|Makoto "V. Tomozo" Tomozawa adjusts|
audio equipment during the production of
Street Fighter IV, circa January 2010.
He continued to be credited under the pseudonym until Resident Evil in 1996, when 3D polygonal games were becoming the norm and the talent it took being more valued and recognized. Tomozawa would work briefly on the first draft of Resident Evil 2 (Resident Evil 1.5) right until it was scrapped. As soon as that game entered redevelopment in 1997, Tomozawa would be reassigned to compose music for Mega Man Legends, the first major 3D Mega Man game for PlayStation.
His other work consisted of titles from other well-known Capcom properties, including the Dino Crisis series on PlayStation. Tomozawa returned to the Resident Evil franchise one last time as a co-composer for the remake in 2002. One year later, after the release of P. N. 03, he left the company to join the Dimps Corporation and work on the highly-celebrated Street Fighter IV. In 2010 he would reunite with the Blue Bomber in Mega Man 10, composing Strike Man's stage theme.
Around the time of the Mega Man Legends 3 cancellation catastrophe in summer of 2011, I had a chat with Makoto Tomozawa on Twitter. Being the huge fan of the Legends series and some of the Resident Evil games in particular, I wanted the opportunity to speak with him about his past years at Capcom. He gladly accepted and over a period of months, he and I replied back and forth in an on-and-off manner to the point where he unfortunately dropped out on the middle of Legends 1 portion of our chat.
But from what I did gather, he didn't hesitate to admit that the Mega Man Legends projects were among the higher points of his time at Capcom.
Arron - OKeijiDragon: Hello, are you Makoto Tomozawa (友澤 眞) who worked at Capcom Co. Ltd (カプコン)?
Makoto Tomozawa: Yes, I once worked at Capcom, but I retired from the company.
Arron: Oh hello, Mr. Tomozawa! Pleased to finally meet you. I am a big fan of your work in Mega Man Legends. =)
You can catch how the interview unfolded by clicking the jump!Tomozawa: Thank you very much!!! It was one of my favorite works.
Before we begin, I have to inform you that for the sake of clarification and legibility, the exchanged Tweets have been edited and reformatted slightly to follow a comprehensive, cohesive progression. This is due to Tomozawa-san's basic level of English (he's not fluent) and the 140 character limit that Twitter imposes on communication. With that in mind,
[ START ]
Arron: It would be very nice if you could accept. Me and a friend of mine would like to know more about how sound was made on your works.
Tomozawa: I've retired [from] that company, but I am placing a contract which [I] have to keep secrets about [game] development.I can answer only within the range that doesn't collide with the contract. How to make music (Personal composition method) etc.
Arron: Also, it is very nice to know Mega Man Legends is a favorite of yours too. I enjoyed that game when I was in grade school. =)
Tomozawa: The reason that it is my favorite... because I composed all tunes of that title. Not only Mega Man Legends 1, but also [Mega Man Legends] 2.
Arron: Did you do the music for Tron ni Kobun (The Misadventures of Tron Bonne) in 1999 at all?
Tomozawa: No, it was my colleague's work.
Arron: I see. That would be Mr. Toshihiko Horiyama, right?
Tomozawa: Yes, we joined that company at same year.
Arron: I see. When was that? What was your first project at Capcom?
Tomozawa: I joined that company in 1993. And officially, my first work was "The Great Circus Mystery Starring Mickey and Minnie" (known in NTSC and PAL territories as Disney's Magical Quest 2 or the Super Nintendo Entertainment System).
Arron: Was that the first game you worked on at all? How were you absorbed to the Mega Man X project?
Tomozawa: My very first work was [the SNES version] Aladdin’s ending, the music box tune.
Arron: Aladdin for SNES? Neat. That was a game Shinji Mikami worked on as well, correct?
Tomozawa: Yes, that was my first project with Mr. Mikami.
Tomozawa: "How were you absorbed to the Mega Man X project?" ← Sorry, I can't understand "absorbed."
Arron: In other words, how did you start writing music for Mega Man X?
Tomozawa: I originally love hard rock and heavy metal music, so that was so excited.
