|Born||August 5, 1965|
Akita Prefecture, Japan
Motoi Sakuraba (桜庭 統, Sakuraba Motoi, born August 5, 1965) is a Japanese composer and keyboardist. He is known for his numerous contributions in video games, such as for Tales, Star Ocean, Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, Golden Sun, and Dark Souls series, as well as several other anime series, television dramas, and progressive rock albums.
Sakuraba was born on August 5, 1965, in Akita Prefecture, Japan. While attending Meiji University, Sakuraba began to take music composition seriously, and eventually formed the progressive rock band "Clashed Ice" in 1984, consisting of him on keyboards and Genta Kudo on drums and vocals. After the duo had graduated the following year, they were noticed by music producer Shingo Ueno, and ending up signing with Made in Japan Records. The band had then added bassist Tetsuya Nagatsuma, and was renamed as "Deja Vu". In 1988, the band would release their only studio album, Baroque in the Future, composed entirely by Sakuraba. Although the band disbanded in 1989, Sakuraba would later go on to release a similar-sounding solo album, Gikyokuonsou, in 1991.
In late 1989, Sakuraba began working as a composer for Wolf Team, joining Masaaki Uno and Yasunori Shiono. The professional friendships formed here in Sakuraba's early years have resulted in a great demand for his composing and arranging abilities. In 1994, former Wolf Team director and composer Masaaki Uno started working at Camelot Software Planning as a coordinator and sound director, developing games for Sony, Sega and Nintendo. Sakuraba has been called upon as a composer for many Camelot games, including all of the games in the Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, and Golden Sun series.
In 1995, Wolf Team developed the breakthrough game Tales of Phantasia for Namco. This and other early games in the Tales series primarily featured Sakuraba and fellow Wolf Team co-worker Shinji Tamura as composers. Also in 1995, former Wolf Team director and producer Jun Asanuma, as well as Tales of Phantasia writer and programmer Yoshiharu Gotanda, founded tri-Ace with financial backing from Enix. The Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile games have been their main franchises. Sakuraba has been the composer for nearly all of their games.
In 1999, long time Sakuraba sound designer and programmer Hiroya Hatsushiba, a former member of Wolf Team and tri-Ace, founded tri-Crescendo. While initially continuing to contribute sound work to tri-Ace games, tri-Crescendo began game development in 2001. Together with Monolith Soft, tri-Crescendo started working on Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean; Namco provided the financial backing. Hatsushiba, as director and main programmer of the project, again called upon Sakuraba's composing services. This has extended to the sequel, Baten Kaitos Origins, and Eternal Sonata. The remnants of Wolf Team later morphed into the Namco Telenet joint subsidiary Namco Tales Studio in 2003.
In 2007, Sakuraba was selected to join a long list of video game composers to arrange music for Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He chose to arrange the famous "Menu Theme" from the game's predecessor, Super Smash Bros. Melee. He also arranged "Gourmet Race" from Kirby Super Star, "Jungle Level Ver.2" from Donkey Kong Country, "Mario Tennis / Mario Golf" from Mario Tennis and Mario Golf, "Victory Road" from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, the "Airship Theme" from Super Mario Bros. 3, the "Battlefield Theme", "Final Destination", and "Battle Scene / Final Boss (Golden Sun)" from Golden Sun: The Lost Age.
In more recent years, Sakuraba has continued to write music for games in franchises he has worked with before, including Star Ocean: The Last Hope, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, Mario Tennis Open, Mario Golf: World Tour, and many Tales series games, including Hearts, Graces, Xillia, Xillia 2, Zestiria, and Berseria. He has also contributed to other well known games such as the Dark Souls series, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and Phantasy Star Nova. In 2014, he was selected to provide musical arrangements for Brawl's successor, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. For this title, Sakuraba arranged "Theme from Area 6 / Missile Slipstream" from Star Fox 64 and Star Fox Command, "Battle! (Team Flare)" from Pokémon X and Y, and "The valedictory elegy" from Baten Kaitos Origins.
