Mario Galaxy Composer Working on Zelda: Skyward Sword

By Jorge Ba-oh 26.05.2011 14

Mario Galaxy Composer Working on Zelda: Skyward Sword on Nintendo gaming news, videos and discussion

Nintendo composer Mahito Yokota has been confirmed as the chap who has worked on Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Skyward Sword.

Yokota was one of the composers who crafted your favourite tunes alongside Koji Kondo in both Super Mario Galaxy games. He also penned trailer music for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess which, despite being absent from the game itself, had a positive response from fans around the world.

In the 3DS version of Ocarina of Time, he's been remastering the soundtrack - some of his work emerging in a recent trailer for the game. It's a loose translation from the Iwata Asks Japanese interview, which is likely to do with adapting the original sound to the 3DS hardware as in the build we tried; there wasn't any re-recorded/orchestrated music.

In more exciting news, Yokota as been hard at work as part of the music team for Nintendo's latest Legend of Zelda adventure for Wii out later this year, Skyward Sword.

For those unfamiliar with his work, or wanting a slice of aural bliss, a selection of compositions from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess trailers and Super Mario Galaxy:




Box art for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword





Action Adventure



C3 Score

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Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (28 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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Wait a second.

Does this mean that Koji Kondo handed the reins over to this guy? Or is he working alongside him? No Kondo-sama would be a complete tragedy, and could easily destroy the game.

Like video game music?!
Do a Barrel Roll!<

I don't know if that's the case but it doesn't instantly mean it's gonna be a disaster. Nobuo Uematsu left Square Enix and Masashi Hamauzu did a great job on FFXIII.

If they've entrusted this responsibility to Yokota, then that means they have faith in him and have already been impressed by his work. Hopefully we'll hear more, literally, at E3.

Red XIII said:
Wait a second.

Does this mean that Koji Kondo handed the reins over to this guy? Or is he working alongside him? No Kondo-sama would be a complete tragedy, and could easily destroy the game.

Yokoto-san is being groomed as Kondo-san's successor. I don't know, but Kondo is likely to be supervising at the very least.

I hope he creates another classic like his last, he was personally responsible for Gusty Garden / Wind Garden in the original Galaxy.

3DS Code 2578-3122-0744

Possibly the best news ever for someone who absolutely loves The Legend of Zelda and videogame soundtracks. If it's anything like his music in the recent trailer, my life is going to be complete. Smilie

I agree with Squidboy, it really looks like Mahito Yokota is going to be Koji Kondo's successor. I suspect that we might see a similar situation like with the Galaxy games. Yokota-san is taking care of most of the soundtracks in the game while Kondo-san is supervising everything and making a few pieces himself.

Even though it hasn't been absolutely confirmed yet, with Yokota-san working on the soundtrack for Skyward Sword we can almost safely assume that it's going to be orchestrated. Smilie

Red XIII said:
Wait a second.

Does this mean that Koji Kondo handed the reins over to this guy? Or is he working alongside him? No Kondo-sama would be a complete tragedy, and could easily destroy the game.

Why would it? If someone else can do a better job than him, then I would pick that person.

After the sublime Galaxy soundtracks, I have more faith in Mahito Yokota producing a better soundtrack for Skyward Sword. In fact, if Kondo was doing it himself, I bet it would be midi again.

As others have said though, Kondo will likely be supervising and might even write some pieces too.

( Edited 27.05.2011 09:05 by Marzy )

I think Zelda needs a shake-up. Ocarina of Time crafted some new tunes (remixing/rearranging some of the old), but since then it's been rehashing the old stuff into mixes, which is good, but hardly any real standouts.

The only ones that I can remember offhand are Faron Woods, Midna's Desperation from TP and Dragon Roost from WW.

Zelda needs what Mario Galaxy got in terms of newer composers bringing in their own influences and styles, without detracting too much from the main image.

I hope SS does to Zelda what Galaxy did for Mario as I'm really not excited for it in the least.

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

I'm saddened by some of these responses!

Do a better job than Kondo? He has been with this series for longer than I have been alive! The Zelda theme is just as important as Link's hat in my opinion. The music of the series holds it together just as much as the other recurring elements that we love.

Masashi Hamauzu cannot hold a candle to Uematsu. The FFXIII soundtrack was fine, but the idea of motif is completely gone. There are hardly any memorable melodies at all. The music is just ambiguous atmosphere that fits the general mood of what's going on. It gets the job done, but it doesn't pull at my heartstrings like something such as "Dear Friends" or "Terra."

The charm of videogame music seems all but gone and everything is pushing for these grandiose, Hollywood-orchestral, film-score style game soundtracks, and I think they really suck. Think about how much charm a game soundtrack like Turtles in Time for the SNES/Arcade had. Or even DuckTales for the NES.

I don't want to sound like a crotchety old fart, but I am worried. Seeing literally my two favorite game composers leave my two favorite series is a very saddening thing. Uematsu's departure was a noticeable detriment to the series, although Final Fantasy has taken several other downturns since then anyways.

I greatly enjoyed Yokota's work on Galaxy. It fit the game so much. But I like the Super Mario 64 soundtrack at least 10x better. It has so much more charm. It's sometimes funky, sometimes eerie, and everything is catchy and memorable. As much as I love to listen to it, I could not hum you back one melody from Mario Galaxy. It's just not memorable like before. It's too thick, ambiguous, and trying to be Hollywood.

