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Development of The Legend of Zelda Series

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This page should not be edited lightly

This page is meant to serve as the most complete, insightful, and historically accurate account of how The Legend of Zelda series began, the changes it went through over the years, and why those changes were made. It highlights how market conditions and the minds at Nintendo influenced the development of each Zelda game, both from a creative and business standpoint. It is based on hundreds of developer interviews and behind-the-scenes materials, as well as a sound understanding of the games industry. Please do not edit this page if you are not confident in what you are doing and express your concerns on its talk page instead.

The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History
Read the eBook version here (v1.4).

The Dawn of Mario

Shigeru Miyamoto Joins Nintendo

Sheriff (1979)

In 1977, a young artist and toy designer named Shigeru Miyamoto joined Japanese toy maker Nintendo. Having impressed company president Hiroshi Yamauchi with his work, Miyamoto was assigned to create art work for an arcade game named Sheriff, where the player found themselves surrounded by bandits and needed to fend them off, saving a young woman they had captured in the process.[1]

Sheriff was Nintendo's first "damsel-in-distress" game—a concept Miyamoto would subsequently re-use across many of his own products. The first of his original titles was an arcade unit named Donkey Kong, which materialized when plans for Nintendo to create a game based on the Popeye license ran into complications.[2] Drawing inspiration from the trio of Bluto, Popeye, and Olive Oyl, Miyamoto conceptualized three characters of his own: Donkey Kong (a large ape), Jumpman (the protagonist of the game), and a female character that would later be given the name "Pauline" (the damsel in distress that Jumpman would need to rescue). Nintendo repurposed the circuit board of Radar Scope, one of their earlier arcade units, to produce Donkey Kong, and the game was released in 1981 to critical acclaim—although not without a slight change.[3] By the time Donkey Kong shipped, the Jumpman character had been renamed "Mario" by Nintendo's American branch.[4]

The game went on to be popular in the North American market and Miyamoto got started on his next project: a sequel titled Donkey Kong Jr., where the characters' roles were reversed. Donkey Kong, the ape from the first game, had been imprisoned by Mario, who was standing guard over his cage. The player would assume the role of Donkey Kong Jr. and attempt to rescue his father from his captor. Eventually, the Mario character proved popular enough to receive his own game, co-starring a brother, Luigi. Miyamoto titled the new game Mario Bros., and when it was released in 1983 it allowed two players to team up and play together.


The Famicom and Takashi Tezuka

By 1980, Nintendo wanted to branch out of the arcade business and had begun researching the possibility of developing a device on which users could play games at home. Inspired by the Atari 2600 and ColecoVision (to which the company later ported their Donkey Kong game), Nintendo's goal was to create a piece of hardware that would be cheaper than the competition, less intimidating to those unfamiliar with technology, and more appealing to children.[5] They dubbed their invention "Family Computer".

The "Famicom" was released in July 1983, and launched with ports of Donkey Kong, its sequel Donkey Kong Jr., and Popeye. The following year, Nintendo found itself another employee that would prove to be a talented designer and make immense contributions to the company's Famicom library: an Osaka University of Arts graduate, Takashi Tezuka.

Tezuka would go on to be a valued collaborator of Shigeru Miyamoto's, and their first collaborative project was Devil World, a Pac-Man-styled maze game where the player controlled a green dragon. It was Miyamoto's first game that was designed specifically for the Famicom and Tezuka served as co-designer on the project.[6]


Super Mario Bros.

Collaborating with one another through 1984, Miyamoto and Tezuka had established a comfortable working relationship and were keen to continue pushing the boundaries of what Nintendo called the "athletic game" genre (later dubbed "platform games") established by its prior titles.[7] Noting that Mario Bros. continued to be popular, Tezuka suggested their next project make use of Mario and Luigi as well. Alongside Miyamoto, he began design work on the game, and the two began to rethink a lot of the logic that had been established in the original Mario Bros. project, such as the consequences of making contact with various enemy types, the game's setting, and how to work around the Famicom's hardware limitations.

The final product, titled Super Mario Bros., was designed to be a culmination of everything Miyamoto and his team had learnt about game design and the possibilities afforded by the Famicom technology. The player would take on the role of Mario and Luigi, running and jumping past an invasion of turtle-like creatures known as the Koopa Troopas, led by their king, Bowser. The game was set in the "Mushroom Kingdom" and commenced after Bowser kidnapped its princess, Toadstool. Mario set out to rescue Princess Toadstool and defeat Bowser and his army in the process, marking a return to the familiar damsel-in-distress concept.

Super Mario Bros. was released in 1985 in Japan. When the Famicom was launched in North America the following year as the Nintendo Entertainment System, it debuted alongside Super Mario Bros., making it one of the system's most popular launch games.


Creating Mario's Opposite

The Legend of Zelda

In 1984, while Super Mario Bros. was in development, Shigeru Miyamoto began conceptualizing a second game in parallel.[8] Nintendo was about to release the Famicom Disk System, a peripheral for the Famicom that was capable of writing data to floppy disks, and needed to develop a flagship game for the device. Miyamoto felt that it would be interesting to create a game that allowed two players to create virtual labyrinths and then explore each other's creations. A prototype was created, but the overall sentiment was that exploring these labyrinths was more fun than actually creating them, and so the team began rethinking its approach.[9]

In initial designs, the player would enter a dungeon right from the title screen

Whatever form this exploration game ended up taking, Miyamoto felt it needed to be the polar opposite of Mario.[10] Where Super Mario Bros. was linear and made it clear what the player needed to do next, Miyamoto wanted this new game to make players think about where to go and what to do. The same team that worked on Super Mario Bros. was working on this game, and began brainstorming ideas for it.[11]

"As with the Mario series, I came up with the concept for the Zelda series from my adventures as a child exploring the wide variety of places around my home," Miyamoto would recall in an interview with Superplay magazine years later.[12] "There were plenty of caves and mountains. We didn't have that many toys to play with, so I would make slingshots or use sticks and twigs to make puppets and keep myself amused."

The initial design for Nintendo's new game—which they had codenamed "Adventure Title" in their design documents—called for the player to enter labyrinthine levels straight from the title screen.[13] Since the game originated from Miyamoto's experiences exploring underground caverns as a young boy, it was originally meant to focus on the exploration of cave-like stages.[14] Namco's maze-like RPG, The Tower of Druaga, was popular in Japan at the time, and it's possible that it served as a point of reference for Nintendo. Over time, the idea of exploring caves evolved into exploring a number of labyrinthine areas all connected by a large, open field. The player would be able to traverse this open environment, and would be required to think on their feet about where to go and what to do next.

Early design specs
An early overworld map

"We basically decided to do a real-time adventure game," Tezuka would recall in an interview many years later. "No one wants to do physical things like pushing and pulling by selecting them from a menu [like in command-based RPGs]. If they’re going to push something, they want to put some force behind it."[15]

During development, Miyamoto and his team also began forming an image of just what their adventure game's story was about. They named the main character Link, as he was to be emblematic of the game's setting—a combination of the past and the future, with the player being able to travel between the two settings and serve as a "link" between them.[16]

Link was initially designed to be right-handed, but in order to aid in the creation of the game's pixel art and the way he would appear in in-game screens, he was altered to be left-handed instead.[17]

At some point, Nintendo enlisted the aid of Keiji Terui, a screenwriter that had worked on animated shows such as Dr. Slump and Dragon Ball, to create the game's full backstory. This story would be included in the game's manual and give the player better context as to just what their character's motivations were. Sometime during this process, the idea of time-travel was dropped, and Terui instead penned a much more straightforward setup inspired by medieval conflicts in Europe. Miyamoto's fondness for the damsel-in-distress setup also worked its way into the tale, and the game's damsel was named "Zelda," after the wife of famous novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose name Miyamoto took a liking to. It was her name that would also help solidify the game's title: The Legend of Zelda.[18]

A pond hiding the entrance to Level 7
Emptying the pond reveals the entrance

Miyamoto wanted The Legend of Zelda to evoke a sense of mystery. "I remember he had me make a lot of different sounds for when you use the flute (when you warp)," composer, Koji Kondo, would recall. "He was very particular about that one sound. 'It shouldn’t just be ‘pretty’. I want it to evoke something more mysterious', he told me."[19]

As they created the world of Zelda, Miyamoto and Tezuka began encountering the limitations of the Famicom hardware. Like with Super Mario Bros., the development team attempted to work around these in creative ways, but found that they would need to scrap certain ideas entirely.

"Back then, there were a lot of things we intended to do but weren’t able to because of hardware constraints," Miyamoto would reveal. "For example, for the Level 7 dungeon entrance, we just changed the colour of the ground when the water drained, but we intended to have the water actually disappear. And you can burn small trees, but we intended for you to be able to burn down big ones."[20]

The first ever dungeon map (left) and its equivalent Second Quest map (right)

Mistakes were made during the development process as well. Labyrinths (later called dungeons) in The Legend of Zelda were mapped out on graph paper first. Each square on the graph represented a single room, and the pieces were laid out like a jigsaw puzzle.[21] Tezuka, having created the entire map for the game, handed it off to programmer Toshihiko Nakago, who put the map data together exactly as it had been provided to him. Unfortunately, due to an error on his part, Tezuka only used half the data Nakago had coded, and the game ended up being half its original size. As luck would have it, Miyamoto felt the reduced map size made for a better game, and suggested that the other half of the data be used to create an unlockable "Second Quest" for the player to discover.[22]

Difficulties were encountered with the game's soundtrack, too. Composer Koji Kondo had composed a total of five musical tracks for the game, and had intended to use the classical piece "Bolero" by Maurice Ravel for the game's opening title screen. Unfortunately, just as development was wrapping, Kondo was informed that the copyright to Bolero hadn't expired yet, which meant Nintendo couldn't use it and he was instead forced to re-arrange the game's overworld theme for its title screen.[23]

Despite difficulties during development, The Legend of Zelda was an immense success following its release. It went on to sell well over 6.5 million units on the Famicom Disk System and Nintendo Entertainment System, and served as the template for a new brand of Nintendo games going forward.[24] It birthed the acction-adventure genre and still serves as the inspiration for a number of modern videogames today.


The Adventure of Link

Link's arms and legs were extended to better suit The Adventure of Link

The Adventure of Link was developed by a different team than the first game, partly because it wasn't meant to be a Zelda game at first. Development began with Shigeru Miyamoto contemplating how a side-scrolling action game that used "up and down movements" for attacking and defending could be fun to play. Miyamoto wanted to include the kinds of actions that couldn't be incorporated in the original The Legend of Zelda into a new game, and Tadashi Sugiyama, a graphic designer at Nintendo that had contributed to games such as Ice Climber and Baseball was attached to direct.[25]

Joining Sugiyama as co-director was Yasuhisa Yamamura, while Takashi Tezuka came up with the concept for the game's story. Tezuka did not contribute map designs as he had on the first Zelda game, and was instead working on Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3. Meanwhile, replacing Koji Kondo as composer was Akito Nakatsuka, who had composed music for Ice Climbers two years prior.

Games that were difficult were popular at the time. In the late '80s, the thinking was that a higher difficulty often helped games last longer, and that this appealed to videogame enthusiasts. Sugiyama and his team approached The Adventure of Link the same way—by designing it to be something they would personally find challenging.

In an interview several years later, Sugiyama would recall: "One thing I remember is a call from a client at the time saying 'I just can't seem to beat the last boss.' When I asked more about his progress in the game, he was already fully equipped. Meaning that there was nothing to do but to beat the boss with his own skill, which was rather hard to say straight out. It seemed that he was playing the game for his son... so I felt bad for him."[26]

The Adventure of Link borrowed a number of elements from role-playing games, which was something that subsequent Zelda titles would do as well. In The Adventure of Link, this took the shape of a stat growth system, meant to encourage players to fight monsters over and over. Link could gain experience points and upgrade his life, attack, and magic stats, and each of these attributes could be raised to a maximum of 8 levels. The game also made use of symbol encounters, since routes on the overworld map were fairly narrow and this would add an element of luck to encountering enemies.[27]

The Fairy Spell could be used to access tight spaces

This wasn't the only idea The Adventure of Link borrowed from role-playing games, though. Miyamoto was already planning a third Zelda, which would be produced by the team responsible for the original. In Zelda 3, Miyamoto wanted to introduce a party system, where the player's party would consist of a fighter-like elf character, a magic user, and a fairy. This fairy character was designed early in the planning process, and while she wasn't used in the third Zelda, her design was utilized for a "Fairy Spell" in The Adventure of Link, which would cause Link to turn into a miniature fairy and access small spaces.[28]

The Adventure of Link was played from two different viewpoints: a top-down view like the original The Legend of Zelda, which was used in the overworld, and a side-scrolling perspective, which was how most of the game was played and how combat encounters would take place. Miyamoto would later state that the hardware limitations of the Famicom had a hand in influencing what the team could achieve with The Adventure of Link, and express regret that the game hadn't been more surprising or interesting.[29]

The Adventure of Link went on to sell over 4.3 million units and introduced a number of new features that would later be used throughout the series, including magic, the Triforce of Courage, the towns of Rauru, Ruto, Saria, Nabooru, and Darunia (which would later serve as the names of the Sages in Ocarina of Time), as well as Dark Link—a shadowy reflection of Link that served as the game's final boss.[30]

Years later, Nintendo would investigate the possibility of remaking The Adventure of Link using polygons on the Super Famicom, but this idea would be shelved and indirectly lead to the creation of the first 3D Zelda game instead.[31]


A Link to the Past

Two games in, Nintendo had determined that interactivity—being able to influence different things in the game world—was of paramount importance to The Legend of Zelda games. What defined a Zelda, Shigeru Miyamoto felt, was the freedom to try different things and fail, until the solution clicked inside your head. The game's logic, above all, needed to make sense.[32][33]

As the Famicom was reaching the end of its tenure, Nintendo released the Super Famicom. Work on a new Zelda game for the system had begun while The Adventure of Link was still in development and was being undertaken by the team responsible for the original The Legend of Zelda. Unlike The Adventure of Link, Miyamoto wanted a return to the familiar top-down perspective for this third game. The primary concern, however, was that games had come a long way since the original Zelda and features such as fantasy settings and puzzle-solving were no longer surprising or particularly original.[34]

Instead, Miyamoto wanted to place an even greater emphasis on players interacting with the game world and performing different kinds of actions. For instance, the player would be able to stand in front of a switch and push or pull it, by holding down the A button in tandem with a direction. Pushing and pulling would have different effects and would give the player incentive to try these actions out on other objects. It would require thinking and encourage players to take initiative. Most importantly, it would create a greater sense of satisfaction and immediacy than simply selecting commands that would perform the necessary action for you.[35]

Concept art from Hyrule Historia hints at a scrapped sci-fi element

A small team began work on the new game, experimenting with different ideas along these lines for the Super Famicom hardware, with the goal being to add more staff once the basic systems had been worked out. The idea was to utilize development staff as efficiently as possible, and not end up with a team that was larger than it needed to be.[36] The team dedicated its first year entirely to planning, while the second year of development was spent on experimentation.[37] At one point, there were plans for the player to be able to perform actions such as eating or dancing, but the team ultimately opted to limit player actions to essentials like Talk, Push/Pull, Lift/Throw, and Run.[38]

Another concept Miyamoto wanted to explore early on was the idea of diagonal sword swings—being able to attack enemies at an angle. While experimenting with this concept, the team concluded that it was too difficult an action to ask of the player and circumvented the issue by redesigning Link's sword attack to swing in a wider arc, thus being able to hit enemies that weren't directly in front of him.[39]

The team also wanted to revisit ideas they couldn't use in the original The Legend of Zelda. That game was originally conceived as a time-travel adventure where Link would be able to move between the past and the future, and the same idea was discussed once again for Zelda 3. Takashi Tezuka, who was brought on to serve as director halfway through development, revealed that the team initially experimented with a multi-world structure, where events in the hub world would have an effect on the other overlapping worlds.[40] Three worlds were initially conceived, and concept art suggests that one of them might have involved a sci-fi setting. Unfortunately, the team feared that three worlds might get confusing for players and the idea was shelved.[41] The number of worlds was cut down to just two, and Kensuke Tanabe, the director behind Super Mario Bros. 2, thought up the idea of players switching between a "Light World" and a "Dark World".

