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The full scope of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s score lies somewhere in the hundreds: hundreds and hundreds of songs. We, as the public, generously received no less than 3 officially sanctioned releases for MGSV; the tally of compositions when added together amounts to almost 200 tracks. It is likely, however, that this number does not even come close to encapsulating the entire spectrum of work done by lead composer Ludvig Forssell. Forssell and his collaborators’ (Daniel James, Justin Burnett, Harry-Gregson Williams, Akihiro Honda, and Donna Burke) outstanding collection of music caught the attention of the entire gaming community, including

The album impressed us so much that we awarded it our number one record of 2015. It was with this in mind that I went out to meet with Ludvig Forssell one very late April afternoon. In our conversation, Forssell detailed the extraordinary genesis of sound  found within the world of MGSV: the gritty, spectacular vision, the joys of collaboration, and the countless times he spent performing as an 80’s new wave superstar, as seen in Metal Gear Solid V: The Lost Tapes. Today, Sumthing is honored and pleased to bring you composer Ludvig Forssell.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V:Ground Zeroes: Camp Omega


SEMW: I’d like to begin by talking a little bit about Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. My approximation of the sound of Ground Zeroes is that of a very pregnant dusk. Where does the music of the world of Ground Zeroes exist in your head? How did you separate that universe from the one that exists in The Phantom Pain? Are there key elements you wanted to emphasize? Were there particular tones you thought best described trudging through Camp Omega?

Ludvig Forssell: Well, while we already had a very clear idea of what we wanted the music in The Phantom Pain to be and stand for, the approach to Ground Zeroes was more of a checking the waters with a more wide array of ideas kind of an approach; did we want it to sound reminiscent of the music of Peace Walker or did we want something more foreboding as to what were to come at the end of that story line, leading into The Phantom Pain? In the end we went for something in between, with a hard focus on synthetic sounds to emphasize on the aesthetic look of a military prison camp in the dark rain. I would say that Ground Zeroes definitely focuses on a version of Snake that is close to the original in that he is still the hero from the old games, a guy whose actions will always resonate well with the player. So we let the central tone be way more heroic than that of The Phantom Pain. That being said, there is a sadness and a darkness lurking somewhere beneath; as if to hint at that undertaking the main mission of Ground Zeroes will ultimately lead to Snake and his team’s demise. This is something that seeps out bit by bit as you progress and find out what’s really been going on in Camp Omega.

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s lead composer Ludvig Forssell


SEMW: Withered Peace, and Bloodstained Anthem walk very delicate lines. Do they represent the coming duality present in the Phantom Pain? Can you talk a little bit about their creation in general? Both are amazing.

Ludvig Forssell: Withered Peace, The Girl’s Gone and Bloodstained Anthem were all born from one longer cue that I first wrote  to test out with the gameplay to see what would fit. On a side note, this cue was later reworked and released on the Extended Soundtrack with the name “Paz is Dead“. I wanted something that started out really, really, small and could build up as the player progressed further and further while carrying and caring for Paz, hopefully feeling more and more stress from the pressure of trying not to be found while at the same time feeling like they’re getting closer and closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. I wanted Withered Peace to give the player some insight as to how damaged Paz had become, how she was beyond saving, but still making you feel like you just can’t give up on her. I tried to convey this uncertainty with the unsteady pitches in the main synth leads and the track constantly changing form, making it hard to tell where it’ll go next. Bloodstained Anthem is where the player gets to just throw all caution out the window and do what they must, give their all just to save Paz from the forces of all of Camp Omega firing upon you. It’s as heroic as anything we wrote for all of MGSV gets, yet there is still a feeling of loss, a feeling of giving up on a “cleaner” version of yourself in order to complete whatever task at hand.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes: Bloodstained Anthem

SEMW: The enemy suspicion and alert cues found in Ground Zeroes are some of my very favorite across the series. I begin every new Metal Gear game by immediately getting caught, just to test what is coming from the soundboard. In Ground Zeroes, I was absolutely fine with being actively pursued by the enemy because I was able to hear your work. Can you tell me a little bit about the creation of these cues? What sort of methodology did you employ when trying to piece them together: soldier suspicious to soldier alerted to soldier in chase to soldier in search?

