Song of the Day: Never Forget (Midnight Version by Kazuma Jinnouchi)


Halo4

It looks like I have finally reached a personal milestone on this very site which I began on an overcast morning the day before Christmas 2009.

With E3 in full swing and video gaming sure to dominate pretty much everything entertainment throughout the week I thought it best that the latest “Song of the Day” come from one of the best video game soundtracks I’ve heard since I began listening to them these last 20 or so years.

“Never Forget (Midnight Version)” is the reimagining of the classic song from both Halo 2 and Halo 3 by the franchises original composer Martin O’Donnell. This time 343 Industries in-house composer, Kazuma Jinnouchi takes the “Never Forget” song Halo fans have come to love and gives it new life and adding some minor touches to make it fit the bittersweet end to the very emotional ending to Halo 4.

There’s a bit more electronic instrumentation to Jinnouchi’s reimagining and the nice touch of putting some extra emphasis on the brass section of the orchestra to give the song a martial feel to it.

I love O’Donnell’s version, but after hearing this reimiaging by Kazuma Jinnouchi I do believe that it’s the best version out there, IMHO.

Arleigh’s Favorite Five (…Songs) of 2012


I must admit that in 2012 I didn’t get to listen in full many new albums outside of soundtracks. My Fave five of 2012 Songs will reflect this fact, but still with the lack of variety in my past year’s listening habit I thought the songs I came up with for the list I still would’ve put on a much bigger favorite 2012 list if I had need to come up with one. Without further ado he are the Fave Five (though it’s more Fave Six but I decided to combine the first entry’s two as a tie).

  • The Fave Five starts off with a tie that comes from the same film. Both songs come from the soundtrack to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. While the film may not have been up to some audiences’ high expectations the soundtrack itself by Howard Shore (and for “Song of the Lonely Mountain” as sung by Neill Finn) continued the high-quality of the Tolkien soundtracks which began with the original Lord of the Rings trilogy. “Song of the Lonely Mountain” is a much more folk rock addition to the soundtrack while the “Misty Mountains” was actually part of the film itself when the character of Thorin Oakenshield sings it with his band of dwarfs while at Bilbo Baggin’s hobbit hole in the beginning. Both songs so a great job of telling the story of the quest that begins with this first film in the new trilogy.
  • The theme song 2012’s Skyfall was a throwback to the classic James Bond theme song’s of the Sean Connery and Roger Moore Bond eras. In fact, I thought it’s one of the best theme songs the long-running spy thriller franchise has had these past 25 years. It helps that you have Adele singing the theme who seems to be able to hit the right proper emotional notes during the song. It’s really hard to think of Skyfall the film being as good as it is without making sure one mentions Adele’s theme for it. I’d take the leap and say that the song itself may even be better than the film itself.
  • Mass Effect 3 was the epic conclusion to what was this gaming generation’s version of the original Star Wars space opera. It was a story that spanned the galaxy with memorable characters, thrilling action and some very good writing. There will always be the vocal minority who seem to think the ending to the trilogy was bungled by the writers over ta BioWare. That’s a whole different debate altogether. One thing that doesn’t seem to bring out the pitchforks was Clint Mansell’s score work for the game and it all culminates with the song simply titled “An End, Once and For All” which in it’s extended version more than makes up for whatever deficiencies the ending it orchestrally-scored may have had.
  • Another game’s music makes itself to my Fave Five list and this time it’s my second favorite song for the year of 2012. It’s from Halo 4 and it’s a song that brought new life to the venerable franchise. It didn’t just make the end credits more than just memorable, but also surprised many fans of the franchise’s music since the song wasn’t composed by the franchise’s original music composer, Martin O’Donnell, but by Kazuma Jinnouchi. It’s the one song in 2012 that I must’ve listened to on repeat for hours on end and probably in the high hundreds by now. It’s a song that brings back memories of the scifi soundtracks of the 80’s. It’s a work that I easily can compare to the best that’s ever been composed by luminaries in the genre like John Williams, Alan Silvestri, Michael Giacchino and others.
  • What can I say. The song speaks for itself. How can one not say this was the best song for 2012.

Song of the Day: 117 from Halo 4 (by Kazuma Jinnouchi)


It’s now been three or more weeks since I began playing halo 4 and to say that it has surpassed my very high expectations for this title would be an understatement. Even the soundtrack has been such a wonderful surprise that I’ve been listening to it almost nonstop. I already profiled one of my favorite tracks from Neil Davidge’s work on the score with the song Green and Blue and now I pick another track from the soundtrack for the next “Song of the Day”.

