Breath of Fire Original Soundtrack Special Box

Album Title:
Breath of Fire Original Soundtrack Special Box
Record Label:
Catalog No.:
Release Date:
March 31, 2006
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Yasuaki ‘BUNBUN’ Fujita – Composer (Breath of Fire)

While it’s true that Breath of Fire was recognized as the very first RPG developed by Capcom at the time, I really wished to work in something related to an RPG ever since I entered the company. So being chosen for and getting tasked with the development of the sound for this game was like a dream come true for me. That was what greatly ignited my passion as a composer.

In fact, I still remember that the initial plan was that I would prepare two songs in order to use them as the BGM heard in the towns at different points in the game. However, I was so fired up that I couldn’t agree with that, and this made me push through and make changes to the project impertinently. I pushed changes by saying things like “this approach will reduce the freshness and expectations of finding new and unexpected things when first entering a city!”

As a result, I ended up with the task of making and preparing all the town BGMs. But since I had the deadline always looming above my head, I couldn’t go back to my house for several weeks. So I spent most of my time sitting at the keyboard, to the point it became an undeniable truth that the huge hemorrhoids I had on my buttocks began opening up! (*sweatdrops*)

Contrary to the very advanced hardware and equipment we have at our disposal nowadays, capable of even playing back extremely realistic instrument sounds, back then, the material we had available for creating sounds was extremely limited. That was also the case for the number of instruments and sound sources we could use to express these melodies, which was quite distressing and a battle we had to deal with on an everyday basis.

Back then, I dreamed everyday of how happy I’d be if we could have made these songs with the same quality as a CD sound source. However, now many years have passed and this original soundtrack has finally been released, I see how many things we’ve gained throughout the years.

I’ve worked in all sorts of games and products, but the time I worked on the original Breath of Fire was the stage of my life as a composer in which I was the most passionate of all. Even if it’s made with old sound fonts now, to me this game is a precious treasure that I spent the springtime of my life alongside. Furthermore, I’m even using the song “Battling” as the ringtone for my cellphone right now. (*laughs*)

Anyway, I hope those that are familiar with the game, as well as those that haven’t played it yet, will listen to the sounds I made during the passionate springtime of my life.

Yuko Takehara – Composer (Breath of Fire II)

It’s been around ten years since I worked on Breath of Fire II already, huh…? I was still a vivaciously (obsolete words!) young employee on her second year working for the company, so when I got word from the higher-ups saying “Next, we’ll task you with Breath of Fire II! Good luck!,” I was honestly happy that I could work in an RPG. After all, I was so horribly lousy at games that the only ones where I could get to the ending and watch it were in RPGs. I couldn’t even imagine hellish days were awaiting me….

The initial moments when I was in a good mood to make compositions didn’t last much. I slowly slipped into a deep sadness, which seemed to bring me into depths that seemed to have no end. But surprisingly, I never said “I can’t do this” nor did I run away… if I had to say why, it’d be because at the time, our sound team didn’t have many people. Even if they had wanted to replace me, they still gave me all sorts of encouragement. (*laughs*)

Among all these tracks, the ones for which I had the easiest time making them into the image I wanted were the ones like “A Whale (La-la-la)” and “White Wings”. I still remember that I had next to no difficulty when I made them.

On the other hand, the songs that gave me the most trouble were the battle themes. I really couldn’t make them come out nicely… I’ll never forget how one of my seniors in the sound team told me “Kadota-san (former maiden name), now I understand how horribly hard it’s to make battle themes” when I asked him to play one of the mid-development ROMs we had at the time.

And while I was still being dragged around by that great sadness, when the development time began nearing its final stage and I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, I calculatingly rose up again and decided that if there was going to be an ending, I should make a staff roll theme to go with it. I thought, “Okay, we’re gonna release the game in a short while after this!” (*laughs*) As the staff roll song was the very last one I made, I feel like “exploding with happiness” when I listen to it!

