Interviews// Tommy Tallarico

Posted 23 Oct 2007 18:46 by
SPOnG: That?s a lot of work! Do you think there?s a chance of seeing any new games being performed this year? Last year we had Sonic, Tomb Raider, Beyond Good and Evil?

Tommy Tallarico: Absolutely. This year you?re going to see about a 50% new show ? we?re constantly adding and changing things to our performance. Some of the things we can tell you is that we?re doing Halo 3 this year, we have some unreleased material from Blizzard so we?re also doing a lot of StarCraft 2 stuff as well. We?re also trying to put BioShock in the concert too so look out for that.

It?s always hard deciding what new games to add because at any given moment we will have ideas for about 20 original pieces. But you gotta have your favourites as well, so Mario will return as well as Zelda for example. Even if we don?t change up the music we?re usually looking at other aspects like adding new video clips of franchises, possible even exclusive stuff nobody?s ever seen before like StarCraft 2.

(Editor?s note: the actual line-up was as follows:

Act I:
Classic Gaming Medley
Metal Gear Solid
Sonic the Hedgehog
Interactive Space Invaders
Civilization IV
Dee Baker Voice Acting
*Final Fantasy VIII ? "Liberi Fatali"
The Legend of Zelda

Act II:
Interactive Frogger
Final Fantasy Piano Medley
*Chrono Cross Piano Solo
Kingdom Hearts
World of Warcraft
WOW:The Burning Crusade - "Lament of the Highborn"
Super Mario Brothers
Halo 1 and 2
*Halo 3
Halo 3 Teaser

Final Fantasy VII - "One Winged Angel")

SPOnG: The Video Games Live event first hit the UK last year ? what do you think of the British audience? Are you looking forward to performing for them again?

Tommy Tallarico: It?s funny you bring that up because a lot of people tell us that in the touring world, the British audience aren?t going to be as energetic or loud as those we may see in other places of the world ? not because the British don?t like what they see, but they just react differently. We were told not to expect clapping and cheering all the time, but you guys loved it!

The people who advised us this came up to us in the 20 minute break and said, ?Remember what we told you about the London audience? Forget about it?. Even some of the orchestra were astounded by the reaction you guys gave last year ? we had a guy from the symphony who said to us ?I?ve played the Oboe for 40 years and I?ve never heard a crowd like this before?.

SPOnG: Video Games Live has held many performances in Europe and particularly the US. What have been your most memorable moments on stage?

Tommy Tallarico: There are a few actually ? one that sticks in my mind all the time is a performance we had in Brazil. We played in sell-out shows and the audience were chanting and screaming so loud that our front-of-house mixer couldn?t even hear the symphony. He came up to us during the break saying, ?I hope this shit sounds good because I can?t hear it!? Nobody talks about the popularity of video games in Brazil on the world scale, largely because of the black market. Ironically though because of the accessibility of games, there may well be more gamers down in Brazil than anywhere else in the world.

Another moment I?ll always remember, which I think is important for the video game industry happened in London last year. I was talking to Michel Ancel (Ubisoft game designer who created Rayman and Beyond Good & Evil) and asked him to come out on stage during the show and take part in a meet-and-greet afterwards. His response was interesting, and I notice it a lot when talking to video game development staff like designers and artists.

He wasn?t really sure about the idea and said ?I don?t know, is anyone going to really know who I am? Is anyone going to care? I?d like to do it, but I?m not sure if it would be worth it?. I said to Michel ?Dude, trust me on this, they know who you are whether you realise it or not?. He came out and I remember this tremendous amount of applause ? I looked at him and he had tears in his eyes. I think that?s a really defining moment of how far video games have come and how far they have yet to go.

One of the things I?m most proud of with Video Games Live is to be able to give guys like Michel Ancel, Hideo Kojima, Marty O?Donnel (composer at Bungie? yup, the Halo guy) their deserved attention. A lot of publishers tend to care too much about the game itself and not really the people behind it, while Video Games Live is really a celebration of the entire industry, of the music, the art, and the people.
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