Norihiko Hibino 1942 Interview

Aug 15, 2008 // Snow

Here’s an inside interview with Norihiko Hibino, who worked on the music of WotB: Commando 3 , and 1942 Joint Strike

1. What was your involvement with Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3 and 1942: Joint Strike ?

I was involved with the music composition and direction for these titles.  My company, GEM Impact consists of several talented composers.  I created the basic elements for each song and they composed the rest.

2. Were you involved in the original titles back in the 80s?

Unfortunately not.

 3. What is the process for creating game music like? Do you receive the game builds/videos, sans music, and create music by watching it? Or do you just create it blind and mix it in?

I received some sample footage along with a description of how the game’s music should be along with reference game titles.  However, the most important thing is that this game is going to be distributed mainly in the United States, and since we live in Japan, we started
by understanding TV culture which everyone is somewhat influenced by, so
that I would understand what the director was asking for.  I’ve watched some old
70’s and 80’s TV shows to get a feel for it.

4. Here’s a more technical question: Do you find yourself composing more game music in major keys or minor keys? How do they effect the mood? Which do you prefer?

Composing music in minor key is quite usual for me, maybe because I
compose mostly for action and military titles.  Traditional Japanese
music scales are closer to minor scales, so I feel more comfortable with them.

5. What equipment do you use and what’s your setup? A simple piano, or an awesome digital mixer?

My setup is ProTools based Logic, with more than 200 setup
tracks.  I use separate PCs as a Gigasampler sound module.  Usually I start
making music by selecting key instruments as well as effects.  The
texture of timbre affects music a lot.

6. What are some of your favorite game music? Who are your favorite composers?

I personally like music only in necessary spots.  I don’t like “show-off”
music or “wall-to-wall” sound.  In that sense, I like the works of Akira
Yamaoka, the composer for the Silent Hill series, and he is good friend of mine.

7. Do you listen to/compose pop (non-gaming) music? Any favorite artists (non-gaming)? 

Yes, I’m actually more involved in the field of non-game music.  I own a live venue in
Roppongi, Tokyo, where all the young cats gather and play creative music
every night.  I started my carrer as jazz saxophonist and I like jazz in
general, but I also like Fatboy Slim, Bjork, and many others.  I like somewhat
extreme sounds.

8. What were some musical influences you had growing up?

Mostly I’ve been influenced by the bands and artists I played with.  In high
school I played rock (I was a guitar player), and in college I was in a
Count-Basie like jazz band as sax player. I used to work with a drum’n
bass creator, and recently I also work with Japanese pop artists too. I
always like what I’m working on.

9. What are some of your biggest musical influences today?  

Maybe our composer team. They came from different fields, and sometimes
I find out they compose what I’ve never heard and I can’t even
categorize it.  It’s a mixture of some specific genre and videogame music
language.  It really surprises me.

10. What’s next for you? What are you working on now?  

We’ve finished Metal Gear Solid 4 and Microsoft’s next big action title.  We are working on Japanese animation called “Blassreiter” and some
other shooting game, as well as my club jazz band “The Outer Rim”.  I’m
looking forward to some other XBLA projects!