I'm working on two separate-but-related projects lately.
1. An "RPG's Greatest Hits 1985-1996" mix CD, containing the best songs from RPG's on the NES, SNES, Gameboy, Genesis, or anything from that era that sounds "chippy." This is meant to fit on a single physical CD, used for long trips/waits/whatever and to burn for anyone interested. The track order will resemble the order in which the songs might come in a real game (Title/Intro themes mostly at the beginning, Ending/Staff music mostly at the end, etc.).
2. Form a band tentatively called "The Energy Breakers" and use the above as a sort of "musical storyboard", writing an original soundtrack to a fictional RPG, not necessarily specifically from that era (so better-than-SNES sounds can be used) but in that basic composition style.
This thread is obviously recruiting for #2.
The gameplay and plot are not necessarily set in stone at the moment, but I imagine the gameplay to be like a cross between Secret of Mana and Chrono Trigger -- or perhaps simply Chrono Trigger without the main overworld map.
As you'll gather from the tracklist to #1 (below), there is some vague idea of plot structure, but I'm keeping it simple, as I presume the details will be changed and thought out more thoroughly as the project progresses. The basic idea so far: title screen, gameplay demo (a la Chrono Trigger), prologue, opening dungeon, boss battle, true beginning of the story (see: Lufia for the basic progression of the beginning), town -> overworld area -> dungeon -> boss -> cutscene -> rinse and repeat formula for a few levels, climactic "suspicion" cutscene followed by "friend becomes the antagonist" cutscene (see: GOLBEZ CLAD IN DARK), fake final dungeon and final boss confrontation, possibly fake ending, "OH NOES HES NOT DED WUT DO WE DOOO" cutscene, final town, final overworld area, final dungeon, final boss and final boss final form (see: Seiken Densetsu 3 for multiple boss forms), real ending, staff roll, epilogue. There may be more cutscenes, character themes, more than 4 or so dungeons, miniboss music, etc. etc. added as the project develops and more detail is needed; this is just a rough draft to provide a track order for #1 that makes sense.
I do NOT plan on making an actual game to utilize this soundtrack, RPGMaker or otherwise. If someone is inspired during or after the project to make one, be my guest. Likewise, if it helps the musicians to pretend it's going to be in a game, feel free to pretend. Use the original contexts of the songs from #1 as examples of how the contexts in the game would look if necessary. (I.E. Search for "Phantasy Start 4 Ending Part 2" on Youtube to see how I imagine the Staff Roll, etc.)
WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR
Specifically, I'm seeking:
* other musicians to help compose the songs, either collaboratively or on a song-by-song basis
* someone with a slightly better recording setup than mine (my sound card has issues sometimes and I don't have anything like Kontakt or Cubase, just Sonar, Reason, and SoundForge)
* someone to do cover art and art for any "booklet" we end up deciding to have
* a guitar player decent at playing and composing melodic leads and solos; rhythm would be nice as well but that depends more on how the composition turns out
* someone with a good VST, synth, or sample library that sounds a lot like (or at least equal calibur to) games like Chrono Cross, Suikoden 4, or the Secret of Mana: Genesis arranged album
I would like the game to have several different styles to its music and contain elements of its various composers' styles while still having a reasonably consistent feel, like Breath of Fire does. Different people can bring different benefits to the table (me with my distinct Sound Canvas style, another who's proficient in Reason, another who plays guitar, etc.) while all working together as a "band" to create an album fit for a real, commercial game.
The "sound" I'm shooting for is something original and a bit Rock-oriented, but compositionally still soft and Classical-oriented at times, the way Final Fantasy 6 or Phantasy Star 3 are. Sound-wise, I tend to draw inspiration from Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy 4, 6, and 7, Suikoden 4, Secret of Mana Genesis (the arranged album), and possibly even stretching as far as something like Castlevania: Lament of Innocence for the later parts of the game. Elements of 90s-era sounds (SNES-sounding instruments, FM tones, square waves, etc.) are allowed and encouraged (in combination with other instrumentation or not) as long as the song in question still sounds like it's coming from the same game as the rest of the album - though I would prefer not to have such "chip" elements in EVERY song. (This isn't for a Gameboy Advance game, after all.)
Remixes and arrangements of tracks in #1 are acceptable but discouraged. (Anyone providing one, however, IS encouraged to submit to OCR and gain the project some exposure.) Allusions, references, "pastiches", and re-imaginings, however, are encouraged, but in limited numbers. (This is supposed to be a NEW game, not Final Fantasy XXV-2 or Legend of Redundium.)
THE PAYMENT PLAN
At the moment, this project will have to be pro bono. Selling the completed album or not will be decided once the project is near completion.
The information in parenthesis is where the song would fit into our game, not where it fit into its original game.
1. Final Fantasy - Prelude (Title Screen)
2. Dragon Warrior 3 - Overture (Demo Reel)
3. Breath of Fire - Starting the Journey ~Breath of Fire~ (Opening Cutscene/Dungeon)
4. Lufia - The Final Duel (Opening Battle)
5. Secret of Mana - Angel's Fear (Exposition Cutscene)
6. Final Fantasy - Prologue (Opening Credits)
7. Star Ocean - Calm Time (Home Village)
8. Ys 3 - Winged Boy (Overworld Area 1)
9. Seiken Densetsu 3 - Nuclear Fusion (Battle 1)
10. Earthbound - Onett (Town 1)
11. Final Fantasy 6 - Tina (Overworld Area 2)
12. Ys PC-88 - First Step Toward Wars (Dungeon 1)
13. Phantasy Star II - Rise or Fall (Boss)
14. Final Fantasy - Victory
15. Energy Breaker - The Sky's Brilliance (Plot Cutscene)
16. Phantasy Star III - World Map (Party of 5) (Overworld Area 3)
17. Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest - Last Castle (Dungeon 2)
18. Secret of Evermore - Title / Staff Roll (Plot Cutscene 2)
19. Chrono Trigger - Chrono Trigger (Main Villian Cutscene)
20. Super Mario RPG - Weapons Factory (Final Dungeon 1)
21. Chrono Trigger - Black Omen (Main Villian Cutscene 2)
22. Final Fantasy 5 - Clash on the Big Bridge (Decisive Battle)
23. Terranigma - Ever Green (Overworld Area 4)
24. Energy Breaker - The Fortune Teller's Guidance (Plot Cutscene 3)
25. Lufia 2 - The Savior of Those on Earth (Final Dungeon 2)
26. Ys PC-88 - The Last Moment of the Dark (Final Dungeon 3)
27. Chrono Trigger - Final Battle (Final Battle)
28. Live A Live - Live Over Again (Ending)
29. Phantasy Star 4 - Staff Roll (Staff Roll)
30. Lufia 2 - Priphea Flowers (Epilogue)
Though this tracklist is for #1 and isn't too flexible, as the project develops, if a better "example track" is found for a given situation, or x composer(s) decides to ignore the tracklist all together, we can "go with the flow" and do whatever works toward a better end result. The tracklist is a guide and a reference, not a blueprint - and, don't forget, is a separate project in the first place.
If you have any questions, ask. Feel free to shoot me a PM if you have a private question. If you want to chat via IM, Facebook, or IRC, shoot me a PM first so I'll know a) who you are and that I need to open up the appropriate software. (I tend to keep my IM software closed unless I have a reason to open it.)