Ludvig Forssell: The approach for the main alert theme was very different from that of for example Bloodstained Anthem; during this phase of the gameplay you are not caring for anyone but yourself, meaning that you can tackle the onset of enemy forces however you like; try to hide, or just make minced meat out of anything that dares to get near you. With this in mind I definitely wanted something more “fun”, more focused on action rather than feelings. We had an idea of trying to keep the music sonically behind the rain at all times so my approach was to keep it very simple, with one main synth bass in focus that would drive the action. Adding the orchestral parts was mainly a way to stay true to the legacy of MGS, to give an impression that it was still the same type of a game.

As you avoid the guards and stay hidden the concept was very straightforward; for the music to bit by bit trickle down into something ambient and finally disappear. So while keeping each enemy phase’s music unique in order to alert the player as to exactly what the enemy was doing (losing sight of the player to checking the last area the player was seen to searching to just being on alert) each track is interconnected to sound like the whole situation gets a little bit less intense, loses rhythm etc.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes:Getaway


SEMW: The score for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is astounding in its sprawling scope. Rather than truncate these compositions, you’ve chosen instead to give everything a very wide berth. It works beautifully, and for me it harkens back to the feeling of the original Metal Gear Solid score. Can you trace from its origins your original ideas for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain? How long ago did you begin the process of actually committing your vision to tape? Is there something that you felt very strongly about in the beginning of production that fell by the wayside the more your work began to coalesce? I imagine your demo phase to have been exhilarating and wholly terrifying all at once.

Ludvig Forssell: The original basic concept for the score had already been put in place when I joined the team. The idea was to create a non-tonal, non-chordal and mostly percussive score almost devoid of melodies to give an impression of “reality” instead of feeling like “music” superimposed on whatever “real” situation you would find yourself in playing the game. The process of learning how to write this kind of music was very hard but interesting. Obviously, having over a year of experimenting (we must’ve gone through 5-10 iterations of the main phase music) before actually committing to cues that would end up in the final product, things came together in a kind of a hybrid version of that first idea and something new that had been birthed out of the experiments. Even though it is very subtle, there are things and small tricks in many of the cues that I don’t believe have been done before, ways of layering percussion and the use of sound design to create an original sound palette that augments the mood and all-around feeling of the game.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Allegiance Defined


SEMW: Collaboration played a large and intrinsic part in the making of this material, as does stylistic cohesion. Do you have any stories or anecdotes from those roundtable discussions that you would like to share, especially those involving your co-composers Justin Barnett, Daniel James and Harry-Gregson Williams? Was there a general consensus on the musical direction of the game? Was recording done together or separately, and HOW did you all maintain such a seamless performance? To what do you attribute that tightness?

Ludvig Forssell: I was lucky to be able to have complete transparency on the collaboration part of the project. Even though most of the work was done separately with me in Tokyo, Justin in LA and Daniel out in the countryside of England, they were never more than a quick message or phone call away so getting changes done or talking ideas was never an issue. Having Harry’s full support for the project was also truly honouring; to know that he approved of the new somewhat crazy directions we were taking with something that he originally created was reassuring and gave us all the more drive to produce something interesting and different.Although I was taking point and giving directions as to what the music was going to be and how we wanted different scenes to sound I was always astounded by the new cool ideas and sounds Justin and Daniel kept bringing to the table. With Justin’s deep understanding of ethnic instruments and percussion we were able to produce a very organic yet gritty sound and having Daniel provide sound design that was easily implemented into any track helped streamline the production. I feel really lucky having been able to work with such great people who picked up on the ideas so quick and made the whole process a joy.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Steel Embers


SEMW: With this in mind, can you talk a little bit about Burning Escape? Nine minutes is a risky endeavor for anyone to undertake musically, but you and Justin Burnett seem to not only shrug off the inherent burdens, but deliver something absolutely chilling. This goes for the entirety of the album: nothing is rushed and everything travels at a natural pace. You can sit inside this record and stew over its pieces for a good long while. I think you need that sort of duration of time: you need to live in it.