And while I say things to the contrary, now I think about it, it was very enjoyable! The Breath of Fire team was filled with all sorts of great people. But above all, hen I listen to the Breath of Fire songs now, after such a long time, I can only think: “Hehe, I was so young!!!” And it’s obvious that they have a certain youth to them, unlike the tracks I make now…! But nah, things like these really make you feel how time passes. But I should still try to stay young enough!!!

Akari Kaida – Composer (Breath of Fire III)

Breath of Fire III was first released around eight or nine years ago. The PSP version was released the other day, but I was very surprised to see that a complete soundtrack box for the entire series was released now in this fashion. Not just surprised, but also very happy and embarrassed because I worked as the main composer for that game when it was first made.

I’ve loved the Breath of Fire series ever since I played the very first one, so being able to work on one of its game was a great joy for me, but… it’s true that back then, I was still a greenhorn. (*sarcastic laugh*) But this was the title that impacted my mental and physical condition the most. I still remember that, in the temporary dormitories the company set up for us, it was very common for us to see each other wearing corporative-use pajamas all the time!

Anyway, classical music has always been the easy way out for RPGs. However, when I saw the game screenshots when we began developing it, I thought that “a pop-flavoured feeling would definitely fit!” and since my superiors at the time didn’t oppose the idea, we ended taking the music for it in a completely different direction from that of Breath of Fire and Breath of Fire I. But on the other hand, maybe through this approach, I also ended up causing suffering to myself. (*laughs*)

In addition, while it was a game similar to the previous ones, it actually featured many more tracks overall. There are themes for the various characters, their arrangements, and even themes for particular events and jingles that are heard once in the entire game… I wonder how these songs left such a deep impression in all of you. Not to mention there is all sorts of background music, such as the themes for the dungeons where you will encounter enemies, the themes for the bosses that are so strong that you’ll have a hard time defeating them, and the music for the villages and towns that are so filled with meetings and interactions.

Which one of them will remain on the ears of its listeners is something I think that differs from a person to another. But for me, the songs I’ve liked the most are the event and scene ones, such as “Healing”, which is heard from when small Ryu is picked up to when he awakens, and “Chase”, which is heard when Nina is kidnapped. This is because my feelings for scene-specific tracks like these haven’t changed much with time.

And while we’re deep on reminiscence, I pretty much died (*sarcastic laugh*) when I abruptly decided to make “Pure Again”. But still, thanks to my partner Aoki-san, and of course the cooperation of everyone else we had working alongside us, I think we managed to make a very good song that also fits perfectly the end credits roll. These feelings are what these tracks contain, so I hope this CD stirs some memories up on those who played this nostalgic Breath of Fire game.

Yoshino Aoki – Composer (Breath of Fire III & IV)

First, please let me say this. I was in fact the one that recorded the previously-unreleased tracks from Breath of Fire III for this occasion!!! I felt I was going all-giddy when I listened to my songs from this game for the first time in so long!!! I also got all sorts of help in the creation of this box. I’m really thankful to them all for this!

…Umm, and well… I’m supposed to talk about Breath of Fire IV, right…? When I learned this Complete Box was going to be released, I immediately went to listen to the tracks from this game. As it’s a game that was released around six years ago, I honestly have very vague recollections of what it was about… or had at least. When I began listening to the themes I made for it, my memories of the game all came back to me.

The brown fields and cities, the scenery of the dungeons, the ways in which Ryu, Nina, and Fou-L, lived, the battle scenes, the painful stories of Mami and Nina’s older sister…

These are fragmentary memories, but as I put all my efforts into depicting my own image of Breath of Fire IV when I wrote these themes, they breathe again when I listen to them, and the images associated to them expand within my brain. Music really has some mysterious powers!

