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The Last Guardian soundtrack cover

Japanese CD cover (front) of The Last Guardian OST

Music by Takeshi Furukawa
Released December 6, 2016 (Mini Soundtrack, Collector's Edition Soundtrack, Composer's Choice Edition), December 21, 2016 (Japanese CD version)
Recorded Lyndhurst Hall
Published by Sony Interactive Entertainment America (Mini Soundtrack, Collector's Edition Soundtrack, Composer's Choice Edition), TEAM Entertainment (Japanese CD version), iam8bit (Vinyl)
Length 9:32 (Mini Soundtrack), 20:55 (Collector's Edition Soundtrack), 61:46 (Composer's Choice Edition), 66:57 (Japanese CD version)
Catalog number N/A (Mini Soundtrack, Collector's Edition Soundtrack, Composer's Choice Edition), KDSD-00938 (Japanese CD version), 8BIT-8051 (Vinyl)

The Last Guardian Original Soundtrack (人喰いの大鷲トリコ オリジナルサウンドトラック Hitokui no Oowashi Torico Original Soundtrack) is the musical score to the PlayStation 4 video-game The Last Guardian. It was composed, orchestrated, conducted, and co-produced by Takeshi Furukawa and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, Trinity Boys Choir, and London Voices in Lyndhurst Hall.

Track listing

Depending on the release version of the score, the track listing can differ greatly. For example, the Japanese Audio CD contains five bonus tracks, whereas the Collector's Edition Soundtrack contains two and the Composer's Choice includes none. 

The three editions given below are not the only versions released. However, the listings for these other editions are not given here as they contain but a mere selection. These listings are in order from shortest to longest, beginning with the Composer's Choice. Bonus tracks (tracks that are supplementary to the content of the Composer's Choice) are in bold.

Composer's Choice Edition

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The Last Guardian Collector's Edition, including the 10-track digital soundtrack; photo by PlayStaion and Sony Interactive Entertainment

Collector's Edition Soundtrack

  • 01. Overture: Lore
  • 02. Panorama
  • 03. Forest
  • 04. Sentinel I
  • 05. The Tower
  • 06. Falling Bridge
  • 07. Hanging Gardens
  • 08. Sentinel II
  • 09. Victorious
  • 10. Alone
  • 11. The Nest
  • 12. Flashback
  • 13. Sanctuary
  • 14. Condor Clash
  • 15. Wounded
  • 16. Finale I: Apex
  • 17. Finale II: Escape
  • 18. End Titles: The Last Guardian Suite
  • 19. Epilogue
  • 20. Homeward
  • 21. The Cage

Japanese Audio CD

  • 01. Overture: Lore
  • 02. Panorama
  • 03. Forest
  • 04. Sentinel I
  • 05. The Tower
  • 06. Falling Bridge
  • 07. Hanging Gardens
  • 08. Sentinel II
  • 09. Victorious
  • 10. Alone
  • 11. The Nest
  • 12. Flashback
  • 13. Sanctuary
  • 14. Condor Clash
  • 15. Wounded
  • 16. Finale I: Apex
  • 17. Finale II: Escape
  • 18. End Titles: The Last Guardian Suite
  • 19. Epilogue
  • 20. Homeward
  • 21. The Cage
  • 22. Vanquished
  • 23. Mirrors
  • 24. Courtyard

Release versions

There are currently three major release-versions of this soundtrackthe Composer's Choice, the Collector's Edition Soundtrack, and the Japanese Audio CDalthough others include the iam8bit Vinyl Soundtrack and the Mini Soundtrack.

As shown in the track listing section of this page, the Japanese Audio CD is longer than all other editions, containing up to five bonus tracks that are otherwise not included. Another difference between the Japanese CD and the other editions is that it is the only one to have been released as a physical CD. This gives the Japanese edition an advantage as the audio quality of a CD is superior to that of an MP3 download or a vinyl disc. Additionally, the CD's WAV format audio can easily be converted ("ripped") into a compressed format such as MP3, MP4, and M4A.

Edition specs & history 

The four-track Mini Soundtrack was a pre-order bonus in certain US stores and was included in the Exclusive Launch Edition in the United Kingdom.

A 10-track version of the score was included as a bonus with the North American Collector's Edition of the game. This Collector's Edition soundtrack, not to be confused with the Collector's Edition Soundtrack, included all tracks from the Mini Soundtrack, plus six others. (See photo beside track-listing of Collector's Edition Soundtrack.)

The 19-track Composer's Choice Edition was released on the PS4 Music App alongside the game's release on December 6th, 2016, and was later released via other digital retailers. The Composer's Choice Edition omitted two tracks from the Collector's Edition Soundtrack, "Homeward," and "The Cage", but retained the rest of the material from the Collector's Edition and Mini Soundtrack.

In Japan, the 24-track CD was released December 21st, 2016 (the CD was originally scheduled for release November 16th; the final delay of the game caused it to be pushed back). This is the most complete version of the soundtrack, including all 19 tracks from the Composer's Choice Edition, the two omitted tracks from the Collector's Edition Soundtrack, and three previously unreleased tracks.

