Metal Gear Mondays — Tactical Podcast Action

A Conversation with Kazuma Jinnouchi (Portable Ops Composer) ft. Ryan Payton

June 28, 2021 Metal Gear Mondays Season 2
A Conversation with Kazuma Jinnouchi (Portable Ops Composer) ft. Ryan Payton
Metal Gear Mondays — Tactical Podcast Action
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Metal Gear Mondays — Tactical Podcast Action
A Conversation with Kazuma Jinnouchi (Portable Ops Composer) ft. Ryan Payton
Jun 28, 2021 Season 2
Metal Gear Mondays

Dear listeners, please enjoy this delightful conversation with Metal Gear's composer extraordinaire, Kazuma Jinnouchi. Tori is joined by friend of the show, Ryan Payton, to delve into the composing process as well as some of Kazuma's personal accounts from production.

Support the Show.

Psst... did you know that you could converse with fellow listeners on our Discord? Yes, even now. Right this very moment.

Find more cool links and goodies on our Linktree. And, we have to mention the amazing Metal Gear Mondays Interactive Database that "Dragonhide" put together for us. You can search for anything across every episode. Super cool!

And, if you need to contact the show, feel free to do so using this link.

Show Notes Transcript

Dear listeners, please enjoy this delightful conversation with Metal Gear's composer extraordinaire, Kazuma Jinnouchi. Tori is joined by friend of the show, Ryan Payton, to delve into the composing process as well as some of Kazuma's personal accounts from production.

Support the Show.

Psst... did you know that you could converse with fellow listeners on our Discord? Yes, even now. Right this very moment.

Find more cool links and goodies on our Linktree. And, we have to mention the amazing Metal Gear Mondays Interactive Database that "Dragonhide" put together for us. You can search for anything across every episode. Super cool!

And, if you need to contact the show, feel free to do so using this link.

Hello again, Middlegear's men, women, everyone in between. Welcome back to the show. Coming at you

from the top to let you know that we have a very special interview episode today, not only with

friend of the show Ryan Payton, for I think the third time. Ryan has also brought us Kazama Jnuchy.

You know him of course from Portable Ops, from Peace Walker, from Middlegear Solid 4,

from Ghost in the Shell, from Halo. He's done lots of great work and he has so kindly brought some

of the stories from his days with Middlegear Solid to us. So without any further ado, I bring you

Ryan Payton and Kazama Jnuchy.

All right, we are here with Ryan Payton once again. Welcome back Ryan.

Thank you.

With him, he's brought Mr. Kazama Jnuchy. We want to give a very warm welcome to you,

sir. Thank you so much for joining us on the show.

Well, thank you for having me on the show.

Absolutely. So for those of you who aren't familiar, Kazama has been credited with

just lots of Middlegear work. We just talked before starting the recording.

It was in this order, correct me if I'm wrong, Portable Ops, Middlegear Solid 4, and then Peace

Walker. And then I don't know if it's okay to mention that Middlegear Rising was almost a thing.

Almost, yeah.

But yes, among many other things, these of course are just Metalgear titles, but

we might hopefully get into some of the other work you've done within the remainder of the episode.

Sounds good.

With that in mind, if I could start us back at the beginning,

Kazama, what was your first composing gig ever?

Oh, first composing gig ever. This includes everything, right? Even outside of video.

Yeah, absolutely.

Yeah, so my very first gig was when I was in music college in Boston, that I got to write.

There was a production music library company based in Japan, and they were looking for a

composer who can write in the style of jazz fusion. And then they were providing tracks for

shopping channel and a lot of TV shows like that. So I thought I was in jazz school, so I thought it

was a great beginning. And then so I wrote about, I think, 10 pieces of music and then just sent them.

And I think those pieces are still getting used on TV once in a while.

Oh, that's cool.

Yeah, so I still keep that relationship with that company. So occasionally I get a call from them

and I still write jazz fusion music for them. So that's so excellent.

Which is very different from what I do for video games on a daily basis.

Sure. I do think it's really interesting and it makes sense actually that jazz fusion was kind

of where you started because in metal gear in general, I feel like there are some jazzy undertones

in a lot of the music and especially in portable ops listening to the soundtrack. Just, I mean,

you can't help but groove a little bit to it. I for one, I'm very happy that it has that tone. So

yeah, I'm glad you got your start in jazz fusion. That's pretty excellent.

