You’ve heard Yasunori Mitsuda before even if you haven’t heard of Yasunori Mitsuda before—the Japanese composer created several quintessential video game soundtracks, including those for Xenogears and Chrono Trigger. He’s also responsible for the cascade of boops that make up the soundtrack to 1998’s original Mario Party, but he revealed on November 1 that his time working on those songs wasn’t nearly as sunny as they sound.
That day, Nintendo’s Japanese Twitter posted that Mario Party and Mario Party 2 were coming to the Switch today, November 2. Along with the news, Mitsuda’s bitter memories, perhaps, came rushing back.
“Mario Party was my first freelance gig [after leaving Square]. The music director told me they wanted ‘jazz’ but all of my songs got rejected,” says a translation of Mitsuda’s Japanese Twitter thread. “When I caved and asked for pointers, I learned he specifically wanted ‘big band jazz,’ so I have the bitter memory of being like, ‘seriously?!’”
Mitsuda goes on to say that Mario Party set his personal record for number of rejected songs—200 jazz tunes that Nintendo decided simply didn’t boop big or hard enough. More pleasantly though, Mitsuda says he hasn’t encountered such a wide chasm in expectation in the two decades since he worked on Mario Party.
He also seemed to deny or downplay his involvement with the Mario Party 2 soundtrack, although his name does appear in the 1999 game’s end credits under “Music.” Mario Party is tearing us apart.
But there’s more to life than being an Italian-coded plumber, or, as it turns out, a composer on one of his games. In addition to contributing to recent installments of the Xeno series and commanding a guest spot on the Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ignis soundtrack, Mitsuda also guest composed for the indie turn-based role-playing game Sea of Stars, out in 2023.