And now for the almighty Zelda series, the one that could never fail me (until Spirit Tracks), is going to lose it's bandleader as well? I'm shocked that more people aren't bothered. I'm sure I'll still love Skyward Sword, but I have a strong confidence that there will be a hole in the experience for me. :/

( Edited 27.05.2011 17:27 by Red XIII )

Like video game music?!
Do a Barrel Roll!<

It depends on the type of game it is. Orchestrated music would just perfectly suite a Zelda game. Older games like you mentioned suit chiptune styled music and there's room for both. It not like we've had loads of Nintendo games orchestrated either, so it felt sort of new with Galaxy.

Most people also want a lot of change to the next Zelda and a different composer might bring something new to the table, music wise.

You also have to remember it's not just Kondo who has worked on previous Zelda soundtracks. The Wind Waker had some very reputable composers from Nintendo that worked on it, like Hajime Wakai. The Wind Waker had a superb soundtrack and it's easily my joint favourite Zelda game, along with Ocarina of Time.

( Edited 27.05.2011 18:19 by Marzy )

I admit FFXIII's OST doesn't quite have as many memorable tracks as in previous games but there are a lot of greats in there that Nobuo would be proud of. Hamauzu also composed a fair few of the best tracks of FFX - Besaid, Challenge, Wandering, Servants of the Mountain, Final Battle, The Burning Sands, and co-composed others. Have a relisten on YouTube and you might be surprised (I didn't know he did them, but this now puts him high in my book). With FFXIII on top of that, I feel he's got a talent of producing beautiful music. Of course it's a loss to FF that Nobuo is gone, but I think Hamauzu is more than capable of living up to the high standards the series demands.

(Edit: That's if he returns. Just found out he's freelance now. S-E have different composers working on Versus XIII and Type-0, so looks like they chop and change with each game at the moment.)

But that's detracting from the news article. Kondo has done a fantastic job over the years but there's no need to panic when something like this happens. And like others have said, people crave change in Zelda. It's badly needed. This could be an indication that more than just the music is going to change. To give others a chance at putting their ideas across could be the right step for the series.

Let's reserve judgement for when we start to hear some tunes though.

( Edited 28.05.2011 01:59 by Azuardo )

I'm still not quite sure how much we're going to see at E3 actually considering that they want to keep the hype as low as possible, even if it leads to some people not being interested in the game at all for now.

I was thinking about an epic story trailer with our first good look at the main world and the storyline coupled with an epic new orchestrated piece like in the Japanese launch trailer for Ocarina of Time 3D but would that create too much hype? (that is, if people are still giving the game a chance)

It's interesting to see how jb mentions that there were hardly any real standouts since Ocarina of Time because I think almost the complete opposite. Majora's Mask, The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess all felt distinctively different to me with their music, even if they had some old tunes remixed. Debating over it would be kind of pointless though because the music aspect of a game is highly influenced by our own taste, often even more than graphics or gameplay.

Anyway, the reason why I have faith in Mahito Yokota to deliver an excellent soundtrack for Skyward Sword is solely because he did such a fantastic job with Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2. It's not like Koji Kondo is completely handing everything to him just yet either, so I wouldn't be worried about that. There were many pieces that Yokota-san made for Galaxy which Kondo-san didn't like and/or thought that they don't fit the world of Mario, demanding from him to redo all of them. The same will very likely be the case here.

Generally, I think as development of games like Zelda is being passed on to another generation/different people we'll definitely start to see games feeling more different than before. Twilight Princess had many young developers working on such a huge project for the very first time and as time goes on they'll become experienced in creating Zelda games and eventually replace the older developers.

( Edited 27.05.2011 18:56 by SirLink )

Definitely don't want Kondo to step away from it entirely, but perhaps him letting other composers try to bring something new to the table (he can then mix it or tune it to the Nintendo standard).

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

With regards to shaking things up, there hasn't been anything at all like the Wind Waker soundtrack. It drew heavily on both native American and Celtic music and experimented with a variety of different styles and instruments. It's one of my favourite soundtracks in the series.

But what I want to say is that because the Wind Waker broke the mould in terms graphics, it had a lot of room to experiment with different music. And seeing as Skyward Sword seems to use a different art style then bringing in different composers to shake up the sound to match could work really well.


"Do a Barrel Roll!"

I agree quite a bit with jb and Angus.

Yokota did impeccable work with Mario Galaxy, and that was with Kondo's direction and discipline. If the project were to lose Kondo's supervision entirely, we could see a serious change in the overall feel of a Zelda game.

Yes, change is good. But look at the changes that Zelda has undergone over its life cycle. Improving technology will never cease to be the leading source of change in videogames. Yes, technology means that higher quality music is possible in terms of filesize/storage space, and that real recordings can be used as opposed to midi. But sound and production quality do not equal a memorable quality. That is up to the composers, arrangers, and yes, sequencers. Even though these "fully-orchestrated" games sound like they are recorded by a real orchestra, they aren't always. As graphical technology improves, so does musical technology. MIDI plugins are getting better and better everyday, and it would shock you to know some of the soundtracks that come out of keyboards.

I'm not trying to be pessimistic about Skyward Sword. Don't get me wrong. I have high hopes for it... although I do agree with trying to keep the hype low. Hype has been a disaster for many big games of the past 10 years. I just want this game to be great, as there is a lot riding on it. And I know that no matter what, I PERSONALLY will love it, but that doesn't speak for the far less die-hard fans than myself.

Like video game music?!
Do a Barrel Roll!<

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