Released on March 25, 2020, the Rockman Zero & ZX Sound Box is a 6-CD set containing 208 tracks from Rockman Zero 1 to 4, Rockman ZX and Rockman ZX Advent. Each disc contains the original uncompressed source music.
Packed in a beautiful digi-stack with new artwork drawn by Toru Nakayama and Makoto Yabe, this box set is close to perfection, if not for the glaring omission of the "Reploid Remixes". Nevertheless it's a great addition to your music collection. Today, we are happy to bring you the booklet translation thanks to our friends Sidier and Rock Miyabi (who provided the scans). Without further delay, check it out after the break!
Comment from Producer Tsuchiya
Ever since the birth of the Rockman series in 1987, many other "births" have taken place, each evolving into a new and different Rockman series. Every incarnation of Rockman had their own unique charm, a rare quality in the world of video games. There’s many derivations but the common concept across all these series, what makes them “Rockman-like”, is “a blue boy robot is the protagonist.” It's an idea that’s existed for a long time.
So taking that into account, one might consider that the “Zero” and “ZX” series are defined as unique for breaking the “standards” and yet challenge the idea of “what makes something Rockman-like?”.
This is but my own personal reflection. I consider the definition of “Rockman-like” is up to the players; what they feel is correct and as a means to get a lot of people to enjoy the uniquness of the Zero and ZX series. I hope you get this sound box in your hands.
--- Rockman Series Producer Tsuchiya Kazuhiro
Sound Staff Interview
You have been working on the Rockman series since you were in Capcom, but what is, in your opinion, “Rockman-like”?
It’s hard to express in words, but when I worked in sound production during my time at Capcom, I felt like the “Rockman-like” idea was being brewed for the very first time. When I joined them, it was when the transition from the NES to the SNES was happening; when “Rockman 6” and “Rockman X” were being made simultaneously. As I worked on “7”, “X” and “X2”, I felt how the “Rockman-like” quality flowed in the roots of the music. It was ingrained in my ears and heart. I used that “Rockmanism” when making the sound for the “Zero”, “ZX” series and the “Rockman 9” and “10” games.
It’s not like there’s a recipe that says “if I put this here, it’ll feel Rockman-like.” But looking back at it, in terms of genre, I guess the “(classic) Rockman” games were pop-like while the “X” games were rock-like.
Are there things that impressed you while making the sound for the “Zero” games?
I’ve been working in game development for a long time. Looking back, I could tell how, as the hardware evolved, game sounds and music changed as well. For the example, the PlayStation (1) was more about (music) sampler than real instruments. The amount of simultaneous sounds increased.
When I worked on “Biohazard (1)”, you could add environmental sounds that hadn’t been expressed in previous consoles. By adding soundsteps or the “liveness” of dry gunfire, you could build up a “movie-like game” sound environment.
The same applies to “Rockman Zero 1.” With “Rockman EXE (2001)”, which released on the GBA prior to Zero 1, we used the GBA’s “sampling function” as well as the “self-transmitting sound font” in a very skilled way. But in the case of Zero 1 we wanted a real, hard image to be represented so we didn’t use the “self-transmitting sound font” at all. Instead, we built the acoustics using “sampling sounds.” We first made a prototype, then arranged and “sampled” the music and sounds to recreate it within the game itself.
The “Remastered” soundtracks that Inti Creates released, the initial prototype music was re-recorded and expanded upon so that it can be enjoyed as musical medium. Hence the “Remastered” name.
So “EXE” and “Zero” used very different concepts to express their respective sounds. What was it like when you worked on the “ZX” series?
We shifted from the GBA to the Nintendo DS beginning with the plan to make a new series. As per the sound environment concept, while the world inherits qualities from the “Zero” series, we wanted to appeal to new users. Therefore, wee added “hope” and “brightness” as concepts.
We also wanted to add new things in the musical side, too. So we brought over the “technotrance” style from another game we were working on. Kawakami-san, who would later formally join our team, was working with as a freelance. He was a passionate Rockman fan, so he’d noticed the “Rockman-like” idea. The creation of ZX's sound and music proceeded with no issue.
