The Music of Breath of the Wild | GMTK Extra

The Music of Breath of the Wild | GMTK Extra

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Hi! My name’s Mark and this is Downloadable
Comment, which is what I’m calling these spin-off bonus videos where I get a chance to follow-up
my most recent episode of Game Maker’s Toolkit, and cover the same topic – but from a different
angle. In this one, I want to talk about the music
in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Because, while it does not have the best soundtrack
in Zelda history, there’s still so much to love about this game’s score. Now, each Zelda game has a very different vibe,
and Nintendo has always reflected this in the choice of music. Ocarina of Time is heroic. Wind Waker is optimistic. And Majora’s Mask is foreboding. So what about Breath of the Wild? Well, Link
has woken up in a ruined kingdom, all his friends are dead or missing, and he has lost
his memory, to boot. This is a melancholic game – and the quiet, slow, and subdued piano
music really fits the bill. Plus, the music often fades out into complete
silence, leaving you with nothing but ambient sounds and Link’s footsteps. As much as this
game is about going on an adventure – it’s one that is tinged with sadness and regret.
It’s a bummer, basically. While the music is subtle and atmospheric,
it does change dramatically depending on where you are in Hyrule. There’s music for the desert,
the woods, Death Mountain, snowy areas, ruins, and other places. It’s actually kinda rare
for open world games to have scores that fit the different areas on the map. Each town also has its own theme, of course,
and they mostly echo previous Zelda games – though, I’m not sure what’s going on with
Kakariko Village. Goron City, Zora’s Domain, and Gerudo City,
though, all reference Ocarina of Time’s music, and the Rito Village references one of my
favourite Zelda songs ever – Dragon Roost Island from Wind Waker. I had, a bit of a moment when I first got
here in Breath of the Wild. Also, the music in these towns changes depending
on the time of day. It’s always the same song, but the tempo and whatnot, shifts down during
the night. Anyway, these aren’t the only Zelda songs
to appear in the game. Lots of classic tunes are in there, but hidden away – kinda like
how Hyrule has been hidden under the ruins of Calamity Ganon, wink wink! I just winked
at a microphone. So you’ve probably heard the fairy fountain
music and Epona’s theme. But you might have missed the main Zelda theme, which only appears, like a ghostly echo, if you ride your horse for a great distance at night. During the day, Zelda’s lullaby plays instead – though, it’s very slow. Also, this music from Death Mountain… is the same as the music in Dungeon 9 in the
first Zelda game… And the shrine music, which is just very evocative
and otherworldly… sounds like the light world dungeon music
from Link to the Past. Ganon’s castle also references classic Zelda
games but is also just an absolute belter. Super epic. Really gets you in the mood for
taking on that end Boss. Other, just generally rad music includes the
Korok Woods… And the ancient laboratory which is just super
weird and good… The music in Breath of the Wild also helps
you find important things in the overworld. The music for the stables, the Fang and Bone
shop, and Kass’s accordion can all be heard from a distance, and lead to you areas of
interest. Plus, the music warns of you impending peril
as it shifts to combat tunes when enemies spot you, or when you stand on a rock monster’s
head, or when you’re being targeted by a guardian, or when the blood moon is about to rise. My absolute favourite piece of music, though,
is part of the side quest “From the Ground Up”. And if you haven’t finished that side
quest yet, go check it out – you need to buy the house in Hateno Village to unlock it. Anyway, this quest is all about building and
populating a small village called Tarrey Town. You’ll be asked to gather wood – lots, and
lots of wood – and also find unhappy people throughout Hyrule, and give them a new life
in Tarrey. Now, when you first visit the village the
music sounds like this. Hopeful, but kinda quiet – just like the town. But as you bring in more and more people, the music starts to evolve. When you welcome the Goron to Tarrey Town,
the song gains this horn. When the Gerudo joins the village, you start to hear this
sorta Sitar flourish in the music. The Rito brings in some wind instruments. And The Zora addition is quite subtle, but it adds some extra depth to the music. Each additional instrument or melody comes
from the main towns in the game – from Goron City to Zora’s Domain. And what you get is
this tremendously full-bodied music that represents this melting pot of different people and races
and cultures all coming together. And this is such a juxtaposition to the melancholy
music, found elsewhere in Breath of the Wild. Because this song, and this town, shows hope
that Hyrule can live on, and thrive. Pretty cool, right? So, there we have it. Breath of the Wild has
some incredible music, and I think composer Manaka Kataoka shows real restraint in how
she withholds these banging tunes and famous bits of music until the perfect moment. Other
times, you’re just left with the quiet, atmospheric echoes of exploring a long-dead kingdom. Lovely
stuff.

100 thoughts on “The Music of Breath of the Wild | GMTK Extra”

  1. "The music's supposed to be quiet and understated. You don't like it, so that means you don't understand it!" is a really tired defense for the game's music. Skyward Sword had ambient music as well, but even that gave the game some energy and made the player feel motivated to keep going.

