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News Nintendo Nintendo Switch Videos

Grant Kirkhope Conducted a Donkey Kong Medley On Stage to Go with the New Mario + Rabbids DLC

Grant Kirkhope took the stage at Ubisoft’s E3 conference to conduct a brief Donkey Kong medley. While the music was being performed, a cinematic showing the new locales from the upcoming Mario + Rabbids DLC was playing up on the stage.

After showing a ton of battle footage, a release date of June 26th was revealed for the upcoming content. Season pass holders will get it a day early, on June 25th. It looks like fans of the strange strategy title have something to look forward to this month! Check out the performance above!

Source: Ubisoft E3 2018 Press Conference

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News Nintendo Nintendo Switch

Rumor: Banjo-Kazooie’s Composer is Writing the Music for the Mario-Meets-Rabbids RPG

We’re just a few weeks away from Nintendo’s next Switch presentation, and in the meantime all sorts of reports and rumors about the new device have been flying around the internet. One of the most surprising has been the report that Ubisoft is creating a crossover RPG between Mario and Raving Rabbids for the Switch’s launch, and today reputable Switch leaker Laura Kate Dale shared with us one more exciting piece of news for the title: its music will be written by renowned gaming composer Grant Kirkhope himself.

Kirkhope has served as the composer for a number of excellent video game soundtracks, including Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye 007, and the upcoming Yooka-Laylee, so having his name attached to this project would definitely give it a major boost in the musical department. Laura Kate Dale revealed the information of his involvement today on Twitter, stating that two of her sources have confirmed the information. She also references a recent tweet by Kirkhope himself, where he admits to having one unannounced project that he is actively working on; this could very well be the Mario X Rabbids RPG.

Laura Kate Dale has proven to have a pretty solid track record when it comes to leaking information on the Nintendo Switch, but as with many of her announcements made via Twitter, we’re going to treat this one as a rumor for the time being. We’re just a short while away from the Switch event, though, so hopefully we’ll have confirmation of all this and more very soon!

Would you be excited to get hear Kirkhope’s tunes in this bizarre crossover title? Let us know in the comments!

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News PC PlayStation 4 Retro Wii U Xbox One

Grant Kirkhope Discusses his Illustrious Career of Composing Video Game Soundtracks

Grant Kirkhope is a video game composer who is considered by many to be a living legend in the video game music world. Many of his most notable works came in the from of Rare’s lineup of games for the Nintendo 64. Banjo Kazooie, Banjo Tooie, Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark, and Donkey Kong 64, just to mention a few.

He is now composing for Playtonic Games and working in tandem with David Wise, the composer for the
Donkey Kong Country trilogy on SNES, on the soundtrack for Yooka-Laylee.

He recently sat down with interviewer Daryl Baxter to answer some questions. The interview opened with basic questions about how Kirkhope started his career at Rare back in the early ’90s. This quickly led up to a discussion of Rare’s golden age of games in the mid to late ’90s. Kirkhope had this to say about the era from 1994 to 2001:

“It was truly magical. Everyone there was so talented and just made great things. Tim and Chris Stamper worked really closely with all the teams and were always pushing us to do better, I really think those two were very inspirational to everyone that worked there.”

From there they discuss working on
Goldeneye 007, as well as the work that went into the Banjo-Kazooie soundtracks. Kirkhope also discussed some of his work on games in the mid-2000s, after the Microsoft buyout of Rare.

Lastly, the interview turned to
Yooka-Laylee and the sample track Kirkhope has already composed for the game, titled “Jungle World.” When asked about the tune, and what he has planned for the rest of the Yooka-Laylee soundtrack, Kirkhope said this:

“When I wrote that piece I really wanted to capture that Banjo-Kazooie feel so I kind of compressed every Banjo-Kazooie-ism into 2 minutes of music! I think I’ll be looking over my shoulder to the music of the past games but also looking forward to introduce some new elements into the music. After all, we’re not making a retro game, this is a brand new game but in the style of the older games … if that makes any sense.”

