This week, CVGames was lucky enough to get an interview with legendary video game music composer, and the co-creator of Video Games Live, Tommy Tallarico. Tommy was good enough to take time away from preparing for VGL’s upcoming concert, which will be held this Thursday at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. In this first part of the interview, Tommy tells us what he’s pumped for at E3 2010 and gives a preview of what to expect from this week’s concert. Held on the last day of E3, this particular VGL show is already looking like a worthy finale to the industry’s most exciting week of the year. Read on to find out why.

CVGames: What can we expect at the show this Thursday?

Tommy: I’ll save a few surprises. I don’t want kill it for you cause I want you guys to be excited when you see it. But yeah some of the things we’re doing for this show on Thursday is we’re doing the world premiere of the music from Uncharted 2, which won like all the music awards last year. And the composer, Greg Edmonson, is going to guest conduct his piece. So really we’re bringing in a whole bunch of guest conductors. This will be the first time we’ve ever done it.

There’s a game, pretty popular in Japan but it wasn’t popular over here. It was called Afrika for the PS3. Awesome game. We’re doing the premier of that music live. It’s so beautiful, and I love the game personally. I’m a big animal activist guy, so hey you don’t have to kill the animals–awesome.

So the composer of that, Wataru Hokoyama, is going to be guest conducting for that. Wataru worked on Resident Evil 5 as well. We have the composer of God of War, we’re going to do our God of War segment with him conducting and he’s going to have…you know how Kratos has two swords? He’s going to actually conduct with two batons — Kratos style. So that should be interesting.

Some of our good friends from Japan are going to be in town. The composer of Metal Gear Solid, Norihiko Hibino, is going to be here and he’s going to do his most favourite piece he’s ever written. It was the intro to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. He’s going to play with the symphony and he’s going to play saxophone so that’ll be neat. Akira Yamaoka, the game director and designer of Silent Hill series but he’s the composer as well. He’s going to be here and he’s going to do, from Silent Hill 2, one of his favourites: Laura’s theme on guitar with the orchestra.

Then I’ve got some other special guests as well. There’s a young lady by the name of Laura Intravia, who’s also know as Flute Link. She’s one of those people who made a video, put it on the internet and it kind of blew up. So she dresses up as Link, and she’s like a flute virtuoso and shreds Zelda on the flute.

We’re going to have Martin Learn there as well, the video game pianist. He’s the guy who did the blindfolded piano thing on Mario. He’s going to be debuting WarCraft 2, a piano Conerto for WarCraft. I’ve never seen a human being’s hands move that fast on a piano, it’s unbelievable. I’ve been playing piano for almost 40 years, and this kid is just on a different planet. People are like “why do you play guitar on the show,” because piano’s my main instrument. But I ain’t getting on the stage after that cat. Screw that!

And then, and I’ll keep this a secret, but towards the end of the show you might start to see all these people come out on stage all together and maybe play some classic game music that people are really going to, I think, freak out about. So we’ve all been practicing in private all around the world and then we’re getting together tomorrow night and it’s… nothing has ever been done like this. Get everyone out there and play some classic game stuff. I think people are going to freak out.

CVGames: What are you excited about at this year’s E3?

Tommy: I want to see this Nintendo handheld (The 3DS) they’re talking about. I heard a rumor that Microsoft might be doing a handheld. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I want to see this Natal thing that everybody’s freaked out about. I’m a huge Disney fan, so epic Mickey. I really want to check out Warren Spector’s game. He’s one of my favourite designers.

I’m a huge Tron fan, so with the movie coming out I want to see this Tron stuff and how cool that is. And even that motion control thing for the PS3. Move is that what they call it, with that light bulb snow cone thing? That looked kind of cool too when I saw it on the internet. I want to see what’s in store for that. Those are probably the big things. Epic Mickey, some of the hardware stuff and this whole Natal and Move thing.
And Tron!

CVGames: What about Rock Band 3, with the way they’re trying to simulate actually playing the instruments?

Tommy: The keyboard! All for it. And they’re certainly doing it with the guitar and the keyboard stuff. Man wouldn’t that be cool if that caught on? I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that. I hope that does well.

Check back soon for the second part of our interview with Tommy, where we tackle the undying debate over whether video games should be considered art.

By Mark Melnychuk – 06/15/10

Screenshots for 10 Minutes with Tommy Tallarico Part 1