    They wanted to create an atmosphere of quiet isolation, and had to understand that this would put some people off, especially when the game itself is already so boring and empty.

  2. The tarrey town music is so damn clever. A simple idea but executed with such skill and polish, perfect for a Zelda game

  3. I find it kinda weird that I enjoyed the music more when I'm listening to it on iTunes and not when I'm playing the game. I think that might be because of the way I played the game. Of course I had my quiet moments, just taking in the scenery or whatever, but for the most part I was zippin' around Hyrule, doing things and fighting monsters, so the more chill music didn't quite work for me.
    That and listening to just the opening part of the overworld enemy fight song over and over and over and over and over and over again started to make me hate that song.

  4. The video started talking about Tarrey Town and I have no idea what it is so I skipped through that ENTIRE section… It seems as though there's a huge role it plays in the game, and I can't believe I already beat the four Divine Beasts and haven't gotten to it yet!

  5. BOTW was honestly my ideal Zelda soundtrack. I love music from all the games by I enjoy songs like Zelda’s Lullaby or Song of Storms especially when they are performed with piano. BOTW shines with my favorite style of music and I felt like I could listen to it for hours and just relax. It was enchanting, not epic but I think that was for the better 🙂

  6. When I first got on to a horse and rode out onto the open plains of Hyrule Field I panicked upon hearing the piano because I thought I was being targeted by a Guardian every time it began to play! Lol they are too similar for my peace of mind!

    My favorite musical moments are when I am climbing any tall peaks and I met with that whimsical sound going in and out. I feel truly isolated and at peace in those moments.

  7. It bothers me you're almost dying in so many clips! Adding music with each person added for Tarry Town, that's sort of like the Ballad of the Wind Fish quest in Majora's Mask.

  8. The tarry town quest was amazing. I did the whole quest before reaching Rito village and Goron City and only had 4-5 hearts, and i didn't complete any of the divine beasts at the point. Doing the quest made me go to the places I thought were too far away at first so I could see the full town finished. I was actually unaware you had to build the town when I first visited it.

  9. In my opinion, there is not very much to complain about the music. Although many people miss such heroic, melodic and catchy tunes like in the other Zelda Games, I think that music wouldn't fit the game at all. In the real world, after the destruction caused by the world wars, the music wad getting more and more harmonically dissonant and atonal so I think it is just logical, that also the music in BotW includes these aspects.
    Sorry if I did some writing misstakes, I don't speak English natively.

  10. I absolutely love the Breath of The Wild score. In particular, the Rito Village and the horse riding =) Thanks for this!

  11. Finishing Tarrey Town was probably one of the most accomplished I've ever felt in a game…..idk how to explain why, but I have to say that the music helped A LOT

  12. this video was like a religious experience. i would LOVE to see some more of the comparisons of music to preceding zelda games, as i think there are quite a few much more subtle ways they work recognisable tunes into the soundtrack (like epona's theme being similar to the stable theme)

  13. This was so well made. At first I was disappointed with the OST because it isn't so blatant, but now it's firmly my favourite of the whole series. Absolutley great essay.

  14. Way late but I'll pile on. The last "new" Legend of Zelda game I played was Ocarina of Time, when I was a kid. I got choked up the first time I heard the viola while riding a horse at night. RIGHT IN THE FEELS.

  15. To be honest there seems to be a bit of a minecraft influence in the way that the music fades in and out, you don't realize it was there until its gone, which makes it a kind of fleeting ambience, while at the same time being iconic when listened to on its own. Not having that music there all the time makes you appreciate it when it is, even if just for a short time.

  16. uhh I'm sorry but this game definitely has the best music in zelda history. It may be only my opinion, but it's coming from a professional classical musician who also played zelda a whole bunch throughout his life.

  17. Was hoping you'd touch on the theme to the Temple of Time as well, to be honest, as it's one of my favorite "remixes" in the game. Although it is easy to miss as it blends in with the standard piano tunes that accompany the journey if you aren't paying attention.The classic theme to the Temple of Time is in there, but it's notes are distant, quiet, overtaken by the ambient noise. Very much in the same way the temple itself has: ruined and overgrown with only the skeleton of it's former glory. I think it's one of the most perfect microcosms of Breath of the Wild's soundtrack and would have loved if you'd mentioned it.

  18. I don't think the music feels sad. It's impossible to feel sad or think about your dead friends you dont remember when riding your horse through a wide open field on a gorgeous clear day. To me it just shows the bigness and realism of the world. (also any typical overworld zelda music would get really annoying from how big this world is) That's definitely a tip they took from Minecraft.

  19. I was recently in a writing class where we talked about differences in writers' tones based on certain details. One of our more interesting observations was a difference in gendered tone for different writers. Men tended to write in a more individualistic tone, focusing more on the journey of the self to overcome and triumph over specific obstacles. Women, on the other hand, had a more communal focus – the tone and progression of their stories centered around relationships and mutual growth.

    I wonder if this pattern carries over to other creative mediums as well, like music composition – for example, the more triumphant scores like Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker were created by male composers, which may explain their overall tone.