"Kensuke Tanabe already had an idea for a truly memorable hero-awakening scene when we started this project," Tezuka would recall. "In the midst of a forest, with light filtering down through the leaves, the [Master Sword] stood waiting for someone worthy of wielding it to arrive. Link draws the sword out as the light trickles through the leaves."[42]

Link was designed to appear more mature

The team wanted A Link to the Past to be a rousing adventure, one that would appeal to Nintendo's foreign fans.[43] To aid this, they redesigned Link to appear more mature than he did in The Adventure of Link. However, Miyamoto had never wanted Link to appear overly cool and serious, so the character retained elements of playfulness.[44]

The team was also careful not to have Link begin the game with his sword. The way Tezuka and Tanabe envisioned the game, players would feel an emotional connection with Link as they guided him through his adventure, culminating in the aforementioned hero-awakening scene where Link would find and draw the Master Sword from its resting place. To accommodate this goal, weapons and items were carefully bestowed such that players would sense Link's growth throughout, no matter their play style.[45]

Concept art for a fairy character that was initially to be playable

The team even wanted to let players use weapons other than a sword and shield, and even use items like arrows and bombs in tandem, to create bomb arrows.[46] In contrast, Miyamoto felt that Link should always have his sword equipped, and so this idea was shelved until the next game in the series. What he did want to include, though, was an RPG-like party setup where Link would be accompanied by companion characters. Miyamoto had been telling his team that he wanted the third Zelda to include a mix of characters—a fighter-like elf, a magic user, and a fairy whose role would consist of reconnaissance. This idea was shelved during development as well, and the design for the fairy was instead utilized in The Adventure of Link, which was being developed in parallel.[47]

Another idea that was scrapped during development included multiple paths through the world, so that the player's experience would be more open-ended. This idea was abandoned due to memory constraints (with Miyamoto hypothesizing that it would have required 150% more memory than the Super Famicom possessed) and the complications it would have caused in terms of game structure.[48] Time and memory constraints also called for the team to scale back some of the ambitions they had for the game's level of interactivity. For instance, they had wanted to make it so using the lantern on a grassy area would cause an "endlessly expanding fire" or bombing the swamp breakwater would cause water to rush into the hole.[49] Such ideas would later be utilized in games such as Four Swords Adventures and Breath of the Wild.

"Our game designers had a pretty good idea of what could be done on the hardware back then, so I don’t believe we had any unexpected implementations," Tezuka would say in an interview with RetroGamer magazine years later. "Having said that, though, we had a long battle with the memory size, and I remember very clearly that the engineering team worked extremely hard to optimize [the game]."[50]

While Zelda 3 was in development, a new member of staff, Yoshiaki Koizumi, was assigned to work on its manual. A graduate from the Osaka University of Arts—the same university Takashi Tezuka had graduated from—Koizumi was interested in telling stories. Games, he felt, afforded an opportunity to create the kind of dramatic storytelling one couldn't find in film, and had applied to Nintendo in the hopes of creating them. As the years would go by, Koizumi would take every opportunity to sneak as much story as he could into Nintendo's games, and that habit would begin with this new Zelda.[51] Using his art skills, Koizumi would provide a visual identity for some of the game's characters and motifs, establishing them through its manual.

"What was funny was that at the time, it didn’t seem like they’d really figured out what most of the game elements meant," Koizumi would reveal in an interview. "So it was up to me to come up with story and things while I was working on the manual. So, for example, the design of the goddesses as well as the star sign associated with them."[52]

ALttP Logo.png
The new Zelda logo by Girvin, a Seattle-based design firm

Once all the pieces were in place and development was nearing its end, the team needed to decide on a title for their new game. In Japan, the game was given the title "Triforce of the Gods," but Nintendo of America changed this to A Link to the Past for the game's western release. The American division wanted to avoid any overt religious references and also had the development team make changes to some of the game's characters and text to avoid controversy. The Hylian script was originally introduced in A Link to the Past, and initially contained alphabets that looked like an ankh and other Egyptian hieroglyphs. These were eventually removed.

ALttP JP Logo.png
A Link to the Past's Japanese logo, still using the original typeface

Whilst localizing A Link to the Past, Nintendo of America also contracted a Seattle-based design firm, Girvin, to create a new logo for the game. Girvin had already worked with NOA to create packaging for the Nintendo Entertainment System and designed the logo that would be used for all subsequent The Legend of Zelda games in the West.[53] The Japanese releases would eventually adopt this new logo as well, but not until the next console game in the series.

A Link to the Past was released in Japan in November 1991, and a western release followed in 1992. The game would go on to sell 4.6 million copies worldwide on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.[54] It is often considered one of the best 2D The Legend of Zelda games, and introduced a number of elements and ideas that would appear in later Zeldas.


Two Steps Forward

Eiji Aonuma Joins Nintendo

All throughout their success with the Famicom and Super Famicom, Nintendo had remained on the lookout for promising new talent, and a number of capable designers had joined their ranks since. These included stalwarts such as Kensuke Tanabe and Yoshiaki Koizumi—designers that had helped shape the company's games in new and interesting ways, and proved the importance of nurturing young, passionate talent.

A number of these talented developers had also coincidentally graduated from the same university—the Osaka University of Arts—which was situated close to Nintendo's headquarters at the time and made for a convenient hiring ground. However, Nintendo had made a habit of hiring interesting talent regardless of background, and one such hire was neither a fan of videogames nor an Osaka University of Arts graduate.

In fact, he had never really played a videogame prior to being hired by Nintendo. What got him hired was his love for creating mechanical puppets.

Eiji Aonuma

Eiji Aonuma graduated from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1988, where he had completed a masters in composition design, working on Japanese Karakuri puppets.[55] Aonuma's grandfather and uncle were carpenters, and he had grown up watching them craft things, which had inspired him to do the same as a young boy. Whenever there was drafting or craft homework from school, Aonuma would take the opportunity to use a hammer and nail to make creations of his own. Since his parents weren't in the habit of buying him toys as a child, Aounuma would create those himself as well.[56]

Aonuma's talent for wood cutting guided him through university, and would eventually lead to him being hired by Nintendo. During an exhibition where he was showing off his mechanical puppets, Aonuma encountered members of the videogame industry and took an interest in the kind of work they did. He learnt that Yōichi Kotabe, an accomplished animator that had worked on Heidi: Girls of the Alps, had also graduated from the same university, and had gone on to work with Nintendo, where he had created packaging for Super Mario Bros.. Upon learning this, Aonuma procured Kotabe's business card from his university and the two established contact.[57] Kotabe subsequently recommended Aonuma to Shigeru Miyamoto, who interviewed him and was impressed by his work, leading to his hiring.[58]

Marvelous: Another Treasure Island

After he began working at Nintendo, Aonuma was assigned to the department that made games and served as a graphic designer on NES Open Tournament Golf. Since he had never been interested in videogames prior to joining the company, he turned to his girlfriend at the time and asked her to provide him with an introduction to games. Through her, he was exposed to the first Dragon Quest and the PC version of The Portopia Serial Murder Case, both of which were designed by a rising star at Enix named Yuji Horii.[59]

"I stayed up all night to play it and she kept by my side the whole time, coaching me like, 'You need to go south five steps' and 'Now go to the east four steps,'" Aonuma would recall in an interview years later.[60]

Over time, Aonuma began to appreciate the fun of playing videogames and found himself particularly fond of A Link to the Past. After working on a number of projects in collaboration with external developers (including an unreleased game with one Satoru Iwata of HAL Laboratory),[61] he eventually developed a game of his own: Marvelous: Another Treasure Island. The game was released in 1996 and drew inspiration from the A Link to the Past. Upon playing it, Miyamoto invited Aonuma to work with him and the Zelda team on a new project they were developing for the Nintendo 64.[62]


Link's Awakening

While development on The Adventure of Link was ongoing, a different team at Nintendo released the Game Boy, a portable system capable of playing black-and-white games using cartridges players could slot into the device.

The Game Boy was released in 1989, and launched alongside Super Mario Land—the first Mario game to be developed without the involvement of the Mario and Zelda team, who were occupied working on the Famicom and Super Famicom. Eventually, after development wrapped on A Link to the Past in 1991, the game's chief programmer, Kazuaki Morita, managed to acquire a development kit for the Game Boy and began experimenting with it as a hobby project of sorts. At the time, the Zelda department only had access to a single Game Boy development kit and Morita used to it to create a prototype for a Zelda-like game.[63]

"We weren't particularly planning to make a Zelda game for Game Boy, but we thought we'd try it out to see how it [would] work," Takashi Tezuka would recall in an Iwata Asks interview. "So at first there was no official project. We'd do our regular work during normal work hours, and then work on it sort of like an afterschool club activity."[64]

The opening storyboard
The final intro

As the team discovered what the Game Boy was capable of, Tezuka suggested they attempt porting A Link to the Past to the device, and requested a second Game Boy development kit for their work.[65] Because Tezuka had only joined development of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System game halfway through, he wanted to add new features that couldn't be implemented in the original.[66] As these ideas piled up, the Game Boy game eventually began to morph into a completely original title instead of a simple port. Kensuke Tanabe, who had written the story for A Link to the Past, joined the team early on and began working on characters and sub-events for the game.[67] Meanwhile, Yoshiaki Koizumi, who had worked on the manual for A Link to the Past, was invited to join as well.[68] Koizumi was put in charge of the game's main story, as well as its opening cinematic.[69]

At the time, Tezuka was fond of an American television show named Twin Peaks by director David Lynch, and wanted to design a Zelda game that was similar in feel and scope—particularly how the show depicted a drama involving suspicious characters in a small town.[70] To help achieve this, Tezuka laid out a list of requirements for Koizumi and Tanabe to follow: the game would have no Princess Zelda, no Triforce, would not take place in Hyrule, and be set in a relatively small playing field.[71]

Tezuka would recall: "At the time, Twin Peaks was rather popular. The drama was all about a small number of characters in a small town. So when it came to The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, I wanted to make something that, while it would be small enough in scope to easily understand, it would have deep and distinctive characteristics."[72]

Shigeru Miyamoto had mentored his developers to prioritize fun and intuitiveness above all else, which was why Mario and Zelda games were light on storytelling. However, Miyamoto was focused on other projects at the time, leaving the team free to do as it pleased. Koizumi, who viewed videogames as a medium that was well-suited to telling engaging stories, saw the opportunity to give this new Zelda a sense of drama.[73] Without Miyamoto's oversight, Morita, Koizumi, Tanabe, and Tezuka began to turn their Zelda into a character-driven adventure filled with engaging side events and subplots.

A guest from Mario
Link's Awakening introduced a number of Zelda staples

The team spared no effort in surprising the player, even breaking established boundaries by featuring NPCs that looked suspiciously like Mario and Kirby characters, sometimes without permission from the other development teams.[74] This more casual approach to development eventually led to ideas like a fishing minigame designed by Morita, who was fond of fishing as a hobby and programmed it into the game without being asked. Fishing would eventually go on to be present in nearly every The Legend of Zelda game going forward. Without realizing it, Morita, Koizumi, Tanabe, and Tezuka were establishing the template for all The Legend of Zelda games that would follow, particularly the tendency to draw inspiration from Twin Peaks and the idea of characters with an air of mystery about them.

"I'm certain it was an important element in the series making a breakthrough," Eiji Aonuma would say years later. "If we had proceeded from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past straight to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time without The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening in between, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time would have been different."[75]

"The first real game work that I did was on Link’s Awakening," Koizumi would recall in an interview. "But at the same time, I came in to write the manual, as I did on the previous game. But they had nothing in place. So I ended up making an entire story to go along with the game. The dream, the island, that was all mine. And so that was my first experience doing the kind of work that we would now call 'event design'. But there were not too many people at the time with expertise in that area, so I really had free reign to do what I wanted, so long as I didn’t make Miyamoto angry."[76]

Link's Awakening took a year-and-a-half to complete and was released in 1993 for the Game Boy. The game went on to sell over 3.83 million units on the Game Boy and is credited as being the first The Legend of Zelda game to tell a proper story.[77] It is directly responsible for the stronger story focus in future Zelda games, beginning with the game developed immediately after it.


Establishing the Conventions of Zelda

Ocarina of Time

Following the release of Link's Awakening, Shigeru Miyamoto and Yoshiaki Koizumi began working on a remake of The Adventure of Link for the Super Famicom designed using polygons. The two had been experimenting with a thin, polygonal Link viewed from a side-scrolling perspective similar to the original game. Plans to turn this concept into a full game eventually fell through, and both developers moved on to other projects. However, the team still wanted to create another Zelda based around swordfighting, the way The Adventure of Link was.[78]

In the interim, two important events transpired that would help shape the future of Zelda. The first was the career path of Eiji Aonuma, an artist that had joined Nintendo in 1988. Aonuma had worked on games such as NES Open Tournament Golf and eventually began working on his own game—one heavily inspired by A Link to the Past—on which he served as director. The second was the development of Link's Awakening, a game developed by a smaller team that would set the tone and aspirations for Nintendo's next major Zelda title.[79]

1995 was when the very first signs of this title would manifest. Nintendo had revealed its next game videogame system, the Nintendo 64, to the public. Alongside the new console, the company announced an add-on peripheral for the device, similar to the Famicom Disk System. Dubbed the "64DD," this was a disk drive that would provide the Nintendo 64 with additional RAM, as well as rewritable memory, that would allow for user-created content to be saved to the disk. Nintendo's first game for the Nintendo 64 was going to be Super Mario 64—the first fully 3D Mario game the company had worked on—but following its release, the company intended to release a new 3D The Legend of Zelda as well.

A tech demo for Zelda 64

A tech demo presenting Link rendered using 3D polygons on the Nintendo 64 hardware was shown to the public at Nintendo's Space World event in 1995, prior to the release of the system the following year. It was programmed by Giles Goddard, one of the programmers on the original Star Fox and the programmer behind the interactive Mario face in Super Mario 64. Yoshiaki Koizumi provided the demo's character models and animation work. Finally, Takao Shimizu, who had co-directed the Game Boy Donkey Kong directed the short reel.[80] After completing work on the tech demo, Shimizu went on to direct the next Star Fox game, Star Fox 64.[81] Shortly thereafter, another Nintendo employee, Toru Osawa, was asked by Miyamoto if he would like to direct the company's next Zelda project for the Nintendo 64. Osawa agreed, and picked up where Shimizu had left off. The desire to create a Zelda game based around swordfighting persisted, and Osawa began penning a script for the project around this idea.[82]

The following year, the Nintendo 64 was released alongside Super Mario 64. Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Tezuka, and Yoshiaki Koizumi had been spearheading that game's development, and successfully released it to critical acclaim in 1996. As development on Super Mario 64 wrapped, Koizumi and a programmer named Jin Ikeda joined Osawa, and began to experiment with how they could use their learnings to develop a new Zelda game in 3D. Similar to the way the original The Legend of Zelda was conceived for the Famicom Disk System, the initial goal for this game was to make full use of the 64DD, utilizing its hardware to create a persistent world with lasting effects such as trees remaining cut once the player had chopped them down, or Link leaving permanent footprints behind him wherever he walked.[83] The small team began experimenting with the hardware, using the game engine created for Super Mario 64 and modifying it as needed to help build their new Zelda.[84] Koizumi would be in charge of creating the character model and animations for Link, owing to his experience a character animator and assistant director on Super Mario 64.