In addition, Sakuraba has continued to write for non-gaming and anime projects, including solo albums such as "Forest of glass", "What's up?", and "Passage", as well as lending his arrangement and performance abilities for many doujin styled arrange albums.
During July 2003, Sakuraba held a live concert in Tokyo, Japan. He performed progressive rock interpretations of his music from games Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, Star Ocean: The Second Story, Star Ocean: Blue Sphere and Valkyrie Profile. His bandmates for this concert were bassist Atsushi Hasegawa (a member of the band Gerard) and drummer Toshihiko Nakamura. As noted, this concert was released on DVD and CD. At the same time as they were rehearsing for the concert, Hasegawa and Nakamura assisted in recording new material for the Director's Cut of Star Ocean: Till the End of Time.
The following year, the trio performed another concert. The venue was smaller, but included music from Baten Kaitos and a couple of new, non-game-related pieces. This concert was not officially recorded and released, however. However, in 2006, a new concert was given in celebration of tri-Ace's Valkyrie Profile: Silmeria.
In September 2011, Sakuraba and his band joined up with the Earthbound Papas in Kawasaki, led by former Final Fantasy series composer Nobuo Uematsu, to perform at Fantasy Rock Fest 2011. The event featured game music performances, along with new progressive rock pieces from both bands. The first six tracks that Sakuraba and his band played were sold at the event as a preview CD for his then-upcoming solo album After all..., which was released by Strange Days Records on October 19, 2011.
In June 2015, Sakuraba performed at the Tales of Festival at the Yokohama Arena, being the first time he performed tracks from the Tales series at a live event. A selection of Sakuraba's music from the Dark Souls and Tales series was performed live at the Salle Pleyel concert hall in Paris in February 2017. The event, known as "Orchestral Memories", featured a guest appearance by Sakuraba. The 2020 Tales of Festival featured an original song by him called "Endless Journey", dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the series.
Sakuraba takes the baroque and melodic Japanese progressive rock of the 1980s and expands it with his own trademark complex rhythms, emotional flutes, use of male choir, and heavy reverb. The lighter side of his style is a crossover between symphonic progressive rock, cinematic orchestra and new age. Sakuraba is also known for introducing many jazz-like improvisations to his music style. In recent years, he has made efforts towards expanding his style even further, becoming an accomplished symphonist and a versatile arranger.
All works listed below were solely composed by Sakuraba unless otherwise noted.
|1989||Zan: Kagerou no Toki||with Masaaki Uno|
|Arcus II: Silent Symphony||with Masaaki Uno and Yasunori Shiono|
|1990||Granada||with Masaaki Uno|
|D: European Mirage||with Masaaki Uno and Yasunori Shiono|
|Zan: Yasha Enbukyoku|
|Ryu: Naki no Ryuu Yori||with Masaaki Uno and Yasunori Shiono|
|Final Zone||with Masaaki Uno|
|Zan Gear||arranged tracks from Zan: Kagerou no Toki|
|1991||Daitoua Mokujiroku Goh|
|Crystal Chaser||with Masaaki Uno and Ryota Furuya|
|Zan: Kagerou no Jidai||arranged tracks from Zan: Kagerou no Toki|
|Arcus III||with Ryota Furuya|
|Shinsengumi: Bakumatsu Genshi Gyou|
|Tenbu: Sangokushi Seishi||with Ryota Furuya|