Arron: Really? Did you had any favorite music artists or bands that influenced you at the time?
(At this point Tomozawa-san mentions leaving Twitter soon to catch a band concern.)
Tomozawa: I go to Night Ranger's live show tonight, hahaha
Arron: Oh, you mean the Namba Hatch in Osaka today?
Tomozawa: At that time, I had just started composition so no one influenced me. Namba Hatch, Right!
Arron: What kinds of ideas did you had when making the Mega Man X soundtrack? Also, which tracks did you compose for that game?
Tomozawa: Sorry, I forget what I thought because it was also 15 years ago. And I composed Storm Eagleed and Spark Mandriller.
Tomozawa: I bought Mega Man X for Virtual Console of Wii last week.
Arron: Oh nice. How was it for you? I have not played it in years. (laughs) Did you also compose the Stage Select theme?
Tomozawa: I think stage select was not my work. Mega Man X is too difficult for me now, hahaha.
Arron: I asked about the Stage Select theme in Rockman X1, because to me it sounds very similar to a certain music theme in Rockman DASH 2.If I may show to you, this MMX1 [Stage Select] theme sounds like [Glyde's Base] in DASH2.
Tomozawa: Glyde's Base was my work, but the Stage Select [theme] was not mine.
Arron: I see. It was an interesting resemblance, however. Did you continue to work on the X series after X1?
Tomozawa: No, that was my first and last title of X series.
Arron: Did you work on the Mega Man X3 PlayStation version, however? The soundtrack CD says you worked on it.
Tomozawa: I've just remembered that I compose X3's OP Movie's music for [the] overseas [release].
Arron: I knew it! I noticed that. I thought it sounded like a Rockman DASH tune as well, based on the instruments used. =)
Tomozawa: Yes, but that tune is not refined, hahaha
Arron: That was how I was able to tell, sort of. (laughs)
Arron: OK. So what did you work on before BioHazard (editor's note: Resident Evil is known as BioHazard in Japan)?
Tomozawa: I think Mega Man 7.
Arron: Ah yes, that game with Forte in it. Which tracks did you compose for that game? My favorites are the Wily Stage themes. Turtle's Realm, especially. =)
Tomozawa: On [Mega Man] 7, I composed [the Opening Stage theme], Boss Battle, Weapon Get, Bass/Forte's theme, Wily [Stage] 1 and [Wily Stage] 2, Staff Roll music.
(Since I'm getting ahead of myself with these many unorganized questions, I start to wonder if maybe I'm overwhelming him.)
Arron: Sorry, did I ask too many questions at once?
Tomozawa: Don't mind, I'm not good at English so response is slow.
Arron: How did you learn to speak English [so] well? I thought you would not know as much as you are showing now.
Tomozawa: I just studied English only in school, so just like most of Japanese. I can write or read a little but can't speak or hear.
Arron: By the way, you worked on the PlayStation version of [Mega Man] X3 while working on Bio Hazard correct, based on the release dates?
Tomozawa: Yes, but I had to compose only 1 music for X3 so I could compose [Bio Hazard].
Arron: That is to say, you did not work on the SNES version of X3, but the PlayStation version?
Tomozawa: Yes. I only composed [the] OP movie's BGM [for the] overseas version.
Arron: OK! Before I move on to the next subject, can I ask how the designers at Capcom asked you to compose music for MM7 & MMX? Did they give you concept art or work-in-progress, or unfinished builds of the games for you to get music ideas from?
Tomozawa: It is case by case.
Arron: What do you mean?
Tomozawa: Most important work to compose is to understand the outlook of the game world. By image-board, by story, by character, case by case.
Arron: That makes sense. How often would you get in touch with other team members at Capcom when working on projects? Did you knew a lot of people?
Tomozawa: On projects, we have to get in touch with members everyday. I knew project team members only.
Arron: How about Keiji Inafune, the co-creator of Rockman?
Tomozawa: I have not spoken with him.
Arron: Oh, OK then.
Arron: So after Mega Man 7, you started on Resident Evil, right? How was that project for you, considering that you were working with 3D graphics at the time? 3D was a new thing back in the mid-90s.