An early character model of Link by Yoshiaki Koizumi

The first half of development would be spent experimenting with different concepts.[85] One of the early ideas Miyamoto had was that the game would take place entirely within the confines of a castle. Similar to the castle in Super Mario 64, each room would lead to a different kind of environment such as a meadow or an ocean, and Link wouldn't actually be able to venture outside the castle at all.[86] This idea was shortlived. Another suggestion from Miyamoto involved having the game play out from a first-person perspective, and when you'd encounter an enemy, the camera would shift to a side-scrolling view, similar to The Adventure of Link and other role-playing games.[87] This suggestion was rejected by Koizumi, who was putting a great deal of effort into the Link's animations, and wished for his character model to remain visible at all times.[88] In parallel, the team also decided against using the 64DD peripheral. Like a hard disk, the 64DD consisted of mechanical moving parts, and depending on where on the disk the data was stored, it could take longer to retrieve. This would potentially limit the number of animations that could be programmed for Link, which led to the team's decision.[89] However, without the 64DD the development team would now have access to far less storage space, which created a challenge in itself.

One of the other major problems the team faced was how combat in a 3D space would work. The flow of combat and choosing an appropriate camera angle to depict it was one of the earliest issues the developers found they needed to solve. Since the game was to be based around the idea of swordfighting, Osawa, Koizumi, and Ikeda decided to visit Toei Kyoto Studio park to seek out inspiration and find a solution to their problem.[90]

"As we went along looking at everything, it was so hot that we ducked into a playhouse to cool off," Osawa would recall in an Iwata Asks interview years later. "They were doing a ninja show. A number of ninja were surrounding the main samurai and one lashed out with a kusarigama (sickle-and-chain). The lead samurai caught it with his left arm, the chain stretched tight, and the ninja moved in a circle around him."[91]

This show led the team to conceive of Z-targeting, or what is now known as a "lock-on"—an invisible line connecting the player character and the enemy, that allows one to circle around the opponent and keep them in your sights. Since Z-targeting would ensure that the enemy remained within the player's line of sight, it provided a practical alternative to manual camera controls.[92] (A similar concept had already appeared in Super Mario 64 where, if the player tried to read a signpost, they would sometimes end up going around it in circles.) The ninja show at Toei Kyoto Studio Park also demonstrated to the team that staged swordfights followed a very specific pattern. Enemies would attack the protagonist one at a time, so that he could engage them one-on-one, instead of being overwhelmed. This added tension to every encounter. The combination of this knowledge and the idea for Z-targeting gave the developers a foundation upon which they could begin building the game's swordfighting system.[93] Koizumi designed a lock-on marker that could be used to indicate what object the player was locked on to, and created it in the shape of a simple fairy, which Osawa dubbed "Navi"—referring to someone that would serve as the player's navigator.[94] Without meaning to, Osawa, Koizumi, and Ikeda had provided Link with his first companion character—something Miyamoto had originally wanted to do in A Link to the Past.[95]

The conception of Navi also allowed the developers to deal with some of the memory challenges they were facing. The team decided that in the world of this new Zelda, every character in Link's village would have their own personal Navi-like fairy. This made it so you could get away with just displaying someone's fairy (which consisted of a simple round model) if the player was standing far away from them, and have the actual character model appear as the player got closer.[96] This system, in turn, led to a story idea whereby Link wouldn't have his own fairy companion at the start of the game, meet one during his adventure, and have to part with her at the end of the story.[97] It was a trademark example of Nintendo using game mechanics to dictate story ideas—something that would frequently occur during the development of future Zelda games as well.

An early version of Link on horseback

As ideas for the game's story began to expand, so did the team and its ambitions. During the development of the original Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, the team working on the games would brainstorm ideas for both, and categorize them into "Mario ideas" and "Zelda ideas" as they deemed appropriate. During the development of Super Mario 64, Yoshiaki Koizumi had done the same, reserving certain ideas for a Zelda game, and would often refer to these notes.[98] One of the ideas that had been discussed for Mario 64 was the inclusion of a horse that the player would be able to ride. While that idea hadn't made it into Mario, Miyamoto wanted to include it in Zelda, and so the team began designing it. They started by photographing horses for reference and even discussed bringing an actual horse into the studio to help with design. (Eventually, they had to settle for balancing a plank across two footstools)[99] Once the team decided to include a horse, it meant the game would need larger fields that the player could ride across, and so designer Makoto Miyanaga began creating Hyrule Field—a large, central area that would serve as a hub to the game's other locales.

At first, Hyrule Field was densely populated with trees but the team discovered that this would slow the player down too often on horseback, and so the amount of trees was reduced.[100] Routes and roads were laid across the vast landscape of Hyrule Field to help steer players towards places of consequence, and to prevent them from getting lost.[101] The team also began implementing weather effects and a day-and-night cycle, in addition to littering the field with hidden secrets and items for discerning players to find.[102]

"It created quite a fuss when I first made [Hyrule Field]," Miyanaga would recall. "People were like, 'You can't make it that big!' Even riding a horse, it was so big that you would get bored riding around it, so we had to add something. Then lots of people took a hand in it, having enemies appear and putting holes here and there. We'd be like, 'This area's a bit empty, so I'll make a hole and put something in it.'"[103]

OoT Link and Navi Artwork.png
Link was made to look "cooler" than in past games

In parallel, attention was lavished on the character model for Link, and no expense was being spared to animate the character convincingly.[104] This Zelda, like The Adventure of Link, featured a more grown-up Link and Koizumi had designed him to look more "handsome" than in prior games at the request of his wife. The character's sideburns were reduced and he was given a sharper nose. Additionally, Koizumi pierced Link's ears to give him a more striking appearance. (Although, he noted it wouldn't have suited Nintendo's style to have Link appear "too cool", and so he also gave Link his familiar long johns.)[105]

"We’d been fussing over how Link should open a treasure chest for three years," Miyamoto would recall in an interview in 1998. "When we got the idea of using motion capture, there were some in the staff who were against it. We ended up deciding that just a little would be okay. My company is sometimes worried about losing money, so when motion capture was suggested we were met with a 'Do you really need that much equipment? Isn’t what you’re doing now okay?' sort of reaction. We started out using wireframe motion capture, but soon we made our own method which actually cost twice as much. But what’s the point of doing something that’s already been done before? When we were photographing horses, we even went as far as discussing how to bring a real horse into the studio. In the end we got two footstools and a plank and making our own horse like that."[106]

"On the day I went to the studio, there was a fantastic iron-frame treasure chest with a sword and shield inside. It clearly had cost a lot of money. When I asked 'What is all this for?' the triumphant reply was 'We figured out how to open a treasure chest!' Their conclusion was that before you opened the chest you needed to kick the hinge first or there’s no way the action looked realistic. I wonder if the motion capture team made that, too… It was really good stuff."[107]

The costs and workload required to create a game using 3D graphics spilled over to concept design as well. Up until that point, Nintendo had often outsourced illustrations and promotional art to companies that specialized in creating artwork. However, 3D graphics had started to become mainstream and digital art featuring 3D-rendered models needed to be produced for newer games like Super Mario 64. Finding that it wasn't technologically or financially feasible to outsource these renders to other companies, Nintendo had purchased an SGI supercomputer and its artists had begun learning the PowerAnimator tool to create key artwork for Nintendo 64 games. As this workflow was still in place after Super Mario 64 was completed, the team carried it over to the new Zelda as well.[108]

Early character designs

Partway through development, it occurred to Miyamoto that he would like to see a younger version of Link appear in the game. He was against the idea of Link turning into "just another cool hero" and preferred that the character remain playful and childish as he had in most prior Zelda games.[109] At Miyamoto's insistence, the team began exploring the idea of a younger Link and Koizumi began testing the idea of applying the same animations to two separate character models—one older and one younger. The presence of two Links was justified by adjusting the game's story. At some point in the game, the younger Link would draw the Master Sword from its pedestal and would be transported several years into the future, where he would be an adult.[110]

"Link's archenemy is Ganon, so I thought they should meet once when he's a child," Miyamoto would recall. "The innocent eyes of a child are able to see through to the truth, so Young Link knows instinctively that Ganon is a bad guy. When Adult Link meets him again, and Ganon says he's that boy from years before, it really hits you. You think to yourself, 'That's right. I'm that child from before.' Putting in that scene was really fun for me."[111]

As development progressed, Miyamoto began adding more members to the team. The year prior, Nintendo had released Marvelous: Another Treasure Island for the Super Famicom. The game had been directed by Eiji Aonuma, an artist that Miyamoto had personally had a hand in hiring, and was heavily influenced by A Link to the Past. Aonuma had also worked on a number of games in collaboration with external developers such as HAL Laboratory, but wanted to create more in-house titles with teams at Nintendo. Noting his interest in games that were similar to Zelda, Miyamoto invited him to join his team.[112]

Blueprints for the Water Temple

At the time, the Zelda team lacked someone that was capable of designing the game's dungeons in three dimensions.[113] Despite having no prior experience with work of that nature, Aonuma was assigned the task and began brainstorming ideas on paper, trying to maintain a sense of logic within his dungeons while striving to constantly surprise the player.[114] The first dungeon he worked on was the Forest Temple, where the path would twist and warp as Link traversed it. Aonuma would later state that the Forest Temple was his favourite dungeon in the game.[115]

"While playing the previous [The Legend of Zelda game], I tried to put in elements to solve the questions that I had for those games," Aonuma would recall in an interview years later. "For example, it is a terrible rule to restart from the entrance if the player fell inside the a [sic] dungeon. I made it clear for the player to see the entrance of the room where the boss is as he walks into the dungeon. You can say I put baits."[116]

Aonuma's talent as a puppet designer helped him visualize the logic and moving parts for complex, three-dimensional dungeons, including the game's infamous Water Temple. He collaborated with other members of the development team, routinely tweaking his dungeons to be able to accommodate different items such as the Hookshot, ensuring that none of them would disrupt progress within any of the dungeons. Eventually, Aonuma grew into the role of a systems director and was made one of several sub-directors that would lead different aspects of development.[117]

One of the programmers assisting Aonuma with the creation of his dungeons was Kazuaki Morita, who had spearheaded development of Link's Awakening when he had begun experimenting with a development kit for the original Game Boy. Morita was fond of fishing and had included a fishing minigame in Link's Awakening, among other complex side events. Whilst working on the boss for Aonuma's Water Temple dungeon, Morita noted the presence of a pool-like water body. He happened to have the model of a fish on hand, and began experimenting by having the fish swim around inside the pool.[118] This prompted Morita to develop his second fishing game for a Zelda title and he began fleshing it out, handling elements such as the sound and the music of the minigame by himself.[119]

Meanwhile, other parts of the game had begun to grow in scope and detail as well. Miyamoto was of the opinion that if Link could ride a horse, the team should include mounted archery and one-on-one duels. The team was able to include the former, but not the latter.[120] (One-on-one duels would later be implemented in Twilight Princess, which would serve as a spiritual successor to this game.) Miyamoto's fondness for making Zelda games highly interactive had persisted as well, and the team was working on adding minute details to objects such as wooden signboards. At Miyamoto's behest, the team had designed it so that swinging your sword vertically would cut wooden signboards in half, while swinging it diagonally would cut them a different way. If the cut pieces of wood happened to fall into a body of water, they would float.[121] Just as with A Link to the Past, Miyamoto pushed for a strong sense of interactivity, and other members of the team such as Aonuma and Morita shared his obsession with detail, leading to constant iteration and polish.

OoT Talon Artwork.png
Talon from Ocarina of Time

This attention to detail spilled over into the game's story and characters as well. Yoshiaki Koizumi and Kazuaki Morita had been in charge of the story and events for Link's Awakening. Inspired by the characters and atmosphere of an American TV named show Twin Peaks, Link's Awakening had featured a cast of peculiar and memorable characters. Since the team for this new Zelda consisted of members of the Link's Awakening team, the staff pushed further in that direction.[122] An owl-like character similar to the one in Link's Awakening was included, as were others inspired by those in the prior game—most notably Talon and Malon, a father-daughter pair that bore a striking resemblance to Tarin and Marin from the Game Boy game.

"When we decided to handle Link growing up from a 9-year-old child to a more mature 16-year-old, I wanted lots of characters to fulfill various roles," Miyamoto would recall. "For example, [the owl] Kaepora Gaebora is a grandfather figure who gives Link all kinds of advice and looks out for him. And since Link is a boy, I wanted girls besides Princess Zelda to show up."[123]

The latter half of development on the new Zelda was spent almost exclusively on adding content to the game in the form of dungeons, events involving the ocarina songs, and other sub-events. At its peak size, the development team grew to 120 people—forty or fifty of which were in-house Nintendo employees, with the remaining staff composed of people from external companies.[124] The end result was a game that had a large number of staff working under five directors, one of whom was Yoichi Yamada—the co-director of A Link to the Past.

OoT JP Logo.gif
Ocarina of Time's Japanese logo

Following multiple days meant to allow time to polish the game, the team was under pressure to release "Zelda 64" by fall of 1998. The Nintendo 64 was facing stiff competition from the PlayStation, and Nintendo needed a major release to keep their platform competitive. After close to three years of development, the game was released under its final title, Ocarina of Time, in November 1998. Starting with this game, Nintendo would use the new logo designed by Girvin for The Legend of Zelda brand in Japan as well, and it would remain in use for the next several years.

While it couldn't turn the fortunes of the Nintendo 64 around, Ocarina of Time is generally considered one of the best and most memorable games in the series. It created the template for a number of 3D action-adventure games and for a number of 3D Zelda games after it. Selling over 7.6 million units, Ocarina of Time would become the benchmark by which all future Zelda games would be measured for years to come.[125] Its immense success and cultural importance would cast a long shadow over the franchise for years thereafter, and would lead to the retooling of The Legend of Zelda a number of times, as Nintendo would attempt to create a game that could surpass their first 3D Zelda.

Majora's Mask

By 1998, Nintendo found itself faced with a new challenge. Over the last few years, developing videogames had become an expensive prospect with the advent of 3D technology. Budgets had ballooned, team sizes had increased, and the amount of time, money, and effort required to create games was on the rise. Developers needed to learn to manage 3D cameras, physics, lighting, and a number of other technical minutiae that had been introduced with games like Super Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, and Eidos Interactive's Tomb Raider, and player expectations were at an all-time high.

Nintendo in particular had felt the full brunt of creating a big-budget 3D blockbuster with Ocarina of Time, and it had happened at a time the company was facing stiff competition from Sony's PlayStation. The PlayStation had deprived the Nintendo 64 of the third-party support previous Nintendo platforms such as the Famicom and Super Famicom had enjoyed, and the console had been getting by primarily off the back of Nintendo's own games.

