There's nothing like hearing the Zelda themes played by a real orchestra and choir. Nintendo kicked off its conference in fine form this year, with a live performance of bits of the Zelda soundtrack played over a montage of clips from the various games in the series. There's no better way I can think of to kick off the last of the big three press conferences at this year's E3. Judging by the crowd's cheers and applause as the piece ended on the theme from Skyward Sword, I'm not alone in thinking that.
The applause got even louder when Shigeru Miyamoto, senior managing director of Nintendo, took the stage. Through a translator, Miyamoto called out the 25th anniversary of Zelda. Music is a big part of the evolution of the series; just think of the musical instruments used in each game. And since Miyamoto wouldn't spring for a whole orchestra just for one piece, he asked the musicians to play through the various cues from the game, from opening a chest to solving a puzzle. Miyamoto even mimed out the actions for a little extra emphasis. The orchestra played melodies from our favorite bits of the games.
For the 25th Anniversary of the series, each current platform is getting a new version, starting with Link's Awakening for the Gameboy Virtual Console, which should be released today. Next week, the 3DS is getting Ocarina of Time in 3D, complete with better framerate and improved graphics. In September on the DSi, Nintendo is giving away the four-player cooperative game as a free download.
Of course, the star on the lineup is Skyward Sword, which will be out this holiday. "It's finally done," Miyamoto jokes. To add a little extra to the package, Nintendo's releasing a special gold controller in a special edition of the game. Miyamoto praised the motion controls, saying he really feels like he's the one fighting. "It's good exercise," he jokes, before inviting us to play Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time on the show floor.
Each territory will also be getting special Legend of Zelda symphony concerts this fall. More information about dates will be coming later. For those who can't make it to the concerts, a couple of CDs are being released. The Ocarina of Time CD will be given out to the first players who register the game. There will aso be a CD of symphonic music bundled with certain editions of Skyward Sword.
Miyamoto shared the recognition by inviting out some of the folks who'd worked on the game over the years, but he extended a special thanks to the fans before leaving the stage.