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Recently, I replayed Ocarina of Time on my Nintendo 64.

The first time you exit Kokiri Forest and walk out into the big world outside of it, the theme of Hyrule Field sounds very good as you move toward the town. It gives you a sense of an epic adventure beginning and makes one's skin shiver in a good way.

After beating the game, I'm now trying to recreate that experience, to be able to show it to somebody else. So I loaded up my save file, moved back in time to child Link and made sure the time was "day". Then I saved. Now, I exit Kokiri Forest and walk out on Hyrule Field, but even though I have made several attempts, I just can't get it to play the "proper" Hyrule Theme. It uses different "variations" which don't sound as good at all. I think they are different parts of the same longer theme, picked according to some unknown logic.

The time it takes Link to walk across Hyrule Field is roughly how long it takes for a day-night cycle, so the music stops before it ever gets to the good part. (Assuming that I'm right in my guess about what is going on.)

Is the first time you walk out "special" to the game? Or is it entirely random? Is it only random once you've heard the good version at least once? I actually never noticed this before.

Also, this is not some glorified music memory that I'm getting all mixed up in my head, because I recently heard it with my own ears, straight from my Nintendo 64. It definitely doesn't sound the same when I try it now.

The best part, which I'm trying to hear, goes like this: "du-du-du-du-du-DU-du-du-du, du, du-du-du-du-du-du-DU-du-du, du-du". It can be heard (after a few seconds) here:

Why is not the good version playing for me now? Is there anything I can do to make sure that the good one/part is playing when I show the game to somebody who has never experienced it and I really want to highlight how magical it sounded to my young ears back in the day?

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  • Could it be that the developers chose to use it only for that initial time you step into the field? Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 2:13

1 Answer 1

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As you suspect, the Hyrule Field theme consists of several segments, which are played randomly. This is confirmed in an interview with the game's composer:

Kondo:
When I first heard the plan for Ocarina of Time, I thought, “This is going to be a really big game!” There was this big field in the centre, and you needed to ride a horse to reach the other side!

Iwata:
Yes, Hyrule Field was big enough that you were thankful for your horse!

Kondo:
But if you went to all these dungeons and came back and the same old music was playing…

Iwata:
You’d get sick of it.

Kondo:
Right. I wanted to avoid players going to a dungeon and coming back to find the same song droning on. I thought about what I could do to have different music playing whenever you listened to it, and eventually I created several eight-measure “components” to play randomly.

Iwata:
They shared a certain chord progression, so the music could shuffle them around.

Kondo:
Right. Each group of eight measures ended with a chord that would lead nicely into whichever group started next. It sounded natural even when you played them randomly.

Iwata:
How many of those “components” did you make?

Kondo:
About 20. They’re in battles, too.

Iwata:
So even if the general atmosphere of the music is the same, it sounds different each time.

They also mention in a different point in the interview how there are three types of segment (the regular one, getting into a battle, and just standing still):

Yokota:
Getting back to Ocarina of Time, the music was different every time you went out to a dungeon on an adventure and came back to Hyrule Field, the main setting of the game. The general feeling of the music itself didn’t change that much, but the melodies came along at a different tempo. And even if it was the same song, if you were fighting an enemy, the tune would become more thrilling. Then, when the battle was over, it would return to the usual majestic music*. When Link stood still, it would grow quiet*. The music was constantly changing.

Iwata:
It didn’t always play the exact same music.

Yokota:
Right. In the land of Hyrule, the music changed between three patterns, normal, battle and quiet.

Iwata:
Back then when there were still strict restrictions in the amount of memory that you could allocate to sound, it was common to stream pre-created music tracks. But by taking advantage of the ROM cartridge of the Nintendo 64 system, it was possible for the music tracks to be combined and generated depending on the situation. That is why in Ocarina of Time, music was constantly changing throughout the entire game. But even though Kondo-san did that for the sound on Hyrule Field, I doubt many people back then noticed and could talk about it.

Kondo:
Not many people noticed.

*(The interview includes some video examples for "majestic music" and "grow quiet").

As such, recreating exactly the segments you wanted in game would be tricky; you'd need to be performing the right action for the part you wanted to be able to appear, and then get lucky with the randomness. Your best bet might be to play on an emulator (such as using the Switch Online version) and to take a save state before that first walk out onto Hyrule Field - then you can reload the save state and play from there when you want to show it off.

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  • Thanks for the information. I just wish they would've specifically mentioned that the best part is always played the first time, because I think such must be the case. As for emulators, that would ruin the whole atmosphere as they completely destroy how the game looks, sounds and feels. But maybe it could be done with some "code" when played on an EverDrive...
    – user296681
    Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 21:35

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