This one wasn’t composed by Neil Davidge but from another composer brought in to create the final end credits song. The game could easily have settled for using music that played during the game to score the lengthy end credits, but everyone involved went for broke and decided really remind gamers that what they’ve just gone through was epic both in gaming terms but also in cinematic. It’s hard not to listen to Kazuma Jinnouchi’s contribution to this title’s score, simply titled “117”, and not imagine some sci-fi blockbuster film rolling up it’s credits with this type of song being played alongside.

From just listening to “117” one could hear some early James Horner influences in Jinnouchi’s composition in the track’s beginning and middle before it transitions in it’s last third to something that resembles one of Basil Poledouris’ epic martial scores. For fans of Martin O’Donnell’s own work in the previous Halo titles this song reaches a crescendo around 6:05 mark with a very familar musical cue. For those who complained that the Halo 4 soundtrack abandoned the iconic sound of the Bungie Studio produced Halo soundtracks should listen to this song around that mark much more closely.

While Neil Davidge deserves all the praise he has been getting for his work on the soundtrack for Halo some of it should also be heaped Jinnouchi-san’s way for the very epic (yes it bears repeating that word) musical composition he created to end the Halo 4 title and leave fans wanting the sequels to arrive now rather than later.

Song of the Day: Green and Blue from Halo 4 (by Neil Davidge)


The latest “Song of the Day” comes from the Halo 4 soundtrack. I have just finished playing the campaign and for a first-person shooter the story is what makes the game great. The song from the soundtrack I’ve ended up loving through my first listen through the album is track 15 with the simple title of “Green and Blue”.

The past Halo titles while it was under the development of it’s originators over at Bungie Studios had Martin O’Donnell composing all the music. His Halo theme as become one of the most iconic and recognizable piece of video game music. One doesn’t even have to be a fan of the series to recognize O’Donnell’s theme. When Bungie finally ended their work on the series and Microsoft’s in-house game studio created to take over with 343 Industries fans of the series were concerned that any future Halo titles wouldn’t be able to stand up to O’Donnell’s work under the original regime.

For Halo 4 a new composer was hired to create the appropriate score for the title. In comes Massive Attack’s Neil Davidge to follow in the huge foot steps of O’Donnell. The track I chose is just one piece of a huge orchestral score that Davidge (with assistance from Kazuma Jinnouichi) ended up creating for the title. It’s not just my favorite but also the one piece of music in the entire score that best describes the themes and emotional content of the narrative created for the campaign of Halo 4.

The song begins with a subtle opening that speaks of the revival of the game’s two leads in Master Chief and his A.I. companion, Cortana. They are the Green and Blue of the title. From their revival, to a ethereal lament that then moves moves into a growing, rousing section that best describes the two characters’ relationship and feelings for each other. These are two individuals who have been through hell and back and going into the breach once again and there’s a chance that one or both won’t be back.

As a fan of O’Donnell’s work on the series I was one of those who had concerns about whether Davidge could handle being the new musical caretaker for the Halo franchise. With this example from the game’s orchestral score my concerns have been alleviated and now have another Halo score to enjoy.

Halo 4: Launch Trailer “Scanned”


As I write this it’s 2 hours and 52 minutes til the release of one of the biggest titles in entertainment for the year of 2012. Yes, I say entertainment and not just video games. The last ten years has seen the ascendancy of the video game as a form of entertainment to rival and, at times, surpass the big kid in the block: film. It was in 2007 that we saw Microsoft and Bungie Studio release the final game in the Halo trilogy. That game marked the first time a video game title beat any film in terms of first-day sales with $170million dollars on its first day of release. This record would be broken many times since and all of them on the video game side of entertainment.

In 2010, Microsoft and Bungie Studios released a prequel to the trilogy with Halo Reach which also marked the final Halo game Bungie Studios would develop and release. It wasn’t a well kept secret that Bungie had begun to tire of being known as just the studio that made Halo for the Xbox/Xbox360. So, once they arranged for the studio to leave as an internal studio for Microsoft Games there were some concern that whoever would takeover development for the series would fall in reaching the high bar Bungie had set for the series.

