Mario, Zelda Composer Koji Kondo Scores New Game

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At the Game Awards held in Las Vegas this past weekend, Nintendo announced that renowned video game composer Koji Kondo would be scoring the music of the new Mario game, Mario Maker. Kondo, who wrote the original Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda themes, is now experimenting with new techniques to ensure the music on each level always sounds “fresh and new.”

Due for release in early 2015, Mario Maker literally builds on the original Mario concept by allowing players to design their own levels and share them with friends, using the Wii U GamePad. Because the game consists of two parts, designing the levels and playing what you have designed, Kondo wanted to focus on a “seamless transition of music” between those two modes.

“So when you’re playing, you’ll be hearing the kind of music you’d expect,” said Kondo. “Then, when you transition into edit mode, the sounds might become a little brighter, cleaner, livelier, but we don’t really want you to notice that change.”

“We also want to make sure that players, who will be spending a lot of time in the edit mode creating their levels, don’t get tired of the music,” he said. Kondo explained that they are using new technology to create subtle effects with the base tracks, piano, drums, and other layers.

The music in Mario Maker will also be unique in that the music changes slightly each time you modify your design. “The sound effects that you hear when you’re placing the different elements within a level are pitched to match the music playing at that time,” said Kondo. “It’s pretty fun to add and subtract elements and see how those sound effects change to fit with the music that’s playing.”

Although the players will be directly influencing the course of the music with their actions, Kondo has clarified that Mario Maker is not intended for use as a music creator. However, they are looking forward to unveiling “some robust sound editing functions” and creative arrangements within the game.

“A lot of the music in edit mode will be standard arrangements of some of the original scores you’ll be hearing in play mode, but I’m really looking at making those arrangements branch into a lot of different genres as well,” he said. “Some of the songs will be pretty unique and abstracted versions of the original score.”