Setting The Score With Metal Gear Solid Composer Rika Muranaka
[11.22.12] - Megan Summers
How did you first learn that you could have a viable career as a game composer?
I just started working and writing for game company. When I first started to write for video game companies 15 or 16 years ago, not many people were doing it. A lot of music is done by in-house composers so it was rare for Konami to hire me to do music for them.
Could you describe how you (on your own or as a team) go about creating audio for games? Do you play the game first and then form a general idea of what style of music to use?
Well for me we never have a luxury to see the visual contents or story for the game. I guess this is because [Metal Gear Solid creator] Hideo Kojima is always behind with his work so I have to imagine what he wants. (Laughs) I would have no idea what the story was going to be or where to use music in the game so I have to pick his brain most of the time. Yeah, I'm a mind reader!
Do you have a particular favourite medium to write for? Film, television, theatre, games?
I love to write for games, but right now my passion is to write for film, television and animated film.
How does audio design for games differ from other media and classical composition?
Sound design is sound design. It's not the composer's job and it's not the same! Although, I'm capable of doing my own sound design. I actually created an edutaiment software title in 1997 which allowed me to design each sound effect.
Could you describe the technical process you might follow when producing non-linear (video games) and linear audio (film/television)?
Video game writing is so different from film or television scores. In games, the music has to fit within a game, meaning you have to make a transition every 30 seconds and it has to be loopable so they can cut or stretch the audio to sync to the game visuals. For film, you actually have a trailer or something to work with, meaning you can use a time code to fit the music perfectly within a scene so you have an advantage of having a scene front of you to write with.