And well, reminiscence also reminded me of more concrete facts. About the tracks that had a long playtime, and the others where I couldn’t settle down deciding the points at which they should loop. About the tracks that I thought that faded way too much into the background due to not having much substance, and then the more bustling ones…

That’s why I feel I’m looking back at how I used to be six years ago when listening to the music of Breath of Fire IV. I’m filled with memories of laughter and tears, though it feels a bit embarrassing too. I think it’d be great if you all could experience these nostalgic songs too.

As an aside, it might just be me, but Kahn’s theme is the one that makes me laugh the most. I always burst into laughter when I listen to it…

Hitoshi Sakimoto – Composer (Breath of Fire V)

When I was told that my themes for Dragon Quarter would be re-released, I knew I had to relive the memories of when I wrote them, and thus I wrote these liners while I listened once again to them.

When I accepted the offer to work on this game, I remember that I was very impressed when the director told me that “It has a Sci-Fi feel as a result of the background story”, so my interest on it never waned in the slightest. In fact, as I had taken very few requests for working on Sci-Fi games prior to this, I remember I was very happy to work on it.

I played the game too, of course. While it was very ambitious, it was also a great work that made a good use of several orthodox parts. So given it’s such a good game, I’ll end by wishing that you’ll try putting that Breath of Fire V: Dragon Quarter back into your PlayStation 2 once again.

Hironobu Takeshita – Producer (Breath of Fire IV & V)

If I had to say one thing, it’d be that this soundtrack box compiles pretty much all of the music heard in the games Breath of Fire I to V. This is especially true for past works, which had to be restructured and recorded using the sound sources that existed back then. In doing so, I think we were able to listen to and respond to the earnest wishes of everyone who wanted to hear them whenever they wished.

Please make sure to listen to all of the BGM and revive all of the memories each one of you have for the Breath of Fire games. Surely, the tracks will be able to awaken nostalgic feelings, as well as new ones from listening to them once again, and many other different kinds of feelings.

Even among the many RPGs that currently exist in the gaming world, the Breath of Fire series is one that is proud to be made up of strong games. That is because each and every staff member that worked on them brought in their own worries and particularities about how they wanted the games to turn out.

This is without a doubt because they all had a disposition similar to a draconian law that stated that, for the sake of those that play these games, they could never bring themselves to betray the expectations of the fans that have supported the series all this time. That in itself is the reason behind these games being so successful. Even now, the series haven’t faded away and neither have the memories of it have vanished, and I feel they still continue existing within everyone.

Part of it is also because of the strong background music all these games have. Naturally, while we all have things we like and things we dislike; that itself is the reason why these themes remained in the hearts of you all and even now continue to pull at your heartstrings. Please make sure to like them, and to dislike them. In both cases, that will make me extremely happy.

Finally, I’ve kept quiet over the years, but given that now I’ve been blessed with this opportunity, I’d like to greatly, greatly, express my gratitude to you all. Truly… thank you very much for everything.

Yugo Togawa – Planner (Breath of Fire IV & V)

The final piece fits in…

In other words, these are memories from when it became time for us to put the song “Castle Imitation” into the game for the first time. It was made by Chihiro Onitsuka-san as the ending theme while we were working on the development of Dragon Quarter.

Dragon Quarter is the sort of game that wouldn’t serve as actual entertainment if any of its elements, such as game systems, conversations, artwork and music, were missing. While we couldn’t see yet the complete form of the game during development, as we constantly battled ideas with the director, Ikehara-san, and thought up of game systems to use them, we saw how all of the fervid decisions we made reflected on Dragon Quarter itself.

Despite all this, I didn’t really have much confidence about everything that happened within the project. These painful and hard days continued for a pretty long time. But when the battles were completed, we had greatly advanced in determining the enemy sets and we integrated the music into the rest of the game, which allowed me to finally see how all of that looked together. I had a cathartic presentment that left me trembling, knowing I had managed to make it past the development experience alive. I think that, among all the games I’ve worked in, the time I spent on Dragon Quarter was the most fulfilling of them all.

