Earlier this week saw the release of the Legend of Mana remaster. Originally released in 1999 for PlayStation, the fourth entry in the Mana series has been remastered for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Despite the varying popularity of each installment, the Mana series is famous for its unanimously lauded music. Ahead of its release on June 24, we spoke with Legend of Mana composer Yoko Shimomura over email about the remaster’s soundtrack.
Along with its visuals, Legend of Mana’s original soundtrack has been rearranged to inject a sense of modernity into a timeless story. Shimomura, who is globally known for her incredible and extensive work on the Kingdom Hearts series, Final Fantasy XV, and many more games, oversaw and supervised the direction of the rearranged soundtrack.
Compared to when she first worked on Legend of Mana’s soundtrack in 1999, she says she doesn’t know whether she’s evolved much as a composer. “I do think, of course, that there are parts of me that have probably evolved, or maybe grown, as I’ve gotten older and gained more experience, but how I approach songwriting and how I feel when I write songs hasn’t changed from then, so I don’t feel like I’ve changed very much at all,” she says. “I think it’s even harder for me to be able to tell because I don’t really sit down and analyze myself.”
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When asked about her favorite works in the Legend of Mana rearrangement collection, Shimomura says every single song is precious to her. “To me, every song I’ve written is like my own child, so I can’t choose a few favorites from among them.”
With the collection, she hopes “that those who are familiar with the original, as well as those who pick it up for the first time now, will enjoy this splendid world, which is fun yet heart-wrenching and full of wonder and kindness.”
Shimomura feels the combination of rearranged music and remastered art will allow Legend of Mana to show more color and beauty than ever before. “I worked very closely with the arrangers and put care into overseeing the process,” she says. “I’m confident that they’ve turned out to be very wonderful, so I hope many people will try playing!”