Hip Tanaka wrote Mother/Earthbound's battle themes before seeing the game
A funky approach for a funky game
Mother/Earthbound is an incredibly weird, funky, unique game, and that goes for every area of the experience, soundtrack included. Ever wonder why the music of Mother/Earthbound has such a different feel, especially when it comes to battle music? Gaming Reinvented had a chat with none other than Hip Tanaka, the composer behind both Earthbound Beginnings and Earthbound, to find out more.
I wrote those battle themes first, before seeing the graphics and characters. When Mother was made, RPGs like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest were very popular in Japan. Music-wise they all featured what I would call a “symphonic” sound, and were very conscious of classical orchestration. So with Mother, I wanted to go against the grain and create a game soundtrack that would feature the genres I personally liked, such as reggae, rock, and techno. I created a number of different battle themes in advance for Mother, and then chose the one that best fit with the image of the enemies.
To take the approach of a rock/techno/reggae sound just to go against what other RPGs were doing at the time is pretty damn bold! It also really helps Mother/Earthbound stand out, just as many other parts of the game do.
Learning that Tanaka came up with these tracks before he even laid on eyes on the game; now that’s another story altogether! That makes an already impressive soundtrack that much more interesting!