Takehiro Ando Gives Music a Fighting Chance
Game: Song Summoner
For Fans Of: Final Fantasy Tactics, Steve Jobs
If you need advice on how to get paid for obsessing over the things you love most in the world, you might start by consulting with Japanese video-game designer Takehiro Ando.
“I’ve always been a heavy-metal fan,” Ando says, flashing a grin from
behind the curtains of his black hair. “I created a video game that was
only released in Japan called Heavy Metal Thunder, where robots
battle to heavy-metal music. I also created a TV show, which was a
variety/comedy show about heavy metal. I’m super into heavy metal.”
Ando works for Square Enix, which built a massive video-game empire on the back of its bestselling role-playing franchise Final Fantasy, and he’s come to Los Angeles to showcase his newest creation—an iPod RPG called Song Summoner: The Unsung Heroes—at the 2008 E3 Media & Business Summit.
The idea for the game grew out of a dilemma familiar to any iPod owner. “I have about 10,000 songs on my iPod,” Ando says, “and of course you listen to some songs more than others. There are always songs that get skipped over, even on shuffle. These are essentially the ‘unsung heroes’ in the game's subtitle. As you’re playing this game and trying out different songs for your characters, maybe you rediscover some of the songs in your iPod and you go, ‘I’d forgotten about this, but it’s actually really cool.’”
As the protagonist Ziggy, you set out to rescue your brother from the evil hordes of the Mechanical Militia, creating Tune Troopers to fight alongside you in your quest. Pick songs from your iPod library, and the game determines each Trooper’s attributes based on your selections. The game’s innovative concept adds new meaning to the phrase “playing a song.”