|Seirei Shinseiki Fhey Area|
|Suzaku||with Ryota Furuya|
|Zan II: Towns Special|
|Tenbu Limited||with Ryota Furuya|
|Zan II: Spirits|
|Hiouden||with Ryota Furuya|
|Cobra Command||ending theme|
|Tenbu: Mankan Zenseki|
|Time Gal||ending theme|
|Earnest Evans||Sega Genesis version|
|Apros||with Ryota Furuya|
|1993||Neugier: Umi to Kaze no Kodō||sound effects|
|Annet Futatabi||with Shinji Tamura ("Opening")|
|Devastator||with Shinji Tamura and Ryota Furuya|
|Hiouden II||with Shinji Tamura and Ryota Furuya|
|Zan III: Tenun Ware ni Ari||with Shinji Tamura|
|Ace wo Nerae!|
|Revenge of the Ninja||sound effects|
|Yougekitai: Jashin Koumaroku||with Shinji Tamura and Ryota Furuya|
|1994||Hiōden: Mamono-tachi tono Chikai||with Hiroya Hatsushiba and Shinji Tamura|
|Zan III Spirits||with Shinji Tamura|
|Cosmic Fantasy 4||with Shinji Tamura, Shingo Murakami, and Jun Hasebe|
|Tenshi no Uta: Shiroki Tsubasa no Inori||with Shinji Tamura|
|Hiōden II HD||with Ryota Furuya|
|Sankyo Fever! Fever!||with Shinji Tamura|
|The Grail Hunter||with Shinji Tamura and Ryota Furuya|
|1995||Kyoraku Sanyo Toyomaru Parlor Parlor!||with Shinji Tamura; Pachinko game series|
|Tokyo Twilight Busters||with Shinji Tamura and Ryota Furuya|
|Beyond the Beyond|
|Tales of Phantasia||with Shinji Tamura and Ryota Furuya|
|1996||Parlor! Mini||with Shinji Tamura; Pachinko game series|
|Shining the Holy Ark|
|Shining Force III|
|Tales of Destiny||with Shinji Tamura|
|1998||Star Ocean: The Second Story|
|Cybernetic Empire||with Shinji Tamura and Atsushi Horiguchi|
|Mario Golf GB|
|Mario Tennis GB|
|Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon||reused compositions from Tales of Phantasia|
|Tales of Eternia||with Shinji Tamura|
|Star Ocean: Blue Sphere|
|2002||Tales of Fandom Vol.1||with Shinji Tamura|
|Golden Sun: The Lost Age|
|Tales of Destiny 2||with Shinji Tamura|
|2003||Star Ocean: Till the End of Time|
|Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour|
|Tales of Symphonia||with Shinji Tamura and Takeshi Arai|
|Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean|
|2004||Mario Golf: Advance Tour|
|Star Ocean: Till the End of Time: Director's Cut|
|Mario Power Tennis|
|Tales of Rebirth||with Shinji Tamura|
|2005||Duel Masters: Birth of Super Dragon|
|Mario Tennis: Power Tour|
|Tales of the Abyss||with Shinji Tamura|
|2006||Baten Kaitos Origins|
|Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth|
|Tales of Eternia Online|
|Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria|
|Tales of the Tempest|
|Tenshou Gakuen Gekkouroku|
|Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology||with Takuya Yasuda and Go Shiina|
|We Love Golf!|
|Star Ocean: First Departure|
|2008||Super Smash Bros. Brawl||arranged several tracks[a]|
|The Idolmaster Live For You!||composed "Contradiction"|
|Star Ocean: Second Evolution|
|Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World||with Shinji Tamura|
|Tales of Vesperia|
|Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume|
|Otomedius G||arranged two tracks|
|Tales of Hearts||with Shinji Tamura and Hiroshi Tamura|
|2009||Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2||with various others|
|Star Ocean: The Last Hope|
|Half-Minute Hero||with various others|
|Tales of VS.|
|Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga|
|Tales of Graces||with Shinji Tamura|
|2010||Resonance of Fate||with Kohei Tanaka|
|Deathsmiles IIX: Makai no Merry Christmas||composed "Boss"|
|Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X||with Shinji Tamura|
|Golden Sun: Dark Dawn|
|Tales of Graces f||with Shinji Tamura|
|2011||Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 3||with various others|
|Half-Minute Hero: The Second Coming|
|Tales of Xillia|
|Shinra Bansho Frontier|
|2012||Beyond the Labyrinth|
|Tales of the Heroes: Twin Brave||with Go Shiina|
|Kid Icarus: Uprising||with Yuzo Koshiro, Masafumi Takada, Noriyuki Iwadare, Takahiro Nishi, and Yasunori Mitsuda|
|GuitarFreaksXG3 & DrumManiaXG3||composed "Hard distance"|
|Mario Tennis Open|
|Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor||main theme|
|Dark Souls: Artorias of the Abyss|
|Tales of Xillia 2|
|Tales of Hearts R||with Kazuhiro Nakamura|
|Gitadora||composed "Crazy blooms"|
|Valhalla Knights 3|
|Tales of Symphonia Chronicles||with Shinji Tamura and Takeshi Arai|
|2014||Dark Souls II||with Yuka Kitamura|
|Mario Golf: World Tour|
|Gitadora OverDrive||composed "Quarrel and Harmony"|
|Date A Live: Ars Install||ending theme|
|Mirror War: Reincarnation of Holiness||with Maki Kirioka and Manabu Namiki|
|Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U||arranged several tracks[b]|
|Phantasy Star Nova|
|2015||Tales of Zestiria||with Go Shiina|
|Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin||with Yuka Kitamura|
|Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash|
|2016||Dark Souls III||with Yuka Kitamura, Tsukasa Saitoh, and Nobuyoshi Suzuki|
|Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness|
|Tales of Berseria|
|Star Ocean: Anamnesis|
|2017||Tales of the Rays||with Go Shiina, Eriko Sakurai, and Kazuhiro Nakamura|
|Mario Sports Superstars|
|2018||Alice Gear Aegis||with various others|
|Mario Tennis Aces|
|Dragon Star Varnir||main theme and battle music|
|Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom||with Yuzo Koshiro, Michiru Yamane, Keiki Kobayashi, and Takeshi Yanagawa|
|Super Smash Bros. Ultimate||arranged several tracks[c]|
|Fantasy Earth: Zero||composed eight tracks|
|Rakugaki Kingdom||composed "Stay the way!"|
|2020||Higurashi When They Cry Mei||battle music|
|Another Eden||composed "Battles in another world", arrangements with Shinji Tamura[d]|
|2021||Mario Golf: Super Rush|
|Tales of Arise|
|2022||Cogen: Sword of Rewind|
|Star Ocean: The Divine Force|
|2023||One Piece Odyssey|
|Eiyuden Chronicles: Hundred Heroes||with Michiko Naruke|
|SacriFire||with G4F Records|
|Otenki Onee-san 2 ~Ryoko Pri Pri~|
|1998||Cyber Bishoujo Telomere|
|Roppongi Kyabakura Tenshi|
|2001||Star Ocean EX|
|Blue Remains||with Yuko Fukushima|
|Weiß Kreuz Glühen|
|2004||Umigame to Shonen|
|2008||Tales of the Abyss|
|2014||Tales of Zestiria: Dawn of the Shepherd||with Go Shiina|
|2016||Tales of Zestiria the X|
|1988||Progressive's Battle 1988||with Deju Vu|
|Deja-Vu: resurraction [sic] "LAST LIVE"|
|1989||Baroque in the Future|
|Crime Syndicate||compilation; with Deju Vu|
|Pazzo Fanfano di Musica||composed "Fragoroso"|
|1990||Kings' Boards||composed "Drama Composition"|
|1996||@MIDI's summer||composed "Psychosomatics"|
|1998||Le Meilleur Du Rock Progressif Japonais||composed "Tides Of History"|
|@MIDI's dance||composed "planetarium ~more "D" mix~"|
|Star Ocean: The Second Story Arrange Album||arrangements and keyboards|
|1999||@MIDI's battle||composed "Taepodong"|
|2000||Valkyrie Profile Arrange Album||arrangements and keyboards|
|@MIDI's freedom||composed four tracks|
