Xenoblade 2 Torna DLC’s music was jazz-inspired since director was a fan of Whiplash
According to Xenoblade series director Tetsuya Takahashi, we have the 2015 movie Whiplash to thank for the jazz-inspired soundtrack in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Torna: The Golden Country.
Takahashi shared a lengthy message looking back on the franchise as part of the recently-released Xenoblade Chronicles Original Soundtrack Trinity Box. He had some kind words for composer Yasunori Mitsuda, and would later go on to discuss Torna. Takahashi had hoped to incorporate “a jazz-style atmosphere” in the main game, but “there wasn’t enough time to implement it”.
Takahashi touches on a few other things in his message as well. You can read it below.
I have had few experiences where the word ‘harmony’ has fit so well. I’ve known Mr. Mitsuda for around 30 years and it has almost been 15 years since I first met each of the other Xenoblade Chronicles composers. I suspect it’s due to the accumulation of a decade and a half, but it was easy to imagine the kind of music I would receive in return to any request I made. And the music that I received far exceeded my expectations.
Looking back, when working on Xenoblade Chronicles it’s true that I was fumbling to find each composer’s expertise as I sent out orders for the music. However, that was only until halfway through. In the latter half of development, I personally remember there being considerably less trial and error. Most importantly, the composers were so passionate that I thought preserving that passion, without tampering with this or that, would be the best way to reach the players.
After going through that process, I felt I had a lot of leeway when working on Xenoblade Chronicles 2. This was largely thanks to Mr. Mitsuda, who doubled as music producer. From small matters to more important ones, he listened to my various thoughts and also gave me a lot of advice. I was able to use that leeway to spend more time thinking about the overall direction and mechanism of the music.
Speaking of mechanisms, the incorporation of a jazz-style atmosphere in Torna: The Golden Country is fresh in my mind. While the main reason for it was simply because I liked an American film I watched in 2015 titled Whiplash, there wasn’t enough time to implement it in the main game, and considering the flow from the music in Xenoblade Chronicles, I decided it would be too abrupt so I incorporated it in the additional story rather than the main game. Considering each composer’s style, I was confident that it would go well and was very happy with the result.
And then, Xenoblade Chronicles 3. There waiting, cultivated over time was peace of mind and a sense of trust. This is what I mean by ‘harmony.’
While also feeling apologetic, I’d like to express my gratitude to the composers for sticking with me without getting discouraged by my selfishness over the past 15 years (twice as long for Mr. Mitsuda.)
To all the composers, thank you!
The same Trinity Box also contained a message from composer Kenji Hiramatsu who said in his message that “it’s time for a fresh start.” We have his full note here.