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Mahito Yokota

Mahito Yokota Instruments: Piano
Joined Nintendo: 2004
Company Role: Composer, Orchestrator
Game Works: Super Mario Galaxy, Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat


Note: This biography was written exclusively for Square Enix Music Online by Chris and is under copyright.

Mahito Yokota has been the sole composer of the Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development Tokyo since 2004. He made his video game debut working as a sound director at Koei. He initially worked on 2000's Kessen and its sequel, reconciling the work of its composers, sound programmers, sound effects designer, and voice actors. He was also involved in the localisation and sound editing. He had a similar role on Crimson Sea, another ambitious and successful title in the audio department. With Dynasty Warriors 4 (aka Shin Sangokumusou 3), Yokota produced two mellow Eastern-tinged acoustic compositions and the rock fanfare "A Kindling Goal". His experience at Koei demonstrated he had the capacity to lead the sound production of and development group.

In 2004, Yokota was employed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development Tokyo, the fifth development team of the otherwise Kyoto-based development team of the Mario and Zelda series developers. Yokota's debut was the GameCube's Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat; he created a technically competent and musically exuberant score filled with colour, dynamism, and diversity. Immediately after, the Nintendo EAD Tokyo team focused entirely on Super Mario Galaxy's production for the Wii. Yokota initially struggled with the project as he focused on creating a Latin main theme at inspiration from previous scores in the series and approval of game director Yoshiaki Koizumi; sound director Koji Kondo dismissed the music because it sounded cute rather than cool, feeling Yokota misunderstood the ethos of Mario games and was slavishly trying to imitiate his own music.

Despite considering quitting his job, Yokota decided upon an orchestral score after much contemplation and eventual approval of a recording budget. He persevered to create 28 such pieces and was personally responsible for all the orchestration and overseeing the recording sessions with a 50 piece orchestra. The large-scale approach helped to portray the vastness of space and add to the excitement to the game. Taking care to maximise the interactivity of the game, Yokota persevered with programmer Masafumi Kawamura to synchronise the game's sound effects with the streamed music and asked the orchestra to play at various tempos to reflect Mario's pace. A significant amount of sequenced music was also created with an emphasis of adding interactivity and some of the pieces integrated past themes from the franchise.

The Super Mario Galaxy score was a large critical success. The music proved so delightful on a stand-alone basis that Nintendo commemorated it with two soundtrack releases. Music from the game has also been featured at PLAY! A Video Game Symphony and Games in Concert 3. As a result of the impression he made here, he was also assigned to arrange several orchestral pieces for Twilight Princess to fan's delight. Yokota also recently assisted the Osaka branch score Wii Music and was principally responsible for handling the orchestral compositions and arrangements. He is currently working on a new project at Nintendo EAD Tokyo, but its title isn't yet known and it may be a while till its release. Yokota has nevertheless made a firm entrance at Nintendo with his much celebrated scores to Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat and Super Mario Galaxy.

List of Game Projects

Year Game / Role Console
2000 Kessen (Koei)
Sound Direction / Sound Editing
PlayStation 2
2001 Kessen 2 (Koei)
Sound Direction / Sound Editing
PlayStation 2
2002 Crimson Sea (Koei)
Sound Direction / Sound Editing
2003 Dynasty Warriors 4 / Shin Sangokumusou 3 (Koei)
Sound Direction / Composition (Three Pieces)
2004 Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat (Nintendo EAD Tokyo)
2006 The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo EAD)
GameCube, Wii
2007 Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo EAD Tokyo)
Composition with Koji Kondo / Orchestration
2008 Super Smash Bros. Brawl
2008 Wii Music
Composition with Hajime Wakai, Mahito Yokota, Toru Minegishi

List of Covered Albums

Album Title Catalog No.
Nintendo Sound Selection Vol. 3: Luigi B-Side Music CN-P020
Super Mario Galaxy Original Soundtrack Normal Edition Promotional
Super Mario Galaxy Original Soundtrack Platinum Edition Promotional
Super Mario Galaxy 2 Original Soundtrack Promotional