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Theme song Discussion

Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 2:00 pm
by ViviFellow
Here we can talk about the theme song with lyrics from the Kickstarter stretch goal. Hanako post some possible options here and in the latest ks post.

What do you think it should be?

Re: Theme song Discussion

Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 2:00 pm
by ViviFellow
I think that could be a romantic song for the May Day Ball or a special song for some non-romantic event (ex. last chorale club activity).

Re: Theme song Discussion

Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 5:27 pm
by Canyon
I think it depends on which emotional impact you are going for. Songs with lyrics in games fit into three categories for me - and all have been memorable for different reasons.

My favorite general category is songs at the beginning of the game to set the mood. Good examples are A Kiss for the Petals series, several of the Winter Wolves games, Civilization IV, the Fallout games, etc. I would almost always listen to the song every single time I loaded the game to get me in the right mindset and bring back the memories of what had happened in the game up to that point. I also like this category because the player gets to hear the song more often. I know some people just want to play the game though, so if you go this route, make the song easily skippable for people who don't want to listen to it.

The next category is songs that play to celebrate the biggest accomplishment in the game, usually near or at the end of the game. My favorite is the ending song from Ever 17 The Out of Infinity - all these years later after originally hearing it, it can still calm me down because it comes after such a tense portion of the game and it was a big emotional release. Divinity Original Sin 2 and even Plants vs. Zombies also did this really well.

The last category is the surprise insert song. It can be for something big or something small, but it always make me think of the game more positively. The choir in the game is actually singing! The character is actually playing the guitar! Things like that are great memories.

Whichever way you go, please make the song easily playable after we've heard it once. Have an Extras section where we can listen to it. Or have a credits button that displays the information about the game while the song plays in the background. So many games with great songs make it way too difficult to hear the song again.

Re: Theme song Discussion

Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 5:28 pm
by MillaMaxwell
I'd love either a romantic song for the ball or a dramatic song for the end credits. I've really enjoyed how other Hanako games like Confines of the Crown and Date Warp have theme songs that really fit the themes of their games well, so I'm hoping we'll have something like that for Magical Diary!

Re: Theme song Discussion

Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 5:57 pm
by FantasyFan
I like the idea of a May Day Ball song, though a dramatic song sounds great too. :D

Re: Theme song Discussion

Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 8:12 pm
by jak
As Canyon said, is true that the opening song sets the mood, but 1) the current song works perfectly for me (it injects cheerfulness) 2) a song with lyrics probably is a bit wasted for the opening.
Credit songs have a certain impact, but, at least for horse hall, I felt the release during the ball: the final dungeon is done, the year is finished, and (possibly) the status of your relationship with your significant other is clear. I would expect more a song here than during the credits. So I would be quite happy with a song for that, or another important event (as I love choirs hearing one for the last chorale would be beautiful).

Re: Theme song Discussion

Posted: Thu May 23, 2019 1:23 am
by Metiphisto
To me one of the most amazing parts of the harry potter movies was the Ball they did a great job of portraying it perfectly from the books. And with the May Day Ball in the game I think giving it just as much attention as the Yule Ball in Harry Potter could be awsome. A beautiful ballad as your date comes into the hall to display his/her Ball attire would be an amazing addition to the game.

Re: Theme song Discussion

Posted: Fri May 24, 2019 8:24 am
by Quadrupletron
I see many suggestions to have the theme song play during the May Day Ball. While I agree the Ball is a great spot for a strong, emotional piece, I would feel a bit overwhelmed absorbing the lyrics and reading the in-game text at the same time.

Here are some theme song approaches you could use to resolve the above conflict, with pros and cons.

1) During the May Day Ball, feature "slide show" stills of the Ball without text for the duration of the theme song. This would allow us to absorb the theme song and enjoy the Ball's atmosphere. But depending on how long the theme song lasts, drawing all the stills for each romance option could take considerable development time.

2) During the May Day Ball, play an instrumental version of the theme song. During the credits, play the theme song with the lyrics. I believe Jordan Chambers also suggested this on Kickstarter, and it could work. Bonus points if the Ball/credits version of theme song have other slight differences (i.e: the Ball version loops while the credits version has an end), but I'd understand if this isn't feasible due to Kickstarter funds. That said, it may feel repetitive hearing the same song twice close to each other (even if it's really good).

3) Just make the theme song specifically for the credits. While this isn't the most ideal since the Ball's such a strong component of the story, it would mean you'd have more flexibility with the song composition and lyrics. Also, it might just be me, but a strong, bold credits composition the consolidates the good times of Wolf Hall would more likely stick to my head than a romantic piece of similar quality.

Good luck with the theme song regardless! Also, if I could ask, about how long do you guys anticipate the theme song to last?

Re: Theme song Discussion

Posted: Fri May 24, 2019 3:52 pm
by hanako
I don't know how long the song will be; that sort of thing will be nailed down in discussions after I know what I'm asking for.

