Kojima Productions discusses music and sound of Metal Gear Solid V

In a documentary series called Diggin’ in the Carts, Red Bull takes a look at Japanese video game music and its composers. A good part of Episode 6 is dedicated to the music in the Metal Gear series, and Hideo Kojima, Akihiro Teruta and Ludvig Forssell talk about the music and sounds of the series in general and MGSV: The Phantom Pain in particular. Below are transcripts of the interviews, and you can see the video at the bottom of this post.


“I’m Hideo Kojima. I’m a game designer, and I make games like Metal Gear Solid at Konami.”

“I originally wanted to make movies, and I wrote novels and such, but I couldn’t get a budget, so when making a movie started seeming difficult, the NES came out, and I learnt about the world of games. I realized that you could tell a lot of different stories through games too, so I ended up entering the game industry.”

“Back then, you couldn’t play many sounds or voices, but there was a challenge within that simplicity. It was really fun. From about Metal Gear Solid 2, the sound became beautiful and real, so-called CD quality. And then I went to Harry Gregson-Williams from Hollywood, and got him to do real sounds, and broke it down digitally to play it like that, so from around that time I felt like we were making sound that was close to that of movies.”

“Games aren’t movies. But like movies, I think sound is 80% of it.”

Kojima discusses the difficulties of creating music for a non-linear game.

“The Phantom Pain has an open world, so linear games, like movies, have the camera go a certain way in a scene, so the right type of music is easily added along with that. So, it’s mostly about the sounds of the environment, but when the player becomes emotional, discovers something, or flees puzzled, sad or angry, adding the all-important melody or rhythm for these situations is a new challenge.”


Akihiro Teruta (Lead sound editor Kojima Productions, Konami Digital Entertainment Co.Ltd.)

“Kojima Productions adopted movie production methods from early on, and Foley is one example of that.”

“There are free archives of sound effects out there, but the main advantage of using Foley is that you can’t record the same thing twice. The same sound wave will never be reproduced.”

Teruta shows the objects that were used to create the sounds in the E3 2013 trailer, when Snake infiltrates the enemy camp.

“The type of sounds were, firstly, this broken air gun. Like gun movements. And also soldiers’ equipment.”

Akihiro-Teruta-Foley-Gun Akihiro-Teruta-Foley-Equipment

He also shows the different types of surfaces used to create sounds of footsteps.

Akihiro-Teruta-Foley-Footsteps Akihiro-Teruta-Foley-Footsteps-Snow

“This is wood. This is helicopter floor. And this is catwalk. Snowy area. Salt and a little water.”

Ludvig Forssell (Lead composer Kojima Productions, Konami Digital Entertainment Co.Ltd.)


“We’re using a lot of just sound-scapes, sound effects, to make the player feel like they’re in the right area, in the right environment, and focus on their task at hand, which is, usually, it’s sneaking, you know.”

Forssell provides some insight into what we can expect from the MGSV soundtrack.

“We’re definitely still doing a lot of orchestral stuff, and it’s always important to know what Kojima-san is into and what he wants. He’s really into rock as well, so, like, we’re definitely trying to find some kind of a hybrid.”

“The greatest development in the whole game music industry is that it’s finally being recognized by all these people in Hollywood. I’d love to see John Williams do something. Hans Zimmer has being doing it, Harry has been doing it for us, and more and more people are getting involved, and don’t look down upon it.”

Hideo Kojima

Kojima concludes by expressing his surprise seeing how quickly games have evolved in terms of possibilities for expression.

“I don’t think you’ll believe me when I say this now, but since I wanted to film a movie, my dream didn’t come true being in the game industry. Back then there was pixel art, 16 colours and beeping sounds, so the characters had no faces, and there was no story. But I believed this medium would become like movies one day, which is why I carried on, but I never thought the level of expression would catch up with movies this quickly, so I think that was a happy kind of miscalculation from me.”


You can watch the video below. The part about Metal Gear starts at 8:39, and goes on until around 13:56.

Source: Diggin’ In The Carts: Episode 6, via MGS.be

  • Venom Snake

    So, Snow Setting in TPP Confirmed, i guess.

    • Not necessarily, that was what they used for the snow setting in MGS4 (Shadow Moses): http://www.metalgearinformer.com/?p=14246

      • Venom Snake

        Well they wouldn’t show it if it wasn’t MGSV Related.

        • They could have shown it for the sake of the documentary, to show the way they work with Foley at Kojima Productions in general.

          • Venom Snake

            That’s also True.

  • that was really interesting, and it makes me realize how i always expect a lot of quality from MGS games sounds, but not on purpose is something natural and i think it’s because of the sneaking. what i mean is that everytime i’m sneaking behind an enemy i always care about the ground and what noise i may make and if that noise would alert someone and since i put my attention towards that is always satisfying to hear the correct sound.

