“It’s not really a good idea to make a video game sound like an anime video game soundtrack,” says Naughty Dog’s Scott Miller, a producer at the studio.
“The music you make is the soundtrack.
But the art direction, the visuals, the sound design and everything else you put on the screen, that’s the soundtrack.”
“If you put too much on screen, it looks terrible, and it’s not as good.
If you put it too little, it doesn’t look that great either.”
That’s a sentiment shared by many of Miller’s colleagues at Naughty Dogs, but it’s one he says he’s heard repeatedly from other developers.
“It is absolutely a problem,” he says.
“If I make a game, I have to think about how the music is going to sound, how it’s going to be balanced, how the visuals are going to look, and how the sound effects are going on.
I’m not trying to sound like I’m a composer.
It’s just that music is an important part of the experience.”
Naughty, Miller says, “doesn’t feel like they’ve really thought through that.”
He believes that, rather than relying on the sound of a game to make up for a lack of artistic vision, Naughty’s approach to video game music should be to take the elements of a video and make them work together.
“That’s the way it should be,” he explains.
“There’s a reason why music is such a powerful part of our world.
We don’t know what that music means.
And the thing that we don’t like is that we know what the music means, but we don-“Miller stops midway through his sentence and explains, “That doesn’t make sense.
You can’t really know what a video is, so you have to do the best you can with what we know.”
“There is a reason that music,” he continues, “is such a potent part of games, and I think that’s why they’re so successful.
They have that powerful emotional impact.
And so it’s important to understand that we’re working with music to convey that emotional impact, and that is what we’re going to do.”
N-Strike has experimented with the idea of using a musical score for its recent shooters.
“I have to admit,” says Miller, “it has been a bit of a pain.
We had a lot of people saying, ‘What is this?
You can make a great music video!
Why do you have such a low budget?'”
The team decided to make it all about “real-time audio,” which Naughty says has the potential to make video game scores look “more lifelike” and more like the soundtracks found in a live concert.
“We wanted to make sure that we had the right mix of real-time and orchestral sounds, and in some ways that was a challenge because the orchestra is the one element that we do have that’s been designed to be a real-life orchestra, and we wanted to get that right,” says Scott Miller.
“When you make a music video, the real-world music will be there.
But when you’re making a video for a game you can’t rely on the orchestra to be there because you’ll have to be able to make your own music.”
Naming The Game The Naughty dog’s music team decided on the name for the game.
The team initially thought about the name Naughty D-Dog, but decided to go with “The Great Naughty” because “the name N-Dog” is a reference to the Japanese word for “good” or “gift.”
Miller says that Naughty was inspired by the Japanese anime series Mobile Suit Gundam, and he was particularly impressed by the team’s decision to make the music sound “nearly identical” to the series.
“Mobile Suit Gundam has a very Japanese feel to it,” he points out.
“And we thought, ‘This feels like a Japanese anime.
It feels like it should have a Japanese feel, but I think it sounds very Japanese and it sounds like a Gundam song.'”
Miller believes that the team took inspiration from the original Japanese Gundam, the first anime to use an anime-style soundtrack, and also the “tiger-inspired” Japanese metal music of the time.
The N-Bomb sound “was a very common and recognizable sound in Japan,” Miller says.
He says that they took that sound and turned it into something that’s even more recognisable, as the name implies, and has become a common term in Japan for a metal band.
“Metal music has always been a Japanese genre.
So we wanted that to sound Japanese and Japanese metal sounds,” he adds.
The “N-Bomb” theme was originally recorded on a laptop at N-Space, a music studio in Tokyo, and is a mix of “tigers roar, drums thunder, guitars scream, and piano,