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Josh Mancell on N. Sane Trilogy *music* "please stop referring to it as remastered"

Ash735

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Nov 30, 2015
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In today's PS Underground video of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Vicarious Visions proudly say that they ripped the original MIDI tracks from the PlayStation 1 versions of the games and just remixed and added instruments around that. Now, one of the things which has felt extremely lacking in this trilogy thus far seems to be the actual new music and sadly the method described above would attribute to that.

So, I was curious to see what the original composer thought of this and checked his Facebook page, and he revealed a few days ago some bad news and what he thinks:
There are many reasons why I haven't been discussing the N. Sane remakes publicly or privately. It's not because I'm angry or bitter. True, it's disappointing that my initial inquiries to Activision and Vicarious Visions were ignored... but here's what I posted a few months ago: "It’s a privilege to have been able to create and collaborate with the Naughty Dog team on the original games. My hope for the new games is that the original fans are happy and that a new generation of ‘Crash Kids’ will have just as much fun." .... that being said, I do have opinions about the *remade* Crash music (please stop referring to it as "remastered") Of course I have opinions (like everyone else) regarding music that's based on what I originally created and put a lot of thought and care into. There are many, many fan-made remakes and remixes that I REALLY like and have been vocal about. However, I'm reluctant to discuss the N. Sane remakes as many people are quick to unfairly box me in as being "negative". So again, I really want the new games to be great - especially for the new gamers who have never played the originals. Thanks for reading and thanks for the ongoing appreciation for the original CB soundtracks ♡ ))))



Considering he still has the masters and demos for all the tracks he's worked, and even uploaded some, what possible reason could Activision or Vicarious Visions have against working with the original composer in favour of doing what sound like cheap techno ports of the compressed PS1 tracks??
 

bananafactory

Banned
Nov 6, 2013
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In today's PS Underground video of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Vicarious Visions proudly say that they ripped the original MIDI tracks from the PlayStation 1 versions of the games and just remixed and added instruments around that. Now, one of the things which has felt extremely lacking in this trilogy thus far seems to be the actual new music and sadly the method described above would attribute to that.

So, I was curious to see what the original composer thought of this and checked his Facebook page, and he revealed a few days ago some bad news and what he thinks:




Considering he still has the masters and demos for all the tracks he's worked, and even uploaded some, what possible reason could Activision or Vicarious Visions have against working with the original composer in favour of doing what sound like cheap techno ports of the compressed PS1 tracks??

I'm guessing the way they are doing it is much cheaper than paying him for those.
 

Narroo

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Jun 6, 2013
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Considering he still has the masters and demos for all the tracks he's worked, and even uploaded some, what possible reason could Activision or Vicarious Visions have against working with the original composer in favour of doing what sound like cheap techno ports of the compressed PS1 tracks??

Legal issues. It's probably much easier and less risky to have someone do it in-house based on the legal perspective.
 

AuthenticM

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I'm really curious to hear what he doesn't like about the new music, although I understand why he doesn't want to share this.
 

Mr-Joker

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Considering he still has the masters and demos for all the tracks he's worked, and even uploaded some, what possible reason could Activision or Vicarious Visions have against working with the original composer in favour of doing what sound like cheap techno ports of the compressed PS1 tracks??

$$$$

This is cheap effort remaster and Activision clearly doesn't want to spend more money if they don't have to.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
May 21, 2006
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Guy specifically says he isn't trying to start shit and doesn't want to speak if he's going to be perceived as being negative -> Pull quote headline about how he trashes the games
 
Apr 18, 2014
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Considering he still has the masters and demos for all the tracks he's worked, and even uploaded some, what possible reason could Activision or Vicarious Visions have against working with the original composer in favour of doing what sound like cheap techno ports of the compressed PS1 tracks??

What is the reason a business does anything in a capitalist society? You already posted the answer.
 

RoboPlato

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Oct 29, 2006
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Sucks that they couldn't get the original composer for this. I have a lot of respect for the effort put into this collection even though I'm not a huge fan of the series. Not having the music get the same love is a bummer for anyone who is
 

Moze

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He seems a very respectful man. I love his music, and it holds alot of nostalgia for me, but I can't tell the difference between the stuff I am hearing in the gameplay videos and the stuff I remember from when I played it as a child. Perhaps I will have to go back and listen back to back to really hear the difference.
 

