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Posted by on Mar 20, 2013 | 0 comments

Interview With Composer/Sound Designer Yuki Ichiki

Welcome Japanese readers. The Japanese version of the interview is below the English version.


As I mentioned in my interview with Tomoya Kishi: Japanese video game composers and musicians get a good bit of coverage and acclaim over in the West, but the people making the booms and whoosh sounds don’t seem to get much visibility. This time I am talking with Yuki Ichiki who was the Sound Director on Child of Eden and Lumines Electronic Symphony.  


Child of Eden

Child of Eden

Designing Sound: How did you get started in sound design?  What inspired you to do audio for games?

Yuki Ichiki: I used to be a violinist. I was performing on stage for artists on TV and commercial after graduating a college of music, and I started composing music at the same time.

One day, a friend of mine sent my demo to a game company. And I was promoted to work as a sound creator in the company. I was making various sound related works in the beginning, and I was fascinated by creating sound effects and started the sound design that capture the whole picture of the game. I was not influenced by the particular thing to get involved in the game music industry. I don’t actually think the game music is different from other music. I only understand the technique and limit to express music in games. Of course there are specific techniques for movie music and stage music itself. This is something like the difference between Rugby and American Football. It looks similar for the people who don’t know but these are two different games that have different rules. The technique required for each type of music is different, but the knowledge and ability to express music does not have any difference.

What software do you use for sound design?  Any favorite plugins and workflows?

As DAW I use Pro Tools in most of the projects. Sometimes I use Cubase.

When I do detailed wave editing works such as voice editing and finishing sound effects, I use Sound Forge.  For plugins,mainly I use Platinum Bundle of WAVES.

Yuki Ichiki

Yuki Ichiki

For you what is the most important process in the creation of sound for video games?
What I always focus is to build the atmosphere and sense of presence in the world of game. Great game music takes player into the screen and world of the game completely. Some game design can make the players feel sick because they cannot balance the feeling of sight, hearing and other senses. As you already know, music is one of the important elements to establish the atmosphere of the game world. Music can also control players’ emotion as well as the production of the game world. The game that has great sense of presence in music has effective environment sound effect and music allocated on the right situation and mixed in the right balance. Especially the game that has great BGM blends into to the game which does not make players recognizes the music but to control players’ emotion as producer aims. And sometimes, it destroys the atmosphere of well-designed world at the best timing. We need impressive music for that. Some people might think the music has started all of a sudden. If the music used in the scene captures players mind, the game itself gives the strong impression on them.  As just described, the game which has a good balance of building and destroy is a successful work piece in terms of producing the world of game. I always focus on this point in any category of games.


Image from Playstation Blog

Lumines Electronic Symphony

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Posted by on Feb 11, 2013 | 9 comments

Capcom Audio Director Tomoya Kishi Interview

Dragon's Dogma (c)CAPCOM CO., LTD. 2012 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Dragon’s Dogma (c)CAPCOM CO., LTD. 2012 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Japanese video game composers and musicians get a good bit of coverage and acclaim over in the West, but the people making the booms and whoosh sounds don’t seem to get much visibility.  To that end I reached out to Tomoya Kishi, who is the Audio Director and Senior Manager of Audio Design and Production at Capcom:

“Tomoya Kishi joined Capcom in 2001, beginning his career as an audio editor on the Onimusha series. In 2004, he was assigned to be the audio director for Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, a role he continued on the sequel Lost Planet 2. During this time he constructed a work flow to improve efficiency in video game audio development, and worked to forge more active collaborations with Hollywood sound studios—activities that have given birth to new ideas as well as new possibilities in the overall industry.

Tomoya Kishi

Tomoya Kishi

Tomoya’s recent work has been as audio director of Dragon’s Dogma. By utilizing the work flow developed on previous titles, as well as incorporating a number of collaborative works, the audio in Dragon’s Dogma has been one of the most interesting, challenging and inspiring projects of his career. Additionally, he has lead the development of Capcom’s original audio middleware, cooperating with professors and researchers with the aim of inventing a new technology in video game audio.

Tomoya currently is the senior manager of the audio production team at Capcom. The team consists of 60 members from various fields, including sound design, composition, engineering, programming, and audio production.”

Designing Sound: How did you get started in sound design?  What inspired you to do sound design for games?

Tomoya Kishi: It’s a bit of a long story, and a little embarrassing, but I’ve never formally studied music―I originally studied marketing at my university’s commerce department. However, I first got into music when my parents bought me a Yamaha synthesizer at age 14. I started remixing my favorite artist’s tracks and experimented with composing my own.

It was in the 90’s, right when club music like house and hip-hop was breaking out in the underground here, that I was hooked on creating breakbeats with the AKAI S01 sampler. The RAM on the AKAI S01 is fairly limited, so I played around sampling at a higher pitch, then going back and lowering it, sampling at a lower bit rate, shortening samples as much as possible―I was always trying to cram as much as possible into that limited space, never thinking that this experience would come in handy down the road.

In college, I DJ’d at clubs, put on shows, and self-published my own album. At that time big beat was in, so artists like Fatboy Slim were hot.

Around this time I ran into someone from Capcom at a club and first learned about sound effects. It turned out they were working on the sounds for Street Fighter. I was job hunting and wanted to work in sound, so with their encouragement I dove into this world.

Whew, so that is quite a bit of back-story―basically, I started sound design when I entered Capcom at age 22. Luckily, I was used to most of the equipment involved; I just had to learn Pro Tools, and put my sampling and sound-mixing sense to work. In the end, it was less that I was inspired and more that my career just happened to start with game sound design.


Lost Planet

-What software do you use for sound design?  Any favorite plugins and workflows? 

In general I stick to Pro Tools, and considering the total recall I don’t use an outboard. I like to keep things simple and stay away from physical controllers so I just control everything using a trackball. The plug-ins I use most are McDSP, FilterBank and CompressorBank, Waves, Pitch ’n Time, Duy EverPack, Pultec EQ and Comp, and finally Altiverb. Conceptually, Altiverb is about sampling acoustic spaces, so for someone who is into sampling as much as me it was love at first sight. I use it for a lot of different things: voice effects, to add a little something to the digital track to make it more organic, and so on. I also get a lot of use out of Pitch ’n Time. I love Pultec for how it dirties up sounds with heavy compression, so I use it to spice things up or to create nuances in footsteps. I like plug-ins that allow you to twist sounds a little with dirty effects while maintaining the original, organic texture.

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