In Return to Bird World, gamers are introduced again to the floating kingdom of Hen World 1000’s of years after the occasions of the unique recreation to search out the once-brilliant island has fallen into break. Whereas the darker setting is a departure from the original Bird World, the brand new recreation nonetheless has one key trait in widespread: it doesn’t really exist. However its soundtrack does.
Return to Hen World comes from musician and Twitter personality Leon Chang, who’s been releasing video game-inspired albums for the previous few years. His first massive challenge, 2017’s Bird World, was ostensibly the soundtrack to an SNES-era recreation a couple of tiny hen embarking on an journey. Although you’ll by no means play it, the soundtrack supplied an thought of what the nonexistent recreation is perhaps about. You’d journey throughout a playful island, assist out residents of a small village, and in the end face a world-changing battle earlier than saying goodbye to all of the quirky characters you met alongside the best way.
Chang mentioned the concept for making a pretend soundtrack got here out of the music to which he was already writing and listening. “I like to write down music that sounds prefer it comes from a online game, so why not make an album that’s primarily based round a pretend online game?” he instructed The Verge.
For the sequel, Hen World has jumped to a brand new era. The album has PlayStation-esque art work and a sprawling size — an hour and a half — to match the expansive soundtracks that’d rating video games like Remaining Fantasy and Chrono Cross. It’s additionally extra diversified and fewer relentlessly cheery than the unique. “The Mushroom God” appears to depict a melancholy deity whose land has fallen to break; “Sesame Metropolis” is match for a bustling city with a futuristic edge; and “A World Descends Into Chaos” just about sounds just like the identify implies.
Chang mentioned he began planning a Hen World sequel virtually as quickly as the unique got here out (he teased a follow-up way back to November 2017). Suggestions on the unique was adequate to warrant the sequel, he mentioned, however there was additionally lots extra he needed to do. Whereas writing the primary album, Chang discovered that he had concepts for extra songs that, as an newbie musician, he was nonetheless determining tips on how to really create.
“On Hen World, I want I might have completed extra orchestral stuff and extra soundtrack-y kind of stuff, and now I’ve the power to try this,” Chang mentioned. “This subsequent album simply looks like taking all of that into as massive of a factor as I can do.”
The album got here along with the assistance of a “long-running Google Doc” the place Chang sketched out the plot, characters, and settings of Return to Hen World. When you gained’t get to learn the entire thing, you may get a few of the particulars from a 28-page recreation handbook that accompanies the bodily launch of the album — a double CD package deal that’s likewise meant to emulate these basic PlayStation RPGs.
recreation handbook teaser:
desk of contents~
mastered by me
blended by me
engineered by me
recorded at my home
saxophone on “a world descends into chaos” by steve pardo pic.twitter.com/yz3Mdd85jp
— leon (@leyawn) November 21, 2020
Listeners gained’t know the entire story by the point they’re completed, however Chang designed the album in order that there’s a story operating from starting to finish. “I’m hoping folks can get a few of [the plot] out of the tracks,” he mentioned, “however so much is left to the creativeness nonetheless.”
Some tracks had been created particularly to attain places or occasions Chang had in thoughts, whereas others began as songs that he later labored into the plot. Chang employed artists to create the album’s cowl and the sport handbook illustrations (Aliana Wong and Titas Antanas Vilkaitis), and he wrote the copy himself. “I put all of the copy and design collectively, and that took me eternally to do,” Chang mentioned.
The result’s one other album that ought to go away you wishing you might play the sport to which it belongs. The album comes out today on Bandcamp and can be obtainable on different streaming platforms beginning Saturday.