  • and they totally missed the point, it was time to talk about hibino’s in-game mgs2 midi engine for realtime music (the propose of this ducumental was… well about bit sounds and its transition to… cd audio).. again Hibino has done so much for the metal gear series and he is still at the shadow of HGWillians, ever since his departure everything sounds more hollywood generic in the in-game department there’s not a melody that’s stuck in my mind like mgs2 cavern/hangar/encounter or MGS2’s tanker alerts or shell strut themes, even mgs3 had amazing encounter music and MPO had great BGM on intruder phase (the encounter themes where cool) but lately MGS has become a silent game unless you’re watching a scene or you mess up (the only way to hear a good track in ground zeroes is to alert everyone while you carry Paz in your back…

    at least they used MGS2’s tappy theme… even TAPPY made custom music for the documentary but nobody talked about him… hell kojima could have talked about the music about MG/MG2ss/Snatcher/policenauts those games where able to tell a story with all the limitations of the time and also had great music

    • Does Hibino deserve recognition? Yes. Does that mean HGW has to be looked down upon? No. Certainly not when he has made some of the best tracks in the series.

    • flying_fox

      I agree, Hibino was the genius in the shadows. In-game music will never get as good as MGS2.

      But I disagree on GZ music. It’s far from generic, it has a powerful identity. In-game music may be scarce but it’s unforgettable to me.

      Can’t wait to hear more from TPP. From the few cutscenes / trailers we’ve seen, I have no doubts that Forssell will deliver.

  • im a dot

    I hope TPP gets a great soundtrack

  • Big_Boss88

    It’s amazing how they create these sound effects :D. I hope we get to hear much of the TPP soundtrack when exploring the areas. But as he said, when it’s open world it’s a challenge to make music into certain parts. In previous games there was much different ones because of the linearity, like my favorite “Warhead Storage” of MGS1.

    Anyway, I think it will be nice listening to the environment sounds too etc in MGSV, but I just hope we get to hear the soundtrack pieces a lot. Especially when we enter some more linear places like the hospital etc :D.

    By the way reminds me of the hospital demo scene as it had that very sweet music playing in the background and fits perfectly with the scene. It also kind of reminds me from John Carpenter’s movie “The Thing”.

    So now I’m pretty sure Kojima won’t disappoint me <3 and GZ had awesome soundtracks too, so of course TPP will have too !

  • LukesAlike

    That’s really cool.

  • Cartmangus

    If I’m being honest, I’ll have to say that I haven’t been impressed at all with the music I’ve heard so far. GZ really had nothing to me that stood out. I don’t dislike it, except for the poor inception horn imitation used all over GZ but it’s just meh, and the stuff used heard in the gameplay/cutscenes for TPP so far hasn’t really grabbed me either. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the soundtracks of MGS1,2,3,4.

    • Guest

      agreed but honestly Robin Atkin Downes did a very good job i love miller s voice in this game

    • WhatTheJuicay

      yea i totally agree with you.. nothing really memorable here. It really started with MGS4 with the decline of “memorable” in your face music/ catchy theme songs. It seems to be more theatrical using more classical instruments and ambient BGM. Again, not bad but not the same feeling. I can’t really connect with the music this way.

  • chiffmonkey

    Noboyoshi Sano looks surprisingly like David Hayter.

  • turkishgamer35
  • PrinceHeir

    For some reason i think i’ve seen this somewhere before. I think i’m having some Deja vu right now XD

    Japan has always have amazing music and even better than most western games nowadays.

    I just finished Resident Evil Revelations just now, and wow the final battle theme was freaking good!

    It’s these little things that help makes the game even more immersive than just graphics and artstyle.

    I hope Phantom Pain would have a better OST compared to Ground Zeroes. Not really a fan on what i hear from Ground Zeroes for now and there’s no memorable themes aside with that sound when you finished a side mission.

    • They showed the foley stuff at Kojima Station before, maybe that’s why you already feel like you saw it: http://www.metalgearinformer.com/?p=14246

      About the music in GZ, there are some great tracks, like the instrumental version of Paz’s song (Love Deterrence), but of course the game is short compared to other MGS games, so TPP should have a lot more memorable songs. What we have heard so far sounds promising: the two tracks in the E3 2013 trailer (one of which, of course, being Sins of the Father) and the music that plays when Snake and Ocelot enter Afghanistan on horseback are some examples that sound great.

      • PrinceHeir

        Yup that’s the one!

        Well to be honest, i didn’t hear much of the Ground Zeroes since i decided to use custom OST instead XD

        Yeah the horseback clip was awesome. I just wish the alert theme was something memorable. There’s something missing for some reason.

        This is the alert theme i’m using ^^

        • Big_Boss88

          Nice alert theme Prince 😀 !
          When PS4 will be getting mp3 support, this will be my alert theme :3 —>

  • no_fox

    Wow, this video is insane good!

    I’m playing Tekken since T3 and i do have the whole Tekken Soundtrack Collection (from all Tekken Games) as CDs here at home and of course from all MGS Games!
    Thank you so much for showing this video!

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