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No GravatarI recently got the chance to speak with composer Anthony Willis about his work in cinema as well as discuss his work on the Knack 2 soundtrack. Please take a look below.

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JB: How did you first get into composing? Was there any specific thing that inspired you?

AW: I actually grew up singing music as a chorister of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in England, which was a very inspiring time in my life. Windsor Castle is a popular residence for the British Royal Family, and so I was constantly surrounded by some of the world’s greatest choral music.

That experience at Windsor taught me to understand how music in built, and definitely instilled the desire to write my own music! That early training has been of immense value to my life as a composer.

 

JB:  Who are some of your influences as a composer?

AW: There are probably many more than I even realise..I suppose that potentially anything and everything that’s I’ve loved hearing has rubbed off in me in some way..and I have a pretty broad taste for what I like! Alongside my classical background, I’ve always been wowed by artists like Bjork, Sigur Ross, Radiohead, and then of course there’s Eminem.. In terms of film music, I grew up loving the scores of my childhood, Hans Zimmer’s The Lion King and Gladiator. James Horner’s American TaleBraveheart and Titanic. Patrick Doyle’s Henry V & Basil Poledouris’s Free Willy,  Harry Gregson Williams & John Powells Shrek- It seems obvious, but the biggest influencer of a given score is the story for which it’s created. No matter our desires as a composers, we must search to find the best way to bring that to life.

 

JB:  You have composed music for a wide variety of movies, including Despicable Me 2, Rio 2, How to Train Your Dragon 2, as well as The Martian, The Birth of a Nation, and Jason Bourne just to name a few. These are very different films requiring a very different style, so how do you find that different sound needed for each film? Where do you begin the process of composing?

AW: I think most composers really enjoy the variety that each project brings. It’s a chance to turn our hand to something that calls for different musical colours and devices, and the best composers are able to bind these together for each project with a consistent dramatic and musical instinct.

In the case of some of the films you’ve mentioned, because they are sequels, a lot of my involvement has been supporting the lead composer in creating variations and additional material, helping them to produce each cue in the score to the best standard possible. While the overall tone has been established, most sequels will introduce an exciting new element and or characters to the story. And so the challenge is to bring something fresh to the score to support those new elements musically, while making sure that it it feels part of the whole.

Finding the right tone for a new project is always a challenge, and that moment in the film’s creation is a very definitive one. In my experience the director has always had a critical role in that process, helping to steer the score towards it’s target. As a starting point, I’ve always been taught that a great tune, and an interesting set of chords to go with it, is the most impactful way to reach your audience.

 

JB:  What are some of your favourite films to compose for?

AW: I’ve really loved the experiences I’ve had in animation and adventure films. They allow you to really wear your heart on your sleeve in supporting the emotions of the film. The sky is very much the limit. I also love period dramas. They often have such important and timeless messages, and an intriguing sense of location. From a musical point of view, they have a wonderful way of focusing you stylistically, and the results can be very pure and honest.

 

JB:  What is a movie series you would love to work on?

AW: I absolutely love fantasy, adventure and magic, and so I’d love to compose on something like the Chronicles of Narnia. Those stories were so inspiring to me when I was growing up, and as a composer, the musical and dramatic opportunities are as good as they come.

I would also love to score more contemporary dramas. These can offer the opportunity to be quite musically minimal, but incredibly focused emotionally. I saw Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River at Sundance last year and was blown away by his command of that genre.

 

JB:  Moving to your work on Knack 2, I have to ask what interested you in this project?

AW: I was definitely looking for an opportunity to compose on a video game! Knack presented such a great wealth of musical possibilities that it seemed like the perfect project to enter the gaming world. There are adventures, heroics, great locations and environments, mystery.. the kitchen sink!

The developers were looking for a new sound for this second installment, something more akin to an animated movie experience, and so I was delighted to come on board.

 

JB:  How have you found working on composing for video games to be? Its obviously very different from movies, but what has stood out to you the most?

