Message from Yuzo Koshiro, Music Composition & Arrangement
A few months before I received the offer from PlatinumGames to create the music for SOL CRESTA, by sheer coincidence and just as an extension of my hobby, I had copied Terra Cresta’s music using the PC-88’s FM sound source! I was quite surprised by this coincidence, however, I was ready to get cracking as I had already laid the groundwork for the project on my end!
The first thing I was requested to do with the sound was to utilize my knowhow of sound creation of that era as a base, and “elevate” the sound to a “Neo” level.
This opportunity allowed me to rethink what would be the best fit for this “Neo” theme for the successor to the Cresta series, as I consulted with PlatinumGames on the project. My initial direction was to try and proactively emulate the sound of Kenji Yoshida, the original composer on Terra Cresta. That said, the team at PlatinumGames was eager to have me focus on trying to bring out my own style and flavor in the music. Keeping this direction in mind, my next thought was to use the Yamaha YM3526 (OPL) chip, the most distinctive chip for the Nichibutsu sound in order to give life to this “Neo” theme.
However, I still felt that this alone wouldn’t be enough to get the “Neo” feel we were aiming for, so I decided to upgrade to the YM3812 (OPL2) chip, lining up about 8 of these to generate a rich, quality sound. That ultimately became the core of SOL CRESTA’s FM sound! In order to emulate the OPL, I decided to search for some quality programs and applications that could perform the emulation. Alas, I had a difficult time finding anything pertinent. Unsure what to do, I posted a Tweet asking for some guidance on the matter. Luckily, a developer at Plogue, based in Canada, offered me their chipsynth PortaFM synthesizer as a solution! This is a wonderful, elaborately created emulator that was able to replicate the classic Nichibutsu sound, just as I needed for the project. In addition to this emulator, I also used a 3-channel PSG, a 16-channel PCM, and a virtual sound module designed with external effects in mind such as reverb, delay, and choral effects and utilized this for the composition.
Hiroshi Yamaguchi from PlatinumGames was in charge of sound direction for the game. He has done amazing compositions for games like Bayonetta, and he also composed the music for the SOL CRESTA 2020 April Fools’ trailer. Hideki Kamiya and Takanori Sato, also from PlatinumGames, have been guiding the music direction from the game production viewpoint as well, and the music of SOL CRESTA has been composed through the teamwork of the four of us.
There were a lot of revisions and iterations as we tried to include the best of everyone’s suggestions for the music. With that, I can proudly say that the result we managed to achieve was the “Neo” sound that embodies everything we hoped to achieve.
Message from Hideki Kamiya, Creative Director
SOL CRESTA carries the “Neo-Classic Arcade” brand, a new endeavor from us here at PlatinumGames.
The name “Neo-Classic” expresses our desire to reflect on the essence of what made the classic games of our childhood so much fun, and to use everything at our disposal now to convey that fun in a modern, “Neo” fashion. The idea is not to just imitate what came before, but to exercise creativity and create something that is both nostalgic and innovative.
As the first title in the Neo-Classic Arcade series, SOL CRESTA is also an official sequel to the extraordinary Moon Cresta and Terra Cresta games, as well as the latest entry in the Cresta Saga. Alas, Nichbutsu, the company that released the previous two games no longer exists, however, with SOL CRESTA we made it imperative to keep the spirit of the series alive and poured our hearts into creating the evolution of its gameplay.
Let me take this opportunity to cover the “Neo-Classic” concept in a bit more depth. The development of SOL CRESTA started with trying to figure out what we wanted to do with the brand. That, in fact, ended up being more difficult than we had initially thought…
Our goal was not to copy what was done in the past. We would not be able to build on and evolve the brand without a proper understanding of what “classic” actually meant. However, none of us in the company had experience as creators during that golden era of gaming. Among the various challenges that were piling up, sound in particular was a completely unknown territory for us.
Lost with no knowledge or experience and faced with walking a path with no clear end in sight, a savior appeared and guided us where to go. The one and only Yuzo Koshiro!
Yuzo Koshiro is a sound creator who has been active since the classic gaming days, having worked on games like Sorcerian, Ys, and Actraiser—games of my youth that made me cast aside homework and immerse myself in countless hours of gaming. Not to mention the amazing game music that I’ll remember for the rest of my life! Putting aside my personal euphoria at being able to work with an incredible composer such as Koshiro-san, his deep knowledge of making music during the good old days of gaming and the fact that he is still going strong today, was the only combination that could guide us through uncharted waters and to our as-yet unseen destination!
Koshiro-san was able to incorporate the feel of the musical style created by Terra Cresta composer Kenji Yoshida, known by fans as the “Nichibutsu sound,” while also proposing new potential that goes beyond mere imitation, and define a unique sound that is both “Neo” and “Classic” in nature. In creating the music of SOL CRESTA, Koshiro-san provided a robust pillar not only for this game, but for the future of the Neo-Classic Arcade series.
Like the phoenix, the Cresta Saga is reborn, and flies on the blazing wings that are its incredible music. As a player myself, I also plan to listen to this album and feel the joy of this historic rebirth!
SOL CRESTA Creative Director
Message from Satoshi Hamada, HAMSTER Inc. President
In 2014, Hamster inherited the rights held by Nichibutsu. Even now, I still feel the pressure of having inherited the Nichibutsu games I loved as a child. I have the responsibility to make sure the Nichibutsu classics like Crazy Climber, Moon Cresta, and Terra Cresta remain, and to spread them all over the world.
