Gregson-Williams gets into vidgames

'Metal Gear Solid' series opens artistic doors

When the videogame world came knocking on composer Harry Gregson-Williams’ door in early 2000, he was admittedly hesitant about getting involved in the business. “I hadn’t considered videogames before,” says the composer. “It hadn’t been on my to-do list at all, mostly because I had only recently really focused on being a film composer.”

But when the then-vice president of Konami Computer Entertainment Japan, Hideo Kojima, personally requested his work for the score to the sequel of his hugely popular “Metal Gear Solid” series, Gregson-Williams couldn’t turn it down.

“It presented an opportunity to slightly liberate some of the rigid disciplines of film composing I’d become accustomed to,” he says. “The music is driven by the story in a videogame — just as in film — but it wasn’t by anything visual that I was seeing.”

Unlike the process he had become accustomed to while creating a film score, Gregson-Williams was given minimal direction and no visuals for his videogame score debut, 2001’s “Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.”

“Little descriptions from Hideo Kojima would come down the pipe, and I would hold onto those for dear life,” he explains. “When I sent off my music, I was hoping to God that it was at least somewhere in the right area.”

He must have been doing something right because Kojima would recruit Gregson-Williams on the third and fourth installments in the series: 2004’s “Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater” and 2008’s “Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.”

The ongoing relationship between Gregson-Williams and Kojima has proved to be beneficial to both sides.

“I feel that approximately 80% of a game’s presentation comes from sound,” explains Hideo from the Kojima Prods. offices in Tokyo. “That is how critical the element of sound is, and the very reason why we entrusted the music of ‘Metal Gear Solid’ to Harry.”

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