Composer Yoko Shimomura Reflects on Composing Legend of Mana Where She Had to Listening “Wrestler Theme Songs” For an Entire Day for References

Composer Yoko Shimomura is known today for her work on the Kingdom Hearts series, but she has been composing video game soundtracks for years including Parasite Eve and Street Fighter II, among others.

Shimomura-san recently sat down with Square Enix to reflect on her time working on Legend of Mana, which recently received a remastered release on modern consoles. In the interview she details how she was approached for the series, saying, “The plans for Legend of Mana sprung up when I wasn’t in Japan – I was working on Parasite Eve at the time. I have an incredibly faint memory of Mr. Ishii, creator of the Mana Series, contacting me by e-mail and saying, “We’ve decided you’re going to be working on the game, so we’re waiting for you to come back!”

One funny anecdote about her time working on the series comes from this being her first time writing combat songs. She adds, “There are quite a few things I remember about working on Legend of Mana. For example, it was the first time in my life that I’d had to write combat songs that sound like the songs that play when a wrestler comes into the ring.”

She continues, “One day, when I went to the office, there was a mountain of wrestler theme songs sat waiting on my desk and I thought to myself, “Wait, does this mean they want me to listen to all these?” That day, I listened to those songs all day long.”

It’s also shared that she oversaw the rearranged version of the soundtrack for the new release, but she wouldn’t go back and change anything about her original songs. “It may be a bit presumptuous for me to say this about the music for the original game, but I think that the soundtrack is loved by a lot of people. Some songs have been newly rearranged this time around, and I’ll leave it up to everyone listening whether the updated tracks are better than the original ones!”

Legend of Mana was initially released in 2000 on PlayStation as one of the few Mana titles introducing a few new gameplay elements to the series. Players can choose their own protagonist and carve out a unique adventure using puzzle pieces that they can place on an ever-growing map. The goal of the game is to complete three narratives as they make their way to the Mana Tree.

In case you missed it, be sure to check out our review on Legend of Mana.

Legend of Mana is available now on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.