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RPGFan Exclusive Interview #2: Yuzo Koshiro
Conducted and Translated by Chris Winkler
Our second interview partner is Yuzo Koshiro. The 39-year old composer is best known for scoring early Nihon Falcom classics, such as Ys, Ys II and Sorcerian. After leaving Nihon Falcom, Koshiro founded his own company, Ancient, in 1990. Recently, Koshiro has worked on Monolith Soft's Namco X Capcom, Konami's class="game">Castlevani: Potrait of Ruin as well as Atlus' Etrian Odyssey and its sequel. As a company, Ancient is not only offering Koshiro's composing skills to publishers, but also the game development capabilities of its 19 employees. Since 1991 the company has worked on more than 20 mostly action-oriented games for companies like Sega, Enix (now Square Enix) and Sony Computer Entertainment. Its track record includes Enix's Actraiser 2, Sega's Shenmue, Amazing Island, Bleach: Hanatareshi Yabou and Fusion Frenzy 2.

Q: Mr. Koshiro, we have many questions for you, but first could you tell us about the impetus that made you enter the game industry?
A: Because I loved video games when I was a student, I naturally ended up developing an interest in game music. I was enchanted by the unique sound effects emitted by Taito's Invader or Atari's Asteroid. That was the impetus.

Q: Let's hear about the music of Etrian Odyssey 2 and its composition. Is the recording already complete?
A: Yes, it's already been finished.

Q: How does the music of the prequel differ from Etrian Odyssey 2's soundtrack?
A: Compared to the prequel, the [overall] theme of Etrian Odyssey 2's music hasn't changed, it's still "music with a good old, intimate melody". One difference between this game and the prequel is the length of the tunes. I have made the dungeon theme one minute longer than in the prequel. That's because, I thought a longer track is better, seeing how [the player] will spend a long time walking around in the dungeon. Furthermore, in regard to the characteristic of Etrian Odyssey's music, that is the sound using the FM sound source, I have also increased the variation of sound.

Q: Apart from Etrian Odyssey 2, are you currently working on any other game music projects?
A: Right now, there are no particular composition projects, but for the end of this year and next year I already have multiple offers.

Q: Since you have gone freelance, what has your relationship with Nihon Falcom been like? Have you been asked by Falcom, whether you would want to contribute music to the Ys series again? Also, are you talking to composers who are still associated with Falcom, like Yukihiro Jindou?
A: I don't have any working relationship with Falcom. Occassionally, I get together with staffers who worked there at the same time [I was there], but there are almost no points of contact with current Falcom staff.

Q: Recently, Five Record has published multiple Best Of compilations of your work. What was the impetus for publishing these albums at this point in time?
A: Mr. Nakamura, who is a staffer at 5pb Record, also has been a fan of mine since the old days, and hence these best of [projects] came into being.

Q: Ancient is not only composing game music, but also planning and developing games. Looking at a list of games you have planned and/or developed thus so far, most of the games are action or action-oriented games. Do you have any interest in not only scoring RPGs, but also planning and developing them?
A: Because I love action games, my company's titles have turned out to become a line-up [of action games]. Of course, I also have an interest in developing RPGs. However, the fact that developing an RPG takes a huge amount of time is problematic.

Q: You have been in charge of composing music for a very large number of games. Among all those games, what is your favorite song and soundtrack?
A: Recently that would be the Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune series' [soundtrack]. I don't really have a favorite track.

Q: You have been composing game music since the days of the MSX, but how have game music and its composition changed from the 1980s until today?
A: Since the late 1990s, [the number of] tunes with CD quality has increased, replacing compositions, which until then had exclusively used sound chips. Because the special programming techniques, which had been necessary in the old days, had become unnecessary, one could really focus on the creation of music itself. That being said, contrary to this, I feel as if impressive music, that matches with a game, has since then decreased. However, in recent years, with Nintendo DS games, we have come to a point where the style of game music of the good old days is getting another look.

Q: Are you often listening to other game composer's works? What is your favorite soundtrack and who your favorite game composer?
A: I like all the music of games that I like and play. It's not that I like someone's work in particular, but even today I still like the music of Konami's late 1980s games very much.

RPGFan would like to thank Yuzo Koshiro for his cooperation and support in enabling us to present this exclusive interview to our readers.

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