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How the Streets of Rage composer got funding for his studio: he asked his mom

Heads up, devs: There's a really nice feature up on Polygon today about Yuzo Koshiro, the well-known Japanese game composer who's also been quietly making games his entire adult life.
"One of the things I hate the most — it's probably not just me; it's most composers in general — we hate being told that something we've written is no good: 'We can't use this.' So in order to have that not happen, it's best to have ground rules."

- Veteran game composer and Ancient studio head Yuzo Koshiro, speaking to Polygon about what to avoid if you want to make sweet music in game development.

There's a really nice feature up on Polygon today about Yuzo Koshiro, the well-known Japanese game composer who's also been quietly making games his entire adult life.

It's a fun read even if you already knew that Koshiro (known best for scoring games like Streets of Rage and ActRaiser) founded his studio Ancient at the age of 18 (along with his mother and sister) to make games for Sega, because Koshiro opens up about why Ancient is a bit of a family business.

"If you want to start up a company, you need investment," he told Polygon."You need money. I was around 20 years-old at the time, and I didn't have that money, so I looked for help from my mother. And, of course, if you want to have a company, you need to bring in employees. I didn't really want to have a company full of people I don't really know all that well, so it ended up just sort of being a case where I brought in my family instead."

He goes on to explain that he started Ancient (in 1990) because he needed a company so that Sega could feel comfortable cutting a deal with his team to make Sonic the Hedgehog for Game Gear. Ancient is still making games, all these years later, and Koshiro, his mother, and his sister all still work there. 

But while Koshiro still leads the company, he's best known as a composer, and later in the feature he shares some advice on how fellow devs can work well with musicians: set clear expectations and ground rules.

"When I'm working on a soundtrack, having some direction is always better," he told Polygon, explaining that most composers hate to be given free rein to make something, then be told it can't be used and thus is no good. "It's best when you don't have complete freedom."

You can (and should!) read the rest of his comments in the full Polygon feature.

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