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PlatinumGames Talk Vanquish’s Sound Design And Music



In the latest updates on the PlatinumGames blog, sound designer on Vanquish, Ippei Shiraki, and composer, Erina Niwa, touch upon a subject that we haven’t seen the development team address much thus far — the game’s sound design.


Niwa opens by revealing that Vanquish’s soundtrack relies on heavy usage of synths, due to its sci-fi aesthetic.


“With a lot of Western TPS games, the soundtrack is either rarely used, or when it is used, it seems to lack punch, but one of the things that [director] Mikami-san told me that he wanted for the Vanquish soundtrack was for the music to ‘be the backup dancers for the game,'” Niwa states.


Mikami specifically asked Niwa to ensure that the game’s soundtrack didn’t end up sounding like P.N.03, one of Mikami’s projects from his days at Capcom that was rushed through development and wasn’t very well-received by the public upon its release.


Niwa isn’t the only composer on Vanquish, however. Masafumi Takada, responsible for composing music for The Silver Case, killer7, God Hand, and No More Heroes, and Masakazu Sugimori, composer on Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and Viewtiful Joe were part of the music team as well.


Following Niwa-san’s post, Ippei Shiraki, the game’s sound designer pitches in with his own thoughts on Vanquish’s sci-fi setting and how the game’s enemies influenced its sound design.


“The robots that attack you in Vanquish are sentient, and have their own AI,” Shiraki writes. “That meant the first order of business was creating more “human” sounding robots from scratch. For creatures that are “alive,” you tend to create sounds by putting effecting/changing up existing animal sounds, but in Vanquish I relied heavily on synthesizers to create something completely different.”


He also touches upon the creation of sounds for the gun used by the game’s protagonist, Sam.


“The important part was to make sure that the sound was pleasing to the ears and something that you didn’t get tired of,” Shiraki explains. “Having to remake something that you’ve already created is an incredibly difficult process; however, when you hear the sound in the game, even I must admit that the remade sound was superior to what I had originally.”


He concludes: “We more or less as a team approached the game with the main concept that it should be fun to play above all else, and the sound effects work to further this ideal. I really hope that the sounds startle you… and that you have a great time playing Vanquish.”

Ishaan Sahdev
About The Author
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.