You can check out the full interview in the link below.


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News PC PlayStation 4 Wii U Xbox One

Playtonic Shares a Cool New Work-in-Progress Song for Yooka-Laylee

Playtonic Games has brought back two of the industry’s most loved composers to build the Yooka-Laylee soundtrack, and it shows. Grant Kirkhope and David Wise, both veteran Rare composers back in the day, are assembling the soundtrack for the throwback title, and they have been giving out peeks of their progress as they go. Playtonic recently let loose a new clip of a work-in-progress song tentatively-titled “Glacier World,” and is suitably frosty.

Source: Playtonic on Soundcloud

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News PC PlayStation 4 Wii U Xbox One

Grant Kirkhope Wants Yooka-Laylee’s Music to be Even “More Banjo-Kazooie than Banjo-Kazooie”

Yooka-Laylee, Playtonic’s spiritual successor to the classic Nintendo 64 game Banjo-Kazooie, will have music that is “more Banjo-Kazooie than Banjo-Kazooie,” according to the game’s composer, Grant Kirkhope. Speaking in a recent Metropolist interview, Kirkhope, who wrote the music for the original Banjo-Kazooie, said that the new game’s soundtrack was largely similar to its predecessor’s in style. So much so, in fact, that the Yooka-Laylee developers actually thought it had been copied from the first game!

“I’m going to make it more Banjo Kazooie than Banjo Kazooie! I want people to turn on the game and hear the first few notes of the music and just smile! Obviously there’ll be other elements to it but that’s where I’m at right now. When I sent the Playtonic guys the first piece for the Kickstarter campaign they were all going through YouTube listening to the music from the original games as they were convinced I’d copied something … but I hadn’t … heh! It’s sometimes difficult to come up with new melodies for my tri-tone oom-pah … but I’m trying as hard as I can!” — Grant Kirkhope

Yooka-Laylee has seen an unprecedented amount of support, with over £1 million pledged on its Kickstarter page in the first 24 hours of the campaign.

Source: The Metropolist

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Grant Kirkhope is the Most Popular Composer for People Under 35 in the Classic FM Hall of Fame

Many gamers know Grant Kirkhope as the man behind the music of popular Nintendo 64 titles such as Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64. If you follow Kirkhope on Twitter, you would know that he has been encouraging his followers to vote for him in the 2015 Classic FM Hall of Fame, which recognizes the world’s favorite composers.

It looks like Kirkhope’s campaigning has paid off, as he was the most popular composer of voters under the age of 35. Many Kirkhope fans are ecstatic that one of their favorite composers has been recognized so well, showing the public that there is much to discover in video game music.

Are you excited that Grant Kirkhope is getting this amount of publicity? What other video game composers do you think should be recognized by the public?

Source: Classic FM Hall of Fame

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Grant Kirkhope and David Wise are Composing for Project Ukulele

As many fans of Banjo-Kazooie are well aware, Playtonic Games recently confirmed that they were working on the beloved franchise’s spiritual successor. Playtonic announced today that long-time Rare composers Grant Kirkhope, David Wise, and Steve Burke are composing music for the project. Kirkhope is best known for his work on Banjo-Kazooie and Viva Piñata, while Wise has worked extensively with the Donkey Kong Country franchise. Burke composed the score for Kameo: Elements of Power and also did sound effects for Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts.

Source: Playtonic Games

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Edge is Featuring “Something Interesting” for Banjo-Kazooie Fans, But it Doesn’t Involve Rare

Longtime video game composer and ex-Rare employee Grant Kirkhope is teasing something that he thinks Banjo-Kazooie fans will like, but don’t jump to any conclusions. According to Kirkhope, the next issue of Edge magazine will feature “something interesting” for fans of the classic 3D platforming series, but it’s not a new Banjo-Kazooie game, and it’s not anything made by Microsoft or Rare. Given his background, it’s possible that this is a musical project of some sort, but it really could be anything, given how vague the hint is. What do you hope to see?

