Behind the Sound of Sunbreak – Interview with the Composers

Sep 21, 2022 // Shibata

Hello everyone! Koichi Shibata here, reporting from the Monster Hunter Rise dev floor!

For this next round of Monster Hunter Rise interviews, I’ll be talking to composers Satoshi Hori and Mana Ogura, who created the music for Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak!

Q1: To start off, could you give us a quick explanation of what you worked on for Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak?

A1. Hori: My name is Satoshi Hori, and I’m the lead composer. I’ve been continuing my responsibilities from Rise, generally supervising all of the music, coming up with musical concepts, and giving directions to all of the composers.

A1. Ogura: My name is Mana Ogura. I’ve also been continuing my work from Rise, creating songs, implementing the music, and editing the various cutscenes, etc.

Satoshi Hori (left) and Mana Ogura (right)

Q2: So, both of you also worked on the base game of Monster Hunter Rise. Could you tell us a bit about the differences in themes and direction of the music between Rise and Sunbreak?

A2. Hori: With Rise, I centered the compositions around two elements: vocals, and giving the soundtrack a Japanese feel. For Sunbreak, I focused more on orchestral music and classic instruments, to create more of a Western feel and atmosphere.

A2. Ogura: I did the same. I gave Rise strong Japanese elements, while Sunbreak was more centered around Western elements.

Q3: Was there anything you changed between Rise and Sunbreak, or alternatively, was there anything in Sunbreak that you carried over from Rise or expanded upon?

A3. Hori: As I mentioned before, in Rise we added vocals to monster themes from past games, and for Sunbreak, we stayed loyal to the original theme while also asking ourselves “what would this theme sound like if we were to extend it now?”

In both Rise and Sunbreak, we tried to pay respect to the original themes as much as possible, but in Sunbreak, we focused more on the musicality of the original versions, and we reinterpreted them for their arrangements.

A3. Ogura: We even rearranged the music for BBQ-ing and for sales at the market from a Japanese style to a more Western style. From a gameplay perspective, we also changed the Quest Complete music depending on whether you accepted the quest at Kamura or Elgado.

And as far as respecting the original music is concerned, we even brought back Marika Suzuki to do arrangements for Gore Magala and Shagaru Magala’s themes, since she composed the originals.

Q4: When creating music, is there any part of your daily lives that you pay particular attention to for inspiration?

A4. Hori: I play a lot of games and listen to a lot of music of course, but I also make sure to check out various other forms of entertainment, like movies, anime, and the fine arts. I experience the oscillation of my emotions with my own skin, and turn them into music. Other than that, and this is mostly as a hobby, I like to play live instruments to expose my ears directly to “real” sound.

A4. Ogura: I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of very knowledgeable people around me, so they always give me plenty of recommendations, not just for anime and music, and I always make sure to check them out. Also, I think it’s important to regularly refresh yourself, so I like to spend my days off by taking it easy.

Q5: I’ve heard that you, Ogura-san, were in charge of arranging “Proof of a Hero” this time, so what was that like? And Hori-san, from your point of view, what did you think of Ogura-san’s arrangement of this theme for Sunbreak?

A5. Ogura: It was really hard! It really made me aware of how talented all of the composers that came before me were. I had to think very hard about what kind of elements to include to make it match Sunbreak, and whether it fits the mood of the scenes that it’s used in.

Of course, Hori-san’s help was invaluable in all of this… I cannot thank him enough!

A5. Hori: For Rise, I arranged Proof of a Hero in a way that makes you feel the courage of heading into battle, but Sunbreak’s version is a lot more dramatic, and very expressive in way that’s different from Rise. I think it’s a great musical extension of the theme, offering a nice contrast between Japanese and Western styles.

Q6: Do you have any final comments for the fans?

A6. Hori: I hope you find a new favorite song in Sunbreak, which is also a massive expansion in terms of music, and I hope you set it as the BGM for your room! I’m sure you’ll make some new discoveries while hunting monsters as well!

A6. Ogura: First of all, thanks for playing Sunbreak, everyone!

I hope you have many memorable hunts with the new music!

– Closing Comment from Shibata:

Thank you, Hori-san and Ogura-san!

Sunbreak has a new base, new locales, and new monsters that all feel different from Rise, and even sound-wise, the instruments used to arrange and compose the new music have been changed, providing exciting new hunts! After the interview, I even found out that the iconic Proof of a Hero theme is handled by a different composer for every single new entry in the Monster Hunter series!

Next time, I’ll be talking to Daisuke Wakahara, who’s in charge of the cutscenes and monster intros of this game!

Last of all, please watch the video showing the making of the soundtrack we have released recently.