My "sound-making flow" begins by closely looking at the limitations of the hardware and the overall game concept. Then, I decide the type of sound environment and music -- the concept of the sound -- and together as a team, we go to work. In recent games, there was a need to make “orchestrated” music (as a concept), so we have both Japanese and international musicians collaborate; the teamwork to make music hasn’t changed at all. The same applies to “Zero” and “ZX”.
Thank you very much! To wrap up, please give us a comment for the fans!
Some of these are from about 20 years ago, so I’m happy there’s new people who’ll get to enjoy them for the first time and people who will re-experience them again!
I saw the Nakano 30th anniversary live (*1) and the Shinagawa live the other day (*2). Both the performers and the fans were having a lot of fun, and it was emotional to see my music being played. And I felt more motivated to do my work the next day (laughs). I hope that the environments to enjoy the “Rockman” music increases!
*1: “Rockman 30th anniversary live”, August 2018
*2: “Rockman live 2020”, January 2020
Affiliated with Inti Creates. Music Producer. Joined Capcom in 1993. Works in sound production of the home console “Super Street Fighter II” port, “Demon’s Crest”, “Biohazard”, etc.
Left Capcom in 1996 and joined Inti Creates. Took part in sound making of many indie games. He works as sound producer and director of the “Zero” and “ZX” series.
What do you think makes something “Rockman-like”?
Tsujino: Good question… I think that the “world” part plays a big role. The part about “We’re Reploids” is a very important key point. It’s neither “human” nor “robot”. It’s something that can be said to happen in most Rockman titles. Whenever we make new sounds, we take the “world” into account. That's very important
Compared to in the past, making sound-fonts for the GBA and NDS had hardware limitations, but current hardware allows you to use a full range of sounds. When making BGMs, we sometimes compared tracks made in the past; be it the melody or the appropriate cyber sounds, we take the game's world or setting into account when deciding that “this sound will do”. Every sound we chose was deliberate with a lot of thought put into it.
Just like in the “Rockman X Anniversary Collection”, I was in charge of the sound selection for the "Double Hero Collection". I created the arranged music concepts. When creating new music, I try to imagine how I'd make the "sound environment" for a [hypothetical] Rockman Zero 5 or Rockman ZX Advent sequel.
When arranging and creating the new music, we respected the world that Mr. Yamada and the seniors in the musical department have made, in addition to the “Rockman-like sound” that players expect. From there, we add our feelings to reach out to the players. That is the “Rockman-like” part of this “Double Hero Collection”.
I see. You show respect to the history of Rockman insofar, while adding new things.
Tsujino: That’s right. I think it’s a matter of whether we can give the fans and players the impression that what they listen to is “Rockman” indeed.
Terayama: I also personally like the games, not only the “justice” that the heroes were fighting for, but also the “justice” of the bad guys, too. Even the bad guys had their reasons to do battle. I like that confrontational aspect. Imaging the emotions of both sides during production, that brought me closer to the world of “Rockman”. In the creation of this collection, I talked it over with sound director Tsujino and the conclusion I reached was that, in the “Zero” series, the “fighting reason” portion is expressed through “grief” or “sentimentalism”; I wanted to express it so I put that as a theme in one of the new tracks.
Good point. The theme of the “Zero” series is “humans are on the road to destruction” so it connects with that desolateness. What were you careful about when trying to express using latest hardware like the (Nintendo) Switch or the PS4?
Tsujino: For this collection we re-recorded all sounds of the original games. Including the new pieces, there’s a total of 208 tracks. But when you add up the sound effects, you get over 10,000 sounds so it was a real hassle (laughs). We re-record all of them, and booted them up on the mixing table. We totally recreated how the old games generated sounds; we think we managed to do that without losing the charm of the original sounds.
What do you aim to achieve when making new tracks?
Terayama: Since this is the “Double Hero Collection”, I’d been talking with sound director Tsujino about whether we could combine the image of both series through the BGMs. As for the new tracks, the guitar represents the “grief” of the “Zero” series, while the synthesizer parts combine the pop-like ambiance of “ZX”, allowing for a unqiue fusion within the same track. This single track accurately portrays the feeling of the “Double Hero” or so we think.
