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Report: Konami Didn't Use  Metal Gear Solid  Theme In  MGS4  Due To Plagiarism Accusations
Report: Konami Didn't Use Metal Gear Solid Theme In MGS4 Due To Plagiarism Accusations Exclusive
December 12, 2008 | By Leigh Alexander

December 12, 2008 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC, Exclusive

The classic Metal Gear theme song has stayed fairly thematically consistent throughout each iteration of the Konami franchise -- and fans noticed its absence from the latest installment, Metal Gear Solid 4.

In an interview with print magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly, longtime series composer Norihiko Hibino explains why the familiar tune was left out of series creator Hideo Kojima's grand finale for Solid Snake:

"The truth is, Konami [had legal problems with] Russian composers who said we stole their music," Hibino told EGM.

A video on YouTube appears to show some Russian-speaking men presenting Hideo Kojima with a music recording whose melody bears a noticeable likeness to the Metal Gear Solid series theme. Kojima initially smiles, as if he believes he's being offered a cover rendition.

The men shown in the video then explain to an apparently perplexed Kojima that the tune they're playing is actually a classical composition described as a "soundtrack to Pushkin's verses" by Russian composer Georgy Sviridov.

They also say that the composition, part of a choral concerto called 'Pushkin's Garland' written in 1979 -- over a full decade before the first Metal Gear game debuted.

The classic Metal Gear Solid theme is credited to Konami composer Tappi "TAPPY" Iwase, who debuted it in 1998 when the Solid series began. The franchise took increasing stylistic liberty with the theme tune over its iterations, and while wholly absent from MGS4, the song made only a brief background appearance in MGS 3.

The incarnation largely best-known to fans appeared in MGS2, and while there are a few resemblances in elements of Sviridov's melody and thematic structure, it's hard to draw a definitive conclusion as to whether a true derivation is present.

Either way, Hibino told EGM that, to avoid legal issues, Konami decided not to use the familiar theme in Metal Gear Solid 4:

"They didn't [steal their music], actually. But Konami was too sensitive about the situation and just decided not to use that music in the game," he said.

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Ronaldo Fernandes
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I don't think it was intentional, but it is clearly the same theme.

jaime kuroiwa
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Wow. There seems to be a trend brewing here -- First Yasunori Mitsuda getting Rick rolled, and now this.

Marko Djordjevic
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If not mistaken, you can't actually plagiarize music because you cannot copyright melody. There are only 8 notes (A-H) and most music uses typically only uses 3-4 keys. Yes, you can sue someone if they take your written lyrics because that can be copyrighted, but if you could sue the melody then every 3rd or 4th song on the radio could probably be taken to court.

Matt Weaver
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WOW. Amazing... out of 6 BILLION people on the planet, imagine 2 songs sounding similar. It MUST be plagerism because 6 billion isn't alot, and no 2 humans think similarly.

E Zachary Knight
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@ Marko

You better tell that to the people copyrighting hundreds of musical scores every year.

Musical scores are just as protected as written lyrics as long as they are recorded in some fashion.

Jason Bain
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Way too similar to be a coincidence Marko. Listen and make up your own judgment though. I think any courts would call it plagiarism.

Of course some songs sound similar, but this, this is not similar, this is practically exact.

Gordon Miller
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That sounds way too similar to be a coincidence, it must have been the inspiration for the MGS theme.


Hate to disappoint you but there are only 7 notes ('H' doesn't exist), and your use of the term 'key' is at best confusing.

Gordon Miller
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Oop's I typed that reply too quickly ^^

I ment there are actually 12 notes in the western scale, but most tunes restrict themselves to a scale/mode that uses only 7 of them.

Scott Muir
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"H" does exist, it's just an alternate notation for B natural used in some parts of Europe (where B flat is just called "B".)

Brian Pleshek
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They may have just tried to keep it out of the courts. Even defending a winning lawsuit may cost more than it's worth to keep the song in.


flv converter for mac
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is Konami [had legal problems with] Russian composers who said we stole their music?

avchd converter
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Either way...

Kirill Yarovoy
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OMG, as musician myself i can state that this theme isnt plagiatrism, some notes match most not, Tappy probably heard this theme many years before he recorded his MGS 1 theme, also he probably was inspired by this them of Sviridov, but again MGS 1 theme isnt the same as Sviridov's its similar in few moments but not copy!

Too bad that our russian Igromania magazine become reason why this theme was excluded from MGS 4... (((

Also, to be honnest if you will listen careful MGS 1 theme you may find similarities even to X-files theme by Mark Snow (just similarities, because themes useses same notes on 2 octaves in different order).

And one more thing - if you will listen Sviridov's them at 2:03 you can hear something... something really familiar, something your heard in Star Wars!!!

YEah the Star freaking Wars! If you guys dumb enough to blame Hideo for partial similarity, why not u blame George Lucas for Star Wars themes, part of which are pretty same "plagiatrism" to this Sviridov's theme as MGS (but here not just notes match, but also archestral instuments? ))))

P.S. - there are not so many notes, harmony rules dont allow to use notes in random order and most of music themes consist of pretty same repetitive small harmonical sequences called chords, partial similarity of few chords coincidentaly connected in same order as in another song is usual thing in music and ITS NOT PLAGIATRISM, just a limitation of music rules and fantasy.

Sorry for typos.