Ex-Nintendo Audio Devs Discuss Famed Metroid Composer Kenji Yamamoto


Kenji Yamamoto is a prolific video game composer, probably best known to Nintendo fans for his beloved contributions to the Metroid series. In a new video of interview clips from Kiki Talkz, a few former Nintendo songwriters and sound engineers talk about Yamamoto, what they admire about him, and what it was like working with him. You can watch the full video above or read below for some juicy info.

  • Composer Lawrence Schwedler had to make changes to his work on the Metroid First Hunt DS demo based on Yamamoto’s expert knowledge. A key change involved it inappropriately using an iconic melody, meant for when Samus reaches a new planet, in an opening scene.
  • It was Yamamoto’s idea to use Nintendo employees as vocalists instead of professional choir singers, in a choral arrangement for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
  • Due to the lengthy process of translating from Japanese to English and vice versa, meetings regarding Tropical Freeze’s music could last an entire day.
  • Metroid Prime audio director Clark Wen says the team never disliked any of Yamamoto’s musical submissions, giving it only minor tweaks or review marks.
  • Yamamoto once called Wen late at night asking for changes, which Wen attributes to his dedication to making things right.
  • Wen first met Yamamoto after moving to Japan, telling him it was “like a dream come true”, to which Yamamoto responded with the same sentiment.
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