PRODUCTION NOTES by Ippo Yamada
My fellow Kawakami had been suggesting to release an arrangement CD for a while. He hadn’t been as active since for 4 years. And, now, with the release of the “Zero Collection”, it was a chance to get back in touch with the “Zero” series. He was back into action. It was thanks to his efforts that this soundtrack exists. His love for the series supported this project a lot.
This project has been very cruel. When porting from the GBA to the NDS, almost everything apart from the materials had to be made from scratch. The sound-production was very different. Making it feel like the GBA original was very, VERY hard. Despite that, the raw materials were the same. There were a lot of “bug” reports saying it didn’t sound the same.
We also had a very tight schedule and we had a lot of work, making the sound for 4 individual titles at once. But the hardest part of the whole thing was the ridiculous amount of testing we had to go through. Most of the time, apart from the end of the year and New Year’s, was spent on checking and fixing.
By the beginning of spring, that settled down. While struggling with another job, I thought that there wouldn’t be any other chance to get back in touch with “Zero” again; to make Kawakami’s project a reality. So I began to work on it during the planning period of the boxed Remastered Tracks set. The confirmation came a few days after the “Rockman Zero Collection” release date was confirmed. But there was a caveut: this new CD had to be released at the same time as the game!
We began work in mid-April. A major label would have the master done by then, even if there were two months left. It was obvious we’d have to give up on the Golden Week vacation. Kawakami and I had to work, obviously. (bitter laugh) All other participants would have to give up on it, too. I thank you all for your support and bearing with it.
At first, we were committed to do only 10 songs. But when it came to choosing which songs would be on the disc, we couldn’t agree. So we persisted all we could until we reached the current number of tracks. To tell you the truth, even now, while writing this booklet, some tracks aren’t finished yet. I guess I’ll have to bring the master to the factory in person. And there are some tracks we wanted to add but had to give up due to the lack of time. I feel a bit sad about it.
This album’s concept is "straight and high tension". Kawakami, who was also a player of the game, arranged some tracks. I think he did a good job in transmitting the intensity and exhilaration of the games. Mr. Kurihara’s guitar is a MUST in "Zero" tracks. I take off my hat at his technique of performing melodies made with a keyboard. Mr. Murai, who hurriedly joined us but I wished he’d been with us earlier to be able to contribute more. The baseline is very cool, and the solo parts are a must-listen. And when you talk of Zero series songs, you talk about Mr. Itoga. I think that the new track “Everlasting” is a good representative of the series.
Mr. Nakayama’s new jacket art is also gorgeous. We don’t usually ask much of him, but he always makes illustrations that exceeds our expectations and imagination. They're often related to the product’s concept as well. There’s also someone "Zero" fans are familiar with: Ms. Onishi, who also designed the booklet and related goods. Her "pop" sensitivity is a must-have for the remastered CDs as well. Sorry for forcing you to work all-nighters and cancelling your vacation.
The "Zero" series had a good upbringing as well. I want to thank the fans who enjoyed it with us. I ask of you to keep on loving the games and the music. Everlasting Red!
Ryo Kawakami (Directing):
Hello. I am Ryo Kawakami. I was in charge of this album’s arranged tracks. At the same time, the project I’d been cooking up a long time became a reality, I was granted the honor of writing these track notes. I am very thankful.
This project’s concept is based on the image of a “best CD” for the year 2010; the year of Rockman Zero and Rockman Zero Collection. There’s also the theme of “what would it be like to make 'Zero' music nowadays?” And thus this new product was born. We shaped these tracks to feel like they’d play in the games themselves, but placed emphasis on the riff and melody. Our main aim when arranging them was to make great portions of each track more melodious! And powerful!
As always, this product’s development was a battle with time and we struggled a lot. But what really made us worry was which tracks to choose. When we made the re-arrangements for 2010, we found some tracks that could possibly be re-imagined or some that might feel like backtracking the series. I talked many times with Mr. Yamada,and made many prototypes to settle on which tracks would be recorded. As a result, the development time grew very short. Guitarist Mr. Kurihara, bassist Mr. Murai and vocalist Mr. Itoga struggled a lot. But thanks to the help of many collaborators, we somehow rowed our way through completion. I shall make use of this occasion to express my thanks for them.
