I’ve previously written about how The Wind Waker‘s creators purposely designed the game to evoke feelings of joy and highlight the pleasures of island life. An important part of achieving this was the meticulous sound design mimicking the relaxing sounds heard at the beach. The swishing of the breeze through the trees. The crashing of the waves. The call of an elephant as it flies overhead. The rustling of a potato chip bag as you walk on the sand. Wait, something doesn’t sound right.
Zelda’s Study is a series where we examine the history of The Legend of Zelda to bring you some fascinating (or just plain weird) trivia. In our studies, we’ll explore each game’s development, curiosities within the rich lore of the franchise, and the impact it has had on our culture. From time to time, we’ll also look at Nintendo’s past to unearth some facts about our favorite company.
As bizarre as it sounds, the Wind Waker developers used some innovative means to create some of the sound effects in the game. In a 2003 interview with Nintendo Online Magazine, sound effect programmer Masafumi Kawamura revealed that he used the highly compressed sound of an elephant’s “paon” to replicate the cry of a seagull (“paon” is the sound an elephant makes in Japanese). Why not use the sound of, oh, I don’t know, a seagull? Kawamura explained that he had tried but that the seagull sound was just not seagull-like enough. Ouch. Imagine trying out for the role of yourself and doing so bad they gave the part to an elephant.
Masafumi also shared some other tricks the team used. The programmers made use of other animal sounds, including crocodiles, camels, and lions. I don’t know how these were used, but if I had to guess, I would say some of those may have been used for various enemies. Additionally, the sound of Link’s feet moving across the sand came from the rustling of potato chips in a bag. I bet those chips were sea salt flavored.
Masafumi also needed a sound for when Link’s sword hit wood, so he hid an iron pipe in an instrument case and carried it to the forest where he could record himself thunking it against the trees. Sounds a little like Antonio Banderas’s mariachi in Desperado, carrying a guitar case full of weapons. The man is committed to his work.
Though many of the sound effects used by the Wind Waker design team may have come from unexpected sources, they seamlessly blend into the calming yet adventurous atmosphere. Plus, you have to give them credit for ingenuity. Just try not to get too hungry the next time you find yourself strolling along the beach.The post Zelda’s Study: The soothing sounds of elephants and potato chips first appeared on Zelda Universe.