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Motoi Sakuraba

aka: 桜庭 統, M. Sakuraba

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Motoi Sakuraba (桜庭 統) has composed and performed music for various Japanese video games, anime series, and TV dramas as well as independent albums and concerts. He was born on 5th of August in 1965 in Akita Prefecture, attended the Meiji University in Tokyo from 1983 to 1985, is married to Yuko Sakuraba, and has a young daughter, Mio Sakuraba.

After graduating from the Meiji University in 1985 Sakuraba broke into the music scene as composer and keyboard player of the progressive rock band Deja-Vu, which released an album, Baroque in the Future, in 1988 and took part in many live and recording projects with progressive rock bands, one of the last being the effort good enough to see a live compilation, Crime Syndicate. The band disbanded in 1989 over a dispute about development of the second album which was in progress at that time. The same year, Sakuraba went to create the tribute album called Pazzo Fanfano di Musica. And with him he had several other artists from the same record company, Crime. Sakuraba went on to release a solo progressive rock album, Gikyoku Onsou, in 1990. During his work as video game composer he continued to produce heavily extended arrangements of his own video game compositions.

Late 1989, Sakuraba began work as main for Wolfteam, first as a member of the Sergeant Wolf band together with Masaaki Uno and Yasunori Shiono, and later together with Shinji Tamura. In 1994, Masaaki Uno, who was not only composer, but also director and producer at Wolfteam, left to Camelot Software Planning and worked as coordinator and sound director there, up to now employing Sakuraba as exclusive composer and arranger for all Camelot games developed for Sony, Sega and Nintendo. In 1995, Wolfteam developed the break through game Tales of Phantasia for Namco, starting the third most successful video game series in Japan behind Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. Wolfteam continued to develop games for Namco in the Tales series while keeping Sakuraba and the other Wolfteam composer Shinji Tamura as composers, until it morphed into the Namco Telenet joint subsidiary Namco Tales Studio in 2003. Meanwhile Tales of Phantasia writer and programmer Yoshiharu Gotanda, game designer Masaki Norimoto as well as former Wolfteam director and producer Joe Asanuma left Wolfteam and founded Tri-Ace with financial backing of Enix, creating the Star Ocean series as well as Valkyrie Profile and, again, employing Sakuraba as exclusive composer and arranger for all games. In 1999, long time Sakuraba sound designer and programmer Hiroya Hatsushiba, former member of Wolfteam and tri-Ace, founded Tri-Crescendo while continuing to contribute sound work to tri-Ace games. In 2001, tri-Crescendo started working on Baten Kaitos together with Monolith and with financial backing of Namco, Hatsushiba as director and main programmer and Sakuraba again as composer and arranger.

Other than these regular game works Sakuraba had also been contracted for composing works in other media like TV action and anime series as well as movies. Through the TEAM Entertainment company founded by Taku Kitahara in 1999 to promote and license the work of artists he is now also doing more guest arrangements of other composers video game music works. Furthermore he made several guest contributions to @MIDI.

During July 2003, Sakuraba held a live concert in Tokyo, Japan. He performed progressive rock interpretations of music from the PlayStation games Star Ocean 2 & 3 as well as Valkyrie Profile. He performed his live concert 2004 in August 2004 playing music from Star Ocean 3, Valkyrie Profile and Baten Kaitos.

Credited on 109 games

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Valkyrie Elysium (2022 on PlayStation 5) Piano, Keyboard
Mario Golf: Super Rush (2021 on Nintendo Switch) Music
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition (2019 on PlayStation 4) Music Composers
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018 on Nintendo Switch) Music Arrangement
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom (2018 on PlayStation 4) Composers / Arrangers
Dragon Star Varnir (2018 on PlayStation 4) Main BGM/Battle BGM Design
Star Ocean: Anamnesis (2018 on Android) Music
Mario Tennis Aces (2018 on Nintendo Switch) Music
Dark Souls: Remastered (2018 on Windows) Music Composer
Star Ocean: The Last Hope (2017 on PlayStation 4) Music Composer
Tales of the Rays (2017 on iPad) Music
Mario Sports: Superstars (2017 on Nintendo 3DS) Music
Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2 (2016 on PlayStation 4) Music
Tales of Berseria (2016 on PlayStation 4) Music
Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness (2016 on PlayStation 4) Music Composer
Dark Souls III (2016 on PlayStation 4) Composer
Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky (2015 on PlayStation 4) Music
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash (2015 on Wii U) Music
Tales of Zestiria (2015 on PlayStation 4) Music
Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (2015 on Windows) Composer

[ full credits ]

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Taken from a live concert in 2004

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