Ludvig Forssell: The whole sequence for Burning Escape was set and confirmed to link up as it did at a very early stage of production, I knew that I would be a long scene that starts out batshit crazy and just keeps escalating from there, towards the final climax. I figured there would be no way to just keep building all the way through because in that case you would have to lose some tension in the beginning and we wanted it to really go wild from the start. The only way to do it right was to have the “pauses” in between all the climaxes let viewer/player forget, if only for a second, just how crazy everything one second ago had been in order to give the impression of each scene constantly building in tension. Although the cue was originally written in 5 parts, with the 5th and final chase-scene written by me actually being the first to be written, I think we managed to connect them all into one piece of glorious destruction and mayhem, haha.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: A Burning Escape


SEMW: The themes that run inside Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain are ones of difficult subject matter; madness, isolation, and hopelessness aren’t easy things to surround yourself with for lengthy stretches of time. As a musician and composer, how did you go about reaching and capturing these lows? Where did you have to go to induce such an authentic recording?

V has come to is one of the most gorgeous compositions I’ve ever heard. Period! Most likely, it was a difficult piece to produce and came at some measure of personal cost. Can you talk a little bit about your working methods? What sort of roles do you adopt to achieve the music’s desired end? On that note, can you tell me about V has come to; how did that song come about? I feel like it is the unspoken theme song of Metal Gear Solid V:The Phantom Pain. Was it labor intensive or did it just come to you on some subway train to work?

Ludvig Forssell: One thing that I was told very early on when I had just joined the team was that there was an idea of painting this picture of Snake as someone the player would come to hate, to make the player question his own actions and choices within the game. Venom Snake is no hero, he is someone who does what he has to, no matter the cost. So this darkness was something that I felt crucial for the undertones and whole impression of the score. When trying out various approaches one of the things I found was melodies did not seem to lend themselves too well to this concept. So going with very simple movements and chords as a main part of themes was something I decided on due to this. The Phantom Pains Snake has two themes; V Has Come To and Venom (heard in Return etc). While V Has Come To (the somewhat more heroic one) is illustratingSnake’s will to do good, Venom is the theme playing the darkness that is constantly beckoning and pulling him and the Diamond Dogs deeper and deeper. As the game progresses Venom becomes the more and more prominent theme, but V Has Come To never completely disappears. Sometimes they’re intertwined as if to hint at an internal struggle within Snake.

V Has Come To as a theme itself was something that grew bit by bit inside my head. Even though it is a very simple theme I let it build slowly just to see if I really felt that it would fit or not so I’d be humming it while walking home from the station trying out different arrangements and instrumental layouts in my head. In the end I believe I wrote 2 or 3 versions of the song before the I got to the final version of it’s main appearance. Even with this version I was constantly changing and adding things because I didn’t feel it sounded the way I wanted it to for a long time until it was finally done.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: V Has Come To


SEMW: You have these sumptuous guitar lines that appear from almost nowhere in OKB Zero. You’re led into thinking that the song is going to play out like some frigid bombastic anthem, but then it swoops into this very visceral melancholy. Gorgeous! It’s one of my favorite songs in all of the Metal Gear mythos. Am I correct in thinking that OKB Zero showcases your preference to stay connected and up close with your creations: staying one-hundred percent hands on? I can see you through the duration of this score on your hands and knees tweaking volume knobs, strumming guitar chords…it feels very much like a live band playing this stuff and not you and a thousand piece orchestra. This feels gritty, invested, and very improvisational. Was this a conscious decision made for this score or is this your general approach to composition?