Especially the scene of the final encounter with Bosch. Ever since I first saw the scene in which the song “Time of Reunion” begins playing, I began feeling a great warmth in the corner of my eye, and by the time we had begun the following boss battles, my eyes were completely red. With the blue sky at the end, Sakimoto-san’s song, and through to Onitsuka-san’s “Castle Imitation”, by the time the game’s ending had finished, my eyes had gotten so hazy that I couldn’t see anything anymore…

That was the moment that paid me back in full for all the hardships I had endured up to that point in the development for the game… The dark dungeons that seemed to go on eternally, the difficulty level that seemed even too hard for any normal player at a glance, and the game system that rewards you for receiving Game Overs…

It’s true, however, that Dragon Quarter might have broken up the characteristic flavor the games in the Breath of Fire series kept up until the time of its release. However, I regret nothing. And the same goes for everyone that was part of the staff for it.

Takanori Arai – Background Designer (Breath of Fire II – V)

“…Okay?” These were the first insecure words I presented to my seniors in the company, along with a blank sheet of paper. At the time, I was a newcomer that had been assigned to work on the field maps for Breath of Fire II, and my seniors gave me specifications at midnight to make large-scale revisions to the project itself. In the end, we ended up working all night long in order to make these revisions. Honestly, it was pretty difficult for all of us.

I participated in the development of the games in the Breath of Fire series from II to V, but this particular incident is the one that left the greatest impression on me, so it’s also the one I remember the most clearly. And it wasn’t limited to that: I have lots of very painful memories from my time working here. But now I listen to the BGM that had been made for these games and reflect on these days, they all ended becoming fun and enjoyable memories.

I’m sure the great failures I committed when I still was a newcomer will be passed down among the company employees as stories that will cause laughter to anyone listening to them. For me, the themes from Breath of Fire are magical ones that have the power to turn every incident I lived through into a fun memory, no matter what kind of happening it was.

Tadashi Sanzen – Programmer (Breath of Fire I – V)

When I began writing the comments for this boxset, I listened for the first time in a long while to the soundtracks for II to V that were previously released. And while I listened to these CDs, I thought things like “Man, this music is amazing. It made me remember all the things that happened back when we were working in these games”, but I also noticed that among all the tracks from the series, the ones that brought the most memories to the surface were the ones from III and IV.

Breath of Fire was the first game in which I worked after I began working at the company. Thereafter I was the main programmer for II and V, so work was so hectic for me; I had so many responsibilities while making them that I had pretty much no time for anything else.

For III and IV, I was assigned to be the program the magic effects, but since we were also suffering of staff shortage at the time, I also had to make the programs for things that went from material gathering and image cut-off to the ones that gave a proper structure to the polygons. Aside from the dragon breath attacks, I received no design documents or continuity lines from the director, so it felt as if I had done everything up by myself until we entered the production phase.

At the end of that independent work, the people in charge of the sound were tasked with adding the sound effects to the spells, so it was very fun to complete them. It was around that time that we began fully working on structuring the battle system from the design documents we were given and, while this reminded me of the time in which I could do whatever I wanted while making the game, it still made me feel livelier.

I’d like to ask you to listen to these tracks that were created over ten years ago and were recorded here. It’d be great if this makes you feel livelier and allows you all to remember the times in which you played these games.

Yoshiharu Nakao – Programmer (Breath of Fire II – V)

While the Breath of Fire series doesn’t just feature a very large number of BGMs. It also has a rich variety of music styles. As I was in charge of the internal BGM management for the games, I could listen to the new themes much earlier than any of the other programmers. Since there were many tracks to manage, it was quite troublesome, but it was still a very fun job.

Among all the games in the series, the one whose sound left the greatest impression on me was Breath of Fire IV: The Unfading Ones. For this title, I was in charge of everything related to the mini-games. There was one I had to make based on a proposal of the sound staff called “Kecak”. I had the song for it stuck in my head even as I was lying on my futon trying to sleep at night… all because I kept hearing “chachacha…” during the time I was working on the mini-game.

