Questions regarding the series

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Birdy
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Questions regarding the series

Postby Birdy » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:32 pm

Well, it's technically just one question for now, as I'm in the process of writing a retrospective for the series and have had moments where I need to stop to look up various details. (The website and this forum has been incredibly helpful for that.) I also didn't want to put this in any specific game's section, in case I end up having more questions regarding other games in the series and don't want to make a post for each one. I hope that's okay!

Anyway; My first question is why exactly was it that the soundtrack was changed between The Silver Star and Silver Star Story? I've tried to find the answer in numerous places, but I can never seem to come up with something solid. I assume it's nothing a grand. Probably just a legal issue? Or maybe because SSS was so different from TSS that they felt the soundtrack should be entirely different? I would love some insight, as this is something I've wondered for years.

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Re: Questions regarding the series

Postby AkagisWhiteComet » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:48 pm

Noriyuki Iwadare was the lead composer for all the LUNAR games (along with LUNAR he has a very, VERY long list of works he's done). Pixelated Audio interviewed Iwadare last year regarding the music used in LUNAR.

https://pixelatedaudio.com/lunar/

Years ago in 2003 he was interviewed for LUNAR-Net and the text from that interview can be found on the main LUNAR-Net page.

https://www.lunar-net.com/interviews/iwadare.php

As for a "why" the music was changed? If I could surmise a reason it would be because at it's core SSS has a very different progression and feel from TSS. It was also likely seen as a chance of sorts. When TSS first came along the full scope of CD quality music in games was still being explored. By the time SSS came along CD music had advanced dramatically in such a small time window. I'm certain Iwadare saw similar chance.

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Re: Questions regarding the series

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:03 am

AkagisWhiteComet wrote:As for a "why" the music was changed? If I could surmise a reason it would be because at it's core SSS has a very different progression and feel from TSS. It was also likely seen as a chance of sorts. When TSS first came along the full scope of CD quality music in games was still being explored. By the time SSS came along CD music had advanced dramatically in such a small time window. I'm certain Iwadare saw similar chance.

Eh? They're all are nicely composed, but TSS/EB use actual real instruments (or very accurate synthesized ones.) The PS1 remakes sound tinny by comparison, even the Saturn ones are a degraded a bit, though still better than the PS1 remakes. I understand some people love chiptunes, but if sound quality = capability in terms of emulating real instruments(unless you mean something else?), the SCD ones win (and so does SSH while I'm at it.)
Also Birdy, I don't know of the reason why the soundtrack was changed.

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Re: Questions regarding the series

Postby Alunissage » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:19 am

Iwadare was only one of four composers of the TSS music. I haven't listened to the linked podcast (wish there were a transcript; I much prefer reading to listening), so I don't know what it covers. I don't know if it's accurate to call him the lead composer of TSS though.

I had the impression that the lack of reuse of any of the TSS music (WD added some to SSSC, but there is no TSS music in the Japanese games) was more a copyright issue, perhaps relating to Studio Alex's demise. Need Shiva Indis here to comment further.

I rather doubt that changing the music had anything to do with the CD quality. Except for the cutscenes, I think all the SSS music is midi, while TSS was redbook. That's why the Saturn games sound so much better than the PlayStation ones. I remember some interview (maybe the SSSC Making Of) where Iwadare and/or Mizoguchi talked about developing a single musical theme for SSS and using it repeatedly. Certainly SSSC does have more thematic unity in that regard than TSS, which only has two instances of the same melody being used in different pieces (the town/village music, e.g., Lann and Saith, and the final battle music quoting the dragon cave music). Of course, it also used music from EB, including the Four Heroes theme which utterly baffled me when I heard it because it only occurs once in SSSC -- and I think in EB it's mainly used for the villainous "Four Heroes of Althena" so it has a much different connotation. Though come to think of it, I should verify with Kizyr that its inclusion in SSSC wasn't also a WD addition.

The feel of SSSC is very different from TSS, in no small way due to the music. The tone set by TSS's overworld music after Luna is captured is so much darker than what it had been. That said, there are a few places where clearly they were going for a similar feel in SSS as in TSS: the SSS Burg/Saith music is fairly similar to the TSS music, and the dragon music is so similar I got into an argument here about it actually being different. (SSS's has prominent borrowed chords, while TSS's is largely diatonic.) Luna's song is also similar, but of course that theme was originally in EB. I wonder if that has something to do with its near-unsingability; you can hear the girls in the Blue Dragon Shrine scene straining at the high note.

All this is reminding me that I really need to play SSH again and listen to the changes in orchestration.

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Re: Questions regarding the series

Postby Imperial Knight » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:29 pm

Iwadare is very fond of repeatedly invoking the main theme in other pieces of music for his games. Personally, I rather like it.

I know TSS is not Hiroshi Fujioka's only collaboration with Iwadare. While Iwadare is generally recognized as the Langrisser series composer, a number of tracks were actually composed by Fujioka (some still were by other composers).

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Re: Questions regarding the series

Postby Birdy » Sat Sep 22, 2018 7:46 pm

So what I'm gathering is that there is currently no known definitive answer, but it is most likely a combination of something legal and because the music of TSS overall doesn't match the tone of SSS. (Playing the second overworld theme from TSS over footage of SSS's world map definitely makes this apparent.)

I did have a couple of other questions come up that weren't related to the music difference. Namely they have to do with the MPEG version.

1.) For clarification, was the cutscene quality between the MPEG version and PC port of Lunar SSS on par with each other, or was one slightly better than the other?