The 2-LP vinyl album was released by iam8bit in 2017; this is, essentially, a vinyl copy of the Composer's Choice Edition while including exclusive album artwork on both its outside and inside faces.

Development

Furukawa was hired as the game's composer around 2011, as the game was being transitioned to the PlayStation 4. Furukawa had been invited to participate by Tommy Kikuchi, the music director for Shadow of the Colossus. During the platform transition, much of the creative work was put on hold, and Furukawa did not spend extensive effort on the composition until 2013, three years prior to release. He completed his compositions in early 2016.

Furakawa stated that Ueda trusted his creative instinct, giving him the freedom to compose whatever he wanted. Ueda provided only broad direction of a cinematic soundtrack and some specific directorial notes. While Furukawa was aware of the reputation of the soundtracks by Michiru Oshima and Kō Ōtani for Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, respectively, he opted to avoid copying these previous works, as he wanted The Last Guardian to be similarly unique. He instead drew his inspiration primarily from works with a "muted aesthetic", such as Impressionist art and French cinema.

Furakawa wanted to avoid overstating the emotional aspect of the game, which he felt was sufficiently conveyed through the gameplay and animation. Thus, he decided to keep the music restrained except during key narrative elements or in specific locales of the game.

Furukawa did not have to adapt his score significantly to account for changes in story and game direction, since these elements were still made within Ueda's vision. He worked with audio lead Tsubasa Ito frequently to review the status and use of his scored compositions.

Use of themes and motifs

Tracks are underlined when first introduced for ease of reading.

18 End Titles: The Last Guardian Suite is a medley of: 01 Overture: Lore, 12 Flashback, 06 Falling Bridge, 03 Forest, 15 Wounded, a reprise of the Overture, and 02 Panorama, in that order. The first movement is a slow, reflective piano solo of the Overture. The second movement is comprised of Flashback and Falling Bridge, its first half ultimately being used instead of the original middle sequence of 17 Finale II: Escape. The third movement is its own theme but, it includes all the major oboe/clarinet motifs from Forest and Wounded. The entire suite comes to a close with the theme from Panorama.

Panorama is used not only for the boy’s first look into the Nest, but elsewhere through tracks 05 The Tower, 21 The Cage, and 14 Condor Clash. 14 uses a sinister variation as the cue for the Armored Beast. This and its noble counterpart for Trico (as heard in 09 Victorious) play off of each other every time they make a confrontation. 11 The Nest is the merging of the two themes; it plays for both the Beast and Trico, reminding the player that they are both of the same species and, how both are susceptible to the strange, mental enslavement by the land’s Entity.

A gentler, much more subdued feel is reserved for pieces such as 07 Hanging Gardens, 10 Alone, and 20 Homeward. There is an intentional contrast in mood and size between these and the danger themes as, if the player is not in the midst of surviving cave-ins, ghostly armor, and other Tricos, they are focused on the relationship with their feathered companion. Also, as Furukawa felt that the visuals adequately portrayed emotion, he chose to pull into the background music used for such scenes. They possess a very hushed, delicate, simple aesthetic as a result.

Staff credits

Music Production

Credits for "Music Production" sourced from The Last Guardian OST Japanese CD booklet.

Music by Takeshi Furukawa
Performed by
  • London Symphony Orchestra
  • Trinity Boys Choir
  • London Voices
Orchestrated & Conducted by Takeshi Furukawa
Featured Soloists
  • Guitars ~ Ken Belcher
  • Mandolin ~ Ken Belcher
  • Dulcimers ~ Ken Belcher
  • Music Sound Design ~ Koichi Sanchez-Imahashi
  • Flute ~ Gareth Davies
  • Oboe ~ Oliver Stankiewicz
  • Clarinet ~ Andrew Marriner
  • Bass Clarinet ~ Chi-Yu Mo
  • Bassoon ~ Rachel Gough
  • Horn ~ John Thurgood
  • Trumpet ~ Philip Cobb
  • Piano ~ Takeshi Furukawa

Session Score Supervisor Chris Brown
LSO Concerts & Recording Manager Mario de Sa
Choirmasters
  • David Swinson, Trinity Boys Choir
  • Terry Edwards, London Voices

Score Recorded at Lyndhurtst Hall, AIR Studios
Score Recorded by Geoff Foster
Digital Recordists
  • Fiona Cruickshank
  • Adam Miller

Recording Assistants
  • John Prestage
  • Laurence Anslow
  • Alex Ferguson

Additional Recordings by
  • The Village
  • The Bridge Recording

Soundtrack Staff

Credits for "Soundtrack Staff" sourced from The Last Guardian OST Japanese CD booklet.

