For today’s interview, I thought I’d speak with Yuzoboy, a well-regarded and highly talented musician. Known across the web for his remixes of retro game songs with popular rap, pop, dance and techno tunes, it truly is an honour to have him here today.
Yuzoboy derives his artist name from the legendary Yuzo Koshiro, acomposer of many video game and TV themes, from Streets of Rage and Shinobi, to hit show Law and Order.
Throughout The Week of Rage, you can sample Yuzoby’s remixes right here on the blog. Keep an eye out as some of them are superb. Alternatively, see his entire collection at his website Yuzoboy’s House
Ladies and gents…Yuzoboy! *applause*
Dave: Hello and welcome Yuzoboy. Thanks for taking part in The Week of Rage. First off, what is it about the works of Yuzo Koshiro that make them so appealing to you?
Yuzoboy: I’d have to say its his musical style is what catches me the most. His beats are very rhythmic and his melodies are very memorable and catchy. My favourite soundtrack from him has to be Streets of Rage 2. Ever since I was a kid I was very impressed by the music in Streets of Rage 2 and the time I started recording the music off the TV was the time I knew i was a Yuzo fan.
Dave: You have an impressive collection of remixes on your website, how do you come up with new ideas for songs and pick what artists you want to use?
Yuzoboy: Thank you 🙂 I am always thinking about music and what will sound good with Yuzo’s compositions. If I hear a piece of modern day music, I would replace it with one of Yuzo’s tracks and see how it sounds in my mind. I would then go about mixing them up using acapella vocals of the track with Yuzo’s music to produce what you see on Youtube.
Yuzoboy’s YouTube channel holds an impressive playlist of remixes. Click the image to check it out in a new window.
Dave: Music aside, why do you think Streets of Rage has survived the test of time and remained so appealing today while other games fall by the wayside?
Yuzoboy: I personally believe that Streets of Rage’s initial popularity and success that didnt deteriorate is the reason people still love the games. The first two games were highly memorable and the rumours of a 4th installment kept people’s hopes open for a new game. This way the games were kept fresh in our minds. Its surprising that Sega still hasnt realised the scope for a fourth game.
Dave: What makes an effective, iconic video game soundtrack or single song?
Yuzoboy: Well, if its an new and original game, there has to be a focus on having memorable music and not generic sounding beats. This would be the same for a single song. It sets the musical tone for future games in the series.
Yuzoboy is a big fan of the Final Fantasy X soundtrack. That makes two of us. Here is my favourite song from the game. Stunning.
If it is a soundtrack to a sequel game, it needs to have musical elements from the first game in order to keep its own musical aura. This is evident in the Final Fantasy series up to Final Fantasy X, the Streets of Rage series and Sonic The Hedgehog 1 and 2. I think this how we remember the music in these games so well. Another factor would be that the same music team and composer has to work on the sequel games to allow the same musical themes to reappear
Dave: If you were asked by Sega to make Streets of Rage 4, what would it look like, what would the plot be, how would it play?
Yuzoboy: I would make it as a 2.5D side scroller with everything that Streets of Rage has been reknown for. It would look very similar to the graphics in Street Fighter IV.
I would like the plot to be simple yet engrossing, which is how Sega went with the first three games. I would personally like to have Mr.X back as a villian as well as a return for Shiva. Although there could me many good plots for a fourth game, such as the plot for Red Rum’s Bare Knuckle IV, I think there should me more realism in the story and less fictional elements.
The gameplay will be similar to Streets of Rage 3’s engine with elements of Streets of Rage 2’s gameplay. The little things such as durable weapons, not being able to throw fat enemies and the way in which you move and get hit all make Streets of Rage as memorable as it is today.
Dave: Also, if Sega’s one condition was ‘we want you to only use licensed artists for the SoR4 soundtrack’, what ten artists and songs would be on your soundtrack wishlist and why?
Tough question, as I can only see artists from the 90’s relating to an SOR OST. I really am no good at this, but I would have the following artists and tracks on it:
Streets on Fire – Lupe Fiasco
Pump Up The Jam – Technotronic
Ambitionz as a Ridah – Tupac Shakur
Feel it In my Bones – Tiesto ft Tegan and Sara
Sadeness – Enigma
Paranoid – Kanye West
Thugz Mansion – Tupac Shakur
4 Minutes – Madonna ft Timbaland
Lose Yourself – Eminem
Fire Burning – Sean Kingston
These tracks all have elements in their music that can go well with a Streets of Rage 4 OST. I personally would not let these tracks alone on an OST unless Yuzo himself is able to rework them into the Streets of Rage style. As you can see, I have tried hard to stray away from solely putting 90’s tracks on it:)
Dave: Why do you think Sega has held off from making a new Streets of Rage game while other classic licenses have had next-gen reboots? (albeit rather shoddy ones)
Yuzoboy: I cannot see why they are delaying it as the game would be a massive hit. I think it boils down to the time Sega was asked about Streets of Rage and they claimed to have no idea about it. Since then nothing has happened on the front for creating a new game. But I dont rule out the possibly of one coming out.
Dave: If Sega did make Streets of Rage 4, what’s the biggest mistake they could make in your opinion?
Yuzoboy: Not hiring the same production teams of the first three games, as they will be able to re-create that Streets of Rage feel they so brilliantly did back in the 90’s. Of course there must be returns for Yuzo Koshiro, Motohiro Kawashima and Ayano Koshiro to allow the music and art to remain in the same style too:)
Dave: I know that this week is all about Streets of Rage, but what would be the next best classic game that you would like to see receive a sequel or reboot?
Yuzoboy: After seeing Sonic the Hedgehog 4 being announced, I would now love to see the megadrive game Quackshot get a sequel or remake. That game had everything!