Bandai Namco and Level-5 Studios released a short developer documentary covering the mastery of the game’s music, and how famed Studio Ghibli composer Joe Hisaishi has come back to work with Akihiro Hino, the general manager at Level-5, in order to compose and master the musical score for Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom.
The three minute developer documentary gives a short behind the scenes look at Hisaishi at work, as well as a brief listen to the music he’s working on for the game. You can check out the video below to give your ears a small taste of Ni No Kuni II’s soundtrack.
It’s funny because Hino explains that he was nervous meeting the legendary Hisaishi for the first time – and most of anyone who has listened to a soundtrack from a Studio Ghibli film and fell in love with it would probably be nervous, too – but he mentions that they had very frank and passionate discussions about the musical palette that would shape the world of Ni No Kuni.
What was really interesting in the short developer documentary was about how Hisaishi approached the music for the sequel. Instead of just rehashing the leitmotif from the original Ni No Kuni, he decided to raise the bar, explaining…
“Compared to the first Ni No Kuni, I raised the bar with the level of music in terms of intelligence, which isn’t to say that the music itself was difficult to write, though it is challenging for an orchestra to perform it. However, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra did a wonderful job in performing the best music possible.”
[…] “Music is frequently repeated within a game, and creating that kind of music is slightly different to creating an ordinary composition. With this in mind, I’m looking forward to everyone immersing themselves in the game and its accompanying music.”
Hisashi is known for his mature approach to bringing wonder to an unfolding story through the use of whimsical wind sections, flowery use of strings, and reserved application of brass.
In a way, if we could say that John Williams is about using music for bombastic and grandiose themes that tell big stories for characters going on grand adventures, Joe Hisaishi is the composer that narrows in and focuses on using colorful themes to highlight the grand aspects of the character and their life.