AW; In the case of Knack 2 specifically, the needs of the ‘in game’ music itself, were quite different to a typical film score. The music’s function is largely designed to energize the player, while adapting to their environment as they progress through the levels. The music is therefore very modular in design, there’s no definitive arrangement or sequence in which the music will unfold, and not really an opportunity for extended melodies. However, I really enjoyed this more minimal and percussive approach, which I think brought a more contemporary flare to the score.

That said, in many ways writing the music to Knack 2 was very similar to an animated movie, especially in the creation of themes and scoring of cinematic sequences.

Overall, you want to approach every varying project with your best work, which hopefully will resonate with an audience. In most games, there are upwards of 10 hours of game play experience, and so that offers an even greater opportunity for the audience, in this case player, to interact with the score. There’s a huge support for Video Game music by the gaming community, and perhaps even more pressure to live up to their expectations!

 

JB:  What goes into your process specifically for how you approached the video game music? Any specific influences that you wanted to pay tribute to?

AW: The music team and I started by trying to find some strong musical themes to support Knack and his world. I tend to write themes at the piano, in my head on a walk, or even at the sequencer itself, it depends very much on the situation. It’s so helpful to have these themes established as I approach the cinematic and game play cues. I’ll then try to find the best possible structure and appropriate arrangement for each moment in the game. It’s hard to pin down specific influences as it all gets put in the washing machine, but I grew up loving the music for Zelda, the use of themes, and the way the music supports the mystery and problem solving throughout the game. The Knack 2 score also has a definite nod in places to the classic adventure feel of John Barry.

 

JB:  What are some other video games you would like to work on in terms of composing?

AW: There is such a wealth of video games being developed at the moment we live in an amazing time of innovation. Being able to wake up every day and have a game to work on is a real privilege. I would love to lend my hand to a VR experience, with a lot of space to draw the player in and immerse them emotionally. I would love to work on something like Ori and the Blind Forest. The developers did such an amazing job, together with their composer Gareth Coker, at bringing that world to life. So it might have to be Ori’s distant cousin for me!

 

JB:  Did you enjoy the experience of working on Knack 2?

AW: Absolutely! Like any project it had it’s challenges, but I’m so proud to be attached to the game, and to have been able to make a musical contribution to support Knack. I’d like to make special mention of my producers at Sony Playstation, Peter Scaturro and Keith Leary, who brought me on to the project, expertly guided me through the process, and supported my vision for the score. The whole music team at Playstation and JStudio were wonderful collaborators.

 

JB:  Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of Real Otaku Gamer?

AW: Well first of all, thank you for reading and for taking an interest in the Knack 2 score!

If you’d like to hear the score, the full album is available on the PlayStation Network- and will soon be available on itunes!

 

There are some preview tracks available here

 

JB: Thank you again

 

 

By Sebastian Marco On 30 Aug, 2017 At 07:45 PM | Categorized As News, News, PlayStation, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Back when Until Dawn first released I remember my roommates playing it and shrieking from the next room. It gave me a definite Cabin in The Woods vibe, where players would almost be a 3rd party spectator and choose to help or abandon characters to move the story along with many different endings depending on who lived and who perished. Well now Supermassive games is going back, way back, with  The Inpatient, a PSVR prequel to Until Dawn.

The Blackwood Sanatorium, where the Impatient takes place and the time period over 60 years before Mike and the Blackwood  guests ever even think of checking into the Blackwood Pine. Fans and newcomers of the series will both be welcome as playing Untill Dawn will now be a requirement in order to get the story as The Inpatient will be a brand new stand alone game.

While most is unknown about the the main character, you will play as a amnesia stuck patient in the sanatorium filled with plenty of mysterious characters and settings, including the a man named Jefferson Brag. Similar to Untill Dawn’s gaming system, how players interact with various patients and characters will affect the story and situations you get into as you progress through the game.

The Impatient has a release of November 21st of this year

 

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 28 Jun, 2017 At 03:34 PM | Categorized As Animation, News, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The cast for the upcoming Castlevania Netflix series has now been announced. The announcement was made via the following video

 

 

 

The cast includes

– Graham McTavish: Dracula
– Richard Armitage: Trevor Belmont
– James Callis: Alucard
– Alejandra Reynoso: Sypha Belnades
– Emily Swallow: Lisa Tepes
– Matt Frewer: The Bishop
– Tony Amendola: The Elder

The series will start July 7th.