Ludvig Forssell: To put it simply, that’s how I’ve been doing it for so long now that that’s the only way I know how to work, haha. I wish I had a few more opportunities to have others help out but with this score I knew going in that anything I produced would be done basically from 0 to 100% by myself so recording percussion and guitars etc was something that I did while trying to focus on my own strengths as a musician and whatever new skills I could pick up quickly enough. All the recorded instruments or sounds (I did have some fun hitting cans and a variety of other trash etc) on my tracks were all recorded by me myself. By working this way I guess it was easier to just keep trying out things until I found something that fit instead of having to decide and then print out sheet music for players to record, maybe that allowed for some playfulness or improvisational feeling to be left in the end product.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V: the Phantom Pain: OKB Zero


SEMW: Action cues are a large percentage of what make up this record, and it goes without saying that few can match your fracturing intensity. Everything from Parasites, Metallic Archaea, Fortress, and I Am Skull Face play without a defined set of rules. You’re without boundaries here, and it feels quite dangerous. Your brand of discord is quite singular, and certainly it stands alone among the pantheon of action within Metal Gear soundtracks and action overall. Can you describe some of the ways you approach these types of sequences? Is there a method to nailing the symphony of gunfire? I am also incredibly curious as to the story of I Am Skull Face. What was it like scoring such a heavy and terrifying persona? In general, how do you compose for a character? How do you approach scoring for settings and backgrounds: I.e. a desert, a jungle etcetera. Do you have a favorite among the action compositions?

Ludvig Forssell: All the action sequences started from the percussion. For each of these cues the first thing I did was to make sure I built a base of non-tonal tension that would stand well enough on its own but would be taken to the next level by adding “something” on top of this. I think one good example of this would be Swift Judgement. Sometime’s I would spend most of the time writing a cue on finding a percussive sound or hook that sounded “new” and different. I think the approach we took was never too much in your face, the only time the action cues would build up to something that could be likened to other more normal “action cues” is when the enemy gunship would join the party, as can be heard in the latter part of for example African Battlecry. Like I mentioned earlier, the idea was to have the music be complementing the action and augmenting the “real” experience for the player and not imposing a feeling of “music in a game”.The track that became I Am Skull Face was actually written as an idea for the Moby Dick Studio viral campaign before it was ever assigned to the character. The idea was to have something that would be “horror-ish” and something that would switch up upon itself and change patterns constantly to lend itself easier to video cuts and editing. Afterwards I started to think about the patches and sounds that I had created for that track and it seemed to me that they would fit perfectly to Skull Face’s persona. The main synth line’s constantly bending and squirming rhythmic tone to me sounds like and gives the impression of maggots eating away at and corrupting the inside of someone. That’s the uneasy, queasy feeling that I wanted Skull Face to have on the player. Other sounds also seem to be mercilessly, ceaselessly tearing apart whatever humanity was left in the character to begin with.I tend to try to stay away from using a characters ethnical background or place of birth’s topography as a base for their personal themes, to me that seems like a cop-out that in many cases becomes stereotypical. This is also one of the reasons the music for the main areas in the game was never overly ethnic. I’d rather look at the personality of the character and find ways to convey their motives etc through the music. With one of the main themes for The Phantom Pain being “It is no nation we inhabit, but a language. Make no mistake; our native tongue is our true fatherland.” this choice seemed quite obvious.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: I Am Skull Face


SEMW: Let’s talk about Sins Of The Father for a minute. That was a HUGE moment. What was this collaboration like (with series mainstays Akihiro Honda and Donna Burke)? You wrote the lyrics, and lyrics are always hard to write. Were you confident with your initial drafts of the words or did you constantly second-guess every nuance? How did you feel after the song went viral?

