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KH Ultimania - Sound Team

The long-awaited (probably not XD) translation of the Sound Team interview!!

I have to rush off for now so there hasn't been ANY PROOFREADING. So uh... get ready for some eye-bleeding. XD I will have the google link in a members-locked entry.

Even after the translation is done, this is still subject to change (I am not a professional, y'know).
Because of that reason, DO NOT PUBLISH ELSEWHERE (link back here instead)

KH Ultimania - Sound Team

Making songs and directing at the same time was more difficult than I thought
---This time, Ms. Shimomura was also put in charge of directing the sound team. So how did that fare?
Shimomura: The production directors entrusted me with the job of choosing what will cause which sound, the timing of sounds during cutscenes, and other such things. But since I could not do this by myself, many people helped me with it. It was a much more difficult job than I thought.
---About the music, were there points that you paid more attention to?
Shimomura: I tried to make songs that fit the action well but do not stray too far from the Disney image. In the beginning, I had a narrow view point and kept thinking, “Since it’s Disney, the songs should sound like this.” I was extremely worried but once I thought, “As long as I feel good when playing, then it’s alright,” I was able to make the songs just like that.
---How did you feel when Utada Hikaru’s songs were going to be added?
Shimomura: I kept thinking that all the songs in the game need to have one unifying theme that ties everything together. Before I heard Ms. Utada’s song, I actually was worried and wondered what kind of song it would be. But those worries were for naught when I discovered that it was a beautifully written piece. There is a scene where an arranged version of “Hikari” plays, but I think it still fits even in a cutscene.
--- I heard that there apparently was a “cursed song.”
Shimomura: In the beginning and ending of the game, there is a song with a chorus. That chorus is a phrase that expresses the dark side of Kingdom Hearts, and it was used in several songs. However, once we tried loading the chorus data in when we were creating the songs, something bad would happen. The worst thing that happened was when the electricity to the building was cut off. (laugh)
---Speaking of the chorus, the language seems to be Italian. Parasite Eve used Old Latin, and Legend of Mana used Swedish.
Shimomura: If I used Japanese and even English, the meaning could be deciphered. I wanted to use languages that one would listen to and not understand instantly.  Since this song had an old classical feeling, I thought of using German, Italian, and Latin, but I thought Italian fit the best.

We subtly changed the sound of the footsteps depending on the place
---What did you pay the most attention to with the sound effects?
Minekawa: I definitely think it was making the sounds have a Disney feeling to it. At work, I wanted enemies to have a bwasha, bwashaaa sound when you attack them though. (laugh) The Heartless might have that sort of expression, but when the characters are hit, the sound had to be pretty and cute in order to not shatter anybody’s dreams.

---What’s the selling point?
Minekawa: It’s the footsteps. They change if you walk in a place with wooden floors, and there was one map where there were 12-13 types of footstep sounds. There were extremely specific instructions. For example, if you were to walk over a small rock in a grassy area, it would sound like, “rustle rustle rustle bump rustle rustle rustle...” The sound changes a little bit.
---With only a little space, you were able to add that much data into it.
Minekawa: Oh that already... (points to own arm) like this... kind of. (laugh) (???)
Shimomura: No, actually making it was pretty fast. “It feels lonely without a sound here, huh?” and 10 minutes after we talk about it, we already created it. (laugh)
Minekawa: Since we made around 15,000 individual sounds, we had to go on that pace or we wouldn’t be able to make it on time.
Ohori: While we were making the sound effects, we kept adding more and more and had to increase the allotted space in the program.
Minekawa: We had severe problems with the space. For example in Final Fantasy, the fields and the battles were separated, so the data could be sorted and added like that. (???) But this time there is no separation between fields and battles, so we had to distribute the sounds to both using the same amount of space. But since it’s an action game, there’s many things that you are able to do, and you don’t know what your partners will do. We had to add various sound data and it was difficult in general.
---How did you make the sound for Donald’s and Goofy’s footsteps?
Minekawa: That is....... a secret. (laugh) Donald’s footsteps were actually created by sound foley artists in Los Angeles that worked on the actual movies. We, in the studio, did not get to see how they made those sounds. That staff also worked on foley on the movie “The Mummy 2”.