Project Coordinator
  • Tatsuro Nakamura
  • Megumi Hayasaka

Mastered by

Reuben Cohen

Mastered at

Lurssen Mastering

A&R

Miho Yamanaka (TEAM Entertainment)

Graphic Design

Megumi Maruyama (TEAM Entertainment)

Public Relations

Masaki Hasegawa (TEAM Entertainment)

Sales Promotion

Aika Kuboshima (TEAM Entertainment)

Executive Producer

Yusuke Hasegawa (TEAM Entertainment)

Cover Art
  • Atsuyuki Sakimae
  • Kanae Shirakashi

Creative Director Fumito Ueda

A Message from the composer

Below is the message included in The Last Guardian Japanese CD booklet, written by Takeshi Furukawa for his audience of music-lovers. Complete credit goes to Sony Interactive Entertainment, 2016 and the staff thereof for the creation, publication, and copyright of this material. For educational purposes only.

" My journey on The Last Guardian began with a single e-mail from Tommy Kikuchi, the esteemed music producer of Shadow of the Colossus. He was working on a top secret upcoming title with SIE Japan Stido (Formerly SCE), and searching for a composer beyond his customary rolodex. After our initial correspondence, I was given the opportunity to write a short demo based on a handful of early development images. Something in my music must have struck a chord with Ueda-san and the development team. Shortly thereafter, I was invited aboard the project.

For a traditional orchestral score like The Last Guardian, musical themes are the cornerstones. To say that half of the composer’s creative work is done once they have been written is no hyperbole. To this end, I spent the initial several months developing themes to serve as the foundation of the score. With these building blocks firmly in place, my subsequent task was to let the score unfold along the haunting narrative.

Video games often require music that is versatile and adaptable across multiple scenarios. Accordingly, a composer might receive directions to write tracks suitable for generic uses such as “Intense Action” or “Epic Landscape Cutscene.” While efficient and practical, such method isn’t always conducive to the most artistic outcome. Moreover, music composed under such circumstance is subject to constraints and compromises, often resulting in a diluted sum when married to the visuals. For The Last Guardian, I endeavored to deliver a more cinematic experience, free from such shortcomings inherent in conventional video game scores. Determinedly, I blueprinted every key music scene and composed cued tailor-made to each, making liberal use of the established themes. Resolved to craft a score worthy of accompanying Ueda-san’s stunning visuals, I retreated to my studio to spend endless days perfecting each and every note.

When it came time to plan the recording, I took a longshot and sought the London Symphony Orchestra. My childhood record collection comprised mostly of classical repertoire by Decca Records, prominently featuring the LSO. Thus, to me, they had become synonymous with the sound of an orchestra. In fact, it is the timbral colors, interpretations of phrasings, and distinct musical expressiveness of the LSO that I hear in my mind while composing. As this was no different during The Last Guardian, to have the score performed by any other ensemble would have yielded, while splendid in its own right, a mere facsimile of my true vision. Therefore, what an indescribable thrill it was to have my such ambition realized! To stand on the podium in front of my childhood heroes, together bringing The Last Guardian‘s score to life, was truly a breathtaking experience.

For the past three tears, I worked hand in hand with the development team, aspiring for perfection until the eleventh hour. The producers at Sony Interactive Entertainment and Sony Music Publishing generously reciprocated our efforts by according us the finest musicians, studios, and engineers. The result is a score I could not be more proud of. I sincerely hope this soundtrack brings as much joy to you, as it did to me composing it.

Finally, I would like to thank these remarkable individuals, without whom none of this would have been possible: Tommy Kikuchi, for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime; Ryo Yamamura and Keiichi Kitahara, for their most generous logistical support; Koichi Sanchez, ken Belcher, and the management and musicians of the London Symphony Orchestra, Trinity Boys Choir, and the London Voices, whose artistry breathed life into what otherwise would have been mere black dots on paper; the Los Angeles and London engineering team, whose technical expertise was invaluable in capturing the magic in the room; Tsubasa Ito, for his inspired audio direction and musical camraderie; and Fumito Ueda, whose masterful vision started this all.

Also a most special thanks to Jinji JHoragai, Kazunobu Sato, Haruo Yasuba, Kana Tsuji, Chikako Horie, Sachiko Miyano, Tsutomu Satomi, Ryo Sogabe, Noriko Fujisaki, Peter Scaturro, Marc Senasac, Justin Fields, Jason Swan, Dais Kawaguchi, Yulie Yoshimura, Matthew St. Laurent, Cheryl Tiano, Beth Comstock, David Ludwig, Sophie Greaves, and Greg O’Connor-Read. I am incredibly blessed to have shared this experience with you all.

October 2016, Los Angeles. "

Article credits

The Last Guardian OST Japanese CD and the contents of its informational booklet were used in the making of this article. Sections "Track Listing", "Staff Credits" and "A Message from the Composer" contain direct references and/or quotes to its contents. Complete credit goes to Sony Interactive Entertainment, 2016 for the rights, ownership, copyright, creation and publication of said information. In no way is it owned by the users or administration of FANDOM. For educational use.

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