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News Retro

Banjo Kazooie’s Spiritual Successor is Dead

Before being acquired by Microsoft
around the time of the Xbox, developer Rare Ltd. created numerous
hits for Nintendo and their systems, including Donkey Kong
, Donkey Kong
, Conker’s Bad Fur
, GoldenEye 007,
and of course, Banjo-Kazooie
and its sequels. Over the years, many of the important heads behind
Banjo Kazooie and
Banjo-Tooie left Rare,
while the company itself went on to make the subtitled game Nuts
and Bolts
, which didn’t go over
too well with many fans.

one and a half years ago, composer Grant Kirkhope, artist Steven
Hurst, and one other ex-Rare employees got together to make a new
game, possibly through Kickstarter, that would be a spiritual
successor to Banjo-Kazooie.
Their “Mingy Jongo” Twitter account went quiet in December,
2012, just a few months after being registered.

just a few days ago, Kirkhope appeared on Reddit to take some
questions. One came up that he wasn’t happy to answer: the spiritual
successor is dead, before it even got off the ground. The composer
admits that they started working on a character and a demo level, but
the three of them split and had to find other jobs. Just
like that, fans of the collectathon genre lose hope. But, hey,
there’s always the chance Microsoft will let Rare do Banjo-Kazooie
again…if they can tear themselves away from Kinect
that is. Still, good luck to Kirkhope and Hurst at their new positions.

Source: NeoGAF

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Indie News

Boogerman Reboots on Kickstarter

Twenty years ago, a mucous-themed game came out on the Sega Genesis, put together by a team of people who are now all pretty well known names in the industry. On Wednesday, that team launched a Kickstarter campaign for an HD reboot in celebration of the game’s twentieth anniversary.

While a bit on the obscure side, the team behind the HD remake of Boogerman is an all-star team. Mike Stragey and Chris Tremmel headed the project two decades ago and have been in the business ever since, Stragey doing work for WayForward for much of his career. Between the two of them, there are at least eight big name companies in their resume. Award-winning writer Jordana Arkin will be doing all the word smithing, and most notably composer Grant Kirkhope of Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64 fame will be putting together the soundtrack.

If you yearn for the gross comedy of the early 90’s or just want to hear Kirkhope write some new songs, check out their Kickstarter.

Source: Kickstarter

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Retro Reviews

Throwback Thursday: Donkey Kong 64 Review

[Throwback Thursday is a series where we look back on games from the past in reviews, retrospectives, and more. We will have something every week for your retro enjoyment. You may even discover something new to love!]

Donkey Kong 64, the sequel to the Donkey Kong Country series made by Rare, recently revived by Retro Studios, sees Donkey return to fight the villainous Kremlings, led by the evil King K. Rool. The Kremlings are up to no good again, and decide to blow up DK Isle, residence of our furry friends. They try to capture Donkey and his friends Diddy, Tiny, Lanky and Chunky, but they fail to capture Donkey, who sets out to rescue his friends, collect Golden Bananas, and defeat the Kremling king.

When you step into the overworld for the first time, you can see that those awful Kremlings have parked their big mechanical island right next to your normal island. But, they have something attached. What could that be? DK decides to check it out, and it appears there’s a big, friendly Kremling in there, imprisoned by that monster that calls himself king. You decide to help the Kremling, called K. Lumsy, and you travel across 8 different worlds, trying to get the keys to his prison. That’s pretty much all there is to the story, if you don’t count small cutscenes between worlds of K. Rool having a breakdown. Pretty simplistic, but it works well enough.


