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 excerpts from Kiki Talkz, a few former composers and audio engineers from Nintendo talk about Yamamoto, what they admire about him, and what it was like to work with him. You can watch the full video above, or read below for some juicy tidbits.

  • Composer Lawrence Schwedler had to make changes to his work on the Metroid First Hunt DS demo according to Yamamoto’s expert knowledge. One key change involved his improperly 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 singers instead of professional choir singers, in a choral arrangement for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
  • Because of the extensive translation process from Japanese to English and vice versa, meetings concerning the music for Tropical Freeze could last an entire day.
  • Metroid Prime audio director Clark Wen says that the team never disliked any of Yamamoto’s music submissions, only giving him minor tweaks or revision notes.
  • Yamamoto once called Wen late at night asking for changes to be made, which Wen attributes to his dedication to getting things just right.
  • Wen met with Yamamoto for the first time after moving to Japan, telling him it was “like a dream come true”, to which Yamamoto replied with the same sentiment.

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