Tomozawa: First, obstacle was that PS was newest hardware, so nobody had [the] know-how, especially about 3D. Sound... Graphic... Program...
Arron: What about you and the sound hardware? What sorts of limitations or challenges did you encounter working on PS1 compared to the SNES?
Arron: When did you start working on Resident Evil and the PS1 hardware?
Tomozawa: Sorry, this is the time to go to LiveShow! Bye!
Arron: OK, see you when you get back. Enjoy the show!
(Some time passes by.)
Tomozawa: I just can't recall this tune at once, but I think there is a possibility that this music was what I made.
Arron: Can you still somewhat recall what it might have been used for?
Tomozawa: I'm very sorry, but I can recall nothing about this music...
(I repeat my question about his thoughts on the PS1's sound hardware when composing for Resident Evil.)
Arron: What about you and the sound hardware? What sorts of limitations or challenges did you encounter working on PS1 compared to the SNES?
Tomozawa: I thought that PS1's degree of freedom in sound was so higher than SNES. Memory, simultaneous number of pronunciations...
Arron: Did you compose what you envisioned for in BioHazard 1 with the degree of freedom in sound you had?
Tomozawa: I was music director on that title, so I could construct sounds as like I assumed, when saying accurately.
Arron: Did you enjoy the horror scenario [for Bio Hazard]? It seems some of the game's makers, besides Mikami-san, did not, based on some comments. (laughs)
Tomozawa: I don't like horror movies, so... it leaves it to the imagination.
Arron: What sort of directions did the director gave you in composing the music for [the first Bio Hazard game]? Do you recall if everything you composed was used?
Tomozawa: There were two policies that I had on that title. One was "Just [like] movies," and the other was "[silence] is important sound."
Tomozawa: I composed so many music so I can't recall all of it.
Arron: I see. Do you have particular favorite in that game?
Tomozawa: I can't choose because all of titles and tunes are just like my children. I love them all.
Arron: Ah, I definitely understand that.
Arron: I noticed that there are always environmental and atmosphere sounds in your music for games like Bio Hazard, and Mega Man Legends.For example, the Guardhouse B1 theme, the Crow Room Theme and my favorite, the Save Room theme. And some from DASH 1: Namely the [Clozer Woods and Lake Jyun] Sub-Gate themes:
Arron: But let's get into DASH series later! I would like to go back to Resident Evil. =)
Arron: Mr. Tomozawa, this ending theme song (Still Dawn) for RE1 is among my favorites. Do you recall who composed it?
Tomozawa: I composed and played guitars on that tune.
Arron: I love it because it has the feeling of "Congratulations! You deserve peace, and this positive song!" I know there is a complete remix version of Still Dawn, but do you have a full version of Still Dawn as you hear it from the game? Still Dawn in the PS version ends at a certain point. I would love to hear the full version of it, if it exists!
Tomozawa: PS's version was complete one when I composed. Soundtrack's version is [the alternate] take for CD.
Arron: So there is no longer version of Still Dawn (PS version)?
Tomozawa: CD version is little bit longer, but no other takes exists.
Arron: Oh, that's too bad. Do you often keep what you compose? Or do all music project assets stay at the companies?
Tomozawa: All rights are reserved by company, so I have only CDs on the market.
Arron: Ahh, I see. How do you feel about this, especially on games that do not have a CD release?
Tomozawa: I don't care about it because I think Game Music don't consist without its own games. It's just a part of commodity.
Arron: That's true. I asked partially because, according to the Japanese music copyright database JASRAC, it says you own the rights to the soundtrack, or at least the [Resident Evil: Original Soundtrack Remix] CD version. Here's one example, [Terror (Darkness Lives)]. Can you verify?
Tomozawa: I'm sorry, but I don't know about that song's rights.
Tomozawa: Oh, I just don't know about these rights. (editor's note: a re-reply to my tweet?)
Arron: My next question about Bio Hazard is the Japanese theme song, Yume De Owarasenai by Fumitaka Fuchigami. Were you involved in the production of that song? Do you know why that song is exclusive to the first release of BIO1 PSX in Japan?