So you mean that, in a single track, different themes are being represented through the instruments, yes?
Terayama: It’s not simply a split work between the “grief” guitar for Zero or the “pop” synthesizer for ZX. Each theme is the complete opposite of the other. The melodies blend, which wasn't easy. We had to try many times to accurately represent the worlds of these games. Try listening to them from this album and to feel it!
Tsujino: The composition is exquisite! (laughs)
To wrap up, please address the fans of both series
Tsujino: While “Rockman” might be a 30-year old series, they’re still very fun games. I hope you can feel a the “Rockman-likeness" from the new tracks and sound effects. And in the future… when a new game comes out… I want to believe that you'll feel the Rockman-likeness again, too (laughs). Thank you for supporting us and Captunes!
Terayama: I hope you enjoy the new, fresh tracks from the “Double Hero” collection! I am glad I could contribute with my own music to the wonderful soundtrack of the four “Zero” games and the two “ZX” games. I hope you enjoy the worlds of each game!
Tsujino: All is “Rockman love”!
(laughs) Thank you very much!
Joined Capcom in 2003. He’s worked on all kinds of Capcom titles; “Biohazard”, “Devil May Cry”, “Street Fighter” and “Rockman” amongst them (as well as other collaboration titles). In the recent years, he’s been Sound Director and Sound Designer for the “Rockman X Anniversary Collection” and “Rockman Zero and "ZX Double Hero Collection”. He’s the guitarist of Captunes.
Joined Capcom in 2015. As a Composer, he’s worked on “Devil May Cry 5”, “The Great Ace Attorney 2”, “Rockman 11” and others. He’s a member of the band formed within the Capcom Sound Team, “Captunes” (plays the bass). He’s also active as a guitarist and has contributed to many soundtracks. He’s composed all of the new tracks for this collection as well as the “Re-creation version” of the series’ tracks.
ROCKMAN ZERO Artwork: Toru Nakayama
When I listen to the “Zero” music, it makes me feel that inherited things should remain inherited but, at the same time, it's important to strive for a new, different world. There were such days, and this makes me recall them.
Diving into both series' music, it makes me happy to know that people who played these games so many years ago will feel a sense of nostalgia. And I hope that new players will find something that will leave an imprint on their hearts, too!
As a Pantheon fan, I secretly planned to create a box art with all the different types of Pantheons. Unfortunately, the "big bosses" scolded me for it so I gave up on it… although the whole tale is but a lie.
“Zero” series character and concept designer. Joined Capcom in 1993. After working on “Biohazard” and other games, he left in 1996 to join Inti Creates. He’s currently a freelancer. His main works are the “Zero” series and “Dragon Marked for Death.”
ROCKMAN ZX Artwork: Makoto Yabe
Congratulations on the release of the “Double Hero Collection” and the Sound Box! The first game I worked on was Zero 2, back in 2003. ZX, where I did the illustrations, was in 2006. I never expected to have a new chance to draw Vent and the others again 10 years later. This is thanks to all of you who supported the series!
Since it was a great opportunity, I drew Vent and Aile from ZX1, Ashe and Grey from ZXA and Prometheus and Pandora who appear in both games. I know each duo is from a different “era” but they all transform (Rock On) at once! That’s how I felt as I drew it. Enjoy the ZX series, which hadn’t been ported before, as well as not having (the game OST) published on CD yet!
Character Designer & Scenario Writer for “ZX”. After working at Konami, he joined Inti Creates in 2003. His first “Zero” game was “Zero 2”. He’s currently a freelancer. Representative works: “ZX” series and “Shantae.”
Treasured storyboards have been revealed for the first time!
Here are the storyboards from Rockman Zero 1's opening scene, drawn by Mr. Nakayama! They’re from very early in the game's development so Ciel is still named “Roll” in these!
Translator’s note: Interestingly enough, “Ciel” was the tentative name of the Cyber-Elf in this scene (called “Passy” in the final game).