Also, you all know how the fishing mini-game serves as a staple for the series, right? Well, we intended to hide the timing for the commands that can be heard while fishing through using the BGM. So I had to listen to that song countless times and modify it accordingly to make sure that it served its purpose of indicating the players the timing for controlling the rod. Given how much the timing is integrated with the BGM in the game, it was inevitable that I’d end up listening so much to that song that I ended getting fed up with it. It was very intense work, but even this experience has now turned into nice memories.

I’ve been acquainted to the Breath of Fire series for a very long time, as I’ve participated in the developments of the games from II to V. As a result, I hold a great love for the series. Given that this soundtrack compilation covers almost all of the BGMs that could be heard throughout the series, I think I’d like to listen to them and reminisce about the nostalgic memories I gained when I was part of the development team for each of these games.

Unamuji Hasunuma – Programmer (Breath of Fire V)

I’m a relative newcomer to the Breath series that couldn’t formally take part in the creation of its games until Dragon Quarter. However, I  remember that when I had time off from working on the titles I was assigned to, I frequently engaged in helping with the testing and bug checking for Breath of Fire III and Breath of Fire IV  during the final stages of their creation.

Nowadays it isn’t very frequent to see the creative staff of a title assisting with the bug checking of titles they aren’t related to, but it was something that tended to happen every now and then during around seven, eight years ago. Well, during the bug checking, I noticed several things. For example, I complained to the developers that the flow of the story was not being very clear in some spots, and that the battle controls and commands were lacking in some way.

Regardless of whether I was doing bug checking routines or playing normally, I replayed these games many times, and unexpectedly the BGMs I heard in them remained in the depths of my memories. Whenever you suddenly listen to the BGMs that remained at the bottom of your memories, the memories of the places where they could be heard in the game, as well as the time in which you first played them, is brought back temporarily.

Since I play the Breath of Fire games every now and then, I still have very detailed memories of the events and locations in these games. But the memories of when I first played them aren’t fragmentary at all, though that might be something that’s happily reserved only for some exceptional people.

As I look back on the series while I listen to these soundtracks, I’ll think that I’ll treat my next work with these memories and emotions. And… If we can meet again on my next work, it’d be an honor for me.

Yohka Taguchi – Programmer (Breath of Fire V)

I helped the Breath of Fire V team. I hope you all really enjoyed putting lots of rooms in the Ant Colony. The musicians were having a lot of trouble while deciding the positions for the ants, as well as where the camera should be placed during this mini-game. It also worried me a lot that I couldn’t come up with a good image for this.

I also had comments about the lines of the ants said such as “the stocking up documents are so wrinkled…,” which was based off the specification documents I always used because they somehow all got crumpled… It could even be said that they would always get crumpled in the time between when I got them and when I sat down again at my desk after carrying them back with me to continue working.

As for the lines the ants say while they are on standby, they were given to my seniors in the company. It’s true that we were under a tight schedule and with the deadline right above our heads, but I really was very worried when I looked at these lines.

Yoshinori Kawano – Director (Breath of Fire I & II)

I’m Kawano, and I served as the director for Breath of Fire I and II.

I heard a lot of things from my superiors during the first two years I worked for the company, and pretty much all of them were critiques: that a game had to be made in six months, that I should be working at night every single day and reduce the number of holidays outings to come to the company more frequently, that a game could never be completed in this way, that we should be submitting progress reports every single week, that we should be writing letters and documents explaining why we were behind schedule at the end of every single month… such things.

But isn’t all this weird? … At that rate, I’d have died! And it was during that time that I suddenly saw an application form and competition entry from Ikehara-kun, who was a student at the time, on the desk of one of my seniors, and I begged to him as I cried: “Please, let this man work with us at the company! And please, let him enter into my team!! I beg you…” The result to that was pretty confusing, but at least my petition was granted, and thanks to that it was possible for us to complete the game… And it feels like all of that was to reach this point.

