Viva Piñata Soundtrack, Grant Kirkhope, 2006
There was a time when Viva Piñata was touted as one of the fledgling XBox 360’s most important franchises, even accompanied by a tie-in television show. Ultimately, Viva Piñata didn’t go down in game history as anything close to a gamechanger or a classic like some of developer Rare’s previous titles. Still, the game’s colourful graphics and fairly novel gameplay – essentially it’s a first-person life and gardening simulation – left a positive enough impression with reviewers and gamers. In fact, the feedback was strong enough for Rare to release a sequel titled Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise, giving the developers the opportunity to implement features they had to leave out of the first game due to time pressures.
The story of who ended up writing the music for Viva Piñata is somewhat typical for Rare games, in that composers ended up working on several projects at once, swapping scoring responsibilities in the process. Initially, Steve Burke was tasked with creating the Viva Piñata soundtrack, with veteran Grant Kirkhope doing sound design. Once Burke got busier with Kameo: Elements of Power though, Kirkhope was asked to take over the music for Viva Piñata as well. In the process, Kirkhope used material he had previously composed for the aborted Dream project on the Nintendo 64 (which later morphed into Banjo-Kazooie).