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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Namco Taiko Blog (4 August 2016) - WCS2016 Song Selection Commentary


Just as promised a few weeks back, today Etou is talking about the song selection criteria that has occurred for the now-concluded World Championships 2016 tourney.

While in the original blog entry all the phases are discussed by their chronological overall order, here we're taking a look at the two divisions separately (again, in order of events), starting with the division aimed for the youngest players.

Elementary-and-Under / Prefecture Selection

Qualifying Round
Geragerapo no Uta
Yokai Taizoi Dai Ichi
Tonari no Totoro
XY&Z
Let It Go ~Ari no Mama De~

Finals
Detective Conan Main Theme
Guren no Yumiya
Hard Knock Days

Being a tournament division suited for children, it only made sense to have its branch's first round being made of songs that everyone knows by popularity, both for the qualifiers and the Finals. The introduction of the Shin'Uchi mode for a Futsuu-oriented mode has also made possible for everyone joining the competition to have some relaxed fun with all the not-toxic competition of a still-serious tournament.

Elementary-and-Under / Finals

Qualifying Round
Natsu Matsuri
Senbonzakura
Pokemon X・Y (Wild Pokemon Battle Medley)
Densetsu no Matsuri

Finals
Netemo Netemo
Hiyokko Fantasy
Shikou no Ran

The same selection criteria was also used at the division's thrilling conclusion at the World Hobby Fair, where its big stage can make everyone playing in front of an audience feel like a hero! Two of the CreoFuga 2015 contest's songs made their debut with the heated Finals event, together with Zeami's Shikou no Ran to seal the deal between the contestants.

Middle-School-and-Upper / General Qualifiers

Kagayaki o Motomete
Choco Chiptune.
Tooriyo

Now on with the main course! The 3 week-long qualifiers for the 2nd age division featured the triplet of 8-star Oni songs from the aforementioned CreoFuga content, rising the first disputes of what kind of charts are suitable for each of the tournament's phases.

With Kagayaki o Motomete it was an easy choice for Etou, as the song itself would best reflect the contestants' desire having a shining moment of glory in the world (with the song's title translatable as "To Seek The Shine"!), but for the other two it was a more thought-out problem the decision for songs whose difficulty degree is comparable with each other while still keeping some unique flairs. At the end, the deciding factor for the Qualifiers was to have notecharts that follow the "It's fun to play and it feels good to clear them!" philosophy.

Middle-School-and-Upper / Area Elimination

Qualifying Round
Rin
Climb! Mount Parfait
SsTtAaRr*
Chouzetsu-Gikoukei Shoujo
Onigiri wa Doko Kashira♪
Kokorobo

Finals
Yoake Made Ato 3-byou
Ignis Danse
Aka no Senritsu

For each of the different Area Elimination events, the play mechanic was to feature a couple of the 6 qualifier songs at random and then combine the scores achieved in both to decree the winner, so for the Team it was a challenging task to create an homogeneous mix of difficulty in the same ballpark, so that each couple could be interchangeable while still granting an equal grade of challenge between the physical fitness required in the fastest tracks and the more technical-based notecharts.

The Finals had a more straightforward thought process, as the wanted feel for a more tourney-akin mood has led Etou to pick songs from the past Tenkaichi Otogesai tournaments! If a similar tournament structure is picked up for future events, however, the Finals song selection criteria may have some drastic changes.

Middle-School-and-Upper / Online Qualifiers

Ghost Mask
Shonin YokkQ
Princess of Donder

Among the many other songs featured in this phase and the three newcomers coming from the neo-forged Hall of Fame for Taiko gaming's most active independent external composers, the song selection criteria has been slightly higher than the former live tourney phases overall, with the trio of new songs offering a quirky vibe with hard-to-follow rhythms.

Since the online qualifiers -as explained by Etou- were made as a form of 'consolation' for those who lost the previous rounds or for any other player to get their last chance to join the Finals, it only made sense to make the Online Qualifiers phase significantly harder than the previous ones. Judging by the positive feedback from this addition, it's highly likely that we might see something like this returning for future tournaments!

Middle-School-and-Upper / Finals

2nd Round
Norudon 2000
Kamikaze Remix

Semi-Final
Asagao
Reitouko CJ ~Amen Taiko Brothers~

3rd Place Battle
VICTORIA

Final
Gloria

Winner Exhibition
Amaterasu

After the 1st round's Group Matches being made by 4 songs which were chosen by the very same Finalists (1 per player), all the subsequent rounds were chosen by selected theme-oriented picks from the Taiko Team, starting from the 2nd round whose aim was to showcase both an old-school technical song and a modern, stamina-based challenge. While the modern slot was filled by one of the most recent (and silly-sounding!) tracks from the 2000 series, Etou wanted to feature something from Taiko no Tatsujin series' "older Taiko brother", with one of the Game Music picks charted by former Taiko Team leader Takahashi.

The semi-final pair of tracks is self-explanatory, starring a couple of the leftover CF '15 contest winners among the hardest ones, despite the original will for a "more traditional" hard challenge.

Cranky's surprise new song reveal for the 3rd-place match was instead a decision taken half-away the overall tourney's progression, in order to chime back the surprise feelings of the very first arcade tournament. Catch the Taiko Team at their next livestream session to hear when it'll be released to public Taiko arcades!

(if you ask me, though, I personally think it was REALLY smug from them to give a song with the title translatable as 'Victory' for a match between contestants who can't win the overall tournament anymore...)

Coming to the finals, just like with the Kagayaki o Motomete situation, it was impossible for the Team not to pick out the song whose Italian/Latin title is translatable in English as 'Glory'! As the final CF-spawn song from the event, its mixture of fast tempo and drumrolls perfectly reflects a strategic layer of difficulty wanted by Etou in certain songs, also mentioned in one of the past livestreams: according to the personal play style, the contestants can invest more energy into a bigger number of hits in drumrolls at the risk of being less accurate at the regular note portions that are placed afterwards.

Closing the WCS2016 charades is Tatsh's Amaterasu, which was created with the main purpose of celebrating the efforts of the tournament's winner in the most prestigious of ways. Seeing Yosuga's extraordinaire first-play Donderfull-Combo performance may also have lead Etou to think to rise the difficulty stakes in the future! Below is a table with the Finals' scores from Round 2 upwards.


As a way to close this blog entry, here are a couple of service messages from Etou:
  • The official blog will be getting a renewal! Hear about it in a special blog entry on Monday 8th (that would be the third consecutive Monday special post now);
  • This change of order is happening due to the Taiko Team going into their summer break, refraining from their activities from both their blog and Twitter account. This summer hiatus will occur in August, from 10th to 16th, with the Twitter activities restarting the day after and the next blog entry appearing on Thursday 18th. 
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