Donkey Kong 64 is a big game. Very big. And playing with five different characters, it gives you a lot of stuff to do. From Chunky’s super punch, to Tiny’s twirling ponytails, there are a lot of ways to travel around and for different characters to reach different areas. You found a steep slope, but there’s something behind there? Lanky and his handstand will help you out. There’s something high up in the air, but you can’t reach it? Diddy’s jetpack is the way to go. Do you need to get into a teeny tiny hole? Tiny can shrink and fit right in, and even have a race with a beetle. So, like I said, there are a lot of ways to travel, and the areas are very big. Luckily there are fast travel spots that can take you right where you need to be, which makes the game much less frustrating than it would’ve been otherwise.

Collecting items is mandatory. You will want to get all the regular bananas you can find as they’ll help you get Banana Medals that you’ll need to finish the game. Not to mention that you’ll need to feed those bananas to a hippopotamus. That’ll get him fat, which will raise the pig on the other side up and lets him turn the key. It’s ridiculous, and it doesn’t make sense, but it’s hilarious.

You’ll stumble upon a lot of puzzles and mini-games that you’ll need to figure out to get those sweet golden bananas. These generally work very well, but there are a couple of mini-games that I never could win because the controls were so darn frustrating. The controls in the rest of the game are one of the best I’ve seen on a Nintendo 64 game. The controls are pretty standard for a platformer, but thanks to all that variety, the gameplay itself is very deep.


Donkey Kong 64 has the best looking graphics of any Nintendo 64 game I’ve seen, period. The worlds look spectacular, full of color and great lighting effects. Compared to the slow beginning of the game where you’ve only the empty hub to explore, the textures get richer, crisper, and more detailed. The animations for the different characters are amazing. When you go into a character selection barrel, you can see every character and you can see a little bit of their personality as well, with Chunky ironically as a bit of a coward, while everyone else just wants to jump right into the action. Enemies move very well, and the boss battles look gorgeous. I especially loved the battle with Dogadon, the literal “dragon”-fly. For a Nintendo 64 game, those magma effects look very pretty.


Donkey Kong 64‘s soundtrack, composed by Grant Kirkhope, is one I hold dear. When I played this game when I was little, I wasn’t too much of a fan, but I absolutely loved the music, and I still do. The music of every area is tailored to that area, so when you enter the first level, Jungle Japes, you truly feel like you’re in a jungle, and when you enter the second level, Angry Aztec, it is like you just entered a desert full of dangers. The boss battles have some of the greatest music I’ve ever heard, and I especially like the music in the second battle with the aforementioned Dodagon. The music in this game is absolutely fantastic, and it’s one of the things that make this one of the best Nintendo 64 games out there.

The Verdict: Awesomeness in a 32MB Package

This game is a definite must have. The only reasons why you wouldn’t like this game at all were if you didn’t like platformers or collecting items, which you’ll spend a lot of your time on. This is one of Rare’s last great titles before the company was sold to Microsoft, and it deserves to be in your gaming collection. There are a few flaws holding it back, like a frustrating control scheme during some mini-games, but you’ll most likely manage to make it through. I’ll have to mention this, though: if you want to buy this game for your dust-collecting N64, you will also want to get the 4MB Expansion Pack, as the game will not run without it.

Have you played this game? Did you like it? Share it in the comments!

Our Verdict
Donkey Kong 64
Great Music, Fantastic Visuals, Amazing Gameplay, Solid Experience, Badass Bosses
Clunky Controls in Some Mini-Games

Indie News PC Wii U

Final A Hat in Time Stretch Goal Revealed, Grant Kirkhope May be Composing Some More Music

A Hat in Time is an upcoming indie platformer that hopes to hearken back to the days of the vibrant 3D platformers of yesteryear like Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie. It’s being funded through Kickstarter and has massively outdone its minimal funding goal of $30,000, now having accrued over $200,000. Originally, A Hat in Time had nine stretch goals, ranging from developer commentary at $40,000 to “Hat Kid’s Spaceship Hub” at $200,000. But now the ninth goal has been reached, so what reason is there to keep funding it?

