A portion of a 1up interview with Composer Ryo Kawakami, Sound Producer Ippo Yamada and chiptune artist Hally
1UP: Can you tell us a little about your personal histories with this particular game series?
Hally: I’ve been following videogame music since I was young, and I’ve found Mega Man music has always had a singular quality to it. It has a purity that appeals to many listeners. I’ve actually written articles on the history of Mega Man background themes, based on interviews like this one. I felt the burning desire to uncover just what it was that made these tunes what they are. (This is something Ippo-san and I have talked about on numerous occasions.) I ultimately came to the conclusion that while it’s something very distinctive, Mega Man music ultimately evades being pinned down and described in words.
Ryo Kawakami: I remember playing Mega Man back in elementary school and loving it. I even recorded my NES on cassette tape and had to experiment through trial and error to edit out the buzzing sound of the boss’s life bar filling up. Mega Man ZX was my first experience writing music for the series, and it sure did bring me back. It was an emotional moment for me.
Ippo Yamada: My experience is a little different because for the past fifteen years I’ve been submerged in the world of Mega Man. Production on Mega Man 10 did remind me of the old days, but at the same time it’s impossible to ignore the fact that this latest title is intended for modern hardware: The Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.
For me it feels more like creating something brand new than taking a trip down memory lane. I’ve spent fifteen years with Mega Man: From Mega Man 7 & X, to Mega Man Zero & ZX, and now Mega Man 9 & 10. At every step the feeling has always been that I am making a game that reflects its moment in time. Hally just mentioned that Mega Man music has no easily identifiable shape, and yet we keep striving to make something that fits this image we all have in our minds. The pixel art and so-called bleeps and bloops might remind us of the good old days, but when it comes to composing, deferring to history is not my job. What ends up mattering most is whether you are engaged in the struggle to capture a melody that lives and breathes in the here and now.