Daily Archives

07/15/2012

Interviews

Interview: Jun Senoue at Summer of Sonic 2012

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!

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Game News

Sonic Adventure 2 XBLA/PSN Remaster Announced, No, For Real This Time

For the past few years, Sega has struggled to keep important information on upcoming titles from leaking to the public before an official announcement – and by “struggled”, I mean “failed spectacularly”. Sonic Unleashed saw promotional images as well as an early video of Savannah Citadel find their way to the public before the game was even announced; Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I leaked in its entirety prior to release, and the negative reaction to the game at the time led to a six month delay; Sonic Generations had its entire roster of levels, bosses, and characters revealed months in advance; even Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II was accidentally released several weeks early on Steam.

And so the cycle has continued with the upcoming high-definition remaster of the Dreamcast’s swan song, Sonic Adventure 2. Waaay back in April, we reported that the title had been spotted in a massive leaked list of upcoming Xbox Live Arcade titles. A month later, Major Nelson of Xbox Live pseudo-fame accidentally posted that Avatar items based on the game were due for release. And finally, just last month, Microsoft themselves posted an official listing for the game on Xbox.com, complete with screenshots, box art, and a release date of October 3, 2012. At this point, presumably Sega realized that keeping the game a secret any longer would be utterly futile, so Ken Balough and the Sega of America superteam took to the stage at Sonic Boom on Friday to show the first official trailer for the upcoming Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network rerelease, poking a bit of self-deprecating fun at the company’s inability to keep a secret. Oh, and apologies in advance for the overly-enthusiastic crowd.

[Video courtesy of YouTube user joshua593210.]