And so by choosing over and over again, you have our top picks 13 tracks total. I hope you enjoy them as you remember the games themselves.
1. Final Match
It’s a new track made by Mr. Yamada for the opening of the Zero Collection. The origin of the guitar riff is… “THAT” track, isn’t it? Since it was the title screen theme, it was pretty short. But Mr. Yamada re-arranged it into a longer version for the sake of this album, and powered up into a shape that makes it more audible. The riposte of the guitar, keyboard and bass is the best part of it.
The Zero 2 opening stage BGM. We wanted to make an arrangement worthy of the title “departure”. So with the theme of “a new departure” in mind, we prioritized the "beat feeling" as well as adding a “hard” atmosphere. The structure basically remains the same as the original but the intro portion incorporates the game’s opening scenes into it.
The “Area Zero” stage BGM, from Zero 4. It’s one of the tracks that represents the game, composed by Ms. Umegaki. The beautiful melody, this track's charm, remains in place. Along with the atmosphere of the game’s original sound source, it powers up a bit with guitar at its core.
4. Sand Triangle
The BGM of the Zero 2 forest ruins stage. This track, with an emblematic riff, is used in a couple of stages so I guess many people are familiar with it. We wanted to enforce the “thick” image of a forest so we drew attention to the folkloric type-music which mainly uses percussion. We altered the structure a bit and had composer Mr. Kurihara play the guitar as an adlid. We had a bit of an adventure with this one.
The starting point of Zero 1's BGM is this track, isn’t it? It has a bit of a desolate SF-feeling, and it also properly represents the stoic parts of Zero in a balanced way. In this arrangement, we imagined both the anxiety of the unknown future and the strength to move on forward. The sudden appearance of the ending SE has that duality to it too.
6. Neo Arcadia
A recurring track that appeared from Zero 1 to 3, always with a different arrangement. It’d been stupid to discard any of the versions yet at the same time choosing only one of them was impossible! And so we mixed in all 3 versions. The grave air of dignity remains and its phases go on changing one after the other.
7. Enemy Hall
The Neo Arcadia shrine BGM from Zero 1. This game has a lot of astringent melodies but this track is more dramatic and melodious despite not feeling like it. While remembering Zero’s courage in attacking the enemy homeland, we arranged trying to keep as much of the melody as possible. I made it while feeling confident and the keyboard solo accidentally became longer than expected…
8. Gate’s Hell Open
The Under Arcadia stage BGM from Zero 3. A positive strength and the serious atmosphere smoothly fuse giving birth to a dramatic track. We increase the image from the introductory riff and we made the rock portions of the original track stand out further. I think this track would be great to play with a band.
9. Silver Wolf - Yggdrasil -
The Yggdrasil stage BGM from Zero 2. One of the few tracks in the series to use a triplet as base. The change of key structure makes it a complicated and hard technical track. But that’s what gives it an impact making it worth of decorating the last stage of the game. In this arrangement we have the rock portions with the guitar riff brought to the foreground, and the symphonic, solemn portions which are mixed together to make this track.
10. Straight Ahead
The Ragnarok control room BGM from Zero 4. The image is the crisis closing in with every minute that passes to then carry out a serious and speedy arrangement. I took portions from Craft’s theme, the SE of the main cannon’s firing, as well as other elements I put in while keeping the order of events in the game.
11. I, 0, Your Fellow
To bridge with the vocal arrange “Everlasting”, here’s Zero 3’s ending theme, arranged as a short piece of a music box. The structure of the last segment was thought up by Mr. Yamada. This track wasn’t originally going to be included, but we wanted a track that’d be the “accent” of the album. By insisting a lot, I managed to get it added to the lineup at a time when we were about to produce the master.
The Zero 3 staff roll track, “Everlasting Red”, having a vocal arrange with the renewed participation of Mr. Itoga. The emotional singing voice of Melodies A&B and the contrast with the powerful singing voice at the hook of the track is miraculous. The lyrics, open to multifaceted interpretations, have the “rebirth of emotions” as theme, according to Mr. Itoga. In terms of the arrangement, I aimed to make it a track full of emotions so I built it having the band sound of a live guitar and bass at its core. Also, the “everlasting” in the title is taken from an existing flower. Just like “Clover” and “Freesia”, this one’s also taken from a plant (laughs)
13. Area of Zero
The Zero 1 staff roll track. In Remastered Tracks Rockman Zero it’s listed as “Main Theme of ZERO”, and it lives to its name by being one track that symbolizes the grave worldview, the root of the series. While it’s a return to the origins, it’s also new; we wanted to bring out that nuance in this track so it’s the only one that uses the original sound materials and it’s been arranged in a way closer to a remix.
