Fair Winds and Following Seas cover art longer format
Image: ZREO: Second Quest

The music of The Legend of Zelda is as much a part of the series’ identity as any of its characters, locations, and items. Though the specific arrangements change throughout the series, there are always familiar tracks and themes for fans to hear. This unique but similar philosophy to Zelda music allows games like The Wind Waker to have their own identity while still being unmistakably part of the wider Zelda world. Other games might have more iconic scores or a wider range of songs, but the music in The Legend of Zelda is among the most recognisable in gaming history.

With Fair Winds & Following Seas, ZREO: Second Quest – formerly known as Zelda: Reorchestrated – has taken the songs composed by Kenta Nagata, Hajime Wakai, and Koji Kondo for The Wind Waker and given them a full orchestral treatment. The group has been making covers of some of the most famous games in the Zelda franchise, including Twilight Princess or Ocarina of Time, since 2004, but this is easily their most ambitious project to date. Everything was recorded remotely due to the pandemic, with dozens of musicians lending their talent to bring this classic soundtrack to life in a new way.

Few franchises weave familiar melodies and tunes through the individual games as deftly; fans will instantly recognise an updated version of Zelda’s Lullaby or the classic Overworld theme when it inevitably shows up in a new entry. The Wind Waker brings an element of whimsy and adventure to these iconic songs, something that pairs surprisingly well with the full orchestral arrangement here. The result is an album that feels magical and emotional even if you’re not familiar with The Wind Waker in particular. Any Zelda fan will love the treatment that ZREO: Second Quest gives Link’s adventures on the high seas.

Fair Winds & Following Seas hits all the moments you’d expect to hear from The Wind Waker’s soundtrack. There is a joyful rendition of the game’s Title Theme, complete with trickling water and playful pipes to set the mood for an ocean-faring adventure, and an emotional version of Princess Zelda’s Theme that perfectly captures the bittersweet tragedy of the game’s plot. Ganondorf’s Battle is as tense and menacing as you’d expect, followed by the quiet contemplation of Farewell Hyrule King.

The addition of the ATLYS string quartet gives a wonderful timbre and depth. They add an almost playful energy to the classic Legend of Zelda Overworld theme in The Legendary Hero, giving listeners a sweeping, powerful track that suddenly shifts to a sombre tone. This track was one of the highlights for us simply for how well it encapsulates the game’s unusual journey in a single song.

Dragon Roost Island does a great job of blending ATLYS with the wider orchestra with incredible seamlessness. A fan favourite, it's a fun listen here, too, and a great example of how these songs can feel fresh even after we’ve heard them so many times over the years. The producers have done well in making this collection of remote musicians feel like they’re in the same room being guided by the baton of the same conductor; you would never guess that these tracks were recorded remotely based on how well everything fits together.

The only downside to Fair Winds & Following Seas is how much of the experience is lost in the pre-recorded nature of the album. These tracks feel like they belong in a grand hall where the music has a chance to breathe and grow. The producers have done a reasonable job here, but nothing can really replace hearing these songs live. Even the best speakers or headphones don't quite capture the grandness of these pieces when performed by these musicians.

The Wind Waker is a unique game in the Zelda franchise. The cel-shaded visuals feel like they should be more child-friendly than other games in the series, but the actual story deals with dark themes and deep tragedy. Capturing these shifts in tone is one of the greatest accomplishments of the score and of Fair Winds & Following Seas. There are highs and lows, without the album ever feeling rushed or aimless.

Fair Winds and Following Seas cover art
Image: ZREO: Second Quest

Like the game itself, the album starts with a grand opening but becomes more intimate by the end of the final track. It feels like a story is being told without speaking a single word, one of the benefits of choosing to focus on a single game for a full album, taking the listener on this journey without having to rush or confusing them by jumping between eras or titles like a 'Greatest Hits' compilation. It was an ambitious choice, but it makes Fair Winds & Following Seas stand out among other orchestral arrangements of video game music.

So, with this album, ZREO: Second Quest has taken one of the most musically diverse games in the Zelda franchise and allowed its soundtrack to take the listener on a complete journey. Fair Winds & Following Seas captures everything unique about The Wind Waker and gives fans the chance to relive it, making us pine for the inevitable (surely!) day when the game’s excellent HD remaster finally gets ported to the Switch. There are countless covers of The Legend of Zelda music available on streaming platforms and YouTube, and we’d argue that this album belongs with the very best of them.


Fair Winds & Following Seas is an ambitious project that brings one of the most unique soundtracks in the Zelda franchise to life again. The choice to focus this album on a single game allows the producers to truly explore the complex emotions and themes presented in The Wind Waker, and Zelda fans will love some of the subtle changes to familiar songs presented here. Highly recommended.

You can listen to tracks from the album on Spotify, and download the full album via Bandcamp. Disc releases in Standard and Deluxe form are also available for pre-order via ZREO: Second Quest's website until 8th May 2023.

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