Drag-on Dragoon 2 Original Soundtrack :: Liner Notes Translated by Ben Schweitzer
Yoshiki Aoi - Sound Producer & Composer
How does incidental music used in video games differ from movie scores and the so-called popular genres? And what form should the music take for this project, Drag-on Dragoon 2 so that it comes together as a consistent work of art? Those were the questions I faced on this project. In producing the music, I had to keep a balance between expressing the dark worldview of Drag-on Dragoon that is retained in this sequel, with its attendant bittersweet lyricism, and remembering not to intrude on the heightened feelings and expectation that the player experiences during the game. From the first game's music, I decided on arranging "Exhausted" (tracks 11 and 12), an extremely high quality track which I felt expressed that game's world view and also resonated with the world of 2. Building the music as the project progresses, trying out the game in various states and stages, and, after an extremely exacting process of trial and error the result is a cluster of completed tracks that one is bound to be satisfied with.
My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all of the staff who told me their personal feelings regarding creative work, who in their overflowing love and feeling for the work encouraged and spurred me on to greater creativity. I am also grateful to the man who participated together with me on this amazing, dramatic project, my friend and the composer of "Hitori", a melody that has gripped my heart, Mr. Ryoki Matsumoto.
Takamasa Shiba - Producer
"A powerful flash of light shoots through the air, and the sky expands, splitting open the dark clouds."
Compared to its predecessor, in hard rock/heavy metal terms, the sequel is more of a "fusion" rather than the first game's "intensity". We wanted to take a more "straight-shooting", approach to composition that wasn't as "outwardly strange" as the first. So I asked an artist who had no connection to video games to take the job. I figured that just as Mr. Sugiyama had done with Dragon Quest, it is enough simply to have someone who writes excellent music.
So I came up with the name of Ryoki Matsumoto (the writer of the songs "Yuki no Hana" and "Tsuki no Shizuku"), looked up his website via Google, and sent him an email. I had a reply within two hours, saying that we should meet as soon as possible. We hit it off right away, as Matsumoto-san loved video games as well. The conversation moved at a fast tempo. But there were a lot of tracks to be written, and it would be hard for him to write them all himself, so Matsumoto-san asked a friend from his college days, "Mr. Aoi Yoshiki", to help.
In the end, Mr. Yoshiki's music was excellent, and he provided the game's score, with Mr. Matsumoto assisting and writing the main theme. I won't get into details about this disc's content, because it's already all there in the sound. But I will say that together with the song, which is provided together with the in-game music, I believe that this is "the ultimate in game music". Even that song, "Hitori", is not a simple tie-in, but one composed with an understanding of the game's plot, with lyrics written to connect to it. Let yourself get caught up in the soundtrack, and savor the flavor of its "fusion" with the game.
Nobuyoshi Sano - Sound Director
As the sound director of the previous game, and its composer deluged with more criticism than I could have possibly imagined I, Sano, was told at the beginning of this project by the producer, Mr. Shiba, "please contract the music to an outsider". This was no mere request. As I, the composer Sano, saw it, it was a death sentence. But I shall be a gentleman in facing this fate. Having accepted these things stoically, I have decided that I must wander no, walk with my head held low, along the "green mile" known as Drag-on Dragoon.
Eventually, the demo tracks from the master composer recommended by Mr. Shiba arrive. Oh, to control the playback of my requiem with my own hands! Perhaps, as a lover of music before a composer, this too is my duty... Soon enough, there I was, listening to that requiem with goosebumps. The next moment I was grabbing my cell phone to tell the composer how moved I had been, and at the same time typing an email to someone else involved. This truly is me as a lover of music. This piece that would put my soul joyfully to rest was "Plains of Pity". I, Sano, had looked at game music as accompaniment and had harbored ill will towards melody, and this piece changed my views.
Akira Yasui - Director
Drag-on Dragoon is a feast. Sometimes one mows down enemies with a sword, and at other times obliterates them with fire. It is an unending feast of annihilation. The music heard on this soundtrack provides a fitting coloration for that feast.
The world of Drag-on Dragoon 2 is host to all manner of emotions. Love and hatred, revenge, annihilation, separation, discord, friendship, strong enemies, fate, hope, inspiration, corruption, uncertainty, decision, the past, the beyond, the end, destruction, rebirth... It is a grand tapestry weaving together all of these complicated emotions.
And the one who wove them together with that thread we call music was Mr. "Yoshiki Aoi". It is not hard to imagine that it took a good deal of effort for Yoshiki Aoi, who had never worked on game music before. But those woven threads far exceeded our expectations, giving us something colorful, radiant, and dark. I will never forget the time I first heard the demos the three of us, producer, sound director, and director, our excitement and elation growing steadily. (This is truly rare.)
The development team put forward their best in response. You could say that we too partook of that feast. I hope that this soundtrack will grant you as listeners a small glimpse into that feast.
Ryoki Matsumoto - Sound Collaboration Producer
In addition to being a composer and a music producer, I am a huge fan of video games. I received an email message from Takamasa Shiba of Square Enix, creators of the Dragon Quest series and other classics that I love so well. I read it over, intrigued. As one who had worked primarily on writing songs in the genre called J-pop, my heart raced at the opportunity to attempt something in a new field.
One of the ideas behind this project's music was the fusion of games and J-pop. In the course of production, I took on the important position of writing the main theme, which would not be a simple tie-in theme song, but rather one that was linked on a deep level to the game's story and worldview, a crucial composition. The game's keywords are scattered throughout Ms. Satomi's lyrics, and this theme, heard at the end as well as in various arrangements at important points in the game, had the difficult role of having to affect the player deeply. On the other hand, for music used in a game, I put myself in the position of the player and imagined what I would find interesting or exciting.
Singer Mika Nakashima brings this soundtrack to a close with the theme song "Hitori". And this gem of a soundtrack is the work of my friend of many years, Mr. Yoshiki Aoi. It is a collection of 22 works that express the world of Drag-on Dragoon 2's story. I want you to feel the love that Nowe, Manah, and the rest of the characters feel.