Tomozawa: No, no. To our regret, I am not related to it at all.
Arron: Could you tell me what this regret is that you are talking about, if you don't mind?
Tomozawa: Well, I use "regret" for that I don't know about this song.
Arron: Oh I see then, never mind.
Arron: One last question, do you recall that Bio Hazard originally featured Japanese voice acting at one point?
Tomozawa: I can't recall about those words accurately, but I think voices of in-game are not [the] formal ones. Movies were made by [a] sub-contract[ed] company, so I don't know who acted these voices.
Arron: Do you recall the name of the company? I ask because there are lot of American fans who are interested about who the English and Japanese voice actors in Bio Hazard 1 were.
Tomozawa: As you know, voice actors' names [do] not appear on cast roll, because there was no information about actors. We didn't know too. We knew only their first name.
Arron: That's very interesting. That explains a lot actually.
Tomozawa: Old times are broad-minded ages.
Arron: I enjoy reading about this history because it gives us a window of how different those times were compared to the industry today. =)
Arron: Mr. Tomozawa, I would like to ask about your role in BioHazard 2.
How involved were you in this project before it was redesigned in 1997?
Tomozawa: I think that Biohazard 1.5 project began as soon as [the] Bio Hazard 1 project finished.
Arron: The director of BIO1.5 & BIO2 was Hideki Kamiya. If you can recall, what was the difference between him and Mikami-san as directors?
Tomozawa: [That is a] very difficult question. Mr. Mikami was, so to say, "Old Belle Époque" type. Kamiya was new generation type. (editor's note: Tomozawa refers to the Mikami's seniority over Kamiya having just joined Capcom in 1994. Resident Evil was Kamiya's first project.)
Arron: Do you recall what kind of game Biohazard 1.5 was going to be like?
Tomozawa: That project had stopped before establishing its own form or world.
Arron: In your observation, how far did the project go before it stopped?
Tomozawa: It was only entrance.
Arron: Could you rephrase that please, I did not quite understand that?
Tomozawa: Well, BH1.5 was stopped very beginning [of development].
Arron: I see, what was your role in BH1.5? How much of the staff from BH1 worked on this game as well?
Tomozawa: I'm sorry, but I do not remember those days' circumstances. Old times pass.
Arron: What is that made Kamiya-san stand out at the time? I'd like to know about his quality as a director at the time.
Tomozawa: Yes, he showed us his talent in those days, but it was realistically clarified on DMC (editor's note: Not that DmC).
Arron: Did the staff had a clear vision of what BH1.5 was going to be? Restarting development implies that it did not in my observation.
Tomozawa: The composer who had been influenced at time when I was developing Dino Crisis was recalled. Though it is not its taking the place.
Arron: Hmm... I'm afraid I do not understand this tweet, Mr. Tomozawa. Are you saying there is a connection between BH1.5 & Dino Crisis?
Tomozawa: No, it is another topic about Dino Crisis.
Arron: Oh OK, my mistake. In that case, it seems that Capcom would reassign people to another project, mid-way in a game's development like BIO2 and DMC.
Arron: Come to think of it, how much of the staff from BH1 would work on 1.5? And how much would stay for the final version of BH2?
Tomozawa: Because those questions might collide with the obligation to keep secrets, it is not answered. I'm sorry.
Arron: I seemed to have stepped the boundary then.
Tomozawa: I'm sorry, but it's hard to answer about company.
Arron: Could I ask what was your role was for BH1.5, and who else worked on it then? If I recall, Hideaki Utsumi was the sub-sound designer.
Tomozawa: I was a composer, and I forget who was work on it except of Utsumi and Masami Ueda. Ueda was main composer of BioHazard 2.
Arron: Do you recall if [Resident Evil 2 composers] Shusaku Uchiyama and Shun Nishigaki were on the 1.5 project at all, or were they added later for BH2?
Tomozawa: I can't recall, I'm sorry.
