Homeland Soundtrack, Hayato Matsuo, 2005
Nintendo’s GameCube wasn’t blessed with a huge number of system exclusives – and what made the situation even more frustrating was the fact that many games were only released in specific territories (out of the nearly 650 GameCube titles, only 281 were ever released in Japan!) As a result, there’s not a huge number of hidden GameCube treasures waiting to be unearthed – but those that do exist can be particularly obscure and little-known. Case in point: Homeland, an online RPG by Dragon Quest developer Chunsoft that was only released in Japan. It proved innovative in several ways – one of only four online games for the system, it was the only GameCube title where the console acted as a server. And instead of allowing parties of just four (like the GameCube’s Phantasy Star Online), Homeland let players band together in groups of up to 36!
Looking at the game’s simple, if charmingly naive visuals, it’s not difficult to understand why Homeland didn’t leave Japanese shores, considering it was released only a year before the next console generation hit the market. Consequently, most gamers missed out on Homeland’s delightful soundtrack by Hayato Matsuo. Considering that Matsuo had started his career under the tutelage of Dragon Quest composer Koichi Sugiyama and that by 2005, he had composed the scores for several of Chunsoft’s Shiren the Wanderer games, it was no big surprise to see him tackle Homeland as well.