Yeah. People are constantly using reference points for games and game design, I think. I think it's symptomatic of a slight lack of creativity, sometimes.
RJ: I would agree, yeah.
It's unfortunate, but it's good that at least you can get some of your own self in there. Have you had to work with games that had existing scores? I guess there's the Sega one that's happening now, where you're doing remixes and stuff, but I'm thinking more like... our audio columnist works at LucasArts, so he's got...
RJ: Does it fit the mold? I see what you're saying, yeah.
Have you found that you had to do that sometimes?
RJ: The only time I've really had to do that is working on licensed IP. Starship Troopers and Highlander are obviously existing IPs which had a number of film or TV releases or whatever it may be, so it has to sound like that. And both of those have quite iconic styles.
Starship Troopers was always a tongue-in-cheek, bombastic, over-the-top score, and that's exactly what I did for the game, because that was right for the game. I didn't use anything. I did it purely originally.
But I did it bombastic and over-the-top and slightly tongue-in-cheek. And that fitted the bill, because at the end of the day, it's a licensed IP for Columbia Tri-Star Pictures, and they're not going to approve it if it doesn't fit in with the whole mold. And the same goes for Highlander, as well.
But on other things, even in series... maybe Jet Set Radio, a little bit. That style was established from the first game. I worked on one track, and a lot of the tracks were done by Hideki Naganuma from Sega Japan, and we had other artists.
That was just a great collaborative process. I think everybody was on the same page just by looking at screenshots of all the cel-shading and the rollerblading and tagging and stuff.
It was so obvious what it needed, but we still gave it a slightly poppy, fun edge to it as well. There's no point in having NWA or Public Enemy in that kind of game. It wouldn't have worked. So for the sequel of that, we'd already established the style. We just grew on that, and made it more contemporary and etcetera.
So if you're working on a big, long-running series... even like Sonic, when I did my first Sonic game, which is Sonic 3D Blast, on the Saturn and PC, I was taking my main reference from the Japanese version of Sonic CD, because in my opinion, it's an absolutely brilliant score and brilliant game music. I thought that was the excellent blueprint for Sonic.
So existing brands that go through multiple iterations and versions, yeah, I think it's still right to keep in with the overall style guide if you like, but you can still play around within that, I think. Look how Sonic's evolved as a character, as a game, and the music along with it.
RJ: Well maybe... (laughter) But it has changed!