Through the Arcade Archives collection, Hamster has republished 14 Nichibutsu titles worldwide. The concept behind Arcade Archives is to preserve the games as they were, and we haven’t released any remakes or sequels to Nichibutsu titles. We believed that in order to do create a remake of these classic titles, we would need the right amount of planning, structure, and resolve.
On this occasion, PlatinumGames has released SOL CRESTA, a sequel to Moon Cresta and Terra Cresta, Nichibutsu’s flagship titles. A dream team of creators including creative director Hideki Kamiya and composer Yuzo Koshiro handled the development, and in terms of both the gameplay and music, SOL CRESTA is an amazing game experience in which the love for Nichibutsu titles shines through.
I’m truly thankful to everyone who worked on SOL CRESTA, and hope that as many people as possible enjoy playing the game and come to know Nichibutsu.
President, HAMSTER Inc.
Message from Takahito Washisaka, Producer
I’m from the generation that enjoyed playing Moon Cresta and Terra Cresta when they came out, but I never dreamt that I’d one day be involved with the Cresta series as the producer on a new sequel, let alone that we’d be making this a reality at PlatinumGames.
SOL CRESTA will be the final chapter of the Cresta Saga, however, it is also the first title in the Neo-Classic Arcade series.
At the start of development, when creative director Hideki Kamiya told me about the keyword “Neo-Classic”, I understood the “classic” part right away. The “Neo-Classic” had me somewhat perplexed to be honest, although I did feel as if I had understood this intuitively in a way…
I’ve worked with Kamiya for over twenty years now, and we ran into similar situations a few times. Understanding the concept behind the game but still not being sure if I had understood it correctly... In a way, this was an extremely important key word for the development of the game. We made sure to understand the concept clearly, otherwise we’d run into pitfalls up ahead. Previous experiences taught me that if I didn’t make sure I fully understood the concept behind a game up front, the project would end up taking a big detour, and because game development is a team undertaking, we needed to all be on the same page from the very start.
In recent years, game development has changed greatly, but the gems that our predecessors have left behind in the annals of game history continue to shine. We wanted to use current technology to express the essence of these games as “Neo-Classics” in the modern age, while showing the proper respect to these amazing timeless classics like the Cresta series.
Speaking of sound, the concept that Kamiya stumbled upon was an “if” scenario. In other words, envisioning an alternative present where the hardware of the time had continued to evolve on its own time axis in a sense. I could feel what he was aiming for and imagining that parallel timeline got my heart racing! I knew this project was going to get really interesting!
Just as that rather positive thought came to mind, the next big problem followed, unfortunately. Who would then be able to make this vision a reality? There are many talented composers working at PlatinumGames, but unfortunately none of them possess the knowledge or understanding of the hardware of that golden era. We were racking our brains, trying to come up with a viable solution. It was Kamiya who declared that the only person who could make this happen would be Koshiro-san. To be honest, I was also about to exclaim “Koshiro-san” at the exact moment Kamiya did!
We contacted Koshiro-san immediately and asked for his help with this new project. He graciously accepted, and that’s how this miraculous collaboration came to be.
I hope all of you enjoy the Neo-Classic realm of possibilities, brought to life by the music of the legendary Yuzo Koshiro!
Message from Takanori Sato, Director
During the development of SOL CRESTA, the biggest stroke of luck we had was being able to ask the legendary Yuzo Koshiro to create the music.
We presented him a rather difficult task of composing music that, while following in the mold of characteristic classic game sound, goes on to elevate this music to a fresh and innovative “Neo-Classic” composition. What he delivered was simply immaculate, and I can’t thank him enough for the amazing effort!
We’re taking another look at the “essence of fun” that classic games possess. In line with this direction, we are pursuing this concept with the tools we currently have so that we can express these classics in a “Neo” fashion.
Marking both the end of the Cresta Saga and the beginning of the Neo-Classic Arcade series, no other music could have been a better fit for SOL CRESTA!
Instead of spending time reading this message, I would recommend listening to the amazing tracks. A song is worth more than a thousand words. Music will speak for us and what we want to express creatively!
Of course, we’ve put our all effort into making sure the game is just as great as its music, so I hope those of you who haven’t tried it yet don’t just listen to the soundtrack, but also give SOL CRESTA a go. For those who have played the game, I do hope you play it once again and immerse yourself in the unique Neo-Classic world presented to you by our talented team.
Here’s to a great Neo-Classic experience! Hooray!
Message from Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Composer
I composed the SOL CRESTA trailer music and handled direction and production support for Koshiro-san. Koshiro-san started from the consideration of what would it sound like if the hardware of the classic gaming era had progressed along that path into the present. From there, he was able to perfectly replicate the fiercely unique Nichibutsu sound and compose exquisite music while imagining the progression of the hardware sound source from then until now. The end result is simply immaculate. It is extremely stylish and moving!
I think that even someone like me who didn’t experience that golden era of gaming firsthand will be charmed by the music, which turned out to be something truly unparalleled. Koshiro-san’s creation will remind you of the uniqueness and universal nature of game music! If you listen to this album along with the soundtracks to classic games like Moon Cresta and Terra Cresta, I am certain that you’ll enjoy it that much more!
©PlatinumGames Inc. / ©HAMSTER Co.