Ghost Trick Has One Of The Catchiest OSTs On The 3DS
Ghost Trick was one of my favourite games on the DS. A big part of what made it so good was the amazing music.
The whole concept behind Ghost Trick is making ghostly possessions a game mechanic. That meant every object in an area was either a potential tool to be manipulated or a method of transit. Interesting characters, witty dialogue, and vibrant visuals made it an instant classic for me. But the thing that’s stuck with me most is the soundtrack. I still listen to it all the time, whether it’s when I’m writing, working out, doing chores, or just chilling. So I was pretty excited to get the chance to speak with the game’s composer, Masakazu Sugimori.
Sugimori began composing music when he was in high school after he was given the assignment of composing a tune. “I composed all the tunes on behalf of all the other students in the class,” he fondly remembered. He entered Capcom after graduating from vocational school and worked on games like Viewtiful Joe and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. He left Capcom in 2007 to create a new company, Design Wave, where he worked on Ghost Trick as a contractor.
“Before the start of the production of the game (Ghost Trick), the director, Mr. Takumi, gave me a picture of the garbage dump from the beginning of the game. I was inspired by the drawing and composed two tunes, which I then gave to him. One of those became the main theme.”
The main theme is one of the most recognisable songs in Ghost Trick and the opening scene is one of the most pivotal. The protagonist, Sissel, wakes up in the junkyard, has no memories, and realises he’s been murdered. Sissel’s journey in driven by his desire to figure out why.
Inspiration can come from a variety of places, and in the case of Ghost Trick’s music, Sugimori stated it was “a small oil painting beside me. It was drawn in blue and black, a picture showing the night air which inspired me a lot… I don’t know the name of the artist, though, as I bought it from a street painter in front of the Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts long time ago. “
There were some challenges composing for portable game devices, some of which had to do with “producing bass sounds. You had difficulty hearing bass and kick drum sounds,” Sugimori stated. “I used some tricks to make the bass sounds from the GBA and DS easier to listen to. For example, I raised the octave to be higher on bass sounds, but if you just do that, when playing the game using headphones or earphones, the bass sounds too loud. So I had a hard time adjusting it. And of course, there were problems with the capacities of ROM and RAM.”
One of the tracks I listen to all the time is “A Dashing Enigma” which has some great percussion beats. It helps create an atmosphere of mystery while spurring players on to solve the puzzle at hand with catchy rhythms.started some 9 years ago. I’ve composed almost all the tunes for this game series. Now the game has accumulated more than 500 tunes. By the way, I hear that the game was ported overseas for the first time in the series as Super DragonBall Heroes. Since it was originally composed for the arcade, the volume and sound pressure were set to be high. I was worried that the BGM volume is too loud (I’m not on the Switch version staff). I’m curious how fans are reacting to this game outside of Japan.”
The other game he’s working on is Murder by Numbers which was recently announced in Europe. “This game is special for me because this is the first time I was offered a job from overseas (Britain). At present, it is announced that the game is for Steam. Murder by Numbers will be released next year, so I can’t say much about it now, but I think it’s OK to tell you I very much enjoyed composing for the game. I’d love to continue working not only in Japan but overseas… Feeling that way, I’m composing every day at the studio.”