Well, I’m glad you asked. Once A Hat in Time reached its $200,000 stretch goal, Gears for Breakfast, the studio developing the game, revealed one final stretch goal. For every $15,000 after $200,000, Grant Kirkhope, composer for Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye 007, Donkey Kong 64, and many other classic titles, will write one new tune for A Hat in Time.

Grant Kirkhope is already writing one song for the game, but if you want to hear more from him, head on over to A Hat in Time‘s Kickstarter page and support this game, because, at the time of writing, it only has 66 hours left on Kickstarter!

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Articles Features Interviews Retro

Exclusive Interview with ex-Rare Composer Grant Kirkhope

Recently we had the pleasure of interviewing Grant Kirkhope, a sound designer best known for his work on the soundtracks to Rare titles from 1996 to 2008. Grant Kirkhope has since been nominated for several awards in composition for his more recent work on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which has gained him some recognition in the film industry, though many retro game fans still recognize him today as one of the geniuses behind games like Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Viva Pinata and GoldenEye 007.

During the interview, we discussed several aspects of his career and life, such as the closure of 38 Studios, Microsoft’s acquisition of Rare, “Mingy Jongo,” the current state of the gaming industry, and of course Mr. Kirkhope’s methods, opinions and future in sound design and soundtrack composition.

We crossed paths after you tweeted out our article “AAA Developers Are Causing a Market Crash,” where we mentioned how games selling millions of copies are being considered “financial failures” by their publishers. Seems relevant in your case, since you worked on Kingdoms of Amalur with Big Huge Games and 38 Studios, which went on to move 1.2 million copies in its first 90 days, and Lincoln Chafee’s response was “the game failed.” How does that kind of thing even feel when selling that many copies back in the old days at Rare and Nintendo made your game a “Player’s Choice” title? Seems like the industry has changed quite a bit over the course of your career.

It feels pretty bloody awful! The situation with 38 Studios/BHG was a complicated one that we just fell foul of. With 38 undertaking such a huge project we all kind of felt that we had a sword hanging over us and it was just a matter of time before it would fall.

When EA decided not to pick up Reckoning 2, we were surprised to say the least. One of the senior people in EA actually said we were the first million selling game in EA’s history that they hadn’t done a sequel to. Maybe EA could see problems at 38 and were concerned or maybe it was the guys at Bioware Edmonton (who were EA’s RPG stakeholders) that advised EA against a sequel… I just don’t know.

We did have a deal on the table with another major publisher for Reckoning 2 and we were working on it, but the problem was that Rhode Island was in the equation and if 38 was to fail, it would make any kind of BHG buyout problematic—plus RI would technically own the IP. Needless to say it was a disaster.

Things have changed so much now, it’s become very corporate with focus groups and market analysis etc… I think the indie guys are making games the way we used to: gamers making games for gamers. These people just make games that they want to play themselves with no one to say if they’re wrong or right or advise them on demographic or whatever… it’s working!

Curt Schilling and a few other executives at 38 Studios are now getting sued by the State of Rhode Island for some apparently shady ways they were handling the company’s finances and investors. Was the closure of 38 Studios something you and the others on the development floor saw coming, or did that whole affair take you by surprise?

I think we could all see it coming, but we really thought we could get out from underneath in time… we didn’t! Ironically, Reckoning is still selling…

Now, you’re currently working on Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, correct? How is that one coming along? Can you shed any light on what can we expect in terms of auditory themes in comparison to your past sound work?

We’re just about to start full production and it’s looking good. I’m doing a completely electronic score which is something I haven’t done since Perfect Dark. I’m really enjoying messing around with synthesizers, it really reminds me of my early days at Rare.

As far as current projects go, here’s something we know a lot of people are wondering about: Last fall, the @MingyJongo account on Twitter dropped that you and Steve Hurst were exploring the idea of a spiritual successor to Banjo-Tooie, but @MingyJongo has been silent for a couple of months now. What’s the status on this?