Ludvig Forssell: I think that after actually getting the idea of calling the song “Sins of the Father“, which is really where it all started out for me lyrics-wise, knowing what the lyrics were going to be about was fairly simple. I wrote 3 different drafts, all with slightly different approaches but only a little since I was so sure about what I wanted to talk about in the song, and we held a presentation and basically ended up going with the one version I felt the best about. Sure, there were parts that were hard to figure out but I think as long as the concept is distinct enough the lyrics will come to you.

It felt great to have that song out there, in a way it really was the first thing we got to show off so it basically was the start of the building up towards the end goal of releasing the game.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Sins Of The Father


SEMW: Kept You Waiting Huh, and Afghanistan’s A Big Place jointly define Big Boss’s long awaited return. I REALLY loved your musical interpretation of him. Were there any particular traits about Big Boss you wanted to get across? At this point, he’s almost become the devil you know, merely stalling his coronation ceremony…what do you think makes him tick? What percentage of his remaining good did you choose to illustrate? Where did these pieces fall in production: were they the first, last or middle things you composed? Did that affect their makeup or change their sound?

Ludvig Forssell: As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to portray Big Boss’ journey from the start towards the end by having his two themes play out bit by bit towards each other. He is a man who wants to do good but he does not question the steps and actions that he deems necessary for the growth and continuance of his own justice, his Diamond Dogs. The hard part was to find chances to present these feelings and changes. Suffice to say it’s spread out throughout the whole score but in way that, once again, is not too explicit and in your face.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Afghanistan’s A Big Place


SEMW: The trilogy of pieces that make up Beautiful Mirage, Shining Lights Even In Death, and Disarmament are outright luminous. They’re human, vulnerable, and ardently void of sounding manufactured: they’re heartbreaking and powerful. These tracks bring the whole series full circle. Can you tell me about what specifically inspired these compositions? Did you ever feel that the weight of this series was too much to bear?

Ludvig Forssell: These were a couple of the very few scenes were I felt a more classic and emotional approach was called for. For me it was refreshing to have a chance to focus on these “purer” feelings that I got to channel when writing these cues. It felt like a natural reaction to do these much more sensitive cues after having done so much hard hitting angry stuff. Shining Lights was for obvious reasons very delicate and I really wanted to captivate to sorrow and grief but at the same time have it lead into a feeling of hope and looking on ahead. Using Snake’s two themes was the answer for this.With the Beautiful Mirage suite the musical direction was purposefully switched from that of the game as a whole. I wanted something that would surprise the player and make you question what was going on. This made the cue a whole lot of fun to write since I did not have to abide by any of the laws that I had previously set up for myself for the game’s score, haha.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Beautiful Mirage-An Unexpected Visitor


SEMW: Back in December, digital music outlets released Metal Gear Solid V: Extended Soundtrack, which encompasses almost 6 hours of music from The Phantom Pain. It feels like you’ve set a new precedent, since access to this amount of in-game music rarely ever gets the green light at retail. I feel quite literally that everything in–game  is represented here. It was an extravagant present that I never expected, but ABSOLUTELY wanted. For you, what are some of the more critical, central pieces and themes that are present here but absent from the initial release? How does the breadth of this material, in your opinion, foster a deeper more intimate connection with the player to the world of The Phantom Pain?

Ludvig Forssell: To release the Extended OST was entirely my own idea, I felt like there was so much that we just couldn’t fit in the original release and I’d been seeing people online asking for certain cues and wanted to accommodate those wishes. Seeing the amount of music that was released on this edition I hope it also helps people understand why we just couldn’t fit everything into the first OST. I was originally really hoping to be able to fit the whole Beautiful Mirage suite into the original soundtrack but I ended up using the two plot-wise main parts of it. The cue I think I saw most people asking for prior to the extended OST was probably Behind the Mirror or Venom, which was left out to leave room for Return which features the same motif/theme, even though both Venom and Behind the Mirror are part of scenes pivotal to the game’s story arch. So it felt really good to be able to provide this “missing puzzle piece” to give a definitive view into the game.Also, the extended OST gave me a chance to give the players a taste of some stuff that never found it’s place in the game. With the sheer length of it and also fun parts like that I wanted album as a whole to feel like a bonus, for the fans.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V: Extended Soundtrack: Behind The Mirror