|2001||Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children Game Music Arrange Tracks||arrangements with Tomoyuki Hamada|
|2003||Star Ocean: Till the End of Time Arrange Album||arrangements and keyboards|
|Motoi Sakuraba Live Concert Star Ocean & Valkyrie Profile|
|2004||Famicom 20th Anniversary Arrange Sound Tracks||arranged "Super Mario Bros."|
|Dark Chronicle Premium Arrange||arranged two tracks|
|Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II Premium Arrange||arranged "The whole new world"|
|2006||FM Sound Module Maniax||composed "Reminiscence"|
|Rogue Galaxy Premium Arrange||arranged "Valkog's Theme"|
|Kiri no Mukou ni Tsunagaru Sekai / Haruka Shimotsuki + Revo||keyboards|
|Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria Arrange Album||arrangements and keyboards|
|Motoi Sakuraba Live 2006 -Valkyrie Profile 2-|
|2008||Forest of Glass||solo album|
|Red Stone Original Soundtrack||arranged "Legend of Red Stone (Arr. version)"|
|Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard Super Arrange Version||arranged "Battlefield - Scatter About"|
|Tales of Series Battle Arrange Tracks||arrangements and keyboards|
|Tales of Series Piano Arrange Tracks|
|Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume Arrange Album|
|Message||composed "image ~imagery~"|
|2009||Star Ocean: The Last Hope Arrange Soundtrack||arrangements and keyboards|
|DoDonPachi DaiOuJou Arrange Album||arranged "Yellow Stream (Last Boss)"|
|Mushihimesama Double Arrange Album||arranged "Shinju Forest Rebel Army?"|
|2010||Dariusburst Remix Wonder World||arranged "The Battle is Now in Progress"|
|2011||Akumajo Dracula Tribute Vol.1||arranged "Beginning"|
|After All...||solo album|
|GeOnDan Super Rare Trax: The Land of Rising Sun||composed "Echidna"|
|Tales of Series Battle Arrange Tracks 2||arrangements and keyboards|
|2012||Ragnarok Online BGM Arrange Collection||arranged "Erebos' Prelude"|
|2013||What's Up?||solo album|
|Valhalla Knights 3 Arrange Soundtrack||arrangements and keyboards|
|Game Music Prayer||composed "Megrim Ver.2"|
|Ragnarok Online Elemental Tunes||arranged "TeMPlatonic"|
|2014||Game Music Prayer II||composed "Hikari wo Sagashite"|
|Monster Hunter 10th Anniversary Compilation Album||arranged "Intercepting the Great Gong"|
|X'mas Collections music from Bravely Default||arranged "Horizon of Light and Shadow / X'mas Edit"|
|2015||Fantasy Rock Overture||composed "Pensiero Illogico"|
|2018||Braverthday / Nobuhiko Okamoto||composed "Braver"|
|2019||Game Music Prayer IV||composed "Improvisation in confusion"|
|2020||Tales of Dream Project -Festival Songs-||composed "Endless Journey"|
- "Menu (Super Smash Bros. Melee)", "Airship Theme (Super Mario Bros. 3)", "Mario Tennis / Mario Golf", "Jungle Level Ver.2", "Gourmet Race", "Victory Road" and "Battle Scene / Final Boss (Golden Sun)"
- "Theme from Area 6/ Missile Slipstream", "Battle! (Team Flare)" and "The Valedictory Elegy"
- "How to Play - Super Smash Bros. Melee", "Vs Parasite Queen", "Magicant", "Fourside", "Wood Man Stage", "The Arch-Illager" and "Main theme of FINAL FANTASY VII"
- "Take Up the Cross (Crossover arranged version)" and "Daring Sword (Crossover arranged version)"
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- "Tales of Festivle 2015 Cast". Retrieved March 27, 2015.
- Osborn, Alex. "Dark Souls to Be Featured in Bandai Namco's Orchestral Concert in Europe". IGN. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
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