Right. The jazz element in metal gear really comes from Noriko Hibino, who's been with the

studio before me. And he had a lot of jazz elements embedded in his piece and that sort of became the

foundation of use of that style. And I joined the team after he left. And then I played all of the

game he worked on. So I kind of took the idea from there too. That's awesome. Yeah, just keeping

that tone and that theme kind of alive. I mean, that really helps make the games what they were.

Obviously, you're here with us during our portable ops season. And I think one of the things I think

about the most when talking about this game is the feeling that the music gives, especially when

you're sneaking through a really tense area. Right. Yeah, that was quite a challenge when I first

joined the studio because I've never written those in those style before joining the studio.

And there was lots of experienced in-house composers around me. So I learned a lot from them

to how to write. And also pulling inspiration from your favorite fusion band Yellow Jackets.

Yeah, that actually came from our co-host Warren. He wants to know if you still love the fusion

band Yellow Jackets. Well, I don't listen to the band as much anymore. But yeah, I still love

their compositions. And in my opinion, it's so well structured. And I actually have a lot of

harmonic language influenced from them. So yeah, I still go back to their harmony theory and stuff

like that. Sure. Yeah, I bet it feels a bit like home. Oh, yeah. So with your start and composing

in mind, I'm just curious, did you always know that you wanted to work in video games? And if not,

how did you find your way there? Right. So I had no idea I would end up in the video game world,

to be honest. When I was studying music, or even when I graduated, because again, I went to jazz

school. And my writing style back then was more acoustic band oriented, like horn sections and

stuff like that. And there were a lot of students in the film scoring department who studied

those orchestral electronic hybrid style. But I never went through that. So I mean,

orchestral writing to begin with, like I felt it was very, very advanced for me. And so I never

had thought about even getting into it when I graduated music school. And then so when I graduated

in the first three years, I was in the band playing guitar and doing some music compositions,

lots of music arrangements for the pop band. And that was my main thing. And so how I got into

games is it's really a coincidence. A friend of mine who I still work together, her name is Nobuko

Toda, who graduated the same music school in Boston at the same time. And she went straight to Konami.

And then she worked on Metal Gear Solid 3. And after the production ended for the three,

she gave me a call saying that, hey, our lead composer is leaving studio. And we're looking for

someone new and hopefully someone who's a new college graduate. And I wasn't a new college graduate

at the time. But she said, well, you're still 25. And you're kind of like a new college graduate. So

would you be interested? She asked me that was, I clearly remember that it was on my way home,

like around 11pm in Tokyo. And that was after I played a gig. And so I had to ask her twice that

what did you say? And she asked me if I wanted to join the studio. And so initially I said,

well, thanks for the offer, but I don't think I'm a good fit. That sounds like you.

And well, I knew her music. And she's an amazing writer with lots of different styles. And

she can do film scoring. And I was never, I've never done that before. So I told her that.

And so I don't think I'm skilled enough to do what you just asked me. That was my first response.

And then she insisted that, well, I like your music. I think your music is very evocative and

very fitting for the video game world. And we can teach you all that orchestral

electronic writing. So don't worry about the technical stuff. Just consider this offer. And

she hung up. And so I thought about this for more over a week. And then I called her again. And

I said, yes, I'm, I'd like to take on offer and submit demo for the process. And so that was

my, how I was introduced to this video game world. Well, thank goodness it worked out that way.

Yeah. Yeah, I'm glad it worked out. The, well, I had to submit the demo to the studio so that

they can evaluate if I'm actually a good candidate. So she sent me, well, we're going to work on the

music like this. So you need to be able to write something like this. And she sent me a

mettergier solid three main theme by Harry Greggs and Williams. Oh, nice. And then I was, I went,

oh my God, I can never do this. I literally had no idea how to even begin with this,

that kind of composition. And, but I started deconstructing elements here and there. And then,

and I wrote a five minute piece, and I sent to the studio and the response was very mixed at first.

And I think, I think the audio director at the time didn't really like my demo, but

the, his boss really liked what I did. That's what I heard. And so that's how I got to the

actual interview process. And so, so the interview with the audio director was a little, little

uncomfortable. So once in a while, but the, his boss who liked what I did, I think he saw

some potential in the music I wrote. We had a good conversation and I left the building

feeling that if I get in, this is going to be a pretty challenging work. And I really need to

do hard work on this. And a few days later, I got a call and I got accepted. So,

yeah, that, that was, that was the very beginning. And then when I, when I joined the studio back in

2006. So if you work full time in the, in a corporate situation, that you're given a set of

computers and sound libraries and everything you need to write music for Metal Gear. And

okay, here you go. Go write something. And, and then I was also given a PlayStation portable dev

kit on my desk and I was playing the game and I've never played a game that wasn't in development.

