This game had been going on at Rare for quite a while in various forms, it was originally on Gameboy but went through various incarnations until it became the game you know today.
It was originally started by Steve Burke. Steve was working on Kameo (which I had started but gave to him when he first started at Rare) and was also working on Viva Pinata in its early stages. I was still working on Grabbed by the Ghoulies, but as Kameo got more busy I was asked to help Steve out by doing the sound design on Viva Pinata. Then I was asked to do the video games music for the Romance Dances in Vina Pinata as Kameo was getting even more busy, and then I was asked to do all of Viva Pinata as Kameo was getting even more busy! So, I was near the end of Grabbed By The Ghoulies and doing all of Viva Pinata.
When I first started on Viva Pinata, I wasn’t sure which direction to take it in, I really wanted to give the game a “pastorale” quality that matched the visuals.I started to think about two of my favourite English composers, Edward Elgar and Ralph Vaughan Williams, a lot of their music had that quality, so I decided that was the direction to go in. I have to say that the video games music of the two Viva Pinata games is probably my favourite of my time at Rare, as I’ve already said I really poured my heart into these pieces.
I remember when the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra started on my first piece in the recording session, just unbelievable! I think my favourite piece from the first game is 'Tranquil Hours', it even prompted Mr.Gregg Mayles to say he thought it was my best composition to date, this from a man that never ever says anything more than “it’ll do”….praise indeed!
I knew from the word go that the sound design for the animals had to be done by humans to make it funny, so as usual I turned to the team for all the noises. There were 60 or so animals from this game and they all had lots of animations so it was a big job to get through it all. At first the team were a bit reluctant and I had to do quite a few by myself, but after they all saw what fun it was they couldn’t wait to get involved! I think most of the people on the team had a go at one of the animals at least, but I think myself and Steve Mayles did the most.
Also, at this time Microsoft had hired 4kids TV to make the cartoon version of the game. They were a great company and knew exactly how to go about it, as they’d worked with Nintendo for years. I gave them all the video games music from the game for them to use in the cartoon and they wrote some music as well. I also wrote the end credits piece using the voice actors from the cartoon. Dave Clynick and I flew over to New York for the recording session and then took it all back to Rare and put it together. It was really weird hearing that song on TV and watching my kids dance about to it.