LiK

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Sounds like the music aspect was cheaped out or about licensing, imo. Who knows why they chose that route.

Also, some people really need to read the OP before posting. You know better.
 

Falk

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Aug 26, 2013
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Considering in the audio industry, remastering refers to taking the same, already-baked audio data and re-processing that, often for a new medium (i.e. vinyl -> digital, or pre-masteres previously released on CD -> vinyl, etc) not calling the process of what they're doing with the original sequencer files a 'remaster' of the music is accurate when we're referring to audio.

That being said, at this point I think a lot of people understand when the game industry refers to a 'remastered OST', they're more likely than not referring to 'the new OST of a remastered game project, which might or might not be a complete remake of the music from the ground up', as opposed to 'audio that has gone through audio remastering'.
 
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Considering in the audio industry, remastering refers to taking the same, already-baked audio data and re-processing that, often for a new medium (i.e. vinyl -> digital, or pre-masteres previously released on CD -> vinyl, etc) not calling the process of what they're doing with the original sequencer files a 'remaster' of the music is accurate when we're referring to audio.

That being said, at this point I think a lot of people understand when the game industry refers to a 'remastered OST', they're more likely than not referring to 'the new OST of a remastered game project, which might or might not be a complete remake of the music from the ground up', as opposed to 'audio that has gone through audio remastering'.


Yeah this sums up what I was thinking coming into this thread. I can see how an audio engineer minded person could take issue with the moniker.
 

Paz

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I've worked on remakes before, trust me when I say there's no point in any of you speculating why the music situation turned out the way it did.

There are simply too many possible reasons and even if you whittle it down to just logical ones you have to account for how humans are notoriously arbitrary decision makers.
 

Falk

that puzzling face
Aug 26, 2013
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Yeah this sums up what I was thinking coming into this thread. I can see how an audio engineer minded person could take issue with the moniker.

It goes deeper than that to be honest - many hobbyists call their YouTube covers/etc. (whether using the original sequencer/MIDI data or not) 'remasters' when it's anything but based on the audio industry definition. It's one of the surefire ways to tell who actually knows what they're talking about or not.
 

Magnet

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That being said, at this point I think a lot of people understand when the game industry refers to a 'remastered OST', they're more likely than not referring to 'the new OST of a remastered game project, which might or might not be a complete remake of the music from the ground up', as opposed to 'audio that has gone through audio remastering'.

You really think their use of "fully-remastered game soundtrack" in the following paragraph is meant to be interpreted as "new soundtrack of a remastered game"? If so, that would be brazenly misleading phrasing on Activision's part, especially since Activision is not a company that is naive about remastered audio given that their Guitar Hero franchise was built around it.

Activision and Vicarious Visions are honoring the heritage of Crash throughout the trilogy in a variety of ways, including a fully-remastered game soundtrack, packed with all the didgeridoos, xylophones and thumpin' bass lines you can handle, as well as newly recorded dialogue from some of the familiar voice actors who appear in the original Crash Bandicoot games, including Jess Harnell and Lex Lang, among others.

http://investor.activision.com/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=1002721
 

Hexa

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May 31, 2013
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$$$$

This is cheap effort remaster and Activision clearly doesn't want to spend more money if they don't have to.

There is no way in hell this can be considered a cheap remaster. The only remasters that I can think of that seems to have gotten more effort are Halo Anniversary and Zelda: WW. This is absolutely top notch.
 

MrBadger

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$$$$

This is cheap effort remaster and Activision clearly doesn't want to spend more money if they don't have to.

It seems to me that music is the only thing they cheaped out on. The redone sound effects, voice acting and visuals are on point.
 

Lijik

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This is cheap effort remaster and Activision clearly doesn't want to spend more money if they don't have to.
youre right this game is on the same level of activisions other cheap effort remasters like the prototype bundle
 

Falk

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You really think their use of "fully-remastered game soundtrack" in the following paragraph is meant to be interpreted as "new soundtrack of a remastered game"? If so, that would be brazenly misleading phrasing on Activision's part, especially since Activision is not a company that is naive about remastered audio given that their Guitar Hero franchise was built around it.



http://investor.activision.com/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=1002721

Good catch, that's indeed a complete misuse of the term.