So that was really fun. And yeah, so I played a game feeling like, well, I'm feeling that, well,

I've never played a game without music before. And this is so interesting. And, and I'm writing

music for this scene. And how do I start? So I started asking around and well, I have no idea

where to begin with. And, and well, here, here's some inspiration and play, play these tracks.

These are the previous MGF three tracks. Play, play the game listening to this and how you,

and tell me how you feel about it. And so that, that, that became a really good reference. So,

okay, if I write, if I use this kind of instrument and then incorporate this kind of musical movement,

it might be fitting to this particular scene I'm scoring. And yeah, so it was a very slow

learning process. And it probably took like, like whole portable ops production time for me

until I get, I start to feel comfortable doing it.

Sure, I can imagine what a daunting task that must be, especially if you hadn't,

one worked in video games before, and, and two didn't have, well, I guess I should ask you this

first. Had you any experience with Metal Gear before you took the job? Were you familiar with it at all?

Well, I, my first exposure was in high school. My, my friend of mine was really, really into Metal

Gear Solid 1. And he invited me to his place. And you got to play this game. And he showed me the

opening cinematic. And, and I didn't have PlayStation at that time. And I was more into

computer programming and music and position back then. So, and all my money was spent on the computer

rather than PlayStation. And, but I vaguely remember that when I got a call, I remember that

experience. And okay, I know it's a very cinematic game. And, and, but I, I didn't play the later,

like MGS 2 or MGS 3. So, when I was offered to do an interview, I bought them all. I got a PlayStation 2

and, and all of the games that was released on the console. And I played from beginning to end.

And I also played MGS 1 as well. So, I knew the story when I took the interview. And I, I, I became a

big fan of the story. And yeah, by the time I joined the studio, I was so excited that I, I can be part

of the story, you know. Sure. I can't even imagine that that's excellent that you had the chance to

get to know it before you ended up taking the job. Because like, I can only imagine what's

extra passion that brought to the table, you know, getting to work on this thing that you

got to enjoy beforehand. I really got it worked out that way for you.

Oh, yeah. The, especially with the series title like that, you have to know the character and

you have to know all the, all of the references that, for example, MGS 4 was like, like wrapping

everything up that happened before, right? So, you have to know all these little bits and pieces

that happened in the previous game. So, yeah, I'm glad I played them all.

Well, excellent. You mentioned something previously about, I think, I think it was that you said,

you were listening to certain tracks for inspiration moving forward. One of our listeners

would love to know which games or movie scores do you take inspiration from while working on your own

music, not necessarily for games or for other people's projects, but for you?

Right. For the, well, it depends on the project you're working on, but in case of

mettergear games, a lot of it was from old Harry Gerex and Williams score, a lot of Hanzimmers,

like all media ventures, what the remote control studios used to be called.

Those electronic, orchestral hybrid scores that was produced in like 90s and early 2000s.

I drew a lot of inspirations from those soundtrack and like, for example, movie like The Rock or

the one reference track that came up during MGS4 was a movie called Man on Fire.

Ah, yes.

Yeah. So we drew a lot of inspiration from that. Lots of subtleties, which I thought was really

unique at the time for the video games and very, very adult. Yeah. Oh, and Spy Game and

yeah, stuff like that. Those 90s, early 2000s tracks. And yeah, we don't use those pieces

as a reference in the recent stuff that I worked on. But yeah, for the mettergear games, that was

where it originally started. So that's fantastic. And I suppose that makes sense,

you know, given that Harry Gerex and Williams worked on the games too. So yeah, first I need to

mention that the last question I asked you about the inspiration came from Lee, one of our patrons

and good friends of the Discord and the show. And he also asks, is there a game or movie franchise

that you would like to compose music for in the future? Or if you had a dream project?

Right. Well, dream project. Well, you know, like after getting to no mettergear was really the

first series title that I really thought like I want to work on this. And so that dream sort of came

true. Yeah. Yeah. But after having worked on a lot of the series title, I personally would love to,

like I love the process of working on the series title because it's very different from working

on the original IP from ground up. And I do love the effort that goes into the series title. And

from my perspective, I've loved to work on something not necessarily the particular title,

but something that that's trying to reboot from reboot the franchise. Yeah. Okay. Because that's

a really unique opportunity where you can have your own voice, as well as respecting the tone of

the franchise. I think that's that'll be interesting. Sure. And I'm sure I can enjoy

if any franchise gig would come to me, I'm sure I'm going to enjoy. So yeah, any reboot would be

what I look for. Yeah. Well, great. Yeah, I imagine that would pose some intriguing challenges. Like

you mentioned before stepping into the Metal Gear series, you know, you had this, the sound that

was already kind of built for you, but to be able to bring your own touch to it while still honoring

what's already there, I can imagine that would be that would be a bit of a thrill to work on.

