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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Song of the Week! 21 April 2018

It's usually a jolly ol' time for us when we get to talk about other music game series in our song features on this blog.

That, however, isn't entirely the case for this instance, as you're about to find out...

 Over Clock ~Kaihou~ (Over Clock~開放~) NAOKI feat. un∞limited / Crossbeats
Allx3 (133)x6 (207)x7 (324)x8 (596)
 Taiko 0 R

During the ages-old feud between Konami's hardcore player-oriented series from the bemani branch and Namco/Bandai Namco's Taiko no Tatsujin series, many other software houses have dipped their toe into the arcade music gaming scene with their own titles, each with its own distinguishing features and varying degrees of appraisal from the arcade-going userbase. Alas, we'll have to talk in the past tense for one of these in a few months, as Capcom's own music game experience is drawing to a close...

Started on December 2013 with a Japan-exclusive iOS app, the CROSSxBEATS/Crossbeats series is a touchscreen-based game, urging its players to press/hold the appearing markers on rhythm as the visual cues are nearing said markers in cross-like formation, hence the series' names. Enriched by a slew of both original songs and J-Pop/Anime licenses selection, the iOS game made it to be featured in arcade rooms with the crossbeats REV. series, consisting of the eponymous original firmware from July 2015 and its sequel, released the year later (crossbeats REV. SUNRISE). As announced in a couple of tweets concerning both of the series' iOS and arcade branches, the Crossbeats experience will be effectively terminated in roughly two months from today, as the arcade versions will go offline with the all-songs-unlocked Guest mode (starting June 24th) and the CROSSxBEATS app will become unplayable from the day later.

It's really quite the sad state of affairs to chronicle for this song's feature, as it was the Crossbeat share for one of the two cross-over music game collaborations that the arcade branch has had in 2016 alone (with the other involving Taito's Groove Coaster series)! Over Clock ~Kaihou~ (lit. 'Opening') is composed by the composer/arranger Naoki Maeda (前田尚紀), a long-time acquaintance in the music gaming sphere for his extensive song workload at Konami and its bemani-labeled series. Born April 28th, 1969, he was scouted in early 1998 by Konami executive producer Yoshihiko Ota as a composer for the then-emerging DanceDanceRevolution series, a role which has expanded to other music game series (most notably, beatmania IIDX and pop'n music) as well as warranted to Naoki the position of the DDR series's sound director, up until 2008's DanceDanceRevolution X. Naoki Maeda left bemani in 2013 to join Capcom as the lead producer/composer of their own music game series; with his contract with the company being expired (and not renewed) this year, it's highly speculated how the Crossbeat series' ending is tied to his leaving, seeing his key position in the Crossbeats series' overall direction.

As already mentioned, Over Clock ~Kaihou~ was the Capcom-shared newcoming song that has reached Taiko Red Version arcades due to collaboration means, with the Taiko side sharing Rio Hamamoto's SAKURA EXHAUST. Bringing up a previous Sonority Scouts article we made two years back (link), this is the song continuation to Over Clock ~Zenchou~ (前兆, 'Omen'), a track that made its debut in the iOS branch of the series. The major clues to support the connection involve not only the composer/singer duo being the same in both songs, but also the fact that their jacket arts that are featured in the Crossbeats games can be put side to side in order to form a single picture, with Kaihou's jacket art on the left and Zenchou's on the right; the hand on the Zenchou picture will match the arm of the girl from the Kaihou cover. Naoki Maeda himself was also invited to join one of the former Taiko Team livestream sessions, no less (link)!

Taiko Team leader Etou (エトウ) has handled the notecharts for the Capcom-spawn Over Clock song sequel, sporting an 8-star Oni notechart in the style of the pure 1/16, cluster-focused patterns of the former arcade generations' glory days. In retrospect, it's sadly fitting too, considering how the Crossbeat series as a whole is about to become a relic of the past...

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