It’s sort of on hold mode at the moment. The trouble is that everyone involved has got another job and that work has to be done first. The reason we’ve not gone the Kickstarter route is because we want to make sure we can make something that will honour the first two Banjo games, as there are so many people out there that still hold them in high regard. We’ll only put a game out if we can make something great and not some half-arsed attempt to cash in on the popularity of the original games.

Recently, you also did work for Zynga’s Facebook game CityVille 2, which is very different than the types of companies and games you’ve worked with in the past. What was the motivation for taking that project on? What was it like to work with Zynga, and how was composing for CityVille 2 different from your past projects?

The guys at Zynga East are most of the original management team from Big Huge Games so when they heard that BHG was closing they asked if I’d like to write some music for Cityville 2. Beside the fact that I was out of work (heh!), I really wanted to do it, and then when they said they wanted live orchestra it was even better. I really enjoyed writing that music, it was very light and airy and was very different to the epicness of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I wrote quite a lot of that music in a hotel room as we were right in the middle of moving to LA.

You’ve received several awards and nominations for your recent work, such as Kingdoms of Amalur, but fans still tend to recognize you best for your work with Rare. Do you ever find yourself frustrated with this connection? Do you feel that this legacy overshadows your recent work, or are you proud of the impact your past projects left?

Of course not! For any artist of any persuasion, be that a writer, painter, composer or whatever to have even one person like what you create is amazing.

It’s been a bit strange since I wrote the score to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, I’ve started to get noticed by the movie score reviewers more so than the game guys. I think the nature of the music is pretty movie-esque and it’s kind of popped up on their radar. I’d love to write some music for a movie, so that’s been great to have been acknowledged. It’s also great that I can do games stuff too, I’ve been working on Desktop Dungeons with Danny Baranowski and that’s been great fun!

It’s no secret that Rare is no longer making games like GoldenEye 007, Banjo-Kazooie, or even Viva Piñata. Two years ago in a MAGFest podcast, you went on record saying that Microsoft “completely ruined” Rare. What was the transition from Nintendo to Microsoft like for you and your co-workers? How did Microsoft handle development in contrast to Nintendo, and in what ways did they drive away the talented and creative minds who made the company so special?

I think it’s taken Rare and Microsoft a long time to understand each other. If you look at the facts in the cold hard light of day, the two Kinect Sports titles have been the biggest sellers for Rare since Microsoft bought them, somewhere North of 7 million copies I think. You can see why MS would want Rare to continue making these games, or something like them.

Rare was a very special place when I started there in 1995, it’s hard to put your finger on what made it that way, I think I’d have to say it was all the original people that started Ultimate Play the Game, Tim and Chris Stamper, Marl Betteridge to name a few. They had already made great games and just had that magic touch. The Stamper family were great to work for, they always got the best out of us, when they began to have less to do with the teams and more to do with running a company that was growing I think we lost something. It was hard for us to make the transition to Xbox, we all thought it was going to go so well and then it didn’t…..

If Rare were still under Nintendo’s control, how do you think your career and your personal satisfaction would be different than they are today, and are you ultimately happy that you moved on to work on other games? If you had the chance to work for a Nintendo subsidiary again, would you take it?

That’s a good question. I think if Rare had stayed with Nintendo it would have been a return to form when the Wii came out. Can you imagine all those great IP’s on the Wii, it would’ve have been fantastic. I am happy I moved on, I felt like I had to. If I hadn’t made that choice I wouldn’t have got to work on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning which has got me some recognition in different circles than the norm. I’d work for anyone!!!!

What makes video game composition so appealing for you compared to film and other mediums?

I really don’t have a preference. I love to write music whatever it’s for!

When composing themes for a level or a character, how do you make your music reflect the personality or atmosphere? Actors are known to “get into character.” Do you have a similar process in composing music intended for a specific character or purpose?

Heh… not really! I just look at the character or area and think about how it might sound. I don’t really have any set way of writing music, I just mess around until I hear something I like. I haven’t got the time to sit around and wait for the golden hand of inspiration to give me a tune, I just have to work at it.

