The Xenoblade Chronicles 3 team designed real flutes for the soundtrack
Create a whole new sound for Xenolame
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 arrives this Friday, with a big new world to explore backed by music from Yasunori Mitsuda and company. And in a new developer interview, the team details how they created the Xenoblade Chronicles 3 soundtrack using brand new flutes.
Protagonists Noah and Mio each carry a flute and play them at different points in the game. These are, according to a new Ask the Developer interview with the Xenolame team, based on actual shinobue flutes; a Japanese musical instrument made by drilling holes in shinotake bamboo.
Mitsuda, who has composed music for games like the trigger of a stopwatch, Xenogearsand Xenoblade Chronicles 2suggested the flute to the team. Xenolame Creator Tetsuya Takahashi says that after listening to the sound of the instrument, he thought it would be a good choice and would incorporate a “distinctive Japanese taste”.
At this point we have the flutes locked. Excellent. I haven’t played the game myself yet, but our reviewer Chris Carter tells me they’re used in the game for some pretty dark moments.
Only, to bring these dark moments together, the team did not just add flutes. No they made flutes.
If you build it
Director Koh Kojima remembers Mitsuda telling him, “Let’s make flutes.” At first, Kojima wondered why the team would make the flutes. But Mitsuda said that by “making the flutes from scratch, you can create a sound that has never been heard before”.
The plan was for two melodies, Noah and Mio, to eventually blend into each other as one piece. And Kojima says Mitsuda thought creating the flutes from scratch would allow him free control of scale and expression.
The Monolith Soft team designed them with the intention of actually using them. Then they sent the designs to a shinobue flutist craftsman to make them. And they were decorated by a Japanese urushi lacquer craftsman.
In the end, two flutes were made and then used to record the music of Xenoblade Chronicles 3. So this is the story of how an RPG studio made two actual flutes for its soundtrack.
It’s not like Monolith Soft is a stranger to real life models. As chronicled in Iwata Asks, Takahashi worked with Yasoyuki Honne to create a true 3D model of the world for the original. Xenoblade Chronicles ground.
Kudos to Monolith Soft for always finding wild ways to step up their RPGs. Xenoblade Chronicles 3 releases this Friday, July 29 on Nintendo Switch.
[Images via Nintendo’s Ask a Developer interview.]