So as a Nintendo fan and musician, I am deeply interested in Nintendo’s music, from their soundtracks to their production.
In the past 10 years, since the Wii era, Nintendo has finally begun to use live instruments for its videogames (save for a few earlier examples, such as Star Fox Assault).
Over that time, Nintendo has utilized various studios to record their music in.
You may remember Nintendo recorded videos from the recording sessions, and seeing different musicians record that music in different studios.
Well I’ve done a lot of digging recently, and have uncovered the locations of nearly all the studios Nintendo has used for its live music recordings for its first-party games!
To begin, here is video of Nintendo’s own internal sound studios:
It does not look the same as the other studios Nintendo uses.
Speaking to a sound employee at a Nintendo partner game studio, they told me they think Nintendo mainly uses this studio for just recording sound effects. I speculate they also do their in-house composition and music production here too, as well as voice recordings, but just not live music recording.
As for English vocal recording and voiceovers, for the Mario and Star Fox series (Miyamoto series), Nintendo does this mostly at or near its headquarters in Washington. However, it has more recently begun to use California-based talent, as well, for more voice-acting heavy games such as Kid Icarus: Uprising and Fire Emblem: Awakening. Additionally, some games, such as Star Fox Adventures and Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii) were voiced in England.
For series like Super Smash Bros., voice talent from all over the world has been used, to reflect the many characters in-game.
Interesting series on the voice acting behind Nintendo games:
Anyways, back to the main topic!
Here is an early sound studio Nintendo used, the Kannonzaki Marine Studio. Used for soundtracks such as the original Fire Emblem:
It may have also been used for the Star Fox Assault or Super Smash Bros. Melee recordings.
Here’s the studio Nintendo records their biggest hits in:
After much digging, I’ve found out it is the iconic Sound Inn Studios “Studio A” in Tokyo!
Music for films, TV, and videogames has been recorded here, such as the CG movie, “Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children”, the TV series “Dragon Ball Z,” and the game “Final Fantasy XIII-2”, to name a few.
I speculate that Star Fox Assault was recorded at King Studios, Mit Studios, Victor Studios, or Music Inn Studios, because those were studios Namco recorded at previously before Star Fox Assault. However, there’s no way to know for sure, as the CD notes did not contain the recording studio’s name. It also could have been recorded at Nintendo’s usual Sound Inn Studios.
Sources and info:
Here’s another studio Nintendo and Monolithsoft used for the livestream recording of music from Xenoblade Chronicles 3D:
The soundtrack for the game was recorded at Burnish Stone Recording Studios.
I am not sure which studio this livestream performance was recorded in, however I speculate it could actually be at Nintendo’s very own sound stage, seen in in the first video.
The reason I speculate this: See those upper wall panels behind Satoru Iwata in the first video? They have a very similar design to the wall panels behind the performers in the performance video. It very well could be the room right behind Mr. Iwata that they performed this in. That idea combined with the fact that based on my research, there are no other big public recording studios it could be, gives this idea some credence.
Here’s a “music video” featuring music from Xenoblade Chronicles X:
The music for this game was recorded at multiple studios:
AVACO CREATIVE STUDIO, LAB recorders, Studio Soundvalley (also used for Splatoon and The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes), SoundCity, Bunkamura Studio
Here’s a studio in Bandai Namco headquarters used for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS:
Although the music and sound effects may be mixed here, I assume that the music was recorded at the Sound Inn Studios Nintendo usually records in, not here.
Here’s where they recorded the Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary CD (the first recording space used in the U.S.)
This is at the Bastyr Chapel in Kenmore, Washington, USA.
And finally, here is a new studio they’ve used for Splatoon, The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes, and even Monster Hunter X (Generations)!
Through a lot of digging, I’ve found out the first two are in the “SoundValley” studio at Studio A-tone in Tokyo.
Additionally, the Monster Hunter X music was recorded at the “Yotsuya” studio at Studio A-tone.
So there you have it! If you’re ever travelling and want to visit the studios Nintendo has recorded music at, now you know!
I’m still not sure where the studios were for Star Fox Assault, Super Smash Bros. Melee, or Xenoblade Chronicles 3D (livestream) are. If anyone knows or finds out, please reply here, and I’ll update the post!
So overall, it appears Nintendo tends to use the Sound Inn Studios in Tokyo for big productions. However, for newer projects with fewer musicians, Nintendo has recently started using the Studio A-tone SoundValley Studios.
We’ll see which ones they use next when they release new music!
-Noah from Gamer Splash