Banjo-Kazooie was one of the first games to feature multiple versions the game’s songs to play in conjunction with the changing environments within each level. For example, Treasure Trove Cove’s music featured a harp when players would dive underwater. Since then, several games have strived to create a similar experience, such as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and the many variations on its bazaar theme. Did you take inspiration from elsewhere or did you come up with this idea of interactive scoring yourself? If so, how did the idea come about?

When I first got to Rare and eventually ended up on Project Dream (that later became the first Banjo game) Tim Stamper and Gregg Mayles were the designers and they loved the Lucas Arts games, in particular the Monkey Island series. That game had the iMuse system that would fade the music depending where you were and they wanted me to do the same. That’s where I got the idea from. It took a little bit of messing around to get it working but it was great when it did.

Do you feel there’s a big difference between memorable melodies and songs meant to drive a story forward or feel more atmospheric in tone? If so, how do you prepare to compose these two types of music in contrast to one another? Do you ever find yourself having to consciously balance those two aspects, or does their union often come naturally to you?

I have to say I’ve always tried to write memorable melodies when they’re called for, I may not succeed but I always try. I think there’s a place for ambient music and melodic music in games and movies, you just have to pick your moment. In a movie it’s always the same, nothing can change so it’s easier to pick your moment whereas in a game there’s no real way of knowing what will happen next unless it’s a scripted event or cinematic sequence.

I think it’s inevitable that you approach things differently, it’s just something that you do without thinking about it after a while.

Game development and technology as a whole have drastically changed since you first began working in the industry. In what ways is your work different compared to the way you did things ten years ago?

The actual way that I work hasn’t really changed at all. I still write music the way I always have, the quality of the samples and the software is way better but the process is the same. The way I input information into whatever console is different but basically the same, I add samples to the console via some kind of middleware and add sounds to animations or levels, I add music to the same middleware and attach it to levels or cinematics. It’s the overall quality that has changed the most.

Before you started working for Rare, you were playing in heavy metal bands, which is a drastic stylistic difference from the game soundtracks most people know you for. Is that kind of music still a part of your life these days?

Heh… it is! I still like metal, I think the music that you like in your younger days stays with you for the rest of your life. I’ve always been a rock and metal fan and I think I always will be. I think that my experience playing in orchestras as a kid exposed me to those big epic moments where the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end, I found that metal could also give me that sensation too so it was natural that I gravitate towards that kind of music. I’ve mellowed a little over the years (I don’t listen to Pantera as much as I used to!) but I still love it!

You’ve hung out with Eddie Van Halen. You got your first big break in gaming working with adapting David Wise’s music to the Game Boy, and you got to record with The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. So you’ve already met some pretty cool people over the years, but given the chance, who else would you like to collaborate with on a project?

Hmmm… I’m not big on collaboration really in the sense that I actually write music with somebody… I think I’d have to say if I could get to be John Williams’ tea boy, I’d be more than happy!!!

And lastly, we have to ask, what’s the story behind “Oominaka?” Surely it’s getting about time to finally shed some light on that?

I’ve actually just confessed that when I joined the Game Grumps on one of their YouTube shows. Of course knackers are slang for testicles in the UK, so “Oo-mi-naka” means, “Ouch! My Knackers” …I had a slight problem in that area, shall we say, and Greg Mayles and I thought it would be fun to make it Mumbo’s phrase for casting a spell …. there’s so much stuff like that in our games that I forget most of it ’til I hear it again!!

You can visit Grant online at, and follow him on Twitter at @GrantKirkhope. It was a great pleasure to have this experience with Mr. Kirkhope, and we offer a huge thanks for his time. Best of luck to him in his future work; we can’t wait to see what’s coming next!

Grant Kirkhope sits down with Gamnesia to discuss the closure of 38 Studios, Microsoft’s acquisition of Rare, “Mingy Jongo,” the current state of the gaming industry.
Our Verdict