SEMW: This release includes music used for the cinematics of The Phantom Pain as well as a wealth of music heard in the trailers. How did you find scoring for the more abbreviated trailer pieces? Take for instance Venom, which was the accompaniment for the TGS 2014 trailer, or Nine Years taken from the secret ending trailer of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Were you focusing on scoring single visual cues that you felt were interesting and then paring away the excess, or was the process no different from the proper cinematics. Did you have a preference for either?

Ludvig Forssell: I would say that for this game, the trailers that we actually wrote music for had approaches that were very close to that of the cutscenes in the game. This due to that they mostly were straight up cut scenes from the game, and usually not laid out and cut up in the usual “trailer” manner. With Venom, I first wrote the version for the 2014 TGS trailer and then added the other parts for the full scene in-game at a later stage, at this point however, I had to pull the tension at the end down to make it work better with the mood of the game and not have it be “trailer”-ish. I then chose to bring this “trailer ending” back for the OST, pretty much just because I deemed it more fun to just listen to, haha. There was actually quite the amount of work that went into doing things like that and to also have tracks that were originally loop-tracks “end” since I absolutely did not want to just fade them out.I remember writing 9 Years as something I really enjoyed since it was the first time I got to showcase the first of Snake’s themes. I would go as far as to say that it might even be the part of Ground Zeroes I am most proud of.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V: Extended Soundtrack: 9 Years


SEMW: There are equal representations of both the more ambient sound of The Phantom Pain, and the more confrontational sound found on this extended recording. Songs like Snails, Honeybee, Factory Grounds and The Humming Sniper, play with a very delicate balance of subdued restraint with scant flourishes of color: subtlety without complete silence. Scores, in general, have a tendency to lighten their sound to the point of muted disengagement, but your work here stays invested in the task; it remains a compelling listening experience even at its most minimalist.  Where do you draw from, artistically, when asked to display such restraint, and how do you determine when to raise and lower your onscreen presence?

Ludvig Forssell: To be honest, I’m not sure, haha. Especially since by the end of the project I had written so many of these cues that I could basically do it in my sleep, hahaha. I will say that going through the process of writing these for the game I really became aware of sounds and ways to use them that I had never thought of before. Even though you’re not working with tonality but rather with the raw sound or timbre of something the process of writing stays quite the same; I don’t personally necessarily believe in following rules when writing music, I like to focus more on intuition and hearing in your head whatever you want to hear next in the track. Even though I can’t say that I’m good enough musician to improvise out whatever I hear in my head and write that way with normal music that would be great to be able to do one day, because that’s what it felt like writing most the ambient cues.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V: Extended Soundtrack: Honeybee


SEMW: Let’s talk about The Lost Tapes release, a compilation disc of most of the cassette tapes found within The Phantom Pain. The 80’s sound is an obvious cornerstone, and you play it like a artist possessed!  Can you tell me a little bit about how you approached this side of the project, as I’m sure it came with a completely different sort of methodology? Can you tell me a little bit about the equipment you used ( I.e. long decommissioned synths, etc.) ? Defiance, Beyond the Drapery, How ’bout them zombies, Dormant Stream, 204863, and A Phantom Pain constitute the best EP of an alternate 1984 that should have been released in 1984 proper. It’s really strong stuff. What was the best part of this side of your Phantom Pain scoring duties?  And…I have to ask, what is your favorite song from this bunch? Beyond The Drapery gets me every time, but yesterday, it was Defiance.

Ludvig Forssell: The Lost Tapes was an absolute delight to be able to do while writing all the “serious” music in the game. To be able to, I suppose relax and focus more on fun and 4th wall-breaking ideas. I only regret that I didn’t have time to write more of these songs (I had concrete ideas for quite a few, including a “Diamond Dog Crew” rap anthem which even had finished lyrics). To basically have absolute freedom of genre is something that composers rarely get so coming up with stupid ideas really made it such a joy.