It’s now 2012 and 343 Industries is just hours away from releasing their first title in the Halo franchise and it continues the events which ended with the original trilogy. We find Master Chief and his A.I. companion, Cortana, stranded in deep space, cut-off from the rest of humanity. The final scene we see from Halo 3 (if one passed the single-player campaign on Legendary mode) was the two seeing an unknown planet come into view. The questions which arose from this final scene was whether this was a Covenant home planet or was it the planet where the Forerunners (builders of the Halo ringworlds) originated from.

We’ll find out when 12:00 midnight hits on November 6, 2012. In years past I would’ve called off work and stood in line at midnight to get my copy and play the rest of the day. I’m a bit older and wiser (likes sleep and making money  from work) now, but it doesn’t mean I won’t pick up my copy after work tomorrow.

Whether one likes or doesn’t like the Halo series no one can deny that it help revolutionize console gaming, especially multiplayer gaming on the console, and entertainment in the first decade of the 21st century. Everyone is all about Call of Duty‘s modern iteration like Modern Warfare and Black Ops, but without Halo those games wouldn’t have had to evolve to keep up (and for some surpass) what Microsoft and Bungie had created and for 343 Industries to continue to do.

Now let’s enjoy the launch trailer for Halo 4 (both live-action and CGI) that was produced by David Fincher (yes, that Fincher) and directed by Tim Miller.

EDIT: I can be found on XBL with gamertag: ArleighTSL

SDCC 2012: “Forward Unto Dawn” Trailer (Halo 4 Live-Action Series)


Halo 4 looks to be another mega-blockbuster hit for Microsoft and the Xbox 360. Every sequel in this critically-acclaimed video game franchise has always had some very well-made (award-winning as well) live-action tv spots and trailers to help market each title weeks prior to it’s release. For the 4th sequel to the series things haven’t changed and Microsoft looks to expand on their popular live-action shorts by financing a mini-series of live-action shorts that tells the events that will lead up to the story of Halo 4. The mini-series will also introduce a character that will tie-in to the game.

Forward Unto Dawn is the name of this live-action mini-series and will air weeks before the release of the game on both Machinima.com and Halo Waypoint on the Xbox Live.

It’s one thing to create a couple of live-action trailers, but this latest marketing blitz by Microsoft Game Studios looks to take things to a whole new level. Fans of the franchise are still nursing the disappointment over the cancelled attempt to create a Hollywood blockbuster film-adaptation of the Halo series. A film adaptation that had some major heavy-hitters in its corner from Peter Jackson, Neill Blomkamp and WETA Studios. Forward Unto Dawn (depending on its overall quality and how well the public receives it) may help bring new interest in finally getting the live-action film-adaptation up and running again.

E3 Trailer: Halo 4 “The Commissioning” (Live-Action) & Gameplay “Light Gun and Scattershot”


It’s E3 week in Los Angeles (in a couple week it’ll be Anime Expo so as Lisa Marie would say, “Yay!”) and that means a load of announcements for new games and other gaming-related stuff. If there’s on game I’m really interested in checking out it’s the latest in the Halo series. Bungie has moved on but Master Chief and all remained with Microsoft Game Studios. Taking over Bungie’s development duties is an in-house studio created by Microsoft to continue the Halo franchise after Bungie Studios’ departure.

343 Studios has big developmental shoes to fill since many fans of the franchise equate the series with Bungie Studios and no one else. Microsoft and 343 have done a good job of preparing fans of the franchise for the change in studios which has been several years in the making. Their first title is suppose to add new life to the Halo series while making some necessary changes to keep up with the “Jonses” so to speak.

Halo 4 takes place four years since the end of Halo 3 and, from what the two trailers unleashed on the masses during Microsoft’s pre-E3 press conference, we see the familiar Covenant enemies but also a brand-new race that seem to have Forerunner technology. From the gameplay video shown below the first-person HUD series fans were so familar with has been tweaked to make it look like the player is actually looking out of the Spartan helm. I’d say this is 343 Studios trying to replicate the look and feel of Tony Stark looking through his helmet, but this time in a first-person point of view instead of the outside view we see in the films.

One thing that’s always a wonder to watch is what kind of live-action trailer Microsoft has come up with to help announce the game. Like their previous live-action trailers which behaved like short films, the one for Halo 4 just ups the epicness from the previous ones. Sci-fi fans may even recognize the actor playing the captain of the UNSC Infinity as Mark Rolston who played the doomed Pvt. Drake in James Cameron’s Aliens.

Halo 4 is set for a November 6, 2012 release date.