- Takuya Aizu (Producer / Inti)
I did the system programming for Zero 1 until Zero 3. The bosses, some of the small foes, whole backgrounds, all demo scenes… I did plenty of work.
At the time I slept in the office on my own and coating was all there was to my lifestyle. Meeting with Mr. Inafune to talk about what kind of game(s) it’d be, meeting with Mr. Kawano to decide the story direction… it was a hassle indeed. But I also remember it being fun. I booked a room in a Osaka (Maeda) business hotel and stayed there with Ito and Yabe to head to meetings in Tenmabashi. Those are also good memories.
Zero 1 was made while being conscious of differentiating it from the X series. Linking all stages together, boss battles in places without a boss room, many of those made it to the final game yet all of them meant a lot of work. Why are there “boss rooms”? In terms of gameplay, it’s time given to regain focus before the boss battle (clear time is an important factor in the games so I guess almost no-one did that (laughs)). But in terms of programming, it’s a location needed for the memory to load the data for the boss battle.
Having a boss battle in space without that kind of room meant clearing up several issues that would arise. But because someone said “it doesn’t look cool to be wall-kicking and jumping in the boss room”, we ended up making those boss battles without a boss room. As a result, we ended up with several battles that were “you can’t use wall-kicking” = “it’s different from the X series”.
The Zero 2 development time was very short and we didn’t have time to fix all the flaws of Zero 1. There were many requests from the players so I only remember our days feeling rushed. As development progressed and we placed bosses in each stage, we realized that we lacked bosses to place in the Neo Arcadia residential district! We did not have tiime so we made it that you fought 3 Golems in a row. The whole development had an ad-hoc approach.
The demo scene in the opening stage where the boss scorpion appears was made while watching the New Year’s program, "New Year Wide Historical Drama TV" (I think it was Chuushingura). Rewatching that scene again, the “Raid Drums” echo within my head.
Zero 3 was going to be my last job as a programmer (I actually resumed for a short while during the making of ZX (laughs)) so I made a lot details in that game, too. All the main staff thought the Zero series was going to be a trilogy. And as the final game, the atmosphere of having no compromises, was very comfortable, or so I remember. The combo system introduced in Zero 3 was finely calibrated by the playable character programmer at the time, Yanagisawa (AKA Mr. Nagi). I think the end result was pretty good. But I still think that the combo values for the Circular Shield (Orbit Shield) are disproportionate, Mr. Nagi. One of my favorite stages is the snow mountains one I made with Talam=Chaos=Hiroyuki. I think the porting to the NDS must’ve been a hassle.
I want to thank the staff who worked on the porting and Mr. Inafune and Mr. Jonouchi who supported the making of the series!
- Yoshihisa Tsuda (Supervisor / Inti)
It’s been a long time, but there’s still people who remember these games and talk about them on the net. Although I feel blessed to be one of the developers, I feel the greatness of the “Rockman” brand. I also tend to think that Hatsune Miku might be a Cyber Elf, even.
Now I can tell you about them? When it comes to episodes of the development (i.e "memories"), there’s one in particualr about the CDs. The the first Remastered Tracks album should’ve had one particular episode written in the linear notes, but it was too stupid. In an audience with Capcom, they asked for it to be taken off.
I replayed “Zero 2” after a while during [Rockman Zero Collection] lot check process. The bomber mission is so hard, I can’t progress! The bomb disarming time is too long! The boss is too strong! Who did it?! Who wrote the planning for this!? … Ah. It was me.
… Well, that aside… in this collection, you can use anall-powered up Zero from the start so you can casually enjoy the story. I’d be very grateful if you recommended it to some relative, acquaintance or friend who’s not good at games.
“Let’s build a bright future!!”
- Ryota Ito (Director / Inti)
I feel honored that people still love the games. Looking back at it, I’m amazed we could sell those games for a portable console in terms of worldview, gameplay and difficulty.