For what it's worth, I'm speaking in general terms, even in reference to stuff I've worked on.
 

BocoDragon

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Considering in the audio industry, remastering refers to taking the same, already-baked audio data and re-processing that, often for a new medium (i.e. vinyl -> digital, or pre-masteres previously released on CD -> vinyl, etc) not calling the process of what they're doing with the original sequencer files a 'remaster' of the music is accurate when we're referring to audio.

That being said, at this point I think a lot of people understand when the game industry refers to a 'remastered OST', they're more likely than not referring to 'the new OST of a remastered game project, which might or might not be a complete remake of the music from the ground up', as opposed to 'audio that has gone through audio remastering'.
Yeah the game industry in general really abused the world "remastered". There are remakes of games that have been called remastered too.
 

Taliban Stan

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So was the original game just midi ran through a ps1 general midi soundset?

If so, I don't see the issue with what happened. A modern soundbank (hell even a soundbank from PS1 era but actually using a sound module or keyboard made for music rather than some video game system) is going to be significantly better audio with very little lost in the sauce. Using the same MIDI files kinda ensures that.

Make sure you know what MIDI actually is. It's just a standard for storing and transmitting note and automation data. They aren't being cheap or lying to people by using the original MIDI files.
 

Falk

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So was the original game just midi ran through a ps1 general midi soundset?

If so, I don't see the issue with what happened. A modern soundbank (hell even a soundbank from PS1 era but actually using a sound module or keyboard made for music rather than some video game system) is going to be significantly better audio with very little lost in the sauce. Using the same MIDI files kinda ensures that.

Make sure you know what MIDI actually is. It's just a standard for storing and transmitting note and automation data. They aren't being cheap or lying to people by using the original MIDI files.

The premise of the thread is that the original composer had little input regarding the final result on the N Sane soundtrack, not the methodology used.

The finer detail w.r.t. that being had it been an actual audio remaster, i.e. there's not much that could have possibly changed, it'd probably also have had something much closer to a seal of approval by default without his input. Probably half of the reason he specifically pointed this out.

edit: Actually, far better/more contextually accurate insight below.
 

Ash735

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So was the original game just midi ran through a ps1 general midi soundset?

MIDI with module sound banks. Josh has gone on record multiple times that he composed the tracks first and then cut and fit them down to the limits he was given for the audio, that's why he considers the masters "pre-console" mixes, they're the tracks as he intended them to sound, nothing cut, compressed, reduced, etc.

For example, compare these two:
Josh's Master
PlayStation 1

*if you can't bother to listen to all of it, at least skip to the kick off point at 58 seconds and compare*

You'll notice how much had to be cut out and removed for it to fit into the PS1's sound bank limits. So the problem here is, VV have taken these cut down PS1 versions and made the new ones based off them, NOT based off the original masters with the full detail and instruments. Which seems odd enough in its own right, but then add in that Josh himself offered to help on the Remastered versions but was ignored by Activision and VV and as a result we have the music being one of the weaker things of this remaster trilogy.
 

HappehLemons

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MIDI with module sound banks. Josh has gone on record multiple times that he composed the tracks first and then cut and fit them down to the limits he was given for the audio, that's why he considers the masters "pre-console" mixes, they're the tracks as he intended them to sound, nothing cut, compressed, reduced, etc.

For example, compare these two:
Josh's Master
PlayStation 1

*if you can't bother to listen to all of it, at least skip to the kick off point at 58 seconds and compare*

You'll notice how much had to be cut out and removed for it to fit into the PS1's sound bank limits. So the problem here is, VV have taken these cut down PS1 versions and made the new ones based off them, NOT based off the original masters with the full detail and instruments. Which seems odd enough in its own right, but then add in that Josh himself offered to help on the Remastered versions but was ignored by Activision and VV and as a result we have the music being one of the weaker things of this remaster trilogy.

Thanks for the insight, I've never played crash but that's pretty interesting.