Yes, I did. “But it already has a soundtrack?” you say. Yes, but I made a new one. I wanted to make music for video games, but how do you get someone to trust your abilities in doing it if you haven’t ever made music to a video game before? You start by making music to an existing game without being asked to, of course!
Me explaining the project for you in 12 minutes.
The full soundtrack. Timestamps are in the YouTube video description.
How I did it? I figured out how to make good video game music. How? The purpose of game music isn’t to make great music, but to make music that fits the game to make the game great, so to make a new soundtrack to The Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time, I had to understand what kind of game it is to its absolute core. I did a complete playthrough of the game, and tried to learn as much as I could about it. It’s hard to summarize what’s great about Ocarina of Time, because so much of it is created out of gut feeling by geniuses, but here is me doing it anyway (by listing the parts of the game that I think makes Ocarina of Time special):
1. Traveling through Hyrule Field, the huge field connecting all areas of the game. Here you roam freely and have control over your journey. It’s big, empty and time-consuming, which makes it feel like a real, boring world, rather than a video game where everything is aligned to your favor.
2. The story and the characters. It’s an epic tale of good and evil, friendship and growing up. The story and the characters you meet throughout the game actually makes the game richer of content the longer you play. Everything gets deepened with time, and at the end of the game I was fully immersed into the world and wanted nothing else than to save it.
3. Experiencing the game from two perspectives. You start as a child, and later play as an adult by travelling 7 years into the future. You can visit the areas and see what has changed, how people’s worldview has changed, and the camera is also a little higher up in the air because you’re taller as an adult. So you kind of experience the same game two times.
4. The music-centered gameplay. A central theme in the game is the “ocarina” item, which you play melodies on to solve puzzles and unlock new areas. Unfortunately, this concept gets thrown out the window by my new soundtrack, because I have made new songs to the situations where the music was originally based on the ocarina melodies.
5. Discovering new areas. Looking behind every door, talking to every single person, looking inside every single house and checking every corner of Hyrule Field, just to see if there’s anything new to discover. Sometimes there is, and you get that magical feeling of discovering a completely new area without having been told to.
6. Hanging out with Zelda. She’s mostly a character who’s talked about and seen in cutscenes, and seems to exist mostly to drive the story forward. So, when you get to run down Ganon’s collapsing tower together with her, it almost feels surreal. Then she watches you fight Ganon in the final boss fight and screams every time you get hit. This is made in a really powerful and well thought out way.
So, with all this in the back of my mind – plus an abstract general feeling of what Ocarina of Time is – I made a song for each area and situation in the game. It became a soundtrack with more than 50 songs and over 2 hours playtime. The result speaks for itself (I’m not sure if it says good things). Now, two months of doing the exact same thing all the time is over. On to other projects!
Do you want to use the music to your own game? Download the full soundtrack here.