The writing was on the wall—Nintendo needed to be able to release games faster if they wanted to continue supporting the Nintendo 64 in any reasonable capacity until their next platform was ready. With this in mind, Shigeru Miyamoto decreed that the company needed to do more with less—to create high-selling games with lower budgets than Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 64, and much quicker turnarounds.[126]

"I feel there is a bad atmosphere that you can't do something new at Nintendo these days," Miyamoto would say to Japanese magazine 64 Dream. "I never thought things like this before. So now we are changing ourselves to an organization that allows people to do new things and energize ourselves. I'm saying to my people that from now on let's go for the game that can be developed within six months and sell a million copies. If you want to finish a game within six months, you have to make it within two months because you need to polish it for another four months. If someone asks me who can make such a thing, I'd tell them that I used to do it. It isn't a great thing to take three years. [Ocarina of Time] would have been finished in a much shorter period if we had cut some parts."

Ocarina of Time was originally meant to be compatible with the Nintendo 64DD, a Japan-only peripheral for the Nintendo 64. While the DD wasn't ready in time for that game's release, it was on track for release in the year 2000. By plugging in this Disc Drive underneath the console, it allowed the system to expand and rewrite a large amount of data. Nintendo had already released an updated version of Link's Awakening for the Game Boy Color, and Miyamoto asked his team to do the same with Ocarina of Time for the 64DD, in order to give the Nintendo 64 a second Zelda game in a short amount of time. This project, titled "Ura Zelda," was meant to use remixed dungeons from Ocarina and add other enhancements such as fleshing out unresolved plot threads. Eiji Aonuma, who had designed the dungeons for Ocarina of Time single-handed, was put in charge of the project.[127]

However, Aonuma quickly grew bored at the prospect of remixing his older designs from Ocarina of Time and began working on new dungeons instead. Eventually, he mustered up the courage to request that he be allowed to create an entirely new Zelda game, and was granted the permission to do so—provided he could manage it within one year.[128]

"It’s a shame when a game takes 3 years to make. So, I figured, why not do it in 1?" Miyamoto would say to Japanese publication Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun. "I wanted to be able to say 'We can do it too!' I thought that if we just used the engine for Ocarina of Time and layered a new scenario on top of that, we’d be able to create a reasonably large game in 12 months."[129]

Development of this new Zelda game began using just half the team behind Ocarina of Time, with a few new members bringing the total count to 30 - 50 developers at the outset.[130] At the time, Yoshiaki Koizumi had been working on a board game that loosely involved the concept of playing with time, inspired by the movie Run Lola Run.[131] In in-game time, this game took place over the course of one week, but could actually be completed by the player in an hour through the manipulation of time. The idea was to develop a compact game that could be replayed over and over. Eventually, the game was cancelled and Koizumi recalled by Miyamoto to work on the new Zelda alongside Aonuma.[132]

Having directed a game entirely by himself before, Eiji Aonuma was put in charge of the overall project as the supervising director and the director in charge of the entire overworld. Meanwhile, Yoshiaki Koizumi was put in charge of sub-events and characters.[133] Mitsuhiro Takano was in charge of the game's script. Kenta Usui involved with dungeon design. Yoichi Yamada was head of system management. Finally, Takumi Kawagoe was the director in charge of cutscenes. With this team in place, development began in earnest and the new game was tentatively titled "Zelda Gaiden".[134] Aonuma and Koizumi used the latter's ideas for the time travel game, refined them, and began putting them into Zelda Gaiden, creating the Groundhog Day-like three-day system in the process. The idea was to create a game that took place in a single location with fewer dungeons, but provide a greater sense of depth and replayability. Rather than focusing on a story that was grand in scope, this new Zelda would involve Link being intimately involved with the inhabitants of a single town.

Majora's Mask promotional art by Yusuke Nakano

The Twin Peaks influence returned for a third time, and in a much more obvious manner than in Link's Awakening and Ocarina of Time. The team had decided from the outset that it wanted to create a darker, more mature Zelda game and this was reflected in the game's characters, as well as the artwork. Nintendo's Yusuke Nakano, who had served as an illustrator on Ocarina of Time, was a fan of an overseas comic book at the time, and drew Link with dark shadows across his face and body to reflect the new game's tone.[135] Meanwhile, Koizumi's time-travel concept called for the game to play out over the course of a week, but the team felt that a week might be too long and the townsfolk's schedules might become too hard for players to remember. The Groundhog Day idea was trimmed to three days instead, which better fit the idea of Zelda Gaiden being a more compact experience.[136] In parallel, the team also began developing sub-systems that would tie into the time-travel mechanic.

"The development of Ocarina of Time was so long, we were able to put in a whole lot of different elements into that game," Aonuma would reveal in an Iwata Asks interview several years later. "Out of those, there were ideas that weren't fully utilized, and ones that weren't used to their full potential. One of those was the mask salesman. So in Majora's Mask we felt it would be fun if Link himself transforms whenever he puts on those masks. As a basis of Zelda games, you're able to use items to do all sorts of different things, and we felt it would be a lot of fun if Link would acquire all these abilities by putting on these different masks. We felt that would expand the gameplay. So we made the game so Link could transform into Deku Link to fly in the air, Goron Link to roll across land, and Zora Link so that he could swim underwater. We also gave each of them a storyline. Once we decided we were going with masks, everything just came into place."[137]

Zelda Gaiden, which would later be titled Majora's Mask, began to take on a sense of challenge. While Ocarina of Time was designed to be a "hospitable" experience for the player, Majora's Mask would challenge them to see if they had what it took to complete it.[138] The game was being designed for players that had already played Ocarina of Time, and so the thinking was that a more challenging affair would be appropriate. However, it quickly became evident that a team this size would not be able to produce a new Zelda in a year. As a result, Miyamoto and Aonuma began to pull other members of the Ocarina of Time team into the project.[139] By the time the complete team was assembled, there were six directors working on the game, similar to Ocarina of Time's multi-director system.[140]

Meanwhile, the notion of using the Nintendo 64DD had been shelved a second time, owing to the device being delayed, and the team instead opted to make use of another peripheral: the Expansion Pak. This smaller, more compact device added an additional 4MB of RAM to the Nintendo 64, bringing its total memory to 8MB. The plan was to release the Expansion Pak as part of the Nintendo 64DD package, but due to the delay of the latter device Nintendo opted to release the Expanion Pak sooner. A demo for Zelda Gaiden that was 50% complete was shown off at Nintendo's Spaceworld event in 1999 and by this point, the central theme involving masks had been implemented, and attendees had a chance to sample the game's story, set in the land of Termina—a parallel world that was not connected to Hyrule in any manner. The 4MB Expansion Pak had been implemented as well, allowing for higher resolution textures and fully 3D interiors, as opposed to the pre-rendered interiors found in Ocarina of Time. It came off as a different kind of Zelda game, created by a confident team with no inhibitions.[141]

At the same event, Shigeru Miyamoto informed the media that "Ura Zelda" was still in production, and was still meant to be be compatible with the 64DD upon its release.[142] The game, he said, had been put on hold so that the team could concentrate on Zelda Gaiden, but would be finished and released as a remixed version of Ocarina of Time with randomized elements at some point in the future.

"This time there's a fear in Zelda"

As development on Majora's Mask progressed, members of the team began inserting more of themselves and their families into the game. Jason Leung, the screen writer for the English version of the game, revealed in an interview: "Normally, we wrap things up around 10 p.m., but tonight we finished up early since Mr. Miyamoto was taking the Zelda team out to dinner. There, game system director Eiji Aonuma and supervisor Takashi Tezuka told me how they've incorporated things from their everyday lives into the game. Development began in August, 1999 (though ideas for a sequel began right after Ocarina of Time was finished), and the team rarely got to go home. As a result, many of the characters—like the Deku Scrubs, who are involved in a cross-country trading sequence—talk about not being able to spend time with their wives. During the development process, the programmers would often say, 'Let's not bring my wife into this,' which was their way of saying that they didn't want to be reminded of their home life. They already felt bad that they were spending so much time at the office to work on perfecting the game. As a little in-joke, Mr. Takano scripted that the mayor in the game says "Let's not bring my wife into this," during his exhausting, overlong council meeting."[143]

The end result of these efforts was a sequel to Ocarina of Time that, while built on the same underlying technology, was incredibly unique. In fact, Majora's Mask's controversial Groundhog Day mechanic even ruffled feathers among Nintendo's in-house debugging team. In an interview, Miyamoto would state: "Even though it's a forbidden thing for a Zelda game, we still decided to have the clock tick in the dungeons. When we first sent it to the Mario Club, we had loads of angry feedback saying ‘It doesn't fit Zelda!’ But after a while that feedback would change to ‘It's actually a good thing’."[144]

Following a year of strenuous overtime and crunch, Majora's Mask was released on April 2000 in Japan. At the suggestion of Nintendo's then-president, Hiroshi Yamauchi, the game used the marketing slogan "This Time There's a Fear In Zelda," indicative of its darker tone.[145] A U.S. and European release followed later that fall, and the game went on to sell just 3.36 million units worldwide—less than half the sales of Ocarina of Time.[146] While this was largely down to low sales of the Nintendo 64 platform itself, it would emerge in the years that followed that the development philosophy behind Majora's Mask was the beginning of an identity crisis that would afflict The Legend of Zelda brand for the next decade. As Nintendo would struggle to determine its priorities, Zelda would go through a tumultuous few years.


The Capcom Partnership

The Formation of Flagship

In 1997, prior to the release of Ocarina of Time, Yoshiki Okamoto, a designer at Capcom, had just established a new studio dedicated to creating games for multiple platforms. During his time at Capcom, Okamoto had directed a number of well-respected games such as Final Fight and the incredibly popular Street Fighter II, and was also the supervisor overseeing the company's new Resident Evil series of games, the first of which had just been released to immense success on the PlayStation.

Okamoto's new studio, named Flagship, was set up as a subsidiary under Capcom and was jointly funded by Capcom, Sega, and Nintendo. The idea was that Flagship would specialize in developing story scenarios for Sega Saturn, PlayStation, and Nintendo 64 games in collaboration with the three companies. Among these projects was a game meant to serve as a prequel to Resident Evil, titled Biohazard Zero (eventually better known as Resident Evil Zero). The idea for the project initially came about due to the Nintendo 64 hardware itself, when Capcom's designers discovered that Nintendo 64 cartridges would allow for quick switching between two separate playable characters without the need for a loading screen like with the CD-ROM format used by the PlayStation.[147] Despite starting production on the Nintendo 64, Resident Evil Zero would eventually be rebooted as a Nintendo GameCube project and released in 2002.

In 1999, while Flagship was involved in the scenario creation for Resident Evil Zero, Okamoto approached Nintendo about the possibility of the studio contributing to first-party games, including a new The Legend of Zelda. Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto agreed to his proposal, and the staff at Flagship that were free began drafting a story for a remake of the Nintendo Entertainment System's The Legend of Zelda on the Game Boy Color. Okamoto would supervise the project, with the intent being to introduce a new generation of players to the appeal of that first Zelda game.[148][149]

While Flagship was starting with a remake of the first The Legend of Zelda, the team planned to use that project as a launching-off point for entirely new Zelda games afterward. Okamoto estimated that porting the first Zelda over to the Game Boy Color would take three or four months. Following this, the team would use the same infrastructure used for the remake to create two entirely new games, with the stories of all three being connected in some fashion.[150] The three-game trilogy would be titled Legend of Zelda: The Mysterious Acorn, with the three chapters titled Chapter of Courage (the remake), Chapter of Power, and Chapter of Wisdom—named after the three pieces of the series' Tri Force artifact. Unfortunately, his vision wouldn't come to pass the way he had imagined.


Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages

The Mysterious Acorn

The first screenshots for The Legend of Zelda: The Mysterious Acorn appeared in Famitsu magazine in August of 1999. Nintendo announced that they would demo the new Game Boy Color trilogy at their upcoming Spaceworld event, along with Zelda Gaiden (which hadn't yet been named). The Game Boy Color titles, Nintendo said, comprised a trilogy that could be completed in any order, with each game having the ability to affect the stories of the other two.[151] The following year, all three games were given tentative English titles: The Mystical Seed of Power, The Mystical Seed of Courage, and The Mystical Seed of Wisdom.[152] Nintendo intended to release one of the three games in late summer, with the second following in early Fall, and the final game in time for Christmas.[153]

Capcom designer Hidemaro Fujibayashi was in charge of development. Yoshiki Okamoto, founder of Flagship and supervisor of these new Zeldas, had originally assigned Fujibayashi to serve as his assistant of sorts on the trilogy. Fujibayashi would compile the ideas Okamoto and his team had, and eventually used them to write the original proposal Flagship had presented to Nintendo.[154] Eventually, Fujibayashi began taking an active part in development himself and was promoted to director by Okamoto. Fujibayashi then began approaching Capcom artists and programmers to put a full-fledged development team together—one capable of developing the entire game instead of just its story.[155]

OoS Link Artwork.png
Link from Oracle of Seasons
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Link from Oracle of Ages

"The core of the games was pretty much decided," Fujibayashi would recall in an interview. "That is to say, the fact that [the games] would be on the Game Boy Color, the use of the four seasons, and the decision to retain the feel of the 2D Zelda games. It was also decided that it would be a series, so I thought the link system up as a way to make use of that idea. I wanted, for example, that if you missed an enemy in the first game, you would encounter it in the next one. That’s the kind of game I wanted to make it. Zelda is a game with a solid world, so I thought we could express the characters’ 'existence' like in the N64 games on the Game Boy, too."[156]

"We wanted to go in a different direction from the big serious story games like Final Fantasy," Okamoto would say. "This is an action-oriented RPG. It's a 'lighter' style, kind of like a weekly TV drama (as opposed to an epic film). We knew that we could use the same basic style as the existing Zelda games and make two really fun games. We also liked the possibility of having multiple endings and the replay value that you get from two linking games."[157]

By mid-2000, the project had begun to run into complications. One of the three games in the trilogy had been shelved.[158] The original intent was to remake the Nintendo Entertainment System's The Legend of Zelda for the Game Boy Color, followed by two new games. The idea was that Capcom and Flagship would use a remake as a test bed of sorts and eventually develop two entirely new games using the same underlying technology. All three games would serve as a connected trilogy and allow the player to complete them in any order, using a password system to keep track of progress. Unfortunately, the Flagship team, eager to jump right into their new games, had failed to account for unforeseen complications on the remake.

