With visual novels, the sights and sounds before the player matter. They are necessary to set and maintain the tone and atmosphere in a way that can differ from other genres. TYPE-MOON’s Witch on the Holy Night is a game in which this is especially clear, and Siliconera got to ask Lead Composer Hideyuki Fukasawa a few questions about composing tracks for its soundtrack.
Jenni Lada: How did you come to work on the Witch on the Holy Night soundtrack?
Hideyuki Fukasawa: Witch on the Holy Night was the first TYPE-MOON title I was involved with. I worked on several other games from other companies before, but I never had any experience being entrusted with a job like this, nor had I handled a title with a setting [like Witch on the Holy Night] and I felt it was an assignment worthy of the challenge.
With Witch on the Holy Night essentially being a visual novel, how much time was spent composing its soundtrack?
Fukasawa: The game is indeed a visual novel, but I probably didn’t really understand how much impact music had on players at the time. PC games ten years ago didn’t have voiced dialog, and so music must have played an even more important role, but I didn’t think about that effect and just composed as I thought best during initial production. So while composing the music itself took the same amount of time as usual, preparing the music composition took more time than usual because I was establishing a simple rule or motif for all songs to create a common mood and tone. Preparing those took about a week, and then I simply took those rules and applied them to my compositions, which took about two to three weeks.
How did Tsukihime and TYPE-MOON’s other games influence this soundtrack?
Fukasawa: Before working on Witch on the Holy Night, I knew that there was a game called Fate/stay night and I knew what it was about, but I had never played it, nor did I know that it was a TYPE-MOON title.
When I was assigned to work on [Witch on the Holy Night], I thought my work would be affected by the other titles if I looked at them beforehand, so I purposefully avoided them so I could work with a blank canvas. So I don’t believe other titles had much influence on this work.
However, I do remember listening to just one song that was composed by Yuki Kajiura for The Garden of Sinners, which was part of the materials I received during production of the music. I should have expected this from the get-go, but I remember being thoroughly impressed with the track. It was absolutely beautiful, and I can sometimes hear snippets of it like an earworm still today. I actually don’t remember which specific track it was, but maybe [Kajiura-san’s] music influenced mine in some way. Now that I have been exposed to so many works and titles, I strive to always approach my work with a fresh and open mind.
Which Witch on the Holy Night song took the most time to compose?
Fukasawa: I don’t remember which song took the most time. Completing the entire project, including additional orders, might have taken the longest time. However, I do remember that the main theme took the shortest time for me to compose. I remember writing up a melody that popped in my head right on the spot during the very first music production meeting when we were all being briefed on the game’s overall setting, which turned into a very significant moment for me.
Witch on the Holy Night is digitally available for the Nintendo Switch and PS4 digitally and physically. It also appeared on the PC in Japan.