Soundtrack releasing alongside the game on 17th July.
Sucker Punch Productions audio director Rev. Dr. Bradley D Meyer has written a post published on the PlayStation Blog which details why the decision was made to have two composers score the music for upcoming action-adventure game Ghost of Tsushima.
The game is set in 1274 during feudal Japan as the Mongol Empire moves in to invade the island of Tsushima. Players take on the role of Jin, one of the few surviving samurai warriors as he fights to defend the local population and attempts to free the country from the invaders.
“… Ghost of Tsushima is BIG,” Meyer said. “There is a lot of content and we knew we would need a lot of music to fill the world and support the evolution of Jin’s journey from samurai to the Ghost.
“Secondly, when done properly, having multiple voices sculpting the score can weave a more diverse and elaborate musical tapestry for the game’s story and action to sit upon,” he added.
Ilan Eshkeri (composer of films and television shows such as Waking the Dead, Shaun the Sheep Movie, and Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough) and Shigeru Umebayashi (composer of films including House of Flying Daggers, 2046, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny) were tasked with scoring the music for Ghost of Tsushima.
It’s not the first time the two composers have collaborated together on a project as they both scored the soundtrack to the 2007 horror film Hannibal Rising.
“The thing that struck us about [Eshkeri’s] music was its strong melodic content and often unique instrumentation choices,” Meyer said. “We knew our score had to be heavily melodic and emotional to properly convey the story of Jin Sakai and the people of Tsushima, so Ilan seemed like a natural fit. We asked him to focus on crafting the character melodies and themes, and he immediately immersed himself in traditional Japanese instruments and musical scales.”
Citing Umebayashi’s past works as having a “sense of place”, Meyer added: “His music helped transport us back in time and halfway across the globe. It was truly magical and we knew that we really wanted him to help craft the sonic landscape of our world.
“We asked Ume to start sketching some themes focusing on the natural beauty of the world we were building. He really dug into the emotional arc of the world and developed a suite of themes based on some key words which were representative of the gamut Jin would experience: Serenity, Occupation, Exile, Haunting, and Sanctuary,” Meyer explained.
Sucker Punch Productions and the internal music department at PlayStation took input from both composers and conducted recording sessions on an international level. Strings, brass, and traditional instruments such as the koto and shakuhachi were recorded at Abbey Road and AIR Studios in London, England.
Additional Japanese instruments including the shamisen and a taiko percussion ensemble were recorded in Tokyo, Japan. Buddhist monks from the Honjyuji and Myounji temples were also brought in to perform chanting for the score.
Singer and musician Radik Tyulyush from the Tyva Republic recorded Mongolian chants and traditional instruments in Los Angeles, California. Multi-instrumentalist Osamu Kitajima helped with the recording of additional Japanese solo instruments including the biwa.
Ghost of Tsushima will be released on 17th July for PlayStation 4.
Music label Milan Records will be releasing the soundtrack on the same day digitally and on CD as a two-disc album. Pre-orders for the digital soundtrack are available now and come with the track “The Way of the Ghost” which features singer and musician Clare Uchima (embedded below). A vinyl release will also be coming in the future.
Two preview tracks – “Jin Sakai” by Ilan Eshkeri and “Tsushima Suite: III. Bushido” by Shigeru Umebayashi – have been uploaded to the PlayStation SoundCloud (embedded below).
Be sure to read the full blog post by Meyer for additional insights from both composers.