Prior to development kicking off, Flagship hadn't accounted for the fact that the Game Boy Color used a narrower screen than a television. As a result, the GBC wasn't able to display rooms built for the Nintendo Entertainment System's Zelda in their entirety. The player needed to move around to be able to view the full extent of the room they were in, which meant it was easy to miss details such as stairways, cracks in the wall, and other similar clues meant to steer progress. Additionally, because Flagship primarily specialized in writing story scenarios for videogames, the team had trouble reconciling its story ambitions with how the game would actually play. As a result, the developers would constantly need to rework the story and environments to fit one another.[159][160]

Eventually, it was decided that Capcom and Nintendo would only release the two new games, both taking place in a new setting: the land of Holodrum. When the team was about 60% through development, Nintendo's Yoichi Yamada joined the project in a supervisory capacity, and Fujibayashi began consulting directly with Yamada and Miyamoto, strengthening his relationship with Nintendo in the process.[161]

Since the two games—finally dubbed Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons—were being developed alongside Majora's Mask, references to that game, as well as its predecessor, were included. Oracle of Ages contained characters that appeared in Majora's Mask, while in Oracle of Seasons the player would meet characters from Ocarina of Time.[162] Flagship and Capcom's development staff would also insert their own personalities into the game, with Fujibayashi later stating that the Oracle games were indicative of the differences between the people of Kyoto (where Nintendo was headquartered) and the people of Osaka (where Capcom's office was located).[163] For promotional art, Nintendo's Yusuke Nakano collaborated with Flagship to design the game's characters. Nakano would listen to how the development team envisioned the in-game sprites and create illustrations based on these notes.[164]

Despite going from three games to two, the development team still had its work cut out for it, with team members crunching to have the project completed on time. "There’s a 'Black Tower' in Oracle of Ages, with people made to work there," Fujibayashi would reveal in an interview. "Their dialogue is along the lines of 'There’s no end to this work' or 'I can’t go home'. There were also team members that couldn’t go home much during development, so we put those characters in as a parody. But our team feels really cozy, so the general atmosphere was great. People who’d just come by with a message would end up in a meeting and chat with us for two hours before leaving again."[165]

Oracle of Seasons

"After we started to produce a three-title concept, where players would reach the same goals no matter in which order they chose to play the games, it was difficult for us to see all of the problems in making three linking games," Okamoto would reveal in an interview.[166] "When Mr. Miyamoto said, 'Wouldn't it be simpler to create two titles, instead of three?' we said, 'Yes, of course!' He really saved us. Then, we moved in the direction of the two-title concept. To be honest, I think that it would've been impossible to develop three titles like that. Even now (with two titles releasing simultaneously) we are working very hard to prevent program bugs."

Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages were eventually released on the same day, first in Japan and then in North America and Europe. As intended, the games were designed to be played in any order, with the second serving as a sequel to the first. Due to the fact that they'd been delayed, both were published just a month prior to the release of Nintendo's next portable platform, the Game Boy Advance. They went on to sell a combined total of 3.96 million units worldwide and would lead to director Hidemaro Fujibayashi joining Nintendo as a full-time employee of the company years later.[167]


The Onset of Gamer Drift

Spaceworld 2000

The Zelda tech demo for the Nintendo GameCube

In May 1999, prior to the release of Majora's Mask and Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages, Nintendo revealed the codename for its next home console: "Project Dolphin". The console's GPU was being developed in collaboration with a company named ArtX led by Dr. Wei Yen, who had been responsible for the Nintendo 64 graphics chip. ArtX was later acquired by ATI, which would remain the graphics provider for Nintendo consoles for the next several years. Meanwhile, for the Dolphin's CPU, Nintendo partnered with the technology firm IBM, which produced a custom chip named "Gekko" to power the device.

As development on Majora's Mask was wrapping up, the development team began working on plans for the next Zelda title, which would be released for Project Dolphin. Coming off the failure of the Nintendo 64, there was pressure for the system and its games to perform well, and the team experimented with different art styles and rendering techniques to determine what the next The Legend of Zelda game should look like.[168] By this point, Eiji Aonuma, the director of Majora's Mask, had been tasked with directing the next home console Zelda game as well, and was slowly gaining the confidence to take the reins of the Zelda franchise.[169]

In August 2000, Nintendo officially revealed Project Dolphin, dubbing it the "Nintendo GameCube". At E3 the following year, they unveiled fifteen launch titles for the platform, including Luigi's Mansion and Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II. Alongside these, Nintendo also presented a tech demo for what a The Legend of Zelda game could look like on the Nintendo GameCube hardware, similar to their Nintendo 64 tech demo years ago. The demonstration featured an adult-looking Link, modeled after his Ocarina of Time design, engaging Ganon in a one-on-one duel. The short reel was extremely positively received, with most assuming it represented how the next The Legend of Zelda game would look.[170]


The Wind Waker

The Zelda tech demo for the Nintendo GameCube

By late 2000, work on Majora's Mask had been completed and the game released. While it had been well-received, there wasn't much Majora's Mask—or any other game—could do to bolster sales of the Nintendo 64, which had ceded both the Japanese and Western videogame markets to Sony's PlayStation. Knowing the Nintendo 64 was on its way out, Nintendo had revealed its next videogame console, the Nintendo GameCube, to the public. Members of the Zelda team had already begun experimenting with this new system, and Nintendo intended for them to get a game out as quickly as possible.

Under the direction of Eiji Aonuma and Yoshiaki Koizumi, Majora's Mask had set itself well apart from Ocarina of Time. The game had been a happy accident of sorts, with the development team co-opting ideas that were originally meant for other projects and fleshing them out to give Majora's Mask its unique three-day system.[171] Since the team had also re-used a number of art assets originally created for Ocarina of Time, they were able to complete development of the game in about a year.

This time, they wouldn't have the same luxury. For starters, the team had lost Koizumi, who had been tasked with directing the next Mario game.[172] Furthermore, the team felt it had exhausted its ideas on the Nintendo 64 Zeldas and was unable to come up with new ones using those games as a template. Earlier in the year, a few members of staff had even produced a tech demo for the Nintendo GameCube's public reveal that depicted a semi-realistic Link and Ganondorf locked in a duel, but while the short reel had fans excited the team felt it was uninspired and looked too similar to Ocarina of Time.[173]

Character designers Satoru Takizawa and Yoshiki Haruhana—both of whom had worked on the Spaceworld 2000 tech demo—felt the need to create something entirely new instead. Takizawa had been in charge of creating enemies for both Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, while Haruhana had been in charge of NPCs.[174] The two wanted to give the next Zelda a unique visual identity.[175]

Eventually, it was Haruhana that found a way forward, when he presented the team with a cartoon-ish illustration of Link. According to Haruhana, he had been browsing through a videogame magazine and felt that all the games within looked too similar to one another. He grew concerned that the next Zelda would end up feeling the same way, and began thinking about what needed to be done with its art to make it stand out.[176] The new Link design he presented to the team accomplished just that, and sparked the imaginations of the other artists. In turn, Takizawa illustrated a Moblin character fashioned after the new Link's stylized look, believing that this new style would allow for more striking animation.[177] Animation tests soon followed and the team began experimenting with how this new Link and the Moblin would fight. The resulting demo reel convinced the designers and director Eiji Aonuma that this was the way to go, and that cel-shading (or toon-shading) techniques would help achieve the visuals they envisioned.

"At the time, when the GameCube came out, within the computer graphics world, within the industry, 'toon shading' was kind of a buzzword," Aonuma would recall in an interview several years later. "There was a lot of chatter about it, but no one had really explored it in games yet, at the time. The staff that I work with was curious, so we challenged it. We tried it."[178]

Unused concept art for adult Toon Link
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Link on the King of Red Lions

Inspired by their striking new visual style, the development team began brainstorming ideas around Zelda's core foundations: interactivity and an in-game logic that would make sense to the player.[179] One of the advantages of the stylized new visuals was that they made it easier to highlight in-game objects and puzzle mechanics in a way that would stand out.[180]

The belief among the team was that photorealistic visuals made it more difficult to convey things to the player. For example; if you needed the player to bomb a breakable wall, it was harder to make the wall stand out from non-bombable walls if the artwork was overly realistic. And so, the team leaned into the idea of a highly-stylized, animated world filled with moving parts and visual flourishes. Moblins would have strands of rope hanging from their spears, while suspension bridges would feature them heavily as well. In order to make these strands animate convincingly, a programmer that had been in charge of Majora's Wrath, an enemy in Majora's Mask that used whips, would be assigned to them.[181]

Animator Yōichi Kotabe, who served Nintendo in an advisory capacity, would later reveal that the game's visual style was heavily inspired by Toei Studio's Wanpaku Ouji no Orochi Taiji anime, which he had worked on in 1963.[182]

The development team decided to set this new Zelda among the seas early in the development process. The team envisioned what sort of characters would reside in such a world and used the open sea to design the game world’s mechanics.[183] They began working out just how large they could make the sea without overburdening the Nintendo GameCube hardware. The Nintendo GameCube couldn't load environments in quickly enough if islands were too large, placed too close together, or if Link approached them too quickly. In order to make transitions seamless between sailing and docking at an island, the team experimented with the size of the sea as well as the placement and sizes of the islands themselves.[184]

Similar to Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, gameplay elements helped define this new Zelda's story. Once the team had decided to set the game on the sea, they came up with the idea that Hyrule was now at the bottom of the ocean. This led to the question of how exactly Hyrule had been flooded to begin with, which Aonuma used as an opportunity to position the game's story as a sequel to Ocarina of Time, set hundreds of years later.[185] Aonuma was fond of storytelling in his games, and would later confirm that Ocarina of Time had two endings, one of which connected to this new game.[186]

By August 2001, the development team had made enough headway on the game for Nintendo to show a clip off at Space World 2001, followed by a playable demo at E3 the next year. Reactions to the game were mixed, due to the fact that it looked so different from the Space World 2000 tech demo, which had employed a more realistic, mature visual style. To many, the dramatic change in the graphics indicated that Nintendo was trying to appeal to children, instead of expanding upon the edgier style of Ocarina of Time, which had cemented itself as the standard for Zelda games on home consoles. This perception was something the company would spend the next several months combating, up until release.[187] Meanwhile, the split opinions also made their way back to the development team, who acknowledged the controversy but pushed ahead with development, hoping to win the public over with the finished product.

Several years later, late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata would recall: "If I think back, people were cleanly split into two groups. With one happy and saying 'The characters are so expressive that it’s like I’m controlling an anime,' and another resisting it, saying 'It’s like a game for small kids with the characters this cute.'"[188]

"We never hesitated in our desire to make a completely new Zelda game," Aonuma would reveal. "But we did notice the negative reaction when we announced it, so we were uneasy. But developing the game timidly would have been the worst thing, so we plunged ahead, determined to go all out hoping to gain acceptance."[189]

"Ura Zelda" resurfaces as a pre-order bonus

Development on the game—dubbed The Wind Waker—was completed in late 2002. In order to complete it on time, the development team had to cut two entire dungeons from the game and replace them with a quest to recover Triforce pieces scattered around the sea instead. The shortened development cycle would later lead to criticism of the game's overworld, which players felt was empty and lacking in things to do.[190] Nintendo marketed The Wind Waker heavily as its release drew close, advertising it as "animation you could touch" in Japan.[191] To spur pre-orders of the game, Nintendo also offered a bonus disc to fans, containing a Nintendo GameCube port of Ocarina of Time. The port contained a bonus mode titled "Master Quest," which was based on Ocarina of Time's previously unreleased expansion, Ura Zelda, which had been in development for the Nintendo 64. As a result, The Wind Waker quickly saw Nintendo's most successful pre-order campaign in history, with Nintendo of America announcing that the game had seen 560,000 pre-orders in North America alone.[192]

While pre-orders and initial sales for The Wind Waker were satisfactory, they began to lose steam quickly afterwards, growing to just 4.43 million units worldwide—far lower than Ocarina of Time's 7.6 million.[193] In Japan, this was largely attributed to the fact that the videogame market had started to decline. Meanwhile, in the west, sales were low primarily due to The Wind Waker's cartoon-ish visual style, which had proven unpopular with The Legend of Zelda's audience in North America.[194]

By this point, Aonuma had a sense of what Zelda's audience expected from each subsequent game. Aonuma felt that for a game to succeed, two things were necessary:[195]

1. To introduce fun, new elements that would surprise the player

2. To retain the elements that players found appealing in prior games

The problem with The Wind Waker was that it hadn't struck the balance of new-versus-existing appeal well enough. Nintendo's unintentional misdirect with their Space World 2000 tech demo had led players to believe that they would expand upon the moody visual style introduced in Ocarina of Time. When the actual game ended up going in an entirely different direction, it alienated a large portion of the audience that expected future games to improve upon Ocarina of Time.

However, Shigeru Miyamoto felt that there was another reason that The Wind Waker hadn't been able to find a large audience. From his perspective, the Zelda team hadn't been able to add any truly new ideas to the core gameplay since the series had gone 3D. This, he felt, had resulted in seasoned gamers growing tired of the formula, while those that weren't fond of videogames found Zelda too complicated—especially in Japan, where the market had begun to decline.[196] Miyamoto's style of developing games hinged on reinvention rather than refinement, and he felt it was important for Nintendo to constantly seek out new audiences with new ideas.

Whether his theory about The Wind Waker was applicable outside Japan or not, Miyamoto's outlook trickled down to the development team and for the next several years the Zelda team would struggle to balance the needs of its western and Japanese audiences. Miyamoto would encourage the staff to think up new gimmicks and ideas to combat Japan's declining videogame market and this would often lead to games that felt misguided or at odds with the western audience.


Four Swords

A Link to the Past

Following the release of Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages in 2001, work began on a new portable Zelda game, this time for the Game Boy Advance, which had been released the same year. The new game would be developed by Capcom in collaboration with Nintendo once more, and Hidemaro Fujibayashi would direct. Shortly after it began development, however, the project was put on hold in favour of getting another game out first: a remake of A Link to the Past.[197]

A remake of an older Zelda for one of Nintendo's portable platforms had been a long time coming. Nintendo had already experimented with the idea of remaking A Link to the Past for the Game Boy, but that project had eventually transformed into Link's Awakening.[198] Later, Flagship had attempted to remake the original The Legend of Zelda for the Game Boy Color, but that project resulted in Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons.[199]

This time, there was a simpler, clearer vision in place: A Link to the Past would be re-released with minimal changes for the Game Boy Advance, and an entirely separate multiplayer game dubbed Four Swords would be included as bonus material.

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The four Links

Nintendo had grown increasingly wary of a phenomenon dubbed "Gamer Drift" in Japan. It referred to the ongoing decline of the videogame market, and the company had been experimenting with different ways to combat it across their various franchises. In the case of Zelda, one of the experiments the main development team had attempted was allowing the Nintendo GameCube game, The Wind Waker, to connect to the Game Boy Advance, similar to the way Pokémon games were able to connect across home and portable consoles.

Nintendo wanted to explore the concept of connectivity differently with a separate Zelda game, which led to the creation of the Four Swords mode. Daiki Iwamoto, who had created cinematic sequences for Ocarina of Time was one of the programmers in charge of porting A Link to the Past to the Game Boy Advance. Meanwhile, Hidemaro Fujibayashi served as the director for Four Swords, which required at least two players to play. Playing the Four Swords quest would in turn unlock bonus material in A Link to the Past.

Four Swords allowed up to four players with Game Boy Advance devices and four copies of the game to play together. Each player would be represented by a Link of a different colour, and Link's overall design was modeled after the Toon Link concept created for The Wind Waker.[200]

A Link to the Past & Four Swords was released in 2002 for the Game Boy Advance and sold 1.89 million units on the device.[201] Nintendo of America used the game's re-release as an opportunity to redo A Link to the Past's English localization, unifying its terminology with that of future Zelda games.


