Music has always played an important role in Yu Suzuki’s games. In 1986, background music throughout Exceed helped inspire an entire musical subgenre, while his Shen Mue boasts one of the most recognizable video game soundtracks of all time thanks to the talented Ryuji Iuchi. His last title, air tornadoalso features a unique soundtrack that required many years of preparation.
Suzuki used to listen to Valensia’s music while working and always felt that the musician’s signature style would fit well with his own vision. Given the chance to return to the world of fantasy games with air tornado, Suzuki knew he wanted to collaborate with the Dutch composer. Game Rant spoke to Suzuki about the trip to get air tornado‘s unique soundtrack made.
With the help of Wikipedia
Although Suzuki has been a longtime Valensia fan, the pair had never spoken before their work on air tornado. The influential Japanese developer decided to reach out via social media, although he needed help getting the word out who exactly he was. “I sent him a message explaining that I was the creator of the Yu Suzuki game with a link to my Wikipedia page attached,” Suzuki said.
From there, Suzuki asked Valensia if he would be interested in working on a new fantasy game and offered to share some details about the game’s world and characters. According to Suzuki, “He said he liked it and that it was a fantastic world”, so the two men agreed to work together. This resulted in 19 new recordings for the air tornado soundtrack, although not all of them were brand new songs.
“When I worked on fantastic projects in the past, I often listened to Valensia’s music.”
The game contains a mix of freshly written tracks and new recordings of some of Valensia’s greatest hits. In one or two cases, Suzuki requested changes to pre-existing hardware. “Some of the lyrics of the old songs didn’t match air tornado. The melody is excellent and fantastic, but the lyrics are a bit different from air tornado‘s. As an example, he said: “air tornado is a shooter, but it had lyrics about breaking up with your girlfriend, and it didn’t really fit the content, so I asked him to rewrite and change the lyrics for the game.”
How Suzuki Designs a Good Fantasy Game
Although one of the most remarkable elements of air tornado, the soundtrack is far from the only thing this futuristic on-rails shooter has going for it. Fans of Suzuki’s work will no doubt find it similar to space harrier, which, given the thought process that led to the game, is not surprising. Asked about his inspirations for air tornadoSuzuki said, “I thought it would be a good idea to create a concept space shooter like space harrier.”
“When you create a space shooter, you collect your favorite items. This concept, combined with technology from 1985, was used to create Space Harrier, and the same concept was used to create Air Twister using technology from 2022.”
Suzuki does not see air tornado as spiritual successor to space harrier in itself, but rather as a natural evolution of the concept induced by technological advances. “I had no intention of doing a sequel to space harrier, but rather to create a space shooter with a fantasy world that I love. I like The never-ending story, and rocks and buildings floating in the air without gravity. I also like the idea of people floating in the air, so I decided to go with the same concept and approach it using today’s technology.
Call of Air Twister
The end result is a game unlike anything else on Apple Arcade. According to Suzuki, Apple commissioned him to create “a simple and fun game like the good old arcade games of the past”, and in that respect he and his YS NET team seem to have succeeded. Over 40,000 people played the game in its first nine days, which sounds pretty impressive considering the only way to do that is with an Apple Arcade subscription.
There’s more to come air tornado thus, with several things listed as “coming soon” in the in-game menu. As for exactly what players can expect, Suzuki has opted to keep its cards close to the chest. “It’s a bit of a secret. Please look forward to it,” he said. “We also included fun and light games for casual users, so I hope people enjoy it.”
air tornado is available now on Apple Arcade.
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