Prior to being hired by Nintendo in 2004, Mahito Yokota composed soundtracks for several KOEI strategy games, including the Kessen series. He joined Nintendo Entertainment and Analysis in Tokyo to compose music featured in the music-rhythm game Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat. He is best known for contributing most of the orchestrated soundtrack for Super Mario Galaxy, and its sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2.
He also wrote two trailer themes for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. One theme, "Don't Want You No More," is featured in the final game, as demo music. He served as supervising sound engineer on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, and even composed several new themes that were later scrapped in favor of recreating the sound of the original title. An original orchestral composition was used as a second credit theme. He was also hired as an orchestration director on The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, after producer Shigeru Miyamoto green-lit orchestral music for the project. He later composed the overture, and arrange several older themes for promotional concerts celebrating the series.
Yokota specializes in Latin-instrumental work, and synthesized music; he is hesitant to compose for an orchestra. Kondo described his music as "cute." Most of his orchestral works follow a rigid formula: a pronounced melody, followed by a reinforcement of said melody by several instruments, an understated intermission, and a reprisal of the initial melody.
Super Mario Galaxy
Initially, Yokota attempted to draw upon the Latin-instrumental roots of previous Mario soundtracks, specifically those composed by Koji Kondo, his peer and collaborator. Although twenty-eight tracks had already been composed and endorsed by game director Yoshiaki Koizumi, Yokota's work was met with criticism by Kondo, who insisted that the soundtrack should be targeted towards children, and be written for and performed by a live orchestra. Supervisor Shigeru Miyamoto eventually settled the dispute by listening to a sample from each composer, and siding with Kondo's orchestrated piece. Mahito subsequently rewrote nearly all of his music for a fifty-piece orchestra.
Apart from remixes of older themes, the "Rosetta's Comet Observatory" waltz, and "Good Egg Galaxy," Mahito was responsible for all of the music featured in the game, including:
- Wind Garden (Gusty Garden)
- Koopa Jr. Appears (Bowser Jr. Appears)
- Super Mario Galaxy (End Credits)
- Sand Island
- Ice/Fire/Star Mario
- Battlerock (Battlerock Galaxy)
- Overture (Title Screen)
- Purple Comet
- Starbit Festival (Star Festival)
- Honeybee Kingdom (Honeyhive Galaxy)
- Inside the Drainpipe
- Into the Galaxy
- Floating Fortress (Buoy Base Galaxy)
- Shadow Comet (Cosmic Mario)
- Battle for the Grand Star (Final Battle)
Songs in the Super Mario Galaxy 2 Original Soundtrack
Yokota reprised his role as primary composer for Super Mario Galaxy 2, joined again by Kondo and a third composer, Ryo Nagamatsu, who contributed minor jingles and the "Fateful Decision Battle" theme.
- Sky Station 1 and 2
- Worlds 1-6, and S
- Wanwan Factory
- Super Mario Galaxy 2 (End Credits)
- Jungle Glider
- The King of Kings
- Get Power Star/Grand Star
- Sky Beach
- Dig-Dig Mine
- Cloudy Court
- Clock Time Attack
- Pipe Room