Gamer Drift & Aonuma's Conundrum

The Wind Waker

By 2003, the Japanese videogame market had declined visibly, both in terms of hardware and software sales. This phenomenon was being referred to as "Gamer Drift"—where existing customers were losing interest in videogames and not enough new customers were being created to take their place. Gamer drift was something Nintendo in particular took very seriously. They had attributed low sales of The Wind Waker in part to the phenomenon, and the general sense was that the next Zelda game was going to face an uphill battle in Japan. While the North American videogame market was much healthier, The Wind Waker hadn't sold to expectations in the Americas either, owing to the game's divisive visual style.[202] As a result, there was a sense of uncertainty about where The Legend of Zelda needed to go next, and what exactly the future would hold.[203]

Meanwhile, director Eiji Aonuma faced a personal conundrum. Aonuma had served as one of many directors on Ocarina of Time and as the sole director of the two console Zelda games succeeding it. By the time development on The Wind Waker wrapped, Aonuma found himself exhausted by the experience. While on tour in Europe to promote the game, he also realized he was uncomfortable conducting interviews alongside his mentor, Shigeru Miyamoto. Miyamoto had invented the Zelda franchise and had strong opinions about just what constituted the virtues that made the games appealing. While Aonuma had directed the past few Zelda games, Miyamoto still had the final say in what was allowed and what wasn't, and his outlook on what qualified as "Zelda-ness" was often unclear to the director.

"Mr. Miyamoto points out every mistake that I made in front of the reporters!" Aonuma would jokingly reveal in an interview several years later. "For example, the most frequently asked question from the reporters is about that 'Zelda-ness (What makes a game a Zelda game)'. It’s a hard question to answer, even for us. Even Mr. Miyamoto is inconsistent with his answers. In one interview he answered, 'Zelda games are unique,' and then in another he suggested, 'Zelda games demonstrate growth'. I’m like, 'which one is it?' But in an interview, I must give an answer to every question. So I would talk about that 'Zelda-ness' just as Mr. Miyamoto would describe, only to be interrupted by Mr. Miyamoto himself disagreeing with me saying, 'No, that’s different,' in front of all the reporters!"[204]

Fatigued by The Wind Waker's development and the subsequent promotional tour, Aonuma eventually informed Miyamoto that he wanted to step down as director of Zelda and work on something else instead. In turn, the latter requested that Aonuma stay and promoted him to producer, suggesting he take on a supervisory role and focus on making the series better from a distance.[205] Inspired by the opportunity, Aonuma agreed and began brainstorming a variety of different The Legend of Zelda games—one of which would ultimately save the franchise from an untimely demise.


Four Swords Adventures

Four Swords Adventures

During the development of Four Swords and The Wind Waker, Nintendo had begun to experiment with the idea of connecting the Game Boy Advance to the Nintendo GameCube, similar to how the Nintendo 64 could import player data into Pokemon Stadium from the Game Boy. Connectivity between the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo GameCube was used in games like Pokemon Colosseum, and was also a feature Nintendo made use of in The Wind Waker, through an item called the Tingle Tuner. To use it, one would connect the Game Boy Advance to a Nintendo GameCube via a Link Cable and activate the item, which would allow the player to take control of Tingle. The Tuner would then enable a number of smaller features and abilities within the game, which would assist Link in his quest.

After development wrapped on The Wind Waker, director Eiji Aonuma was promoted to producer of the Zelda series. Aonuma had grown weary of directing Zelda games due to the heavy workload involved, and doing press interviews alongside his mentor, Shigeru Miyamoto, was adding to his stress.[206] Following a press tour in Europe, Aonuma asked to be let off the Zelda team, but Miyamoto requested that he stay and take on a more supervisory role as producer instead, from where he could help improve the Zelda series as a whole.[207] As the creator of the series, Miyamoto's word would still be ultimate but Aonuma would now have the opportunity to help steer the franchise going forward.[208]

The first project would Aonuma take on as producer was a successor to Four Swords, the multiplayer Zelda game that had been included with A Link to the Past on the Game Boy Advance. Up until that point, the more recent portable Zelda games had been developed by Capcom, with development support from Nintendo's own Zelda team. Aonuma hadn't been involved with these titles, owing to his responsibilities on the home console Zelda games, but as producer he would now be in charge of every Zelda that was in development. At the behest of Miyamoto, Aonuma and his team began working on the game, tentatively titled Four Swords for Nintendo GameCube.[209] Miyamoto felt such a game would promote Nintendo GameCube-to-Game Boy Advance connectivity possibly help capture the interest of Japanese consumers.[210]

At this point, Aonuma was overseeing three separate Zelda games: Four Swords Adventures, The Minish Cap, and a third game tentatively titled The Wind Waker 2.

Four Swords Adventures differed from Four Swords in that it now required both a Nintendo GameCube and a Game Boy Advance to play. The game would be played from a top-down view and four players would be able to explore together on the TV screen. When players entered a dungeon, the view would shift to their individual Game Boy Advance screens. The team felt that maintaining a top-down view all throughout would make it easier for all four players to tell where they were.[211]

With Aonuma promoted to producer, a new director needed to be appointed for Four Swords Adventures. Since Hidemaro Fujibayashi, the Capcom director behind the Oracle games, was working on The Minish Cap, the job went to Nintendo's Toshiaki Suzuki instead. Suzuki had previously directed Super Mario Advance for the Game Boy Advance and helped design the Tingle Tuner feature for The Wind Waker. He was a fan of the Zelda series and would go through a number of prior Zelda titles, handpicking elements from nearly every game to pay homage to in Four Swords Adventures, whether it was in the form of puzzles or other in-game elements.[212]

Four Swords Adventures was originally scheduled for release in Japan in February 2004, but was delayed by a month to accommodate a polished single-player mode. The game's main campaign, Hyrulean Adventure, was initially meant to require at least two players the way Four Swords did, but the team changed plans partway through development to allow solo play as well. Two months prior to release, Shigeru Miyamoto advised Suzuki that the single-player campaign needed more polish, and so the team spent an extra month redoing the way the game played with a stronger focus on the single-player aspect.[213]

Four Swords Adventures was eventually released in March 2004 in Japan and a few months later in the west. While the game was well-received at E3 the year prior, it ultimately sold poorly owing to the fact that every player needed their own Game Boy Advance and a Link Cable with which to connect it to the Nintendo GameCube. This, Nintendo would later admit, made it too difficult to convince customers that they needed to play the game.[214]


West vs. East

The Minish Cap

Concept art by Capcom. The text reads: "We want this to be a little more ominous than A Link to the Past"

After Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons, Nintendo had continued to collaborate with Capcom to create more The Legend of Zelda games. Capcom had initially begun planning a game for Nintendo's next portable platform, the Game Boy Advance, as far back as 2001 but this project had to be put on hold to allow the development of Four Swords, which would be included with the Game Boy Advance remake of A Link to the Past. Once development on Four Swords wrapped in 2002, Capcom's Zelda team returned to its other project, now under the series' newly-appointed producer, Eiji Aonuma.

Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi had two broad goals for the project: to do something that nobody had done before, and to make a game that was representative of Capcom's talent for 2D artwork.[215] To give the game a unique gimmick and help showcase Capcom's artistry, Fujibayashi decided to explore the disparity between big and small, inspired by the Gnat Hat item from Four Swords, which allowed Link to shrink in size.[216]

While Nintendo's own Zelda team was accustomed to creating in-game assets early on and experimenting with them to determine the look and feel of a game, Capcom chose to create a large number of concept drawings first to convey this new Zelda's unique theme.[217]

Concept art for a barrel house

"Our first approach was to take our early image sketches and try to convert them to 2D graphics on the Game Boy Advance," Eiji Aonuma would recall. "One picture showed a tiny creature in a barrel, and a tiny Link. Another picture showed a corridor made out of the gaps between normal sized furniture, and an unknown world opening up beyond... stuff like that. Once we saw those images, we could feel 'this is going to be an interesting game'."[218]

Playing with perspective

One of the development team's goals was to include elements that were more geared toward 3D, but create them using 2D artwork instead. This visual trickery was accomplished by distorting the environments and Link's sprite to depict scale and perspective. In some cases, the world around the player would become larger as Link would shrink down in size. Other times, the world would appear the same as he shrank and Link himself would appear as a tiny dot on the screen.[219] During development, Fujibayashi would state that the team was aiming to create a game that could compete with the 3D Zeldas, and be considered the pinnacle of 2D gaming.[220]

While Fujibayashi served as the game's director on the Capcom side, Eiji Aonuma took on the role of supervisor-cum-director at Nintendo. By early 2004, Aonuma was already involved with another Zelda project—a "realistic" Zelda for the GamCube that would eventually become Twilight Princess. However, since the Nintendo GameCube wasn't selling well, Nintendo's business was largely being sustained by the Game Boy Advance and their first priority was to keep sales of the device stable.[221]

Aonuma would divert his attention from the console Zelda to see development of The Minish Cap through, ensuring that the Game Boy Advance had a marquee title for the holiday season that year. Working on The Minish Cap would also allow Aonuma a brief respite from the development of Twilight Princess, which was having a difficult time getting off the ground.[222]

The Minish Cap marked the last Zelda game Nintendo would collaborate with Capcom on. Following its release, director Hidemaro Fujibayashi became a fulltime employee of Nintendo and eventually went on to help create one of the most lauded games in the series. The Minish Cap itself would only sell 1.76 million units, owing to the fact that the Game Boy Advance was in the process of being succeeded by the Nintendo DS.[223]


Twilight Princess

Early concept art

The Wind Waker had not performed to expectations. The game had sold relatively poorly in Japan, owing to the fact that the country's videogame market had begun to decline. Meanwhile, despite a successful pre-order campaign, sales in the west were slowing faster than usual. Series producer Eiji Aonuma would discover that this was because The Wind Waker's cartoon-ish visuals had alienated the upper-teen audience that represented the typical Zelda player in North America—the series' largest market.[224]

By the time The Wind Waker was released, game development costs on home consoles had risen significantly. This was something that Nintendo had been wary of for some time, as the company believed that creating games with constantly escalating budgets was an unsustainable business.[225][226] Meanwhile, Four Swords Adventures, a concept pitched by Shigeru Miyamoto, had failed to set a new direction for either Zelda or the Nintendo GameCube, and Nintendo was uncertain as to what the Zelda franchise needed to do next. A declining Japanese market, rising development costs, and apathy from the western audience were putting pressure on Eiji Aonuma and the core Zelda development team to achieve some sort of breakthrough, failing which the franchise was under threat of being shelved permanently.[227]

At the time, Nintendo was already planning the next Zelda game for the Nintendo GameCube. Tentatively titled The Wind Waker 2, the game would use the same cel-shaded visual style as The Wind Waker but would take place on land instead, with Link riding on horseback like in Ocarina of Time. During the initial stages of planning, the development team would discover that Toon Link's proportions didn't lend themselves well to horseback riding, and while an adult version of Toon Link had already been contemplated for the original The Wind Waker, the team felt this wasn't the solution they were looking for.[228]

By this point, Eiji Aonuma, who had directed The Wind Waker and was now in charge of overseeing all Zelda games, had determined that three things were necessary for the next Zelda to sell well:

1. A cooler, more realistically proportioned Link

2. The ability to explore on horseback

3. An engaging world similar to those seen in fantasy movies such as Lord of the Rings

All three elements had been present in Ocarina of Time and Aonuma sensed that fans wanted Nintendo to build upon that style of game, rather than do something completely different. At the end of 2003, he discussed the matter with Shigeru Miyamoto, informing him that he wanted to make a realistic Zelda game, which would expand upon Ocarina of Time's appeal. Miyamoto was initially skeptical; his style of developing games called for a constant stream of new ideas rather than refinement of old ones—a trait that was commonly seen across Mario games. Eventually, though, he gave Aonuma permission to attempt a more realistic Zelda that would follow in the footsteps of Ocarina of Time, and advised he use the opportunity to accomplish things Ocarina of Time couldn't. The news gave The Wind Waker 2 project, on which progress had slowed, a much-needed jumpstart, and the team changed course to start planning a more realistic, mature Zelda game.[229]

Initial concept design for Link
Nakano's finalized concept image

Work on the game began with Yusuke Nakano creating a more grown-up look for Link.[230] The goal wasn't to make the game photorealistic, but to capture the same sense of atmosphere as in Ocarina of Time.[231] A number of concept images were drafted, with the initial designs having Link appear more rugged than usual. These images were shared with Nintendo of America, who informed the development team that the Link players liked most was the adult Link from Ocarina of Time. Based on their feedback, Nakano reworked reworked his Link design, coming up with a new illustration that could be used to set the tone for how the entire game would look.[232]

Aonuma and the team were planning for this new Zelda to be larger in scope than any game prior, and would need to collaborate with external artists for the extensive amount of artwork it would require. Nakano's concept image of Link was meant to help convey the look and feel of the game to everyone working on it and ensure a stylistic consistency across the board.[233]

Alongside artwork, the team began developing a system for horseback combat—something they originally wanted to do in Ocarina of Time. Over the next four months, the developers created a prototype where Link could fight enemies while riding a horse in a realistic looking world.[234] Using this prototype, Aonuma and Nintendo of America began editing a teaser trailer to show off at E3 2004. The trailer was designed so that the audience wouldn't realize they were looking at a Zelda game at first, until the footage would gradually reveal Link and the series' title to elicit excitement.[235][236]

The team's plan worked. At E3 2004, the teaser for the new Zelda received a standing ovation from the audience in attendance. To Aonuma and his team, this reinforced that they were on the right track.

"When it was announced with a surprise trailer at the 2004 E3, it received a standing ovation from the media audience," Aonuma would recall during a post-mortem. "This was a very exciting moment for us, but we were still in the very early stages of converting the game into something more realistic. We knew that we had to create a Zelda game that would live up to the expectations of fans in North America, and that if we didn’t, it could mean the end of the franchise."[237]

During these early stages of development, one of the concerns the development team had was that they weren't able to formulate new gameplay ideas. Similar to The Wind Waker, a number of the ideas in this new Zelda were shaping up to be similar to prior games. At the same time, the team didn't want to make too many radical changes for fear that it might alienate part of their audience once more—especially in Japan, where sales were already shrinking.[238] One radical idea that was rejected early on was a first-person perspective, mirroring the development of Ocarina of Time. Aonuma felt that being able to see the player character was an important aspect of Zelda, and while the team had performed first-person trials, the idea was scrapped relatively quickly.[239]

Once he returned from E3, Aonuma found himself having to divide his time between a number of different Zelda projects. There was The Wind Waker 2, which was being developed by his team, The Minish Cap which was being developed in collaboration with Capcom, and a third project that Aonuma had assembled a small team to prototype: a The Legend of Zelda game for the upcoming Nintendo DS handheld, scheduled for release later that year.[240] Meanwhile, the Wind Waker 2 team was brainstorming ideas around how the more realistic visuals of their new Zelda might tie into gameplay. As 2005 approached, the staff suggested to Aonuma that they experiment with a return to the idea of Light and Dark worlds introduced in A Link to the Past, and how switching between environments might lead to interesting gameplay. This time around, the two environments would intersect and have an impact on one another—an idea that had been contemplated for A Link to the Past, but ultimately shelved. The dark world, dubbed the "Twilight Realm," would be designed to look like a highly technologically-advanced society, marking the first time that Nintendo would actually add sci-fi elements to a Zelda game, after having contemplated the idea twice before for the original The Legend of Zelda and A Link to the Past.

