How Toby Fox Got His Music Into Pokémon Sword & Shield


Toby Fox is having quite the exciting year! Not only has the developer of Undertale created
new music for Super Smash Brothers and Game Freak’s Little Town Hero, but he’s also
composed a brand new piece for Pokemon Sword and Shield. So how did Toby earn such an honour? What did he do to convince Game Freak to let
him make music for Pokemon? Simple: he asked them politely. In a short post on the Pokemon.com website,
Toby has explained the series of events that led to his inclusion within Sword and Shield. It turns out this collaboration was borne
from eager friendship. Following the creation of Undertale, and its
unexpected explosion in popularity, Toby Fox found himself with a lot of new followers
on Twitter. One follower, Go Ichinose, is a composer who’s
worked on almost all of the main series Pokemon games ever since Gold and Silver. Goichi is one of Toby’s idols, so he having
spotted that he’d been noticed, he eagerly sent the veteran musician a message. The pair started chatting, and became long-distant
friends. Goichi was the first person at Game Freak
to try out Undertale, and he eagerly encouraged all of his colleagues to play the game as
well. By the time the game launched officially in
Japanese, there were more than a few fans at the studio. It was at the launch party for the Japanese
release that Toby and Goichi met in person for the first time. They hit it off immediately, quickly solidifying
their friendship. It was at this party that Toby and a few of
Game Freak’s representatives started talking about getting Toby to make the music for an
upcoming project, Little Town Hero. The plan was to try and make an RPG for mature
audience. No, the other kind of mature – the kind
of grown up who has to pay bills and stuff. Said director Masao Taya:
“We grew up playing these really expansive RPGs where you’re on huge adventures that
take you all over the place. But now you’re an adult, and maybe you don’t
have as much time to play so many games like that. Condensing all the fun of those large-scale
RPGs into a smaller, shorter, compact package was the initial idea for the game.” Toby’s work on the game was praised by everyone
at Game Freak. Leading up to the release of Little Town Hero,
Pokemon series compose Hitomi Sato said that he worried the game’s soundtrack would outsell
the game itself, the music is just that good! Toby toured around Japan, making friends with
other noteworthy games developers. He met Earthbound creator Shigesato Itoi,
and even visited Masahiro Sakurai in his home, where the pair played Super Smash Brothers
against each other (and where Toby beat Masahiro a good proportion of the time). With his work on Little Town Hero, visiting
Game Freak regularly made a lot of sense. It was on one such visit that he saw an opportunity,
and took a chance. According to Toby:
“After eating sukiyaki with members of the company one day, we went to a cafe. There, I ordered a bottled green tea and selfishly,
randomly asked if I could make a song for Pokémon someday…… They said yes! Right there in the cafe, they immediately
told me a concept for a song I could make…” Toby was thrilled! He stumbled home in a daze, wandering through
the streets, and passing salarymen in the dark. He was already hard at work, composing music
in his head, humming a melody to himself over and over. Said Toby, “my heart was burning with inspiration… “It’s a fierce track full of explosive power. I wanted to show the energy and passion I
felt when asked to create a song for Pokémon!” Toby’s creation is motivated entirely by
love. He’s passionate about the Pokemon series,
and he’s worked hard to make the best music that he can. The moral of the story is that when you’re
passionate, and when you try your best, you never know who you might end up befriending
as a result of your hard work. After all, the whole point of Pokemon is that
when you really try, you’ll end up making all sorts of friends along the way. Sure, we all want to be the very best, like
no one ever was. More important, though, is to simply be the
best that you can be.