2.) Are the PS1 and MPEG versions largely the same, minus audio and cutscene quality? As in, while some bromides were not in the original 1996 Saturn version, were they present in the MPEG one? (Though I have the game, I don’t have a Saturn movie card nor a Japanese Saturn, so I can’t check this for myself.) Under the J-E Differences section for SSS, it says that some bromides/the Rememberizer were not available in the Saturn version, but I wasn’t sure if that meant just the original or both.

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Re: Questions regarding the series

Postby Alunissage » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:10 am

The "because the music of TSS doesn't match the tone of SSS" is purely subjective and speculative. I could see it being a reason for a mostly new score, but not for changing all of the music, especially when some pieces are fairly familiar. Indeed, WD put a few excerpts of TSS music back in when they localized SSSC. I think it far more likely that it was entirely a legal reason, especially with several pieces from EB making it into the SSSC soundtrack.

Regarding the MPEG game, my recollection is that the cutscene quality is comparable with the PC version. But while I have played some of both, I'm really not a good judge of these things.

The PS and PC versions are ports of the MPEG version. The MPEG version does have the additional bromides, and I think the other major differences (the Rememberizer and being able to use the Ocarina as a music test) are also in that version. Kizyr, who did the J to E differences section, doesn't have the hardware to play the MPEG version, I think, and in any case was more interested in documenting the changes from the Saturn version that people are most likely to play. Someday I will have to play through the MPEG version enough to check whether the Rememberizer is in it, but I have an Asian Saturn rather than a Japanese one and need to hunt down the transformer for it.

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Re: Questions regarding the series

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:15 am

Birdy wrote:1.) For clarification, was the cutscene quality between the MPEG version and PC port of Lunar SSS on par with each other, or was one slightly better than the other?

2.) Are the PS1 and MPEG versions largely the same, minus audio and cutscene quality? As in, while some bromides were not in the original 1996 Saturn version, were they present in the MPEG one? (Though I have the game, I don’t have a Saturn movie card nor a Japanese Saturn, so I can’t check this for myself.) Under the J-E Differences section for SSS, it says that some bromides/the Rememberizer were not available in the Saturn version, but I wasn’t sure if that meant just the original or both.


Alunissage wrote:The PS and PC versions are ports of the MPEG version. The MPEG version does have the additional bromides, and I think the other major differences (the Rememberizer and being able to use the Ocarina as a music test) are also in that version.


The Windows PC gamehas better FMV resolution than MPEG Saturn game, which likewise has better FMV then the PS1 version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsA09-wYY4s (Windows) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE33yYkKui8 (Saturn MPEG), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ1j3Gb3Bvw (PS1). I don't own the Windows version but I do own the PS1 and Saturn MPEG games (and by extension the MPEG card), and using an XRGB-mini (quality upscaler for SD connections) can confirm it has nothing to do with potential differences in the uploaders capture equipment. I can also confirm the Ocarina is available at the beginning of the MPEG Saturn game. Finally, this playlist shows that that the additional bromides are on the Windows version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsA09-w ... _HlGK8phjy

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Re: Questions regarding the series

Postby Shiva Indis » Sat Oct 06, 2018 12:49 am

Birdy wrote:So what I'm gathering is that there is currently no known definitive answer, but it is most likely a combination of something legal and because the music of TSS overall doesn't match the tone of SSS. (Playing the second overworld theme from TSS over footage of SSS's world map definitely makes this apparent.)


Some of the public documents from the Studio Alex suit are linked via Wikipedia, but I don't have any background in Japanese legal language so I just skim and hope to find something I can make sense of. One thing I can pick out is that the case was tried in 2003, 7 years after Iwadare wrote the music for SSS. Seems unlikely that the new soundtrack is related to this dispute. There is a possibility there was some contractual issue with Cube (the firm the TSS composers, including Iwadare, worked for in 1992) that occasioned the change, but I have no idea.

I'm actually inclined to think the new hardware (wanting to devote disk space to video rather than music) and Iwadare's growing profile as a composer were the main reasons for the new soundtrack. For what it's worth. :P
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Re: Questions regarding the series

Postby Temzin » Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:28 am

It's an interesting one. This is the unsuccessful appellate lawsuit by Studio Alex, where it sought royalties for SSS on Sega Saturn and damages for SSS on PS, PC, and Working Designs version, based on the idea that SSS was a derrivative work of TSS and thus subject to the joint copyright on TSS held by Studio Alex and Game Arts. Unluckily for Studio Alex, they only got this for the Saturn version and were hit by a countersuit by Game Arts for breach of contract related to problems with their work on Magic School Lunar for Sega Saturn which far outweighed this. Studio Alex was subseqeuntly obliterated, along with any hope for the series' future, in my view. But what's important is that music isn't cited as a specific reason for the court decision, which in any event took place years after SSS was released, as Shiva rightly noted.

In conclusion: there's no authoritative reason that can be cited for the music change. All a writer can do is note the obvious, which is that SSS was planned as a substantively different remake from TSS (including aurally with an entirely different voice cast in Japan), and it is perhaps not surprising that such a radical redesign included totally new music. By contrast, Game Arts noted that because Eternal Blue as released on Mega CD had already reached "a very high level of quality," there was little need to change much in the game at all for the remake. (And what was changed was deleterious, I'd say, but that doesn't really matter here.) So what you have is one game where there was a clear desire at Game Arts for a massive remake with accompanying changes that could be expected, and a sequel where there was a high level of satisfaction at Game Arts with the existing product.


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