Yeah. Like it's funny thing is every time I, no matter it's Metal Gear or Halo,

everyone who come to me and about music inspiration says, do your own thing. I never felt

that way. Like, well, there, there is this thing that's already established. So maybe I should

respect that first. And then maybe sprinkle your own taste on top of it. So really do appreciate that

people are willing to hear what I would come up. And yeah, I feel like Cosmo, that was a big part of

Halo, Halo 4 working together on that, right? Oh yeah. It was, Halo 4 wasn't a reboot,

obviously, given the four at the end of the title, but it was a brand new team. It was the first

non-bungie Halo title. And we worked to get you over to Seattle from Japan. And it was the first

Halo title not composed by Marty O'Donnell or first mainline, I should say. So in a way,

it was something of like a kind of a reboot in a sense. And I really like what you did with the

Halo 4 soundtrack. And that at times you're very much honoring Marty's original compositions,

which we talked about. And I'm really happy you did that. But also, yeah, you're able to

really just go out there and put yourself forward to give it its own mark, which you obviously did

again on Halo 5 as well. Yeah, thanks. Yeah, Halo 4 was a pretty interesting project because

given all of the legacy from Marty O'Donnell, and by the time I joined the studio, we had Neil

Davies working on lots of thematic elements. And so I joined the studio as a sort of additional

writer role. And so I had to respect both style, which ended up being a really unique blend of

two different Halo music, right? So yeah, the Halo 4 was a big puzzle to

solve for me. And yeah, and I'm very happy how it came out. That was very unique.

Yeah, I can imagine. You mentioned something earlier, real quick before I move on to another

listener question. You mentioned something about subtleties within, I think we were specifically

regarding portable ops, but I guess maybe Metal Gear in general. And it just, it dawned on me that

that's a very apt description, I think, for the series in general. Just in that,

Hideo Kojima really subverted a lot of expectations. And just about every

aspect of game development, I suppose. Did you keep that in mind while working on Metal Gear?

Well, in the beginning of Metal Gear production, at least back when I was there in the studio,

he would often leave a piece of DVD or CD that he listens to on the music lease desk.

Once you get that, you're supposed to check that out. And I think Man on Fire was one of those.

And once we are given those material as a reference, we pretty much need to stick to that

as much as possible. But we obviously need to develop on it so that we do end up having different

styles in the end. But the initial process is that it needs to be very true to the reference

material you're given. And then once you establish your own way of making that sound,

I think that's around the time when you start to expand musically and get given the scene you're

scoring to. So there is a very clear direction that comes from Hideo Kojima every time.

So we've been talking a lot about honoring the themes and the tones and the music that was set

there before you stepped in. Again, Lee, our friend on the Discord wants to know, has there ever been

a time with a director or I guess a developer where you had a disagreement about what you wanted to

do musically? And if so, were you able to resolve that in a pretty peaceful way? I guess.

In my opinion, it always needs to be a peaceful resolution. Sure, absolutely.

When you think about your position in the production, obviously the director has wider

view of what's happening. And we focus on the very granular material musically. And sometimes we do

get lost. So I think it's a very refreshing to have that disagreement. And then usually you

notice something you didn't notice before. And that usually becomes a really good inspiration.

So in my opinion, I think I should better listen to that rather than insisting my own view of my

own narrow view of the project. Sure, that's a great answer. If I find whatever the idea that

was presented is wrong, I should first try and then determine how that's not appropriate.

And then I think at that point, it's my responsibility to explain that to the director.

Have you had a lot of instances like that or has it been mostly pretty smooth rolling?

In case of Metal Gear, I was the bottom end of the hierarchy in terms of a theme structure. So

it was always my boss presenting the music to the director. So not a lot of chance for you to

disagree. Every time he comes back from the review, well, here's the note. Just finish these tasks

and then move on. But working on Halo games, which I had a lot of opportunity talking to

executive producers, directors. Luckily, Halo franchise has been very smooth for me. They

seem to like what I did. And we always had a very constructive conversation. So

Speaking of experiences differing between movies and video games, another listener and friend

in our Discord, Alex H, would like to know, were there any differences in your approach to composing

for a video game movie like Detective Pikachu as opposed to a video game in general?

Well, it is a very, very different process. And well, the big difference is the technical

aspect of scoring two different mediums. Video games, very program oriented implementation. And

film is purely music editing and how we score frame by frame literary. And

so technically, there is a big difference. But musically speaking, I think there are

similarities where where to respect the franchise and where to be original. That aspect is

it's always a balance. So the ratio might be different based on the project. But

the fact that you do need to have established a certain balance that's right for the title you're

working on, I think that aspect is the same. Just the technical approach is different.

Yeah. Okay. Are you more interested in working with movies or video games? Or is it is it pretty

much a mixed bag for you? I do like working both, working on both, to be honest. There are

our video game scores always always interesting given the technology we get to deal with. And then

plus, since I in the last 15 years, I became I feel like I became very fluent in working in

the video game world. And I really do enjoy the process of crafting the music for the video game.

And and then I love seeing the product come together and and have a cohesive feel. You know,

like music is usually I think music is a glue to every elements of the game, you know, like little

character movement to like environment, everything like once, well, this is just how I feel about

it. But once you have music in like, it feels like everything connects. So I really like, like,

when you start feeling, feeling the what the space is supposed to be like and or like, yeah,

like when you feel the air through music or like even a smell or I like that gluing process for the

video game. That's a great way to put it. And now that you mentioned that, I'm not sure I've

ever really considered this, but I can't imagine what kind of a series Metal Gear would be without

without this brand of music and this brand of I guess, audio design as well. But the composing,

it's just the composition is so unique to this series. And like we were talking about earlier,

there's these little subtleties that just where most video games want to be bombastic and loud and

you know, really get you hyped up. I just really appreciate and value the atmosphere,

like you were saying that that the music in this series happens to create. It was it ended up in

once I got used to writing those ambient music, it became really fun working on it too.

At first, like, well, there has to be almost like no music, but you have to write music.

I can't imagine how you start with a blank slate.

And well, just my boss used to say, just give it some like atmospheric pad and see how that sounds

to you. And I said, that's like cheating. I can well just try it. And but a lot of the idea and a

lot of education, I should say, came from listening to Harry Grickson Williams score.

Even those subtle moments is so well crafted. And I could I was just in the studio for hours

just to analyze his his delivery. And I was really fortunate to be able to do that to the

studying process when I was at economy. And it paid off. I mean, you know, before before I

really found this show, I, you know, big fan of Metal Gear, but didn't really know a lot of the

specifics of how it was made. And I mean, that's that's kind of the idea of why we're bringing

you on. I think a lot of people are in that boat. I never would have guessed which games were composed

by different composers, because all of that time you spent studying Harry Grickson Williams work,

it clearly shows that it's so cohesive from one game to the next. In my opinion, it sounds like

it very much could have been by the same composer. So mad props to you for that.

Yeah, it's really how the studio structured the process. And yeah, glad I was I was able to contribute.

All right, well, let's see here. I've got another question from Warren. You've mentioned in previous

interviews that when you compose, there comes a moment when you think that's it with the music

you're composing. And that's when you know you've done a good job. Is that something that came out

earlier in your career? And Warren wants to know specifically, was it working with Peeus, Walker,

or Halo? Right. The first time I felt that was, I guess it was a matter you're solid for. And

okay, it was it took quite a long time for me to really get used to the idea of

scoring video games and writing in that orchestral hybrid, electronic hybrid style. But

plus scoring to the visual. And there was a moment in Metagir solid for where

you take off on the Metagir Rex, and you walk your way out of the corridor on Metagir. And

the cinematic right before that game moment, where you have to leave Naomi and

so that I really like something clicked when I was writing that scene. And

that probably was the first that's it moment for me working on video game. And

and I knew that was going to be a great scene. I knew it was going to be approved.

Yeah, yeah. Nice. Yeah, that was really a satisfying moment. And so by the time I got to

work on Peace Walker, at that point, I had several options. I was able to present several options.

Before that, there was not so much option that I could come up with. So I was trying barely trying

to keep up. But by the time I worked on Peace Walker, I was able to say, Well, here's one way to

score the scene. And if you don't like this idea, we can turn this around and then come up with

something completely different, which both of which I can be proud of. So I yeah, Peace Walker

was in that regard, I really enjoyed working on Peace Walker and

feeling feeling that I knew how this game exactly how this game should sound like.

And for Halo games, well, the Halo four was my first Halo, and it was really

unique situation. I joined the studio a little less than a year before shipping.

So by the time I joined the studio, someone came up to me and said, Well, we have this

milestone called called OIO. Like, do you know what that is? And I don't know. It's called one

year out. And it's due about in about a month. And then all the executives are going to decide

if we are actually shipping this game. Like, I was like, really, I just moved here.

And, oh, my gosh. And then we have some music from Neil Davidge, which was fantastic. And

and then I knew we had a milestone within the month. So I like learning how to be done really

quickly for me. And I think my experience from working on MGS really, really paid off and how

to pull idea from where. And so I think that working on Metal Gear was a really good training.

So when I score the video game, I know what at least what works and what doesn't.

So by the time you got to Halo, were you familiar with the games enough or or watching any of the

cutscenes enough, I guess, to have any of those kinds of those aha moments with with the game as

well? Well, there are. Well, the Halo four is a very emotional story. So I think that well, Master

Chief in Cortana story, especially at the end of the game is very, very emotional, which is,

in my view, it's a little different from previous Halo one through three. I mean, musically, it's

very different thing. But emotionally, I I kind of knew what to do for those emotional scenes.

Thanks to my experience working on the Metal Gear. But getting into Halo, I did the exactly

same thing. When before the interview, I played through all the Halo games. And why I knew about it.

Back in 2008, I think that the Halo three was really, really big show at Tokyo Game Show. And I

wasn't familiar with the the franchise back then. But my co worker said, Well, you should, you should

go check that out. It's a really big game from Microsoft. And there is a lot you can learn from.

Yeah, so I knew about it. And then, yeah, I played all of it before getting to the interview. And

based on my experience working on Metal Gear, I analyzed what's been done to make those Halo games.

And yeah, so that was a lot of studying again. That's great, though. You were you were quite the

prepared interview. I hope so. It's excellent. Yeah.

So one more question from our bud Lee. He wants to know, was there a noticeable difference working on

games that were for the PlayStation, whether that be handheld or or any of the generation of

PlayStation, I suppose, versus Xbox in terms of, you know, the hardware being different or a budget

or anything that might have been a constraint on your process from my perspective, when I was working

on MGS, that was between 2006 and 2011. So we were using pretty old engine. And we still used audio

engine from, I guess, the enhanced version of audio engine from Metal Gear Solid 2. So capability

was very, very different. I think hardware wise, PlayStation three, at least from audio perspective,

I mean, the music perspective hardware wise, PlayStation three and Xbox 360. From my perspective,

I didn't see that much difference. But because of the tool set was very different. We had to

come up with a very different implementation strategy. So that's between MGS four and Halo four.

And when it comes to PlayStation portable games, that's a very different story. So

we have to be able to stream the music from the memory, which was not very big. So we, every loop

was about 30 seconds long. And in case of MGS four, that was about two minutes long. So

musically approach would be very different. Like, when the music loops, you don't want to be hearing,

oh, that's the beginning of the music again. Like, you don't want to notice that. So you need to be

really clever about how you construct a looping music, especially for those shorter loops for MGS

four, because it was around two minutes long. I had less of that issue. Because if you listen to

music over, like, say, like five minutes, that like you're in trouble for a pretty long time in the

game. So yeah, that's a good point. So yeah, those were the major difference. I do just want to mention

that that that question was also asked in a similar way by Nick Freida, also a great friend of the

show and moderator of our discord. So he was asking specifically about the handheld hardware.

So thank you for elaborating on that. Similarly, I believe this is also Nick Freida's question.

He'd like to know, were there any other kinds of roadblocks that you've run into along the way,

where you had to be creative and find a workaround that might have been, I don't know,

more challenging than any of your other day to day tasks? Well, implementation is like,

it's a series of roadblocks. And every workaround is different. But let's see, the biggest one

probably is, well, this is outside of the MGS franchise. But when you have live orchestra

session coming up, and then if you don't have the scene to score, I think you're in big trouble.

And for example, this happened on Halo 5 that 10 days before the orchestra session,

I didn't have a scene to score. So I went to the producer and, hey, can I at least get a rough cut?

And so that I know what to write. And I think I texted him. And then he came to my desk,

looking really terrified. And like, what do you need? We don't have the scene ready.

Even how many days do we have? He asked. So he, well, recording session is on such and such date.

Can you give me a scene at least six days before the session? That way I have

one or two days to score. And then if something goes wrong, I can rewrite and still have my

orchestration team to prep all of the sheet music and everything. So that happened. That was a little

terrifying. But there is always a workaround. So yes, I do have some terrifying moments here and

there, probably on every production. But yeah, I'm sure, especially towards the end, when things

are starting to put together, oftentimes music is the only thing that can save a certain scene.

I totally understand that. So you just need to find a time to work on it. And it's scheduling

that needs to be done right on my end. And yeah, but you can always find a solution.

I think Cosmo taught me a really naughty lesson on Republic on episode five, because

we had such little time to get the music in. And I think he started to do the schedule on his head

and realized that I think it's only going to be done via a number of hall nighters. And what he

ended up doing and producing without really any time for iteration was so good. And I remember

one of the songs called Loose Change. It's something that we still talk about in the studio

about how many team members love that song. And I think like, interesting. So in the future,

if I just ask Cosmo to produce something. So last minute, it's going to be

like all the all the better part is while being aside, obviously.

I was going to say like on every game that I work with you, Ryan, I think there is always a

moment when you say, come on, we worked on middle year. Yeah, how are we going to be right? Right.

Was that now that you say that was that one of the more challenging projects, Metal Gear, or

have you has it helped prepare you for even more challenging projects?

I often joke about this. I think my skill sets are getting better on every project,

but like all of the craziness doesn't really change.

Sure. Yeah, Metal Gear was really, really crazy for sure. I think for every, from my perspective,

every single person in the audio team like worked around the clock. I mean, not sometimes

literally. And I remember this one day, I was about to be behind on the deadline. And I was

so exhausted that I went home around midnight and thinking, man, I need to come back in the studio

in like a couple of hours. Maybe I can take a nap and then so I took a nap,

took the first train to the office and got to the studio around five o'clock. And all of the studio

doors closed and everyone was sleeping there. And yeah, I was just going to use that room, but

I hate to wake them up. And so I ended up doing other work on my desk.

Yeah, it was that crazy. But it got me prepared for another craziness that I got to experience on

Halo 4. And I think to this day, I think Halo 4 was the most crazy, schedule-wise. And then I

really enjoyed that. But I don't think my physical can handle that anymore.


Yeah, it was, I was in my early 30s, it just kept on going.

Well, it seems like you really were able to thrive well under pressure. And I hope that

doesn't have to be the case so much anymore. But it does certainly seem like with video games and

producing them, there's always going to be a time constraint is what it is what it sounds like.

Yeah, I think for every project, even if it's not a video game, there's always that moment.

So, but yeah, I guess I kind of got used to the pressure. It's daunting sometimes, but it's really

satisfying when you can deliver at the same time. So I kind of got addicted to it. I don't force that

to someone that I work with. I try to say get some rest and need to sleep. And I try to tell

that to myself as well. Yeah, especially in my 20s, 30s, I just kept on going.

Well, let's see. I want to respect your time here. We've got a couple more questions.

If you don't mind. One of which is, again, from Warren, when you decided to work for yourself

and do freelance, did you notice any impact on your writing process? And he elaborates as in

like a personal emotional response that you're getting from your own compositions?

Right. Well, your role does change. Being in-house composer, you're not only in charge of music

composition, but a lot of probably 50% of your time is spent on implementation and prepping and

lots of meetings. And after I left the studio, I have more time purely on composing music.

Well, this is really thanks to all my friends who's helping me dealing with all of the other

production work. The fact that you have more time to spend on writing, I do feel like I'm

challenging myself more, which I think is a great thing. And at the same time, there have been some

moments where I was just not satisfied with what I came up with, like given the time I spent.

I mean, having a lot of time sometimes works great and sometimes don't for me. And I try out too

many things that doesn't work and I get lost sometimes. So when that happens, I just need to

do some refreshing. And I'm in the lucky position to be able to do that at the same time, like try

out different ideas. And sometimes I get inspiration from those tryouts from different projects.

And also, I feel more, you're basically running your own business at this point. So the responsibility

feels very, very different. So that sometimes becomes a pressure sometimes. But I generally,

I've been enjoying doing my own business and working with many different clients, including Ryan,

which I enjoy working very much. And being able to work on many projects, I think there's benefit

to that. You get to explore very different styles and different ways of writing, as opposed to when

you're in-house, you're writing for just one big franchise for five years. You get to know the style

really, really well. But now that I'm outside of the game studio and working on many different

projects, I think my language has become wider, I think. Well, that's exciting. That's a great

development. Yeah, it's really exciting for me too. And especially when I'm able to notice that

difference. Well, I'm glad you're able to have that experience because it sounds like there was a lot

of pressure to stay on brand for other people's visions. But as a creative person, I'm sure

it's very nice for you to be able to have your outlet and make it your career props for that.

I'm sure that can't be easy. Well, it's very satisfying. Yeah, it's really worth it in my view.

Well, good. That leads us into our last question, which maybe you just answered,

or maybe you have a different answer for us. It's kind of a twofer. What has been the most

rewarding experience you've had throughout your career? What are you most proud of from your

career up to this point? Well, it's really hard to pick just one title that I'm proud of, but

every shipping is really rewarding. And I remember my early days with Metal Gear, the release of MGS4

was huge in Japan. And I remember seeing pictures from game shops around Tokyo that there was a huge

line in many, many shops. And I remember thinking, wow, this many people are going to play the game

and then get it. And then they're going to listen to the music I wrote. And that was surreal. And

yeah. And the same thing for Halo games and the same thing for the Iron Man game that I

worked on with Ryan, that when my Spotify monthly listener number just went up one digit, I was

like, wow. Oh, man. But yeah, it's rewarding to think that something that we create has

impact on so many people. Yeah. And so again, I can't pick a single title, but yeah, I'm proud of

every shipping. And yeah. Well, good. That's a great answer. That's it for all of the listener

specific questions. Warren had just a bit of a comment he wanted me to pass along to you again.

He's very sad he can't be here for this episode. He's kind of the music geek of our trio. So

he did want to mention that Kazuma, he's a huge fan of your work and really glad to see that you

chose to go freelance because he's very eager to hear your work across multiple forms of media.

And lastly, I guess just as a fun wrap up, Ryan and I got to talk about this last time, but

how has your last year gone? I know everybody's had crazy train things going on, but

have you been able to stay on top of everything okay? Stay positive and get through everything?

Year four. Well, exactly around this time of the year last year, we were wrapping up Iron Man

game, which was fun time. Well, I generally I stayed busy throughout the past year,

luckily, and I didn't get to work on any movie projects. I guess that situation has changed

quite a bit, I guess. I was both working on video games and Netflix series in the past year.

And yeah, thanks to all of the digital media, I was able to continue to do what I love. And

one thing that changed was I have this I'm renting this little studio place in

Los Angeles. And I didn't get to go there in the past year. I used to use that space when I

every time I had a call to do film music. But since I'm primarily working on video game and

Netflix, Seattle is where my families are. And so yeah, okay, so it would make more sense to be here.

And yeah, it's been great. I've been able to continue writing music. And yeah.

Awesome. I'm glad to hear that. Can I be nosy and ask if you are willing and able to tell us the

Netflix title you've been working on? The one that came out a couple of years ago is an anime

called Ultraman. Another one was Ghost in the Shell, the 3D CG one, SAC2045.

Well, that is awesome. Are you an anime fan yourself? This is way off topic.

Well, I guess to some extent, yes, I do watch some shows on Netflix. And

yeah, not like a huge avid fan. I wouldn't know too many anime. Since I'm getting to work with

these directors, I do like their work. And I do like the story that they come up with. So I've

checked out all of those anime that they worked on. And now I want to go check out Ultraman.

It's really a fun show. There is a second season that's about to be in production. So yeah.

Oh, excellent. Well, great. Thank you. Thank you for indulging me in a little bit of

just casual conversation there towards the end. It's been really great to get to know you and

a little bit about your process and just you as a person. You seem to be a very hardworking,

calming presence. And that's important in your industry. So congratulations on putting out so

much excellent work without your music. Honestly, I stand by the statement metal gear would not be

the same. Well, it's really a teamwork. And I'm glad I got to be a small part of it. Awesome.

Well, Ryan, did you have anything else that you wanted to mention?

No, I think you did. You and your listeners and your cohorts did a great job

pairing lots of good questions. And I got to learn more about Cosma as well, even though

I've known each other for I don't know how many years now. Oh, hey, that's great.

Well, since 2006, right? So 2006, yeah, since you joined Konami. Oh, wow. Yeah, 15 years.

Well, that's great. 15 years. Yeah. I feel very honored to have witnessed some new information

being unearthed for you, Ryan. That's great. Yeah, thank you. Thank you. Well, again, guys,

thank you so much for joining us. You're welcome back any time. I don't know what the plan is for

Metal Gear Solid 4 or Peace Walker. I believe Peace Walker would be next in our timeline. So

Cosma, if you'd like to come back, we would always be happy to have you. Ryan, you know,

you're always welcome. The door is open. Thank you. And yeah, I think that's going to do it for

our episode of Metal Gear Monday's Revengeance. Yes, again, gentlemen, thank you so much. It is

really a great pleasure to talk to you, Cosma. Thank you very much for having me. I really enjoyed

talking to you. Oh, good. Thank you.