I guess you could say that my background is more towards rock/pop etc music rather than what I’ve been writing for the most part of my professional career so in a way for me it was like going back to my roots. Now I won’t say that I’m anywhere near good enough to be a professional singer (did my best to cover that up, haha) but writing band-stuff feels pretty natural to me.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V Original Soundtrack: The Lost Tapes: Defiance


Ludvig Forssell: A bit of trivia on a few of the tracks;

Different State was written to be put in the game as a cassette but ended up not making due to being “too new sounding” which I totally agree with but I just liked the track so much that I wanted a chance to share it.

Dormant Stream was originally an optional track to 204863 (which is heard in a cult’s radio spot in P.T.). We ended up going with 204863 for the radio in P.T. since it fit the mood we were going for better.

The tracks That Itchy Feeling and The Guitar Says Hello are not featured inside MGSV but were part of the promotional radio-programs we did leading up to the game’s release.

When it comes to the equipment I really didn’t have access to anything that special, I made due with what I had which is primarily my main love; my Virus TI2 and for a couple of the tracks I also used a Waldorf Q.

I wouldn’t have put A Phantom Pain as the first track on the album if I didn’t think it the strongest track in the bunch, it’s also the most recognised one but I personally really like How ’bout Them Zombies Ey? which is why I put it last, to finish the album on a really strong note. Also, Defiance was written as a bonus, just for The Lost Tapes, it was fun to be able to do something extra for the fans and I hope people enjoy it and all the other tracks on the album.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V Original Soundtrack: The Lost Tapes: How About Them Zombies


SEMW: I’m curious: was music something you always wanted to do? What was the first record you ever bought, and who was the first musician to ever inspire you? Did you have a high school rock band? If so, can I hear it?

Ludvig Forssell: I wasn’t always sure what I’d be doing in music, at one point I thought I would become a musician but I always at least hoped that I would someday have the chance to pursue a career in music. That day came quite early and I’m looking forward to trying out more things over the years to come.I cannot remember which was actually the first album I bought, it might have been something by Metallica, I just know that for my first years of really listening to music on my own accord I was mostly into metal. That grew into heavier and heavier stuff and then for high school did a total u-turn when I started to get into jazz. From those days I’ve always been heavily inspired by Frank Zappa even though you probably wouldn’t notice that from MGSV’s score, haha.During school I played in a whole lot of bands… I guess the only one you could actually dig up some stuff from is my high school pop/rock/weirdness band called Trio med Bum-Bum. We used to have a myspace, hahaha.

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Ludvig Forssell also lives inside MGSV as the Shago Platoon Commander


SEMW: Are there any final thoughts or stories you’d like to share about your time at the boards of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain?

Ludvig Forssell: The whole project was such an amazing experience to work on; to work that long on something and to write so  many hours of music for project really makes it have a special place in your heart. I had so much fun working with all these amazing people and learned so much in the process. To finally have it be out and be well received millions of fans is a true honour. I couldn’t have done it without so many fantastic friends helping out and I enjoyed every part of the process.

SEMW: Thank you for sitting down with me today Mr. Forssell, the work you’ve done on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is something completely beyond measure. Our fans thank you, Metal Gear Solid thanks you, and I thank you from the very bottom of my heart. Here’s to you.
Ludvig Forssell: Thank you! It was fun to finally be able to go into some of the details regarding the making of this score. It makes me super happy to hear you and others enjoyed the score and liked what we set out to do! /From a dude who sold the world, but not really.

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Listen: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Exfiltrate The Hotzone


Support the artists behind the fantastic music of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Make sure to purchase Metal Gear Solid V: Original Soundtrack, and Metal Gear Solid V Original Soundtrack: The Lost Tapes from Metal Gear Solid V: Extended soundtrack is exclusively available through Apple’s itunes.