Above: Cave Story 3D's reveal trailer.
there any popular game franchises or titles you want to make music for?
DB: I guess Fallout, but I don’t think I’m the guy to do
Fallout. It requires a kind of music I’m not very good at, which is subtle
ambient stuff. I redid the music for Cave Story last year, and that was really
fun and really cool. If you would ask me a year ago, I would have said Cave
Story. Usually I don’t like to re-do people’s music, but in the case of like, a
Star Wars game, that would be really cool to work on. But as far as something
original… I guess I don’t even think of it like that. All of my influences from
back in the day are from games that aren’t around anymore. I’d say Final
Fantasy, but Final Fantasy music is fucking awful now. Final Fantasy XIII’s
music… I can’t remember one theme from XIII, but I remember everything from VI.
I’d love to do stuff for Tim Schaffer, though. That’d be
amazing, but he’s got his guy.
Some people have been making the Tim Burton/Danny Elfman
comparison with me and Edmund, and that’s like the best comparison that anyone
could ever say. Ever.
GR: It seems like you’re his go-to guy, and I don’t think
anyone is going to complain. Now you mentioned doing Cave Story 3DS’s soundtrack –
that’s a hefty responsibility. That game is beloved.
DB: I KNOW! I know dude.
GR: Are you worried at all?
DB: YES!Above: The re-designed main character, which has gotten very mixed reviews from Cave Story fans.
GR: The reaction to the changes to the graphics have been
nuts. People are like “you can’t change Cave Story! That’s blasphemy!”
DB: I am worried. I mean, but who is going to be commenting the
most? Random YouTube comments? So that makes me less worried. And the few
things that have been out there have gotten a pretty good reception. When
people don’t like it, it seems to be that they don’t like to be the original
music, not so much that they think it’s horrible like they did with the WiiWare
version. The WiiWare version had a huge backlash because people weren’t feeling
the music. I think they learned from that. They gave me more freedom than they
gave the other guy. The other guy had to redo it with midis and midi sounds,
and that’s difficult to do. In that position I wouldn’t have made a very good
GR: Like forced retro?
DB: Yeah. More like half-way retro. Like it’s not completely
retro, but it’s not new. When it comes to how I did the tracks, it was
basically to keep the composition and arrangement the same. Whenever I’d
deviate at all Pixel just wasn’t having it, which I completely understand. But
I kind of occupy this niche, it’s like 12-bit music. It’s fully, CD quality “real”
music that has this old-school sound to it. I think it has to do with the
sounds that I choose. Like, the Super Nintendo sound chip is like my favorite
sound in the world, you play anything through that chip and I love it.
Above: Cave Story 3D's starting area, which looks like the original's... but in 3D.
GR: Someone did that with the Game of Thrones theme.
DB: I’ll need to hear that.
GR: Well it’s had an uprising recently. I’m sure you’re a big
fan of chiptunes, too.
DB: I mean, I like them, but I don’t go to shows. I’m not an aficionado.
I’m not comfortable with people calling my music chiptunes, even though
sometimes it is. Real chiptunes use
specific hardware. I don’t do that. I’m a cheater. I use samples. I’m not a connoisseur.
But I definitely like it, I used to listen to Nintendo and Super Nintendo
soundtracks when I was a kid, all the time. When I think of how something
should sound that’s what I’m drawing from. And I guess that’s why I did so much
better in the gameplace than the filmspace. I was better at anticipating what
gamers want to hear because I listened to it and loved it for so long.