A couple other things I'm thinking about:

There's no guarantee that the PC will have a date to the Ball. If you're on no relationship path, or something has gone wrong in your relationship before then, you might be alone. You might be there with someone who's just a friend, or with a side-option character that you're flirting with but don't have the same kind of deep connection that you might with a full romance route. So it might be a little weird to have a super-romantic song playing. On the other hand, it's a big romantic dance and other couples are around so there can be romance in the air even if it's not about you.

Similarly, at the end of the game, there's no guarantee that the PC is in a meaningful and happy relationship, so it might feel quite weird to do a big romantic song at the credits. (A Little Lily Princess did, but it ONLY had good endings, so the song always fit.) Some games deal with this by not playing the big ending song unless you got a romance outcome, but MD has generally tried not to privilege romance too highly, so I would rather not make people who got friendship endings (or no route) feel like they did something 'wrong'. There is no True Ending in this game!

While musically I really like the idea of having the instrumental during the ball and the full version later, because that can give a little extra emotional impact from recognising the tune and hearing the 'full version', I'm just not sure it works with the design if the lyrics are romantic. It could work if the tune sounds romantic but the lyrics are about something else, maybe.

But this is just me musing. I haven't made decisions yet.

Re: Theme song Discussion

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 4:25 am
by MillaMaxwell
hanako wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 3:52 pm
There's no guarantee that the PC will have a date to the Ball. If you're on no relationship path, or something has gone wrong in your relationship before then, you might be alone. You might be there with someone who's just a friend, or with a side-option character that you're flirting with but don't have the same kind of deep connection that you might with a full romance route. So it might be a little weird to have a super-romantic song playing. On the other hand, it's a big romantic dance and other couples are around so there can be romance in the air even if it's not about you.

Similarly, at the end of the game, there's no guarantee that the PC is in a meaningful and happy relationship, so it might feel quite weird to do a big romantic song at the credits. (A Little Lily Princess did, but it ONLY had good endings, so the song always fit.) Some games deal with this by not playing the big ending song unless you got a romance outcome, but MD has generally tried not to privilege romance too highly, so I would rather not make people who got friendship endings (or no route) feel like they did something 'wrong'. There is no True Ending in this game!
That's true... There are quite a few endings in Horse Hall where a romantic ending/ball song wouldn't have really been appropriate, so I can see how that will probably be the case here too. With that in mind, I definitely like the idea of having a non-romantic theme song, either as an ending credits song or an opening song (although the latter is probably unlikely considering there isn't an opening video right now and that would take more development resources). And honestly, that could work out really well. Confines of the Crown's theme song is fantastic and it's not romantic at all even though there is plenty of romance in that game. So something strong and thematic, but not necessarily directly romantic, would be great in Wolf Hall too!

Re: Theme song Discussion

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 2:52 pm
by JRCameron
I think that the 'theme song' should be a leitmotif of the main character of Horse Hall. Something that can come and go as they're doing something that's successful but not necessarily a big giant sting at a climactic moment. Going through and recognizing "Hey, my song was playing at this point! I never noticed that" is a fond memory for me in several games. Maybe the lyric version should be the character themselves singing the song during the ending credits? A few throw-away lines about them enjoying to sing, or singing back before coming to school might even foreshadow such a thing.

Re: Theme song Discussion

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 5:55 pm
by hanako
JRCameron wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 2:52 pm
A few throw-away lines about them enjoying to sing, or singing back before coming to school might even foreshadow such a thing.
Whether the PC can sing at all, and what kind of vocal range he has, is a player-choosable element in the existing game. (As Chorale is one of the joinable clubs.)

Re: Theme song Discussion

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 7:19 pm
by Posca
hanako wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 5:55 pm
JRCameron wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 2:52 pm
A few throw-away lines about them enjoying to sing, or singing back before coming to school might even foreshadow such a thing.
Whether the PC can sing at all, and what kind of vocal range he has, is a player-choosable element in the existing game. (As Chorale is one of the joinable clubs.)
Would it be possible to implement the song with lyrics sung by the PC only if the player chooses to join chorale? While just playing a version without lyrics when the player chooses not to join. Or would that be too time-consuming and/or convoluted overall?

Re: Theme song Discussion

Posted: Sat May 25, 2019 8:16 pm
by hanako
And record it with multiple different singers depending on the player's choices about their character's singing voice? :)

No, it's not really reasonable. Especially as it would feel like punishing the players who didn't want to join chorale.

Getting too personal with the PC in the song would be awkward in general because the PC can have many different personalities and outcomes. Anything he sang about himself would be unlikely to match every player's journey. A song needs to be a little more removed, more about the overall themes of the story, less about his personal experience during the game. It could talk about who he was before the story perhaps...

Re: Theme song Discussion

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:55 pm
by Posca
Especially as it would feel like punishing the players who didn't want to join chorale.
You're right, I didn't think about it that way. In the end I'm curious what kind of song you'll choose, even though I'm sure it'll turn out great whatever kind of song it ends up being. :D