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 20 Jun, 2017 At 09:56 AM | Categorized As Animation, Comics/Manga, Movie News, News, News, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The hit 1993 animated film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm will be coming to Blu Ray in a 1080p HD Remaster.

 

Warner Archive announced the release yesterday and fans have been very receptive already.

 

BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM(1993) (BD)
NEW 2017 1080p HD REMASTER
Presented in both the original theatrical 16×9 aspect ratio (1.78:1) AND open matte 4×3 (1.37:1) aspect ratio
Run Time 76:00
Subtitles English SDH
DTS HD-Master Audio 2.0 Stereo – English
COLOR
BD 50
Theatrical Trailer (HD)

When the city’s most feared gangsters are systematically eliminated, the Caped Crusader is blamed. But prowling the Gotham night is a shadowy new villain, the Phantasm, a sinister figure with some link to Batman’s past. Can the Dark Knight elude the police, capture the Phantasm and clear his own name?

Unmasking the Phantasm is just one of the twists in this dazzling animated feature. Discover revelations about Batman’s past, his archrival the Joker and Batman’s most grueling battle ever — the choice between his love for a beautiful woman and his vow to be the defender of right. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is “a mystery that is genuinely absorbing, suspenseful and moving” (Cincinnati Enquirer).

According to twitter, the release will be next month.
This author remembers seeing the movie in his childhood (not in theatres but some years later) and being absolutely wowed. Seeing it again recently, it truly holds up well. This is a great movie.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Jun, 2017 At 05:19 PM | Categorized As Animation, Comics/Manga, International News, Movie News, News, News, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Toei Animation sent out the following

 

Toei Animation gave the world a first-look at its highly-anticipated Mazinger Z feature film at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the largest animation festival in the world. First announced in February with only an image, fans across the globe have waited eagerly for key details on how the big screen will adapt the revered anime series. Now – for the first time since 1974 – Mazinger Z is finally back!

 

With an introduction from Mazinger Z’s original creator, Go Nagai, and producers Ichinao Nagai and Yu Kanemaru, attendees at the Annecy International Film Festival on June 14 were treated to an exclusive look at what the talented team at Toei Animation has been working on these many months. With gasps of surprise and applause from the audience – which included famed director Guillermo Del Toro, who counts the series as a major source of inspiration – three major revelations were revealed.

 

Not An Adaptation, But A Sequel!

The film’s brand-new story takes place ten years after the final episode of the TV series.

 

Complete Synopsis

Humanity was once in danger of its downfall at the hands of the Underground Empire, which was led by the evil scientist Dr. Hell.  Koji Kabuto piloted the super robot Mazinger Z, and with help from his friends at the Photon Power Laboratory, he thwarted Dr. Hell’s evil ambitions and returned peace to the world.

It’s been ten years since then… No longer a pilot, Koji Kabuto has taken after his father and grandfather by starting down the path of the scientist.  He encounters a gigantic structure buried deep beneath Mt. Fuji, along with a mysterious indication of life…

New encounters, new threats, and a new fate await mankind.  The former hero Koji Kabuto has a decision to make about the future: whether to be a god or a demon…

This grand action film depicts the fierce battle fought by the people and Mazinger Z–once again entrusted with the future of mankind!

 

Toshiyuki Watanabe Will Score The Film!

He’s the son of Chumei Watanabe, giant of the Tokusatsu music world, known for being on the front lines of creating opening songs for Showa-era anime and hero shows, including the very Mazinger Z opening theme that Mizuki sings. A composer of music for many movies in his own right, as well as a producer for a variety of artists, ears are open and waiting for the music Toshiyuki Watanabe creates! The torch of “Z” has been passed from father to son!

 

Ichiro Mizuki Joins To Sing The Opening Theme!

The beloved opening theme of the series  returns with a sweeping orchestral version sung by Ichiro Mizuki. After 45 years, everyone’s powered up big bro is coming back to Mazinger Z’s stage.

