Interview: Reverse: 1999’s music producer Ricky Lee tells us what makes the audio of the game so special

  • Reverse: 1999 is the super popular gacha game from BlueEpoch
  • Focusing around time-travel, mysterious places and people, it’s also got a heavy music focus
  • We got the chance to ask our questions to the music producer on the game

Music may be one of the most underrated parts of a video game. Whether it’s on mobile, PC or console, a good soundtrack can elevate a great game, or just make a bad one even worse. Fortunately, the game we’re writing about today, Reverse: 1999, has a pretty great soundtrack alongside all its other great features.

Taking players on a time-travelling journey encountering a huge cast of characters, the soundtrack of Reverse: 1999 has earned particular praise. The EPs inspired by the game, Unexpected Storm and Symbiosis earned bronze medals for Game Music and Pop at the Global Music Awards this year. Early this month, there was even a Reverse: 1999 fan concert to help celebrate the music.

We were curious to know more about Reverse: 1999, and what inspired the work behind its soundtrack. And it just so happened we got the chance to put our questions to the game’s music producer Ricky Lee. And don’t worry, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke. So here’s what he had to say:

What inspired the focus on music in-game?

“Reverse: 1999 is a game that showcases a variety of styles, exploring different eras, regions, histories, and cultures. This diversity inevitably leads to a broad spectrum of musical genres within the game.

“For each major update’s musical composition, we immerse ourselves in materials provided by the writers to better understand the story. Then, we seek out sources of inspiration from movies, songs, and musical scores.”

And how important do you think music is for immersing the player?

“Music plays an indispensable role in a story-oriented game like Reverse: 1999. And a good story is often made even stronger when it is conveyed with powerful sound and visual design. Music, in my opinion, is pivotal in evoking players’ emotions, and aligning with the game’s style and tone.

“It accentuates important narrative points, whether they’re meant to evoke sadness, tension, or a touching moment. Music can also offer a rhythmical, adrenaline-pumping experience during combat. So in a sense, music has a significant influence on the overall game experience.”

Is there anything major coming up for Reverse: 1999 soundtrack-wise?

“We’ve definitely noticed our players’ anticipation. The team does have plans to release OSTs that include songs and scores for the game. We’ve also noticed some players’ enthusiasm for the EPs, and we will focus more on the creation of these tracks.

“There are plenty of other music-related plans in preparation, and we sure hope the Reverse: 1999 fans will continue to support us.”

What inspired the team when they were creating the music of Reverse: 1999?

“Each major update features different musical inspirations. When it comes to scores, we mostly draw on soundtracks from films and anime for reference. For instance, the 1.1 version, with its story focusing on a “Great Thief”, naturally led us to draw references from “The Pink Panther”, which famously features blues and jazz.

“When it comes to songs with lyrics, the scope of styles and themes is even broader. Personally, my musical tastes are pretty eclectic, somewhat leaning towards jazz, fusion, classical, and a few more.

“My major influences include Earth, Wind & Fire, Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Brian Culbertson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Masayoshi Takanaka, Casiopea, and T-SQUARE.”

How was Reverse: 1999 and the music behind it first pitched to you as a composer?

“Diving into the vast universe and stories of Reverse: 1999 made me excited about the diverse musical styles I could explore.

“Meanwhile, actual composition involves challenges like scheduling pressures, integrating with game content, budget constraints, hardware limitations, and so on.

“Thanks to the cooperation of our colleagues, we’ve managed to complete so many compositions and received so much praise for our efforts.

“All of us composers of Reverse: 1999 will continue to work hard creating new and wonderful music for our players.”


Do you have any message for the fans?

“We’re really grateful to the players who enjoy the music of Reverse: 1999 and support us. We’ll continue making great soundtracks and integrating our work even deeper into the game; to make the music of Reverse: 1999 as enjoyable as possible for the players.”