Early concepts for Midna, possibly from The Wind Waker 2
Concept for Midna on Wolf Link

Following a bizarre dream while he was travelling overseas, Aonuma asked the team to have Link turn into a wolf while in the Twilight Realm.[241][242] This would allow the development team to give Link a completely different skillset while in wolf form, thus creating a different style of gameplay.[243] At Miyamoto's behest, the team also created a character that would ride on Wolf Link's back, to make for a more visually interesting sight. Initially, this companion character was designed to look relatively unassuming, but as development progressed she began to play a central role in the game's story and her design evolved.[244] Eventually, Link's new partner inherited the traits of a goblin/devilkin character that was originally being designed for The Wind Waker 2. Design notes called for the character to look like a mix between a monster and a child, and she was named Midna (from the word "midnight").[245][246]

The development team initially planned for Link to be transformed into a wolf at the very start of the game. Aonuma liked the idea of disorienting the player at the very beginning and forcing them to learn their way around as a wolf, but the idea was vetoed by Miyamoto.[247]

Once the basic concepts of the regular world, the Twilight Realm, and Wolf Link were in place, Aonuma left his team to flesh them out and diverted his attention to another project that required it: The Minish Cap, which was scheduled for release later that year on the Game Boy Advance. Nintendo was uncertain as to how the Nintendo DS would be received and sales of the Game Boy Advance proved to be stable, even in Japan's declining game market. It was imperative that the handheld be sustained with marquee software, and so Aonuma would immerse himself in seeing The Minish Cap through to completion. He would later admit that the game served as an escape from the stresses of working on the more realistic Zelda project.[248]

When he returned, he found that development on the project—which had been named "Twilight Princess"—was struggling. While the team had come up with disparate gameplay ideas and events, the actual structure of the game hadn't been created yet. Additionally, while Wolf Link was fun to play as, there was nothing new or surprising about playing as human Link.[249] To help course-correct, it was decided that Aonuma would need to take on a more hands-on role as the game's director, while Miyamoto would step in as producer.

Response to a playable demo at E3 2005 was positive, but Aonuma felt the game lacked a uniqueness—especially in comparison to his Zelda project on the Nintendo DS, which now featured intuitive touch controls, setting it apart from any game prior.[250] When they returned from E3, Miyamoto suggested to Aonuma that he consider making Twilight Princess compatible with Nintendo's upcoming console, the Wii, which featured a unique motion-sensing controller. Miyamoto felt the Wii Remote was well-suited to the Zelda's bow and arrow item, and while he was apprehensive about how this would impact the game's development schedule, Aonuma agreed that pointer and motion controls would help it stand out.[251] A month later, it was decided that Twilight Princess would be released for both the Nintendo GameCube and the Wii, effectively doubling the amount of work the development team would be required to put in to a project that was already planned to be the most ambitious Zelda game to date. In August 2005, Nintendo announced that Twilight Princess would be delayed from its Fall 2005 release window into 2006.[252] It was Nintendo president Satoru Iwata that had suggested the delay, asking that the development team make the game "120% Zelda".[253]

Twilight Princess

In addition to incorporating motion controls, the delay was also intended to help Twilight Princess add both content and polish. This had an unintended side-effect: As development progressed, the project ballooned out of control, with Aonuma later recalling that even he had been unable to rein it in once it had grown to a certain size.[254] For starters, the game's fields were larger than any Zelda game prior so players could experience the thrill of riding on horseback, and this meant that the team would need to populate the overworld with enough activities for players to partake in. Meanwhile, dungeons were designed to be more elaborate, exploratory, and less straightforward than The Wind Waker's linear, guided spaces. In particular, the development team wanted to include open-air dungeons that felt like they were connected to the outside world, which added to the team's workload when designing the Forest Temple and the City in the Sky.[255] In certain areas parts of the overworld, the team even experimented with creating dungeon-like gameplay, which would eventually result in Link's quest to collect Tears of Light across Hyrule.[256] Additionally, key locations in the game were lined with a host of activities and minigames to participate in. Twilight Princess's introductory sequence alone—set in Link's home town of Ordon Village—featured so many different ideas that Miyamoto asked the team to design a lengthy tutorial spanning three in-game days of performing village chores.[257]

Attention was also lavished on the design and personality of Link himself. The Link of Twilight Princess was modeled to be 16 years old and Aonuma liked the idea of him being a strong character with a slightly rebellious personality. To convey this, the development team gave Link a hidden move where he would sheathe his sword stylishly after defeating an enemy—inspired by the likes of George Chakiris' character in the 1961 musical West Side Story.[258] Link also began the game as a farmhand, so it made sense that he would be capable of feats of great physical strength. This was conveyed in the way that Link would force dungeon doors open with his hands, as opposed to them opening automatically when the player pressed the A button.[259] Partway through the development process, Nintendo of America would note that Link's voice, provided by his voice actor from Ocarina of Time, felt out of place. Subsequently, the development team would sample a number of different voices and eventually hire Akira Sasanuma, the voice actor for Dearka Elsman in Gundam SEED, for the role. Aonuma felt Sasanuma's mischievous tone was well-suited to the new Link, almost making him sound a little bit like a bad guy.[260]

A great deal of attention was also given to Link's horse. While Nintendo hadn't been able to hire a horse for reference during the development of Ocarina of Time, character designer Keisuke Nishimori did have the opportunity to go horse-riding for reference during Twilight Princess. Nishimori's key takeaway from the experience was how large a horse actually felt next to a human being, and this helped bring a greater sense of realism to the horses in the game.[261]

Nintendo had never worked on a project of this scope prior, and the development team eventually buckled under the pressure. Part of the problem was that there was a large number of designers working on the project, and each had their own idea of what constituted a Zelda game, which would often lead to heated debates among the team.[262] This would ultimately lead to decisions being made collectively, rather than by a single authority, which would in turn mean that nobody was taking sole responsibility for various parts of the game.[263] Team leaders would lose track of their teams and members of staff would be unable to properly execute their tasks.[264] To solve these challenges, Aonuma would help bring different aspects of the game together while Miyamoto would provide the team with instructions pertaining to polish and the sense of interactivity and realism that he felt was important for a Zelda game. Features such as being able to toss cut planks of wood into a river and watch them float were added at Miyamoto's behest. Such features would often involve lengthy stretches of development time, with Miyamoto later revealing that the wooden plank feature took nearly as long to develop as Link's horse.[265]

Link fishing

The game's motion controls on Wii proved challenging to implement as well. The development team demoed Twilight Princess at E3 2006, just five months before its release, and realized that it would need to make a number of adjustments to how the Wii Remote had been implemented. Notably, players that had the opportunity to play the game at E3 feedbacked that they wanted to be able to use the Wii Remote like a sword. Aonuma and his team had already experimented with this idea early on, but had chosen not to pursue it as they felt it would grow tiresome for the player. Following E3, the feature was polished and implemented once more, alongside motion controls for the game's fishing minigame.[266] Program director Kazuaki Morita, who had designed the fishing minigame in Link's Awakening and Ocarina of Time did the same for Twilight Princess, programming the game's Wii Remote controls and making it so the weather would affect the player's ability to fish.[267] The team would continue to make adjustments to Twilight Princess's motion controls and other elements right up until release.

Twilight Princess was, at the time, the largest game Nintendo had ever worked on, and the company's very first "AAA" project in scope and team size.[268] Because of its scope and the addition of motion controls, Aonuma would later admit that the development team hadn't been able to incorporate all the ideas they had into the game, leading to players feeling that its overworld could feel empty—the same criticism that The Wind Waker had faced.[269]

Regardless of its shortcomings, Twilight Princess did what it was meant to. It served as an important piece of launch software for the company's Wii console, with three copies of the game being sold for every four Wii consoles in its first week.[270] With its atmospheric visual style, sense of scale, and engaging story, the game successfully revived The Legend of Zelda brand in North America and Europe, going on to sell over 8.85 million units worldwide—the highest sales in the series until 2017's Breath of the Wild.[271] Twilight Princess would represent the Zelda brand for the next several years, with the game's version of Link being the series' main representative in promotional material as well as in Super Smash Bros.—even after the release of 2011's Skyward Sword. Twilight Princess would also give Nintendo a concrete idea of what players wanted from The Legend of Zelda and eventually influence the development of Breath of the Wild, with Eiji Aonuma stating that the latter wouldn't have been possible without Twilight Princess serving as a foundation.[272]


Monolith Soft Joins Nintendo

In 2003, after Satoru Iwata had taken over as Nintendo's president, the company purchased a 2.6% share in Japanese toy maker Bandai, prompting rumors of a buy-out. Fuel was later added to the fire by a member of Bandai's founding family who claimed that there had been a conspiracy within the company's board to facilitate such a takeover by Nintendo.[273]

Nintendo and Bandai both denied the rumor, with Iwata reiterating that Nintendo had no interest in taking over Bandai the following year.[274]

While a takeover by Nintendo never occurred, Bandai would go on to acquire Namco, the videogame publisher behind games such as Pac-Man, Ridge Racer, and Tekken, in 2005.[275] Namco also owned Monolith Soft, the development studio that was producing its Xenosaga trilogy of role-playing games. The studio had originated at Squaresoft in 1996, following which the team had gone independent and found a buyer in Namco, which had agreed to fund its games. Unfortunately, development on Xenosaga had run into complications and the games weren't selling to expectations.[276] Following the merger, it became evident that Namco Bandai, the newly formed entity, wasn't entirely keen on investing in the kinds of games Monolith Soft liked to create.[277] When Monolith Soft was approached by Nintendo, who offered to acquire the company and allow them to continue creating unique and original games, they agreed.[278]

Concept art for Earthbound on the Nintendo GameCube

Nintendo had already expressed an interest in Monolith Soft's talent prior to Namco's acquisition by Bandai. In 2003, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata had pitched a new Earthbound game to series creator Shigesato Itoi for the Nintendo GameCube. Iwata had borrowed the talents of Monolith Soft co-founder, Yasuyuki Honne, who had served as art director on Chrono Trigger and Xenogears at Squaresoft, for the pitch.[279] While the project never saw the light of day, Nintendo would strike a deal with Namco to have Monolith Soft develop other games for its platforms, including Baten Kaitos, Soma Bringer, and Disaster: Day of Crisis. It was during the development of Soma Bringer and Disaster that Monolith Soft was given the choice to change hands.

On April 27th, 2007, Namco Bandai and Nintendo announced that Nintendo had acquired Monolith Soft. Namco, which owned Monolith Soft, held 96% of the company's stock, and sold 80% of its shares to Nintendo, making the studio a first-party developer.[280] Over the next few years, Monolith Soft would go on to develop the critically-acclaimed Xenoblade Chronicles and Xenoblade Chronicles X, amassing an expertise in creating large-scale open-world games and stating that they wanted to grow into the equivalent of Bethesda Softworks.[281] The company would also open a second studio in Kyoto, closer to Nintendo's own headquarters, and begin contributing to the publisher's first-party projects, including future The Legend of Zelda games.[282] Following the release of 2015's Xenoblade Chronicles X, Monolith Soft's main production team would take an active role in the development of Breath of the Wild.


Phantom Hourglass

Nintendo DS CONSOLE.png
The Nintendo DS, launched in 2004

Phantom Hourglass first began development in 2004. At the time, the brand was in decline, owing to poor sales of the last several Zelda games. The last console game, The Wind Waker, had alienated Zelda's North American audience with its cartoon-like visuals, while sales in Japan had been weak owing to the ongoing decline of the Japanese videogame market.[283] Meanwhile, Four Swords Adventures on the Game Boy Advance had sold poorly due to requiring that players own both a Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance,[284] and later that year, The Minish Cap would also see poor sales, having been released at the very end of the Game Boy Advance's life.[285]

Nintendo as a whole had been growing less relevant as well. Between poor sales of the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube, the declining Japanese market, and the fact that it had lost most of its third-party development partners to PlayStation, the company felt it had hit a dead end.[286] To work around this problem, Nintendo had been experimenting with hardware innovations that could support entirely new kinds of games.[287] The company's upcoming Nintendo DS platform had been designed with this goal in mind, featuring two screens and a touch screen for easy input. This enabled Nintendo's developers to create unique experiences for the Nintendo DS, such as Brain Age, a puzzle-solving game designed to keep the brain active.

While Nintendo worked out how to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive games industry, producer Eiji Aonuma was doing the same with The Legend of Zelda. Aonuma understood that Zelda's largest, most dedicated audience was in North America, where the videogame market was still healthy, unlike Japan. The two markets represented different challenges, and would need to be tackled separately. To help the brand back on its feet in the west, Aonuma began work on Twilight Princess, a more mature Zelda that was meant to serve as a successor to Ocarina of Time. Aonuma had pinpointed exactly what the western audience's expectations of Zelda were, and Twilight Princess was meant to deliver on those expectations.

Japan, however, was proving trickier to find solutions for. Nintendo had determined that Japanese consumers were losing interest in videogames as a whole, and felt that this was largely because games had grown too complicated and difficult to play. Solving this problem, Aonuma felt, could be the key to Zelda's troubles as well. At a GDC post-mortem, he would state: "Working on Majora’s Mask for the Nintendo 64 and then The Wind Waker for the Nintendo GameCube in succession, I began to worry that, due perhaps to the growing number of buttons necessary to control the game, or the 3D environment, new players might find these games intimidating and avoid them. I felt that there were sure to be many players who thought ‘Zelda looks fun, but there’s no way I can play it’, and give up before even giving it a try. For that reason, ever since then I have been thinking of ways to square this circle: how to make the controls easier without losing any of the unique fun-factor of a Zelda title."[288]

A prototype for Phantom Hourglass

Around May 2004, after Four Swords Adventures had wrapped, the game's developers began experimenting with the Nintendo DS. Daiki Iwamoto, a programmer that had worked on Four Swords Adventures, had begun to prototype a multiplayer Zelda along the same lines for the Nintendo DS, when Aonuma stepped in and advised that the team devise a new style of Zelda gameplay using the Nintendo DS's touch controls instead.[289][290] At the time, Aonuma was dividing his time between Twilight Princess and The Minish Cap, and left the five-man Nintendo DS team to continue with its experiments. When he returned from E3 the following month, the team informed him that the Nintendo DS hardware was capable of supporting cel-shaded graphics like the ones used in The Wind Waker. Aonuma had been disappointed by The Wind Waker's poor sales and asked the team to implement cel-shading in their prototype, hoping to give the style a second chance at success. Soon afterwards, the team presented Aonuma with a tech demo of Toon Link moving around in a 3D environment on the Nintendo DS's top screen. On the bottom screen was a map with an icon that the player would drag to move Link around. Feeling that these controls weren't intuitive, Aonuma asked the team to flip the two screens, moving the game world to the bottom screen instead, which would allow the player to control Link by touching him directly.[291]

Early concept art for Link's boat

Partway through the project, Hidemaro Fujibayashi—who directed The Minish Cap and both Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages—joined the team. Following The Minish Cap, Fujibayashi left Capcom to join Nintendo and was now part of the company's internal Zelda development team. While Daiki Iwamoto was directing the Nintendo DS Zelda, Fujibayashi was appointed sub-director and began working on the game's story. The initial goal was to develop a sequel to The Wind Waker that was smaller in scope and could be completed quickly, but as development progressed, the team found itself adding more and more content to the game, particularly to the ocean. Like The Wind Waker, the Nintendo DS Zelda took place on the open sea, and the development team used lessons learnt from the development of that game. The team put thought into how large the ocean would be, the size of individual islands, the distance between them, and the speed at which players would be able to sail. The developers also made it a point to include more sidequests, customization, and things to do in the overworld than in The Wind Waker, as they felt that game had been relatively lean on content. [292] In parallel, they continued to refine the game's touch controls. Initially, the game used a combination of touch and button controls, but after the team had designed the boomerang item—which players would control by drawing its path on the touch screen—Aonuma asked that the game use touch input exclusively.[293]

The game's title screen
Taking notes on the Nintendo DS

At GDC 2006, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata revealed the Nintendo DS Zelda to the public under its final title: Phantom Hourglass. The name came from an in-game item—the Phantom Hourglass—which served as a timer while Link was in dungeons, and was chosen because Nintendo of America liked the word "hourglass".[294]

Dungeons in Phantom Hourglass were designed such that each room served as a miniature puzzle in itself, often requiring the player to interact with several different items, switches, and enemies to solve. The player would be allowed to take notes on the Nintendo DS touch screen for reference, and this would aid in other parts of the game as well, including secrets hidden in the overworld. To challenge players, the team imposed a time limit on the game's main dungeon, the Temple of the Ocean King, requiring that players revisit the dungeon six times throughout the course of the game, and race against the clock to complete it as quickly as possible, using the notes they had taken during prior runs—as though they were collaborating with a past version of themselves.[295] This, they felt, was a new twist that would throw players off balance.[296]

Aonuma wanted Phantom Hourglass to play differently from any Zelda prior, and to appeal to a broad range of players, including children and adults. Once development wrapped on Twilight Princess, he began focusing his attention on the game, instructing the team in how to polish its pacing, environments, and controls, resulting in its release date being delayed from 2006 to the following year.[297] Special care was also taken to make the game accessible to Japanese children by allowing the player to tap a kanji character to view its furigana reading. Aonuma's personal goal was to create a game that could compete with Brain Age in terms of simplicity and wide appeal.