 

…And Finally!

Previously exclusive only to Annecy attendees, the film’s complete teaser trailer is now available

 

You can see the teaser below

 

Mazinger Z is a beloved series and this new film looks great. Toei is really going all out to make this a tribute to the original and make sure fans and the material are treated with respect. As an anime fan myself, this author is extremely excited by this movie.

Fans should definitely rejoice.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 24 May, 2017 At 04:54 PM | Categorized As Animation, News, ROG News, Television, Videos | With 0 Comments

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Netflix and Konami have released the first trailer for the upcoming animated Castlevania series. The series debuts on July 7 of this year.

 

The series looks dark and violent and like a Castlevania series should. Check out the trailer below

 

 

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 17 May, 2017 At 12:54 PM | Categorized As Animation, Comics/Manga, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 was announced for Switch during the reveal event., but there was a distinct lack of information about the game after that. However, we now have new information thanks to Famitsu, and there are some very interesting details.

The game has  mechanics and systems in this version to add a new experience.

  • Ad-Hoc Co-Op Play – A first for the Dragon Ball Xenoverse series, using ad-hoc correspondence, you can play with up to six nearby players.
  • Ultimate Techniques with the Motion Sensor – For example, by using the Joy-Cons with both hands, you can trigger a “Kamehameha.”
  • Two-Player Joy-Con Battles – Battle against a friend on the same Switch using the two Joy-Con controllers.

The Switch version will also have some great bonuses as well.

  • Limited Time Bonus – Experience the “Time Patrol” main story from the first Dragon Ball Xenoverse.
  • For Early Buyers – A code to unlock the characters from the main story early. By using this code, you will have access to more than 70 characters from the start.

Bandai Namco may have taken their time revealing information on the Switch version of the game, but it was worth it. This sounds like an incredible version of the game with a ton of great content.

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 4 May, 2017 At 07:10 PM | Categorized As Animation, News, News, NINTENDO, ROG News, Television | With 0 Comments

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Russia is a country that does not seem to like Pokémon Go. They previously arrested a man and charged him with inciting religious hatred for playing Pokémon Go in a church. He faces 3 years imprisonment if found guilty.

It seems the Simpsons have also run afoul of the country for this same reason. A recent Simpsons episode say the show spoof Pokémon Go and had Homer play a similar game inside a church. This angered Russian clerics and the episode has been held back in the country as a result.

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By otakuman5000 On 16 Apr, 2017 At 09:23 PM | Categorized As Animation, Editorials, Featured, NINTENDO, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG Humor, Videos | With 0 Comments

No GravatarIn a timed exclusive with the creator of the show, The Scarlet Derby Plays comes to Real Otaku Gamer. This is a new series from my good friend Mike Cervantes. This is a very entertaining show. We are glad to showcase the show on Real Otaku Gamer.

 

 

By Kira Nance On 17 Mar, 2017 At 10:07 PM | Categorized As Animation, Comics/Manga, International News, Movie News, News, News, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarNetflix Japan has released a teaser trailer for Devilman crybaby, a new anime adaptation of Go Nagai’s iconic manga Devilman, said to be coming spring 2018. Known for it’s graphic violence, Nagai’s Devilman has inspired countless adaptations since it’s 1972 debut. In Nagai’s story, we follow Akira Fudo, a pure of heart youth who, embracing the fight fire with fire advice of his best friend Ry? Asuka, willingly integrates with an unlucky demon to prevent an impending resurgence of demons.

To fight a demon, one must become a demon“.

The official Netflix description is as follows:

A demon possesses a boy’s dead body to do evil. But after falling in love with a human girl, he has a change of heart. Based on Go Nagai’s hit manga.”

Directing the new anime is Masaaki Yuasa (Adventure Time, Ping Pong, Mind Games) and he appears to be embracing the Devilman spirit with open arms. Yuasa is well known and respected for his off-model deranged animation as well as his use of Gainax Endings.  Produced by Aniplex and Dynamic Planning (Go Nagai), Devilman will be available in 190 countries/territories, dubbed in 9 languages, with subtitles in 25.

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