Traverse Town’s theme song was performed with real instruments
--- Was it decided in the beginning that voices will be in this game?
Sugawara: Yes. When the director Nomura went to Los Angeles to be at the recording for FFX International, he told me that KH will have voices. Since FFX was still fresh here, I replied halfheartedly, “Ah, is that so.”  (laugh) (???)
--- It seemed difficult to tell how far the voice-acting will be used in the game.
Sugawara: Because it was dependent on how much time we have. We had to think of the time constraints and the amount of lines, and be careful of how far we should go, and in the end it was Nomura who decided where the voices would be placed.
--- The voice cast is wonderful.
Sugawara: That is because there was a new company hire from the northeast who supervised the dubbing of a great number of Disney films. The number of voice actors is really amazing isn’t it? I felt like a spectator when I saw them progress this far. (laugh) (???)
---I heard that the recording for Sora’s voice and the other main characters began four months before the sale of the game.
Sugawara: We were fine with just editting in the voices, but the motion team that had to match the mouth movements really tried their hardest in that short period of time. Their hard work really shined through.
Ohori: The voices also have a new function. In the past Square works, when two people spoke at the same time, both their voices would be playing off the same data. But since this is an action game, we don’t know when somebody is going to speak, and there might be times during cutscenes when we want voices to overlap. We changed the program and made it so that four voices can play at the same time.
Sugawara: Ohori was responsible for changing many things, such as adding the ability to fully stop the voice when the character goes into a pose. (???)
--- Are there any other new techniques?
Ohori: For example, in the Dive to Heart BGM, there are actually around nine songs that were used, but we had to naturally transition into a different song as events progressed. In order to link together the music phrases, I put together a program that would pick which ornamentation performance to go next, and I left it up to Shimomura’s music. (laugh) Also, there is a particularity with the overlapping music. You may think that the battle and field music are smoothly switching with each other, but the two songs are actually playing at the same. I went through much hardship to make that part work well.
Shimomura: But I went through hardship till the very end. (laugh)
Ohori: When the two songs are playing together in actuality, the tempos clash and create an odd feeling, so  I had to change their tempos.
--- You did not use sampled music (the art of taking real sounds and putting them together) for this game?
Ohori: Depending on the song, there might be one part where sampling was used, but we did not use it that much. I’ll just say it for now, but I performed the saxophone part in the Traverse Town melody.
Sugawara: Eh, really?
Ohori: I played it for an entire song, and then I sampled it. It was a bit of an adventure. When I played it naturally, other sounds would come in. When I played it a little more quietly, the sound came through well.
Shimomura: The melody sounded much better thanks to the live recording. But I did that secretly. (laugh) I was happy that it was like a secret present.

Yoko Shimomura
Representative Works
LIVE A LIVE, Super Mario RPG, Parasite Eve, Legend of Mana, Working Chocobo (Hataraku Chocobo)
Game’s Secret That Only I Know
I used small themed musical phrases for this game. For example, the main song is a phrase that expresses “precious memories”, and that phrase was used in some other songs. Scattered fragments of that phrase was used in the End of the World’s song, but were you able to catch that? Also, the number of songs on the CD soundtrack was 76, but the game’s data actually has 99 songs. I said, “I don’t want to have any more than 100!” and I stopped at 99. (laugh)

Supervising Dialogue Director
Teruaki Sugawara
Representative Works
Final Fantasy IX, Final Fantasy X, LIVE A LIVE, Legend of Mana 3, Saga Frontier, Parasite Eve
Game’s Secret That Only I Know
Your friends from each world have different lines they say when you heal their HP. Tarzan says, “Thanks”, Aladdin says, “I owe you one!”, Ariel says, “I’m happy”, Jack says, “That’s very thoughtful of you” or “Thank you!”, Peter Pan says, “Thank you”, but Beast is the only one who says nothing. Also, there are lines they say when they want help, follow-up lines, and lines they say when they take the initiative to attack the enemy.

Sound Editor
Chiharu Minekawa
Representative Works
Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy X, Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon, Chrono Cross
Game’s Secret That Only I Know
For the character’s footsteps, the right and left feet have different sounds. But there are various sounds for each footstep, so when you stop in the middle of walking the same sound would not occur repeatedly. It should sound natural.

Sound Programmer
Hitoshi Ohori
Representative Works
Cyber Org, DEWPRISM, Bouncer
Game’s Secret That Only I Know
When the Gummi Ship departs from the Disney Castle, it feels that the music dies out in the middle, but a program was used to change the song’s pitch in real time. But that program’s existence could not be revealed until the final stages of development, so it wasn’t used in any other scene but that. (laugh)

If you read these translations, I would appreciate a comment saying you did. :3


Huh. This is really interesting, although I don't know what they're talking about with the Italian chorus thing. I never noticed any songs with voices except for the opening.
I think Destati was used in the beginning and the ending of KH. Wasn't it playing when Sora was fighting Ansem? :o

August 2012



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