When I look back on the schedule I had at the time, I wrote up the entire scenario for the first part of the game in a week. But since I was being pretty much Project Man due to taking care of everything myself, and this was going to be a game for the Super Famicom, I felt that no matter what I did, it wouldn’t be enough for a good game…

But in fact, I was really happy to be able to make everything by myself like that… I’m truly grateful to all my superiors of that time for having entrusted this sort of work to a young and passionate hard worker like myself. It was because of these events that I could be what I am today. After that, I continued working and made games like the Mega Man Legends series, the Mega Man Zero series, and my most recent work, Dead Rising. If I ever had the opportunity to work on the series once again, I’d gladly do it.

Makoto Ikehara – Director (Breath of Fire V)

Looks like smells also have the capability of bringing back memories. Maybe it’s because the part of the brain that takes care of processing odors is very close to the part that is in charge of storing memories. And the memories recalled in that way overflow with feelings and are apparently more vivid than before, in comparison to how they are when recalled with another method. For some reason, I can only nod my head in agreement when I hear about such.

Perhaps it could be said that sounds are very similar in that matter. I have the feeling that a familiar or nostalgic sound can remind you of the “things you felt” back when you first heard it. That is how I felt while listening once again to the sounds comprising this compilation we made for the entire series. That might just be something extremely natural for all of us.

Take for example, the field map theme for Breath of Fire. The bravery of departing on a journey combined with the vastness of the world. These sounds filled with the feeling of continuing walking make me feel a little disheartened. The same disheartened feeling our protagonist has knowing the fate of his race and leaving behind the village where he used to live. The expectations he has for a world yet unseen. The certainty of carrying the entire world on his shoulders. In short, the beginning of a journey. As if it were the beginning of all the journeys, I have this memory of the very beginning of my game-making career. All the traveling warriors, who initially have next to no power as if they were level 1. All the traveling warriors who are like that and initially only have an unfounded self-confidence in their hearts.

Take for example, Breath of Fire II. Ever since the very beginning, when I was given the task of drawing up the scenario for it, I was the one who gave the titles to all of the background music for it. For the theme for having won a battle, I gave it the title “Treasures if We Win”. It’s because that is how it sounded to me. And it’s also because “Treasures if We Win” made me feel like a child running about. I had gotten a little more used to making games, so I could hit, twist, cut and stretch them however I wished. I remember feeling that I could joyfully make the game however I wished, similarly to what a child experiences when they get a new toy on their hands.

The same goes for “An Offering to the Dragon” from Breath of Fire III. For Breath of Fire IV, I lent a bit of hand for writing the lyrics to “A Little After the Dream”. And for Breath of Fire V, it was a sort of “that sound, this song” approach. Somehow, they all manage bring back these “sensations”, these memories. As they are slightly sentimental and personal, these memories are a bit embarrassing to me.

And thus, we come to this point in time. While only carrying an unfounded self-confidence, I joyfully ended surrounding myself in making games. And thus, it’s because of this that the sounds of Breath of Fire aren’t going to just become “nostalgic things” for now. That’s because they still exist in the present right now, sentimentally, personally, and thus are very embarrassing. Until the moment in which I retire from making games and these sounds actually become nostalgic whenever I listen to them, I think I’ll continue treasuring this box.

Tatsuya Yoshikawa – Designer (Breath of Fire V)

This is Yoshikawa. The Breath of Fire I – V soundtrack box has been released! This is an occasion worthy of celebration! Everyone, this is great! This box is so nostalgic! Even now I love the stout melodies from the original Breath of Fire.

Translated by Gerardo Iuliani. Edited by Chris Greening. Please do not republish without written permission.

Posted on May 12, 2014 by Gerardo Iuliani. Last modified on September 20, 2014.

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About the Author

A Venezuelan that spends his days studying languages, translating as a hobby and playing videogames. Is also a frequent listener of video game music, particularly that composed by the Gust Inc. composers and related artists.

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