When development begins, days of sleeping at the office went on for about a whole month. But we had lunch together, went to a public bath house near the office and so… the mood was so cherry, like a boarding house. Somehow, it all didn’t feel so harsh.
People who struggled with the button/control settings in the GBA version now can set them in any way they like with the DS. I hope you use this chance to get back in touch with the series.
- Yoshinori Hawano (Director / Capcom)
These games bring back a lot of memories. It’s not like the games' development always went smoothly. And when they were in the final stages, I often approached them and put on tough demenor.
Inti had a lot of staff that had previously worked at Capcom, with whom I made games with. So there was a developer that I got along easily.
During the first game’s development, Mr. Aizu made a seat for me next to him. But because I was very loud, and as the series progressed, my seat was moved further and further away from him. In the end, I ended up next to the garbage collection point. That was a bit sad and it also reeked… well, even as I write this, I think fondly of them but I wonder what they thought of me…
Also, I can still recall nostalgic days spent at Chiba. Please keep on making fun games! I will keep on making games for the North American market myself! Good-bye!
- Masaya Suzuki (Character Staff / Inti)
It’s been 8 years since the first game’s release. Time sure flies by! To put it simply, Rockman Zero is “youth”! … kidding. I was pretty “old” by the time development was going on. There were some rough parts but I was working at my fullest. So in that aspect, I’d like to make something else while feeling the “youth” of the era when I was a newbie.
Speaking of which, the Four Heavenly Kings of Zero 1… at first Mr. Maeda and I were supposed to split the work between us. But somehow, I fell behind schedule while making the player character's sprite (Zero himself). And just as I was thinking “this is bad”, it turned out that Mr. Maeda had, at some point, made the dot patterns that’d be the base animation.
His reason was, “Ah. I was just making these for a try.” And before I knew it, it turned out he even made Zero's patterns. He simply said to me, “Ah. It’s but an experiment.” All in all, you could say that he’s the one that made the actual dot patterns for of all 4 of them… and yet I wanted to take part in the production, too…
I think that people who buy this CD also bought the collection itself. When you play a GBA game on the DS, I didn’t like that you couldn’t use the X and Y buttons. So whenever there was a meeting during the porting process, I always kept saying “please, you MUST include button configuration!”. Due to many reasons, the base expressions in the game couldn’t be changed so the config became a bit complicated. However, in the custom config in the upper screen, you can swap A and B. This means that in the default setting, they’ll become X and Y to make it easier to play. Please make sure to use the config!
- Hirokatsu Maeda (Character Staff / Inti)
It’s already been 8 years? They’ve flown by so quickly…
I remember during development, we had to make a deliberate difference between the (other) Rockman series, so I did my best in a reckless way. I wanted to make clear that “this is what Inti’s Rockman is like!”
I mainly worked onthe 4 Heavenly Kings and the 8 bosses. I also worked on the battles and I even worked hard to make Ciel and the base NPC have their own personality traits.
I want to talk a bit about how I ended up being the character designer for Zero 4. The Zero series was originally going to be a trilogy and end at the 3rd game, but since Capcom asked for more, Mr. Nakayama wouldn’t be working on the designs any more.
“Well, Maeda? Won’t you do it?” when the CEO asked me that crazy question, I became really nervous. I turned it down, saying I wasn’t up to the job but he said “this is going to be a side-story so don’t worry about changing the the designs”.
If that’s the case then, I agree… and then I ended up out of luck. As talks with Capcom went on, at some point the project turned into a sequel. Man. The phrase “an opened mouth doesn’t shut” is true indeed. Since it was going to be a sequel, I assumed I couldn’t change the feel and dedicated myself to imitating the “Nakayama touch” as best I could. I spent days having a harsh time with my highly unique “Nakayama touch” but that was the best I could achieve.
I hope you enjoy the DS game “Rockman Zero Collection”.
- Noboru Honda (BG Staff / Inti)
It’s been 8 years since the first game. This game made me realized how grand the “Rockman” brand was. I liked the commercials.
An episode about development that I can talk about? The development was so hazardous. I think it still is.
Don’t say, “you must buy “Rockman Zero Collection”!”
Toru Nakayama (Character Design)
III Sound Create Unit:
- Ippo Yamada (Sound Designer / Producer):
Born in Kanazawa Prefecture. Graduated from Chiba University of Science
Joined Capcom in the year '93. Worked on “Super Street Fighter II (SNES), “Demon’s Crest (SNES)”, “Resident Evil (PSX)”, etc. Also joined as support of (sound team) for “Rockman X2 (SNES)” and “Rockman 7 (SNES)”.
