Hello, everyone. I’m Iwata from Nintendo. We’ve talked about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D five times in this series of “Iwata Asks.” In our first discussion of the sound of The Legend of Zelda, we talked about the games’ orchestral music, but we left out the part about the Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony Concert in order to first announce it at E3. We’re including that part of the conversation between Kondo-san and Yokota-san of the Sound Group here as a bonus. I hope everyone will read it. Thank you.
May I also ask about the sound of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Wii console?
(happily) Ooh, can we talk about that, too?!
Today, we’re talking about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, but it’s also the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Legend of Zelda.
Oh, that’s right!
What are the main points with regard to the sound?
One of the characteristics of the music of The Legend of Zelda series is the background music with folk instruments. So not only the regular orchestral instruments, but we also recorded some folk instruments live.
Is there a particular key instrument, like the ocarina in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time?
Yes. It’s still a secret, though. Keep your ears pricked!
Kondo-san, how did you divide up the work for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword when it came to the sound?
The sound director is (Hajime) Wakai-san26. The core staff is a few people in the Software Development Department at the head office. And Yokota-san and one other person from Tokyo are involved. 26Hajime Wakai: Software Development Department, Entertainment Analysis and Development Division, Nintendo. He has worked on the sound for many games, including Star Fox 64, Pikmin, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Nintendogs.
I’m mostly in charge of the orchestral elements.
You are increasingly becoming our man in charge of the orchestra!
I am! I’m happy to be doing more of it. But at first I was just helping out when it came to orchestral music. I was only lightly involved.
Then the next thing you noticed, you were up to your neck in it?
Yes! (laughs) I was working along, and all of a sudden there were more orchestral songs than ever in Nintendo’s history. I had so many songs that I wondered if we could actually write the scores for them all! I recorded the orchestra too, and this time, as always, Kondo-san’s songs didn’t come until the last moment.
He pulled an all-nighter.
Right before recording?
Yeah. I stayed up writing music until morning.
Once I got them, I transferred them to sheet music, and went to record. When I was there, I asked Miyamoto-san if there was anything different regarding the orchestral music for Super Mario Bros. and that for The Legend of Zelda.
That’s an interesting question. How did he answer?
He said that an orchestra was more suited to The Legend of Zelda.
I see. I feel like there may be places in all The Legend of Zelda games where we could have used an orchestra.
That is true.
But I don’t think all the Super Mario Bros. games could have used an orchestra.
Especially the Super Mario Bros. games in 2D.
The orchestra really fits the 3D games like Super Mario Galaxy, but if I were asked whether an orchestra was right for New Super Mario Bros. Wii, I’d probably have to say no.
It wouldn’t fit.
I suppose that’s what Miyamoto-san meant.
I suppose so. Actually, when listening to past music for the Legend of Zelda series, there were several songs that I wanted to arrange for an orchestra. I chose some I liked and put them in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Ah, I knew you would! (laughs)
Yeah, I did. (laughs) And when I did, I was glad we had recorded live.
That was amazing. When real musicians perform...
I’d love to hear them live, too. And isn’t there talk of doing that? As one of the events for the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Legend of Zelda?
How is that shaping up?
Aonuma-san was thinking about events for the twenty-fifth anniversary and suggested a concert for The Legend of Zelda.
We did a lot last year for the twenty-fifth anniversary of Super Mario Bros., and we want to do something new for the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Legend of Zelda.
That’s right. As the orchestra really fits The Legend of Zelda, we decided to hold The Legend of Zelda twenty-fifth anniversary orchestral concerts.
In fact, I’ve actually been saying I wanted to hold a The Legend of Zelda concert ever since I joined the company. I keep getting turned down, but it finally becomes a reality on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary. Kondo-san, you’ve also been saying for some time that you want to do an orchestral concert, haven’t you?
Why couldn’t you until now?
They said it wasn’t our “main business”! (laughs)
Oh, as in, “That’s not what we do. Go and make some fun games!”
That’s the way it goes. (laughs)
But if Nintendo were going to hold a concert, I wanted to do something unique. So for one year, I plan to be steeped in The Legend of Zelda again.
Just when you thought you were free from The Legend of Zelda, further days steeped in it await.
I want to be involved in it though.
You can’t stand to see someone else do it. (laughs)
I’m not sure whether I could stand others to do it or not, but I wouldn’t be able to keep my mouth shut! (laughs)
I doubt speaking up would be enough for you. You would have to get your hands on it! (laughs)
(laughs) You’re right, I’ve got particular songs in my head that I want to have an orchestra play.
You’re already thinking about it? (laughs)
Uh, yes. (laughs) I hope you’ll come listen to the concert on October 10. (Editor’s note: This is for the Japanese date of the concert. Dates for other regions are TBD at the time of this interview.)
If at all possible, I will. Nothing compares to hearing live music!
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