Over the past 21 years, during good times and bad, one of the most consistently well-regarded aspects of the Sonic the Hedgehog series has been its sound design. While a multitude of composers and performers are responsible for this, the man who holds the most influence in the modern era is Jun Senoue, who in recent times has acted as sound director for Sonic Generations and composed the Sonic 4 music.
He’s a man who likes to keep himself busy – if a quick peek at his production history on Sega Retro doesn’t show you that, then consider that at Summer of Sonic he didn’t appear to have a moment of rest between backstage interviews, two signing sessions, Jam with Jun and the Crush 40 set! Thankfully, before the day took its toll I was able to sit down with him to chat about his start in the business, Sonic Generations and the process of making Sonic music in general. Take a look:
Retro:How did you get into writing music, and specifically how did you get into writing music for video games?
Senoue: Actually I was a big fan of Namco stuff, arcade stuff like Mappy from the mid-80s. After that I was a little bit away from video games. In the early 90s I was surprised by Sonic the Hedgehog for the Genesis, the Mega Drive. I joined Sega back in 1993. I just submitted my stuff to Sega and they accepted. I was totally surprised, those were my favourite games! It was a great opportunity to join Sega and luckily I had a chance to be part of Sonic 3’s music in the first year of my Sega life.
Retro: Were there any musicians that inspired you as you grew up?
Senoue: I was a big fan of a UK pop band called Duran Duran, and that was the reason I got a bass when I was 14. The bass player for them looked much cooler than the guitar player! Also I played the keyboard for a long time, but I found that the keyboard player and the drummer stayed at the back side of the stage. The people at the front of the stage were much more active and I just wanted to be a part of that. So I purchased a bass, because of John Taylor from Duran Duran. But after that I found that some guitar players had nice guitar solos in the middle of the songs, and I thought “Oh, that’s what I want to do!” so I switched from bass to guitar when I was 15, 16? So yes, Duran Duran was one of my favourite bands when I was young and also lots of hard rock and hair metal bands.
Hit “Read more” to learn which game spent a year in production without any sound direction and find out Jun’s favourite Sonic songs!
Sonic is 21 today and as we’ve already seen, he’s wasted very little time in letting the world know it. And while Sonic’s fans may be a very divergent group of varying ages, opinions and levels of sanity, we can all agree on one thing: the music for the games is usually quite good, if not the strongest point across the series.
With that, to celebrate Sonic’s 21st Birthday and to give you an exciting inside look at how video game music is developed gradually, Sonic Retro is proud to bring you not one but two tasty delicacies of Sonic Heroes prototype soundtracks.
After much fan demand, Sega has begun releasing several of their Sonic series soundtracks on to Apple’s iTunes service. Most of these albums, though recently released, aren’t too easy to track down and import for those looking to legally own the music, never mind worrying about bootlegs.
It should be noted that the 20th Anniversary album for the two Adventure titles aren’t as all encompassing as their original releases, which may turn some fans off. However, this is the best chance short of importing to show support for the musicians that worked hard to keep series’ reputation for good music alive and well.
Sonic Heroes, one of the games that according to some started the wave of bad games in the Sonic franchise, is now available on the Playstation Store in Europe for £7.99/€9.99 for the Playstation 3. This was released along with other PS2 games under the PS2 Classics label on SEN. Note that these games (Including Sonic Heroes) didn’t get the HD treatment certain other “classics” like the God of War or Sly Cooper franchises got. These are exactly the same as the original versions, with the resolution being upscaled to what you have in your PS3 settings.
So yes, this means it’s the worst version of Sonic Heroes. And no, this does not mean that Sonic Adventure 2: Battle will be getting a re-release. Also, the file size is 4.5 GB, so if for some reason you actually want to buy this game make sure you have enough space on your PS3’s hard drive.
If you live in the Midwest, you were probably shocked to see more effing snow outside when you woke up this morning. With spring on the horizon, winter is doing whatever it can before its time is up. Oh, and there’s still nothing going on in Sonicland, but we do have a ton of fangame news.
Sonic Retro News
It’s on the forums, so I might as well post it here. If you want to know about what happened to Retro-Sonic, Sonic XG and Sonic Nexus, go to this website and stop pounding my inbox. [RSN Development Blog]
Xaklse just released preview build 4 of his SonicGDK engine. Go try it out and give him some feedback, suckas. [SonicGDK Thread]
My Russian bro, Felik, released a multiplayer demo of his fangame, Sonic Fusion, over the weekend. Also go try it out and give him some feedback, suckas. [Sonic Fusion Thread]
YEARS after its release, the secret level in a classic fangame, Sonic Chaos Revolution by Magicgrafx, has been opened up by Retro member ValleyBell. [SCR Hacked]
Check out video, screens and models to P3DRO’s official-looking project, Sonic the Hedgehog (formerly Henceforth). [StH Fangame Thread]
New member princeofknaves releases some long lost Sonic Heroes tech, which helped find the aforementioned test levels in Shadow the Hedgehog. [Sonic Heroes Tech]
Irish indie rocker Big Monster Love likes to let his Sonic the Hedgehog fanaticism bleed into his work. [Warp Zoned]
Our friend at SEGA Europe, AAUK, is stepping down from his position. Sonic Retro wishes him well in his future endeavors and hopes that he is able to check out all the consoles at his new job. [Sonic City Blognik]
With the devastation in Japan, there have been many release date delays at SEGA. [Examiner]
We’ve all played Sonic Heroes at one point. I’m sure at that same point we all heard the music in the game too! What you may have not known is that more than one Sonic Heroes prototype has surfaced to the net at some point. The differences ranged from minor to relatively major, but one part of the game in particular that recieved some interesting changes were the music. Now if you know me, you know this is totally my thing, and I was pretty excited by some of the changes I heard. Here are three of the tracks I found the most interesting of them all. Continue Reading