Joins Inti Creates’ foundation in the year '96. Works in “Convertible Running Attack Gunbike (SNES)”, “LOVE & DESTROY (PSX)”, “Rockman Zero (GBA)” series, “Crayon Shin-chan (GBA, NDS)” series”, “Rockman ZX (NDS)” series, “Eureka Seven (PSP)”, “Doraemon Nobita and the Legend of the Green Giant (NDS)”, “Rockman 9 (Wiiware, XBLA, PSN)”, “Keroro Gunso the Super Movie 4: Gekishin Dragon Warriors (NDS)”, “Keshikasu-kun Battle Castival (NDS)”, “Super Guts Elementary Student Bita Naked Butts Peak Battle! Bita vs Skullday (NDS)”, making of Inti Creates label CDs, was also involved in “Shin Megami Tensei Devil Children The White Tome (GBC)” as Director of Monster Designs.
- Ryo Kawakami (Sound Director):
Born in Tokyo Prefecture. Birthday: 12/4. Blood type: O. He began his musical escape as an electron demonstrator in junior high and, after several bands and support sessions, he became an arrange-composer focusing on game music.
He made the drama CD series “Tailor Shop”, and provided music for games such as “The Other Side of the Birdcage (PS2)” and “Rockman ZX (NDS)”. He joined Inti Creates in the year 07. He works in several “Crayon Shin-chan (NDS)” series games, the “ZX Gigamix” CD, “Super Guts Elementary Student Bita Naked Butts Peak Battle! Bita vs Skullday (NDS)” and others.
He also worked in “Rockman 9” and “Rockman 10 (Wiiware/ XBLA, PSN). He took care of mastering for CD albums such as “Chiptuned Rockman” and “Rockman 10 Original Soundtrack”.
- Tsutomu Kurihara (Guitarist / Producer):
Born in Tokyo Prefecture. Debuted in the year '84 at EUROX from Warner Pioneer.
Works in anime songs for anime such as “Panzer World Galient” as well as in commercials for Suntory and Miki House. Provides songs to many artists like Nakamori Akina, Nyangilas and such. Joins in many recordings, such as those of: CLASS, Ono Masatoshi, Tanaka Minako, Sendo Akiho, Tamura Eriko, Tone Mariko, Funta, etc.
Forms EGQ in the year '98. Releases 2 albums with Crown Records. He’s currently teamed up with Umegaki Luna to form Lu7 and released the albums, “Efflorescence”, “L’esprit de l’exil” and “Bonito”
He’s also taken part in “Wave Rally (PS2)” and “Drihoo (XBOX)” as guitarist. He also did the opening theme for the 2009 OVA “Saint Seiya THE LOST CANVAS”.
- Toru Itoga (Vocalist):
While studying at college, his passion led him to form LesVIEW in the year '87. Their activity in the Live House Harajuku Hokoten and others increased their band members and make contracts with Shinko Music and Fan House. They make their major debut in the year 90 with the album “Now’s the time to revive”. They make 4 albums and 10 singles until they disband in the year 93.
He makes his solo debut in the year '96 as ITOGA. After that he released 2 singles through Pony Canyon.
He performed “Clover” in the “REMASTERED TRACKS ROCKMAN ZERO Idea” CD and “The Wind That Leads to the Future” in the “ZXA Tunes” CD as well as “LAST EXIT”, “One and Only” in the “Rockman 10 Original Soundtrack” CD.
He currently works as a lecturer and freelance vocalist while also taking part in 2 bands named “TRASH” and “SANCTUARY”.
- Toshio Murai (Composer / arrange & bassist):
Born in Tokyo Prefecture. After college graduation, began work as a performer. He does background music for visual media, and game music while being a bass and music composer teacher at a musical academy.
His main works are the background music for “Mighty Agent” (movie), “My wife is…” (Kansai TV), “Challenge Series” (Benesse Corp.) amongst others.
Made several game soundtracks such as: “Cyber Core (PCE)”, “Sinbad and the Underground Maze (PCE)”, “Monster Maker (GB, NES)” series. Also made music for commercials.
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