Kenji Yamamoto (composer born 1964)
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Kenji Yamamoto (山本 健誌 Yamamoto Kenji?) is a Japanese video game musician working for Nintendo. He was born on April 25, 1964. He is notable for composing music in many titles of the Metroid series, mainly Super Metroid and the Prime trilogy. Yamamoto also plays a role as a music director at Nintendo, overseeing the audio for several Nintendo games. He frequently collaborates with fellow composers Minako Hamano and Masaru Tajima.
In development of Super Metroid, Yamamoto came up with some of the game's themes by humming them to himself while riding his motorcycle to work. He was asked to compose the music for Metroid Prime to reinforce the series' continuity. Metroid Prime's Dolby Pro Logic II surround sound was mixed by a member of Dolby Digital. Developers from Retro Studios noted how the process of fitting all the sound effects and music for Metroid Prime in 6 MB of space was crucial in producing a quality soundtrack, as each sound had to be of very high quality to be included. Yamamoto utilizes heavy drums, piano, voiced chants, clangs of pipes, and electric guitar. Metroid Prime 3 took advantage of the increase in the amount of RAM that took place when the series switched from the GameCube to the Wii; this allowed for higher quality audio samples to be used and thus a better overall audio quality. Yamamoto, who composed the music to Super Metroid and the Prime trilogy, copied the musical design of the original Metroid in Metroid Prime 3, by keeping the music and themes dark and scary until the very end, when uplifting music is played during the credits.
The music from Metroid and other games has been played by ensembles including Jenova and Minibosses. An orchestral arrangement of his music is included in PLAY! A Video Game Symphony that toured the United States and Europe and made its Asian debut at the 2007 Singapore Arts Festival.
In an interview with Music4Games, Yamamoto detailed his experience working on the Metroid Prime trilogy. He described his thoughts on the inclusion of themes from Super Metroid as well as his composition process and sources of inspiration. He intends to continue working on the Metroid series into the future.
|1987||Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!||Composition||Yukio Kaneoka and Akito Nakatsuka|
|1988||Famicom Wars||Composition||Hirokazu Tanaka|
|Famicom Tantei Club: Kieta Kōkeisha||Sound director/composition||Hirokazu Tanaka|
|1989||Famicom Tantei Club Part II: Ushiro ni Tatsu Shōjo||Composition/arrangement|
|1994||Super Metroid||Composition/sound effects||Minako Hamano|
|1995||Galactic Pinball||Director/composition||Masaru Tajima|
|1999||Famicom Bunko: Hajimari no Mori||Composition||Kozue Ishikawa|
|2001||Mobile Golf||Supervisor||Kenji Miki, Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka, and Koji Kondo|
|Mario Kart: Super Circuit||Sound support|
|2002||Metroid Prime||Composition/arrangement||Kouichi Kyuma|
|Metroid Fusion||Sound director|
|2004||Metroid: Zero Mission||Composition/arrangement||Minako Hamano|
|Metroid Prime 2: Echoes||Composition/arrangement|
|2005||Metroid Prime Pinball||Composition/arrangement||Masaru Tajima|
|Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes a Day!||Sound director|
|2006||English Training: Have Fun Improving Your Skills!||Sound director|
|Metroid Prime Hunters||Music supervisor|
|Excite Truck||Composition/arrangement||Masaru Tajima|
|2007||Metroid Prime 3: Corruption||Composition/arrangement||Minako Hamano, and Masaru Tajima|
|2008||Super Smash Bros. Brawl||Arrangement||Various others|
|2009||Excitebots: Trick Racing||Composition/arrangement||Masaru Tajima and Shinji Ushiroda|
|2010||Photo Dojo||Sound supervisor|
|Donkey Kong Country Returns||Composition/arrangement||Minako Hamano, Masaru Tajima, Shinji Ushiroda, and Daisuke Matsuoka|
|2011||Rhythm Heaven Fever||Sound support||Shinnosuke Kobayashi, Akito Nakatsuka, and Lawrence Schwedler|
|Pilotwings Resort||Music supervisor|
|Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword||Music director|
|2012||Kiki Trick||Sound supervisor|
|Brain Age: Concentration Training||Sound supervisor|
|2013||Monster Manor||Sound director|
|Mii Force||Sound director|
|Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D||Sound supervisor|
|2014||Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze||Music supervisor|
|Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS||Supervisor||Various others|
|Super Smash Bros. for Wii U||Arrangement||Various others|
|2016||Metroid Prime: Federation Force||Composition/arrangement|
- M4G Staff (2007-10-05). "Interview with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption Sound Team at Retro Studios and Composer Kenji Yamamoto". Music4Games. Archived from the original on 2009-02-28. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
- Fran Mirabella III (2002-11-11). "Metroid Prime". IGN. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
- "GameAxis Unwired, No. 46" (Digitized online by Google Books). July 2007.
- A Blast From The Past: Metroid Prime 3 With Kenji Yamamoto and Retro Studios Original Sound Version
- Portable Music History: Radar Mission Game Credits
- E3 2010: Kensuke Tanabe and the Metroid Palm Tree IGN June 17, 2010
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Credit Information GameFAQs
- : Credited works (in Japanese)
- : Metroid Fusion staff credits (Archived from the original on 2006-05-18)
- Interview with Music4Games
- Composer profile at OverClocked ReMix
- Kenji Yamamoto discography at MusicBrainz