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Norihiko Hibino and Metal Gear Solid
Interview by Squaremusic

Squaremusic : When did you join Konami ?
Norihiko Hibino : August 1999.

SM : How much time did you spend on the music of Metal Gear Solid 3 ?
NH : I started composing main theme from the beginning of 2003. For in-game music and cut scenes, I started composing from April 2004. Between that time I did MGS Twin Snakes, and Boktai series.

SM : How did you work? Do you watch pictures of the game first or do you have to imagine the context thanks to scenario or storyboards?
NH : For in-game music, I don't start composing until I could watch the screenshot of the stage, even though I could already see scenario and storyboard. That is because I never know the "color" of the stage is really like until I do that.

SM : How much Hideo Kojima influence the way you create music? Are you free while composing?
NH : He wants me to make music like Harry does most of the time. Melody, instrument, arrangement are totally my choice but the style must be somewhat like "typical hollywood action". In that way I'm not really free. I can be free on the some other stuff than game itself, like 60's songs or snake eater (abstracted camouflage), etc.

SM : How did you collaborate with Harry Gregson-Williams? Were you able to meet him?
NH : I met him a couple of times since MGS2, and basically we work through email and FTP. I send him song request way before the scenario is up. It was like "Escape scene, somebody is chasing...". He composes a couple of different type of songs, and once the songs are done after a couple of retake, Alan Meyerson, who is famous hollywood mixer, mixes them into 5.1 session. And I combined them up and add some music for cut scenes.

SM : In Metal Gear Solid series, some musics are made of transitions (between alert, evasion and caution modes). Is is hard to create such complex tunes with flawless transitions?
NH : Yes in a way, I'm doing this since MGS2. Songs (alert, evasion...) need to be exactly in the same size, same chord progression, and similar tempo. But it's fun!

SM : Who did the healing tracks of Metal Gear Solid 3? Are they people from Konami?
NH : That's me. I composed all and my friends played those, of course they are famous jazz players in Japan. I selected the artist name and song title as a parody of the music of '60s. And some people believe those music are really from 60's. That's also fun for me!

SM : Now that you've scored the three games (the first considered as Twin Snakes), which one do you like the most? Why?
NH : MGS3 is definitely the most challenging work for me, because in-game music is in streaming mode. I haven't done any of in-game music for Twin Snakes. I did cut scenes only. I personally enjoyed the Twin Snakes because there are less limitation toward music, and the story is more of humanity. And I need to tell you that it has been done assisted by other great composers in Konami. I composed 2/3 and rest are done by them.

SM : Did you work on Metal Gear Acid on PSP?
NH : I only directed the composers and I didn't composed at all.

SM : Can you tell us a few words about the music you've created for the two Zone of the Enders?
NH : I think especially ANUBIS (ZOE2) is a great game, and it should be evaluated much higher. Music is seamless between cut scenes and in-game. I only did some cut scenes (around ending) and anubis battle but other composers including Mr. Kakuta, who has done great job in Beatmania, did the great job too.

SM : Finally, are you working on game music right now?
NH : Not right now. As I said, I've started as a freelance composer. Of course I'll do music for games, but not only that, I want do some film & other stuff.

SM : Thank you Mr. Hibino.

Interview by KujaFFman (january 15, 2005)
Interview en français

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