    Your mention of Kataoka really stuck out to me. She's the first female composer I've heard mentioned in regards to the Legend of Zelda series, and I wonder if her unique perspective had anything to do with the tone of BotW's score – it seems very relational. The closer you are to people, the more rich and vibrant the score becomes, while the farther away you draw from civilization, the more that score fades into nothingness. The only time it comes up again is when you meet someone or when your survival is threatened by someone else's presence. This is very different from OoT or WW, where some of the most memorable and compelling songs come up when you are journeying all alone.

    Either way, BotW's score is seriously underrated, and I think its long stints of silence or barely-there scores are a huge part of what makes it so fantastic. Anyone can put notes on a score, but it's the empty spaces in between that really make it what it is. Thanks for the awesome video!

  20. 2:22 'rarity of Open world scores to have music for each zone'. This is a highly debatable statement that needs some citation.

    This was actually done in Skyrim (music files in the game do distinguish between the central tundra, pine forest and northern Snowy regions), all three Witchers and the Fable series among many others. Even Oblivion had a different set of music dedicated to distinguish towns and countryside, which was a step above Morrowind's single set of exploration music.

  21. This is a great representation of hyrule though music. I heard a lot of people claiming that the music is boring. But it is more subtly great..

  22. Kakariko Village is reflective of traditional Japanese music, fitting considering it’s a typical Japanese village

  23. I really don't get why people hate the music, it's my favorite of any game that I've played. Especially Hyrule Castles theme.
    Also if you look at minecrafts soundtrack, it's very spaced out as well which I thought was interesting as botw took inspiration from such games, apparently.

  24. Finally! I’ve been trying to find this video again for ages. Thank you for giving botw’s music the praise it deserves. I actually love the calming, melancholy tone of the overworld music and it works so well! Also, I can’t understand how people argue that the music is boring and unvarying when we have brilliant music such as that from, rito village, Gordon city, and tarrey town.

  25. I'm having trouble recognizing the Zora part of Tarrey Town. I know something has changed but I can't seem to recognize it

  26. I made this custom Epic Music !! 😍😍 this is real music

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1bc6Ec99hus&t=3s

  27. How is no-one mentioning the Divine Beasts tracks, the ones that play when you're disabling them to get inside?
    These are undoubtedly the grandest, most epic tunes in the entire series (apart from Vah Rudania):
    Vah Ruta: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KOMYg72o3OI
    Vah Naboris (my favourite Zelda song after Fi's Theme):
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rR7bCi9Hqrg
    Vah Medoh:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=R4S-kn6v5I8

  28. the end really confused me because I was getting icy, mountain-y vibes, alongside a grassy hill. I guess music and setting are pretty inseperable

  29. Also another banger tune, the Molduga themes. Plus, the divine beast themes grow in intensity as you activate each terminal.

  30. The next awesome score after DOOM's unapologetic "bigger and bolder", this time being "smoother and subtler". I really appreciate stuff like this.

  31. Kakariko Village's theme in BotW is in honor of the inspiration for the Sheikah — shinobi and in general, Japanese history. This game is very Japanese in where it draws historical influences.

  32. If I recall, there are pieces of Kakoriko village music that, if reversed, hark back to previous games (though maybe I'm thinking of a different song?)

  33. I honestly couldn't keep it together when the Tarrey Town motif started to grow, I cried, and still cry every. single. time. Because the idea of people bringing their own unique beauty and backgrounds (be race, gender, sex, sexuality, identity, etc) to populate a desolate area and fill it with joy, hope and camaraderie. It speaks volumes when an composer is capable of understanding an game in such a deep and singular level, and something you are very lucky to experience once in a lifetime.

  34. Ive always liked the fun enthusiastic tune to Goron's areas, or the serene, majestic music of the Zora's. I think… My favorite songs in all of LOZ are;
    Majora's Mask- Clock Town Day One
    Ocarina of Time- Kakariko Village
    Breath of the Wild: Legit all of it. I LOVE BOTW's music.

  35. This was such a great video! Enjoyed all of it. And I agree. The atmosphere given by the soundtrack surely suits the theme.

  36. To be honest, I used to just ride my horse around randomly with my volume up high to hear that beautiful music playing in the background. I remember getting mad when a boko showed up and interrupted my music.

  37. Is BotW the only game for which people never run out of good things to say about it? I have never played a game that has been analyzed this much. It's truly a masterpiece.

  38. One thing you didn't mention is all the different themes in Hyrule Castle, such as Ganon's Theme, Ballad of the Windfish (Link's Awakening version), Zelda's Lullaby, Song of the Hero, Fi's Theme, and BotW's Main Theme

  39. I don't know what has happened to me. Maybe it's the relaxed mood in the evening or something.
    But that Tarrey Town music made me cry… And I did not even play the game myself and found out about the quest just now, in this video. All this quiet, soft and a bit sad tune turning in this lively music full of different instruments, where you can recognize each of those additions you brought there with the hope for them of finding happiness again…
    It is just so touching to me. ;_;

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