With Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth featuring both characters from Persona 3 and Persona 4, Atlus composers wondered if they should go with original music tracks or rearranged versions of older tracks. Two key composers recently shared how they handled it in an interview with Dengeki.
Before we begin, here’s a little background on the two composers.
Atsushi Kitajoh (on the right) began working at Atlus in 2006, on titles such as Persona 3 FES, Growlancer IV, followed by Tokyo Mono Hara Shi: Karasu no Mori Gakuen Kitan, Persona 4 Arena, and more.
Meanwhile, Toshiki Konishi has been on the Atlus Sound Team since 2001, having worked on titles such as Devil Survivor 2 and Persona 2: Innocent Sin.
Since the two often work on rearrangements of tracks originally composed by senior composers, Dengeki asks if they ever feel any pressure while taking those on.
“I don’t really feel much pressure when it comes to that,” says Kitajoh. “I believe that [Shoji] Meguro and I share similar parts when it comes to music direction, so it’s quite easy to arrange things in my own way. [Kenichi] Tsuchiya’s music and original tracks are so well-put together, so I feel like they give me a lot of free space to make arranged versions.”
“I definitely feel some pressure!” exclaims Konishi, on the other hand. “Of course, there’s Meguro’s music, and even when I arrange Mr. Kitajoh’s songs. They’re all made of elements that I don’t possess, so I feel a lot of pressure…”
Kitajoh chimes in by saying that if he were to rearrange some of Konishi’s music, he too would have some trouble, and would most likely make it sound completely different.
Since Persona Q isn’t exactly Persona 3 or Persona 4, Dengeki asks if they ever kept any of those two games and their music in mind while making tracks for the 3DS game.
“It’s hard to simply put the feeling of the Persona series into one big thing,” responds Kitajoh. “However, this time, it was Meguro who told me, ‘Try to make songs that can bring out the essence of your very own Persona’.”
“To top it off, I had to be careful to be able to make it capture the mood of both Persona 3 and Persona 4, and that was pretty tough,” he continues. “At first, I thought about packing it full of rearranged tracks, but then I felt that we could have something that is more Persona Q-like if we went with new songs, which also wouldn’t favor either of the other games.”
Meanwhile, Konishi says he left things to Kitajoh. “As for myself… this time, I entrusted everything about the mood of Persona 3 and Persona 4 to Mr. Kitajoh,” says Konishi with a laugh. “Besides making the songs, [Katsura] Hashino and [Daisuke] Kaneda repeatedly gave me the advice of ‘Persona is occult’.”
“With such occult-like fear and feelings of disturbance [in mind,] I focused on the Persona series-like elements, but in my own way,” continues Konishi. “So, there might actually not be any songs that ‘followed the tracks of Persona 3 or Persona 4’.”
“In the end, even if I copy Mr. Meguro’s songs, I end up making ‘my own style of Meguro’s song’,” concludes Kitajoh.
To that, Konichi says with a laugh: “You might be saying that now, but after hearing your song, I thought ‘this is so Persona…’ and I was really surprised. Then I thought ‘now how can I fit in…?’”
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth will be released on November 25 in North America and November 28, 2014 in Europe for Nintendo 3DS.