the entry had nothing to do with music there would be comments such as "no remix theme for such and such character?" We felt that this is something people really wanted, so when it was time to make SSFIV this is one of the first things we decided on. This time, we would definitely have themes for all the characters.
This time, we can hear the remix themes outside of the rival battle, right?
That's right. As the people also wanted to hear them during battles, we made it so that this can be easily unlocked. Ms. Shiozawa already mentioned it on her blog last week, but to explain it again - on the Status screen if you set your icon and title, it will unlock the Arrange BGM option. From Sound in the Options menu, set Arrange BGM to on and you'll be able to hear the remix themes during battle. And when you go into an online lobby, you will hear either a stage BGM or the remix BGM randomly. Also, for all rival battles, this time around you will hear your own character's theme.
Online Lobby Screen
The bug check staff said that if they go into a lobby and hear their favorite theme it gets them really motivated (laughs). With voice chat, you can say stuff like "If this song plays I think I'm gonna lose" or "OK! If its El Fuerte's theme then I'm gonna win!"
I hadn't thought of that, but that's kinda interesting (laughs). Endo really likes pro wrestling, so when he made El Fuerte's theme he really went all out.
The staff, who loves Fuerte, are also a big fan of his theme. There are guys who just keep saying how cool it is over and over (laughs).
Do you have any favorites out of the remixed character themes?
My favorite is Cody's. It was made from the Final Fight opening music. Its great on its own, but its even better during the rival battle! Its kind of a sad, sorrowful theme, but it fits really well with Cody's lines and his character setting. And, Endo would probably pick Balrog's remix theme. I really like it too, but then I heard Cody's theme and it lost out to that (laughs).
I like Ryu's theme. I listen to it every day while working. And when I'm coming to work, I have it on my music player, so it gives me a great boost to start off the workday! (laughs)
In a previous blog, it was mentioned that Rufus has voice samples in his character theme.
He does. The original idea for that came from the designer Ikeno. He said "Wouldn't it be interesting if we put this voice in the character theme". Not just for the BGM, but Rufus's voice actor, Mr. Hatano really had a big impact, I think.
Rufus Vs Ken Confrontation Scene
Yeah, that's a really good example. His voice fits the characters image perfectly and really enhances his presence. And before we knew it, Rufus's voice had made it into the BGM as well. "Cho-ha! Cho-ha! Ayee! Ya-ha!" (laughs)
What about those who want to set the remix BGM freely as they like?
Yeah, about that. For example, even though Ryu and Ken are fighting, the BGM is Guile's music - that's kind of strange, isn't it? That's the only reason why we're not doing that. This is something that I as a creator wanted to protect. It becomes like - for who did I make this song for? My apologies, but please give me a break on that. Its a bit selfish, and I do feel bad about it, but this is just something I feel personally.
Tell us about the stage BGM.
The first BGM stage music we completed was the Drive-In Stage. It's a pretty hip theme. Right before the theme was completed, the feeling within the development staff was that we wanted the stage music in SFIV to be hot, down and dirty. So when I asked Fukazawa about where this music ranked between hip and down and dirty, he said "It's at the extreme edge of hip!" I was happy with that (laughs).
So then, we can say that the Drive-In Stage BGM is the most trendy in all of SFIV.
That's right (laughs). Even though its a fighting game, the melody uses a piano.
While we're talking about it, how were the stage BGM created?
Ideally, we would have created the music to go with the stage after it was all finished. But that was difficult according to the development time tables, so before the stages were made we used the image boards and other reference materials to get an image of the stage, and made the music from there. For the India stage, we had a picture of an elephant. For SSFIV we got the image boards pretty quickly and that was nice, but for the home version of SFIV, for the console stages there was no time so we didn't get much. Especially the Volcano Stage, nothing had been done for it for Fukazawa was only told "Its a volcano with lava and molten rock flowing" and he had to make the song from that.
You were only told about the most important aspect of the environment.
Yes, and also the stage color. We were told that the stage would just be a strong red, so we made a song to go along with that.
Whether the stage is red or blue, that's a big thing. If its blue, we need a cool image, and if it's red we need a BGM that's hot. But I don't think there are really any blue volcanoes (laughs).
But for a stage that's hard to imagine that's essential information.
That's right. For example, for console SFIV and the EX version of the China stage, the designer in charge thought of an image and told Fukazawa that the base color would be blue from the start.
How about the music during the end credits?
About that, I have a comment from Endo.
"For the end credit music, we wanted to retain the image from the previous title, and of course improve on it. Just saying that is easy but actually doing it is quite difficult, so even in SSFIV I hope everyone listens with that in mind."
The end credit music in SFIV also got high praise.
Yes, we did the character theme medley in SFIV's end credits, but all the songs have a really strong arc to them, so no matter which one we used it always felt like the closing one. Getting them all together in one song without it being clumsy was very important, and I feel that we did a good job of it in both SFIV and SSFIV. In SSFIV as well we wanted to use as many character themes as possible, and we got 15 of them in. The melody gets pretty heavy as it goes, so as you listen it'll become difficult to separate which is which.
Even though there are a lot of last-minute changes, the sound team always does the voice tweaking at super-speed, and they give us such great songs and SFX, so I really am grateful to them!
Well then, did you enjoy this week's entry? This week was all about the BGM, so next week we'll continue on with the voices and sound effects. I hope you're all looking forward to it!
Also, here are some bonus videos that have popped up recently. Enjoy!
T-Hawk's 2nd Ultra:
Dee Jay's 2nd Ultra(44 Hits!):
Adon CES Demonstration, shows 2nd Ultra:
Cody CES Demonstration:
Guy CES Demonstration: