Nintendo Dream Developer Interview

This interview originally appeared in Nintendo Dream vol. 85 (March 2003), but was republished on the official Metroid Prime & Fusion website in their interview section in collaboration with Nintendo Dream. These interviews have never been translated until now, and are available exclusively at the Metroid Database!

Developer Interview Metroid is released after nine years! This time we have an exclusive interview with the developers about Metroid’s inside story and the secret history of its creation!
  • Differences with the US Versions
  • What is Metroid?
  • Metroid's Sound
  • Development Secrets?
  • Message!

Well then, let’s talk about the sound. In these two works, was there a kind of style that influenced you, Yamamoto-san?
Yamamoto As far as Fusion goes, since I held the position of sound director, I supervised the sound so that music and sound effect production would build a connection with the Metroid series. With Prime, Retro’s staff and Information Development HQ’s staff worked together to develop the game, and I oversaw Prime‘s music.
What things did you have to be conscious of during music production?
Yamamoto First off, this was my first time working with overseas staff. Moreover, business meetings were also done using video phone conferences. During those times, we had an interpreter come in, but in those circumstances, it was very difficult for the imagery relating to Retro’s staff’s music to come through. And since there was a movie of Prime made in third-person perspective, I looked at that and thought, “What kind of sound will Americans want for this new Metroid?” I made some music and gave it to Retro’s staff to listen to. Then they told me, “This imagery is completely wrong!” (Laughs)
Tanabe That was really tough for him.
Yamamoto Because of that, when the staff came to Japan and went to Nintendo, I put in a CD of all the previous Metroid music from the Famicom and Super Famicom versions, and I watched their expressions while I had the staff listen to it one track at a time. (Laughs) I asked what they thought of the music, and I made certain through that method. Because of that, I put in Super Metroid music, and they said (pointing finger like a gun), “That’s it!” (Laughs) Aside from that, their favorite [style] was techno music, and they would send me groovy tunes one after another. However, I tried listening to them, and they really were just a lump of noise. It felt like (humming a techno sound) “cha-koo, cha-koo, chik-chik”. (Laughs)
That feeling comes out with the title screen.
Yamamoto That’s right. That’s how I was able to get the feeling for the title and select screen music.
Tanabe I think Yamamoto had different musical imagery from the very beginning. However, since it was Retro’s product, while their intent influenced him, he skillfully put it all together.
Yamamoto They requested what sound, and although their faces and the CDs they sent gave me a hint, they repeatedly said, “Like noise,” but I didn’t have the right music since it really was a first-person game to let the player go one step further into the world. Because of that, they said, “Mix an ethereal environment into your music,” and I understood.