I grew up listening to the wonderful soundtracks of Phantasy Star 3 and 4, a series that I’ve dearly loved. The Sega Genesis was a magical device for me, taking me to different worlds and opening up possibilities for storytelling that blew my mind. So it’s been incredible for me to get to meet some of the developers behind the games that influenced me growing up. Case in point, IPPO, composer for PS3 and 4. I’ve listened to both soundtracks countless times; the dungeon music in PS3 was one of my favorites.
This was a really fun interview and I learned a lot about what it was like composing for the Sega Genesis. IPPO-san was generous with the answers and I’m so excited we got to do this. Big thanks to Onitsuka-san for translating the entire interview and to Kotaku for publishing it. My editor, Alexandra Hall, is fantastic and I’m so glad I got to work together on this piece. Please check it out!
“There are so many songs from the 16-bit era that evoke nostalgic flashbacks to my first experiences playing games. Those tracks weren’t just catchy tunes, but were a big part of what made many classic games so special. In a time when memory limited what games could do, music, working cohesively with the graphics and story, could weave together a cinematic narrative that conveyed a whole lot of emotion.
Which brings me to Izuho “IPPO” Numata, the ex-Sega composer behind some of the most memorable soundtracks of the 8- and 16-bit era. She began by adapting existing music for Sega Master System / Game Gear conversions like Psychic World and Sega Genesis arcade ports like Ghouls ‘n Ghosts and Forgotten Worlds. Then she began composing original music for games likePhantasy Star III, Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium, the SMS/GGLand of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, and the Sega CD strategy-RPG hidden gem, Dark Wizard.“