Arron: This theme on a promotional video for BH1.5 sounded an awful lot like something from DASH1. As a matter of fact, to me, it is that particular music piece that gave you away. Do you remember what themes you composed for BH1.5?
Tomozawa: I do not have the memory of it at all. I think this tune seems Ueda's work because of the tone used. However, there is no positive proof at all.
Arron: I understand. I suspected that track because it had a strong use of drums, and I had a good feeling. =)I actually have two tracks from BH1.5 that I'm not sure if they belong to Ueda-san, or you, or not. Allow me some time to prepare. =)
(I whip up two videos from my own YouTube account)
Arron: Can you recognize the scenario and music of BH1.5 featured in these videos:
Arron: I see then. What were your feelings of the game restarting it's development all over again? I assume it must have been hard to deal.
Tomozawa: I think that it was a trial that should exceed it to make up the better one though it thought a little regrettably. I think that all staff of guesswork felt it so.
Arron: Do you recall the reasons why the game was restarted? There has been evidence that it was far enough in development, to be playable.
Tomozawa: Because it was not BioHazard Quality.
Arron: Could you elaborate please? What was wrong with it?
Tomozawa: Everything! Even if development is advanced as it is, it doesn't reach the requested quality. Then, we threw everything away in the garbage box.
Arron: LOL I see the point! So even before Biohazard 2 was released, everything was trashed [by the time the game was restarted]? Wow.
Tomozawa: I think that only Leon's basic setting remains.
Arron: I know this is quite far-fetched, but can you recall the planned ending to the game? The story leading to the end is not well-known.
Tomozawa: I think the story was made until ending, but the content has been forgotten.
Arron: That's too bad. A staff member once said that the RE1.5 ending held a special meaning that was omitted from the final version. Can you remember when you finished or stopped work on BH1.5 before moving on to your next work? How much of the music was done?
(I receive no immediate reply from him after a couple of days, from here he would start to reply sporadically. I reply to his last tweet again in case he didn't get my reply.)
Arron: I see. Do you know of anyone that might have this information on Twitter?
Tomozawa: Sorry, I don't know.
Arron: I see then. Let's move on to Rockman DASH. =)
Arron: Rockman DASH was originally named "Rockman Neo." When was the first time you heard of the project?
Tomozawa: Sorry, but I can't recall. Some projects progress concurrently, so I cannot specify time.
Arron: I understand. When Rockman DASH was being made, what sort of vision did the development team had for Rockman in 3D polygon graphics?
Tomozawa: Well, I'm not graphic designer so I don't know about graphics.
Arron: Not really what I meant, but no matter. (editor's note: I was on to something, but I guess I... slipped?)
Arron: How did you felt making music on a 3D Rockman game compared to the 2D Rockman work you had done on SNES?
Tomozawa: I thought that Mega Man Legends was not the title of Mega Man series (editor's note: Figuratively speaking, he means), so I didn't compare them.
Arron: I see. So in that case, it was a whole new Mega Man to you?
Tomozawa: Yes. At first, I tried to compose the main theme of [MegaMan] Volnutt, but I was not able to compose [it] well because he was too featureless.
Arron: That is very interesting to me Mr. Tomozawa, because DASH1 went through a lot of audio and visual changes in its development.
Arron: So you had a main theme for Volnutt planned for Legends 1, but did not make it to the final product?
Tomozawa: I didn't compose it till the end, but you know that I composed the Bonne family's theme instead of it.
Arron: What do you mean by "instead of it"?
Tomozawa: I composed the theme of Bonne instead of Volnutt's one.
Arron: How long would it usually take for you to complete a song in Mega Man Legends 1 & 2?
Tomozawa: I think that I composed 3 or 4 tunes by day.
Arron: Was the process of making music different than when you composed music for MMX1 and MM7? If so, how?
Tomozawa: What is MMX1 and MM7?
Arron: Mega Man X1 and Mega Man 7. I shortened them for simplicity. Twitter does not allow for long written sentences. =)
Tomozawa: I see. MM7 was just like Mega Man sounds. MMX1 was "intenser" sound, but [it was] easier for me [to compose].
