"It's been a while since I worked on a traditional fantasy game, so I recalled the music I wanted to create."
—Yoko Shimomura

Yoko Shimomura is a Japanese video game composer. She started working for Capcom in 1988, where she composed music for many games. In 1993 she started working for Square, mostly because of her interest to write classical-style music for fantasy role-playing games. In 2002 she left the company for maternity leave, but started working freelance the next year.

Work in Radiant Historia

She was contacted via email by Atlus to work with them on a new project, although she thought it was some kind of joke at first. After realizing it was real she became very excited with the proposition, as she was a big fan of the Shin Megami Tensei series. She always liked traditional RPGs where the story branches off, so when she heard about the story and other elements of Radiant Historia, her curiosity was piqued. She was also interested in the project as she would be able to work on a brand new title, and thus create the music as freely as she pleased.[1]

When she started to work on the music she requested images of the scenery and the characters in motion, and some commentary on them. She gives especial emphasis on matching the music to the imagery and the game's atmosphere, and the idea of going back in time and changing history isn't entirely a good thing, so she tried to give the music a more heart-breaking and depressive feeling.[2]

She started providing the developers small samples of the music she was creating, and then checking their reactions and feedback on them. Nonetheless, most of the tracks were accepted rather quickly and the process went very smoothly, greatly due to the fact that she was allowed to compose freely without any restrictions.[3]

The first tracks she composed were the background track for Alistel and the reminiscence track, almost at the same time. Then she moved on to the normal battle track, which are usually the ones that give her the most trouble since they're repeated so often, but for this title it came together rather easily.[4]

Given the circumstances of her work on this project, she wanted to break the mold of typical compositions. In the battle music, for example, the main melody leaves a high impression, then it tones down, all while maintaining its energy. However, in the boss battle music she decided to give it a more classic RPG feel with the addition of a pipe organ, given its surprisingly "evil" sound for a "holy" instrument, as it's so often associated.[4]

The ending theme, -HISTORIA-, was suggested by her to the game's developers, as she wanted to have a vocal track. Shimomura wanted to create an emotionally heartrending song with a good tempo, but with parts that were both calm and graceful. She also wrote the lyrics, which are directly linked to the themes of the game. When she started to work on it, she immediately thought of Haruka Shimotsuki to be the vocalist, who gladly accepted. Parts of this song have about six vocal tracks layered on each other so she had to sing a lot, but needed very little direction from Shimomura's end.[5]

She ended up composing 25 tracks for the game, mainly in orchestral style, but with a good variety of folk and pop too.[4]

Other works

External links