Grant Kirkhope thinks you’ll be surprised by Mario + Rabbids’ soundtrack, lots of orchestrated music
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle has a huge musical talent on board in Grant Kirkhope. Kirkhope worked on many N64 classics back in the day, including Banjo-Kazooie. He’s also more recently been involved with the likes of Yooka-Laylee.
In this month’s issue of GamesMaster, Kirkhope talked about his approach to making music for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Instead of trying to emulate Nintendo’s style with Mario music, he instead “had to try to come up with some kind of way of getting that crazy Rabbids thing into this Mario game – and a little bit of me in there as well”. The game may start out sounding a bit “Nintendo-ish”, but later evolves, and Kirkhope believes that players will be surprised as they reach the end.
Kirkhope told GamesMaster:
“I thought there’s really no point – I mean same with Banjo-Kazooie – there was no point [in] me trying to write in a kind of Nintendo, Mario style, like a poppy, jazzy thing, because I can’t do it very well. And they’re really brilliant at it, I’d be wasting my time. So, I had to try to come up with some kind of way of getting that crazy Rabbids thing into this Mario game – and a little bit of me in there as well…
I think the game at the start does sound very pleasant Nintendo-ish, but as the game progresses (and I can’t go into detail because, you know, it’s one of those thing[s]) it just definitely changes. And I think people will be surprised by the end of it how it’s going to turn out.”
Kirkhope was also asked about how the music was recorded. It looks like we can look forward to a bunch of orchestrated music, which is estimated to be around 45 – 50 minutes or so. The rest of the music was created electronically, but the average player may not be able to tell the difference.
As Kirkhope stated:
“It’s a mix, it’s a bit like Mario Galaxy, but we’re hoping for that mix. So, we recorded 45 minutes, 50 minutes of live orchestra, and the rest of it’s me, samples out the box kind of thing. But I’ve got to say… I was over there yesterday and Wednesday and we were going through the OST release and going through all the tracks, you know, and the mix and the masters [have] been very good, it’s very similar. I think people who aren’t in the know might be slightly confused to what’s live orchestra and what isn’t.”
Kirkhope also mentioned that “the Ubisoft guys were really great at giving good, strong direction.” Instead of a “clever composer,” he views himself as someone “who just kind of fumbles around until it sounds all right… it just comes out the way it does and hopefully somebody, they like it.” While he knows what he’s doing, Kirkhope feels that he’s “just not that kind of over-analytical thing, I just know what I write, and just, it’s very instinctive for me.”