Arron: I see. So how would you describe Mega Man Legends? =)
Tomozawa: There was no restriction in MML 1&2, so I composed what I wanted to do.
Arron: This may be an unusual point to make, but there are a lot of fans of unused and removed content in video games, myself included. The point of the interest, in my observation, is preservation. We like documenting these things to understand how our favorite video games were developed, what sorts of development stages and changes they went through to get to the game market [etc.]. It is a very interesting subject, for us fans. That being said, it may be redundant to ask this, but was there anything in particular that you remember composing music [for] that did not make it to the final products of Mega Man Legends 1 and 2?
Tomozawa: I'm sorry, but I wrote 300 or more music [pieces] for this title, so I can't recall everything.
Arron: Do you mean to say 300 music for just the first game? That is lot of music.
Tomozawa: I have to decide the music on [a] brand-new title, so [the amount of music created] must increase.
(ClevelandRock steps in and asks Tomozawa away.)
ClevelandRock: I always thought of this as Volnutt's main theme. What do you think?
Tomozawa: Hello, [ClevelandRock]. But I did not have such an intention.
Arron: Can you recall any difficulties when you composed music for Rockman DASH? Did you had any ambitions for the game as well?
Tomozawa: I could compose freely on that title, so [the] difficulty was that I increase the number of music. And my ambition was [that] I made all [the game’s] music.
Arron: I see, point taken. DASH 1 contains a lot of classical pieces, some from actual musical artists like Johann Sebastian Bach. Why did you decide on that genre?
Tomozawa: Because the chance to touch the classical music was few, children in Japan thought that they only had to become chances.
Tomozawa: By the way, the composer of my favorite classics is [PyotrIlyich] Tchaikovsky.
Arron: Ah nice! Do you recall what themes of his that inspired you for the game?
Tomozawa: I think there [wasn’t any] music [that I was] inspired [by] directly, but I think that I used “Waltz of the Flowers” from The Nutcracker. (editor's note: He did. In Mega Man Legends, it's the theme music for the Balloon Fantasy shooting mini-game inside the KTOX TV Station. =))
Arron: I meant to say Johann Sebastian Bach. Why did you feel that Little Fugue In G Minor was a good choice for Juno?
Arron: A flashy detail, you mean?
Tomozawa: No, I mean it was a flash of inspiration.
(I asked about two particular music tracks that were exclusively featured in Mega Man Legends, the North American version of Rockman DASH.)
Tomozawa: I think that Pop CD was composed when the project was going on.
Arron: Do you recall any internal reasons for this? I once suspected it was due to an English localization problem, rather than marketing.
Tomozawa: [The] Staff Roll BGM was composed after the Japanese version was finished.
Tomozawa: I just [don't] know [anything] about English version's release timing.
Arron: That's alright. I am curious about the English Staff Roll song. What was your idea of inserting English voice pieces into the song?
Tomozawa: I wanted to put out the recollection feeling by ending.
Arron: When Rockman DASH was first released in Japan, how confident were you, the development team, and Capcom, of the game's success there?
Tomozawa: There are two sides in the success in the game development. It is a commercial success, and a success in customer's satisfaction rating. Customer's satisfaction rating is more important than a commercial success as the developer. In such a meaning, we thought that we would succeed enough.
Arron: What was the reality of that, however?
Tomozawa: I think that it was a roughly satisfactory result.
[ CUT ]
This is the end of the interview. We've certainly learned a lot of informative bits about his earlier work at Capcom, including his Mega Man and Resident Evil work, and it would have been more awesome to learn more about his later work. Unfortunately, Mr. Tomozawa had not been available to resume the interview since our last conversation.
While l await for the one day where I can resume my interview, I would like to sincerely thank Cleveland Rock for his participation in this interview, Protodude for sharing/reporting the interview when it published originally in 2012, and of course, Mr. Makoto Tomozawa (his account appears to been suspended (!) as of this time) for accepting and I wish him all the best in his game music career for years to come.
I hope you get to enjoy this as much as I did having the pleasure speaking with him! I'll have another interview I did with a another certain music composer up sometime in the near future.