"At first, we had the idea of creating a good game in a short time," he would recall in an interview. "We thought Brain Age was our rival. Brain Age’s like that smart transfer student. The Zelda Team’s not in the top places, but it studies hard. And then comes this transfer student and easily gets the first place without studying. That’s very frustrating. After three long years, we finally finished Twilight Princess and the transfer student’s the one that’s smart and cool and gets the first place? Damn it!"[298]

The team also wanted to continue experimenting with multiplayer gameplay in Zelda and included a Battle Mode feature that could be played with two Nintendo DS systems connected wirelessly to one another. Aonuma would reveal that the idea of Link not being able to see his opponents until they made a move was something the team had "been sitting on for a number of years".[299]

After its release in 2007, Phantom Hourglass went on to sell over 900,000 units in Japan—the highest of any Zelda game since Ocarina of Time. Following poor sales of both The Minish Cap and Twilight Princess in Japan's declining market, Phantom Hourglass successfully appealed to a new audience on the Nintendo DS through its visual style and intuitive touch controls. Notably, a number of women and children purchased the game.[300] Globally, Phantom Hourglass would sell over 4.76 million units, beating out sales of The Wind Waker and becoming the highest-selling Zelda game on a portable platform for the next several years.[301]


Spirit Tracks

Development on Spirit Tracks began in 2007, shortly following the release of Phantom Hourglass. Series producer Eiji Aonuma asked the development team to begin working on a sequel to the game re-using the same basic mechanics, similar to how Majora's Mask followed Ocarina of Time.[302] For this second game, Aonuma wanted to do away with the concept of sea exploration and return to a land-based game, where players would discover new places while traversing across a vast landscape.[303]

As a child, Aonuma's son enjoyed a picture book titled The Tracks Go On, which was about a group of children laying down train tracks to explore the world.[304] Aonuma would often read the book to his son as a bedtime story, and liked the idea of laying tracks across Hyrule in a Zelda game, feeling that it was a good fit for the series' pioneering spirit.[305]


After Aonuma suggested the idea to the development team—led once again by Phantom Hourglass director Daiki Iwamoto—experiments began to see just how much freedom they could afford the player in laying down their own tracks. One of the problems the team encountered early on was that players wouldn't know where to lay the tracks and allowing too much freedom would let players go places they weren't supposed to visit before the story allowed it. These experiments carried on for an entire year.[306] The solution the team eventually settled on was to make it so this version of Hyrule had tracks to begin with, but they had been erased by a curse and the player would be required to put them back the way they were.[307] There was debate over taking agency away from the player, but the team ultimately felt that this system offered an acceptable middle-ground between freedom and player guidance.[308]

Ideas other than trains were considered
ST Link Phantom Zelda Artwork 2.png
Zelda possessing a Phantom

There was also initially debate about whether or not a train fit the image of The Legend of Zelda series. The lead designers on the team were Koji Takahashi (who would go on to direct the art of Animal Crossing: New Leaf) and Seita Inoue (who would later direct the art of Splatoon). Inoue was originally in charge of designing the game's menus but ended up involved in the designs of the trains and areas around the game's main dungeons as well.[309] After consulting the designers and other parties, the team ultimately decided to proceed with the train idea, not wanting to be too bogged down by what felt "Zelda-like" and what didn't.[310] Like in Phantom Hourglass, players would be allowed to collect parts to customize their trains, with the team making it a point to add interesting variations and themes for players to experiment with.[311]

The other core feature of this Zelda was the idea of controlling two characters instead of one. In Phantom Hourglass, players had been able to switch to playing as a Goron, and the team had been experimenting with the idea of a sub-character along those lines for a while.[312]


Iwamoto liked the idea of Link being accompanied by Princess Zelda for a change, and this led to the idea of Zelda being able to possess and control Phantoms.[313] To set her apart from prior versions of Zelda, she was written to be more comedic and act more like a girl her age than a member of royalty.[314]

Spirit Tracks received its English title before the development team had settled on a name in Japanese. After Nintendo of America had titled the North American version, the team initially tried variations around the word "soul" (inspired by "Spirit"), but ultimately decided it felt too heavy and haunting.[315] After soliciting suggestions from the development staff, the team settled upon "Train Whistle of the Wide World" as the game's Japanese subtitle.[316]

Spirit Tracks was in development for two years. When it was released in Japan, Nintendo and retailers overestimated demand for the game, resulting in too many copies being shipped to stores. Spirit Tracks sold through just 47% of its initial shipment at launch, with stores quickly slashing the game's prices in order to move more copies.[317] It would go on to sell close to 700,000 units in Japan and 2.96 million units worldwide.[318]


Misreading the Market

A Fear of Getting Lost

The decline of the Japanese videogame market

By 2007, the Japanese videogame market's decline had sped up significantly, with home console sales at an all time low. Sales of the PlayStation 3 in Japan were extremely poor in comparison to the PlayStation 2, and while the Wii was doing better it was due to casual software like Wii Sports, which was selling to a "blue ocean" audience that wasn't interested in traditional videogames. The videogame industry was largely being supported by portable platforms such as the Nintendo DS, which were better suited the Japanese lifestyle. In 2007 the Nintendo DS accounted for over 50% of hardware sales and 40% of software sales across Japan.[319]

Mirroring Japan's shift to portable gaming, Phantom Hourglass had been a moderate success, attracting a new audience to the series with its intuitive touch controls and welcoming visual style.[320] In comparison, Twilight Princess had not sold quite as well.[321] While the game was on its way to becoming the best-selling Zelda title globally, Japanese sales had been underwhelming, owing to low interest in home console games and the fact that the Japanese lifestyle largely centered around portable devices by this point.

Nintendo had seen the shift coming. In 2004, prior to the launch of the Nintendo DS, Nintendo's president, Satoru Iwata, stated: "Games have come to a dead end. Creating complicated games with advanced graphics used to be the golden principle that led to success, but it is no longer working. The biggest problem is that [developers] need to satisfy the core gamers, who want games with more volume and complexity, while they also need to satisfy average users, who don't have as much knowledge about games. The situation right now is that even if the developers work a hundred times harder, they can forget about selling a hundred times more units, since it's difficult for them to even reach the status quo. It's obvious that there's no future to gaming if we continue to run on this principle that wastes time and energy [in development]."[322]

Nintendo had created the Nintendo DS and Wii in response to a business model they felt was unsustainable. Both devices were built on relatively low-spec hardware with unique control mechanisms at the forefront instead. The company felt they would help reset the status quo and enable developers to reach broader audiences while spending less money on development.

A few months after Twilight Princess's release, Nintendo appeared to have doubled down on this line of thinking—at least as far as the Japanese market was concerned. Shigeru Miyamoto stated: "I think a lot of people who bought the Wii are not necessarily the types of people who are interested in playing that kind of game. And a lot of the people who would want to play it [due to chronic shortages of the console] can’t find a Wii! But mostly, I think it’s that there are fewer and fewer people who are interested in playing a big role-playing game like Zelda [in Japan]."[323]

Nintendo's blue ocean audience on the Wii exhibited very different habits from the enthusiast gamers the company had catered to for so many years. In particular, they were less predictable than enthusiasts and it could be difficult to pinpoint just what would click with this audience and what wouldn't. While the blue ocean represented a real opportunity to create new kinds of games, Nintendo staples like Mario and Zelda weren't always able to appeal to them. Unless the company found a solution to this problem, its new audience would never connect with Nintendo's full breadth of properties.

The answer, Nintendo felt, lay in simplicity. The blue ocean audience appreciated simplicity and straightforwardness, and did not appreciate complex, exploratory games. The company pointed to past Mario titles in support of its theory. While 2D Mario games such as Super Mario World had often sold to an extremely broad audience, 3D Mario titles such as Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine never managed to reach those same heights, particularly in Japan.[324] This, Nintendo felt, was because the 2D Marios were simpler and more straightforward, whereas the 3D Marios turned casual gamers off because they found the idea of getting lost in a 3D environment too intimidating.[325][326]

Super Mario 3D Land

The company designed Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 around this theory. Super Mario Galaxy's spherical planetoids were designed so players would always return to where they had started, making it easier for them to keep track of where they were.[327] Meanwhile, Super Mario Galaxy 2 would feature more 2D elements and camera angles that gave the impression of playing a 2D Mario game, even though the game itself was in 3D. Additionally, Nintendo would include a DVD with the Japanese version of Super Mario Galaxy 2, titled "Super Mario Galaxy 2 for Beginners," that was meant to ease new players into the game.[328]

This belief that consumers in Japan were turned off by the prospect of getting lost would ultimately lead to the development of Super Mario 3D Land on the Nintendo 3DS. Super Mario 3D Land was designed to be the "missing link"' between 2D and 3D Mario games. It was designed to play like a fusion between the two schools of design, with 3D environments but a fixed camera angle and course design that steered the player towards the end.[329][330] This development philosophy would eventually spill over into The Legend of Zelda, resulting in what is generally considered one of the weakest games in the franchise and cause Nintendo to thoroughly re-examine its priorities while developing future Zelda titles.[331]


Skyward Sword

Skyward Sword began development in 2007, when Nintendo's Hidemaro Fujibayashi presented the development team with a planning document for a new Zelda game on the Wii. Fujibayashi had previously directed The Legend of Zelda games developed by Capcom, then served as sub-director on Phantom Hourglass. Series producer Eiji Aonuma appointed Fujibayashi to direct the new Wii Zelda and discussions began around the idea of the game using the Wii MotionPlus, a peripheral that could enhance the Wii console's motion-sensing capabilities to make them more accurate.[332]

The team initially spent half a year experimenting with the Wii MotionPlus, hoping to learn the intricacies of the device and how it could be used to enhance sword combat in a Zelda game. Twilight Princess had allowed for motion-controlled swordfighting, but due to the limitations of the original Wii Remote the player didn't have full control over the swing and direction of their sword. This time, the developers wanted to use the MotionPlus accessory to allow for more subtle control over Link's sword. As a variety of challenges arose, the staff found itself struggling to tame the MotionPlus, and experiments continued for another year-and-a-half.[333]

The primary challenge was that the MotionPlus was extremely sensitive, and designing sword combat to look convincing was proving difficult. One of the challenges the team faced was how to make Link look both realistic and charismatic while swinging his sword around, and studied the human skeletal structure for reference.[334] After an extensive period of trial-and-error using Wii Sports Resort—which used the MotionPlus for a rudimentary swordfighting minigame—the development team eventually managed to design a swordfighting system it felt could serve as the foundation for its new game.[335]

Assigning sword swings to motion controls freed the A button on the Wii Remote up for other functions, and the team assigned a new "dash" feature to the button.[336] In addition to allowing Link to run, the dash would serve as a context-sensitive action capable of letting him vault over enemies or run up walls, rather than bumping into them.[337] This led to the creation of a stamina meter that would prevent Link from being able to dash infinitely.

Twilight Princess's radial item menu
Skyward Sword's gesture-based radial menu

Once the team was comfortable with how the MotionPlus accessory worked, Fujibayashi brainstormed ways to use its motion-sensing capabilities for other actions, such as item selection. Fujibayashi wanted players to be able to select items by making gestures without having to look at the screen. To accommodate this, a radial menu similar to the one in Twilight Princess was designed and key items like the bow and bombs placed at angles that would be easy to remember.[338] While intuitive, this mechanism for selecting items would lead to an unattractive user-interface—a trait that would extend across the entirety of Skyward Sword's UI, owing to the fact that its motion controls were new and required visual cues explaining how they worked.[339]

By 2007, the year Skyward Sword began development, the Japanese videogame market's decline was speeding up. Twilight Princess sold well worldwide, breaking the series' global sales record, but sales in Japan were weak. At the time, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto had stated: "I think a lot of people who bought the Wii are not necessarily the types of people who are interested in playing that kind of game. And a lot of the people who would want to play it [due to chronic shortages of the console] can’t find a Wii! But mostly, I think it’s that there are fewer and fewer people who are interested in playing a big role-playing game like Zelda [in Japan]."[340]

While the Wii had popularized simpler games like Wii Sports and Wii Play in Japan, Nintendo felt that the current Japanese market was intimidated by more complex games, especially those involving exploration and sophisticated 3D environments. The company felt that this was most evident in the sales of its Mario games. While 2D Mario titles such as Super Mario World would often sell well in Japan, 3D Mario games such as Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine wouldn't perform nearly as well.[341] This, Nintendo believed, was because the 2D Marios were simpler and more straightforward, whereas the 3D Marios turned casual gamers off because they found the idea of getting lost in a 3D environment intimidating.[342][343] In response, the company developed Super Mario Galaxy and later Super Mario Galaxy 2, both designed to prevent players from getting lost and appeal to Nintendo's new audience of casual gamers on the Wii.[344]

The idea of games growing too complicated was something the Zelda team had been wary of as well. Nintendo had felt for years that creating big-budget and increasingly complex games was unsustainable, and Shigeru Miyamoto would routinely encourage producer Eiji Aonuma and his team to create more compact, experimental games such as Majora's Mask and the portable Zelda titles instead.[345][346] Miyamoto was skeptical of developing more games like Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess owing to the vast scope of those projects, and after Twilight Princess's exacting development cycle, Nintendo would go to great lengths to make Skyward Sword a more compact and less exploratory game.[347][348] The development team would design Skyward Sword to contain fewer and smaller environments than Twilight Princess, hoping to entice players with a breadth of activities instead of a vast, connected world to explore.[349] This would ultimately result in the team opting not to create an overworld for the game at all, inspired by the simple manner in which Mario games let users choose levels from a menu.[350]

In an Iwata Asks interview, the following exchange between producer Eiji Aonuma and late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata would explain the team's decision:[351]

Diving onto the Surface
Aonuma: Usually, when we make a The Legend of Zelda game with a continuous body of land, we need an overlapping part to join one game field to the next. This time, we made all kinds of gameplay for the forest, volcano and desert areas, and needed to create roads for going back and forth among those places. Every time, it was quite a struggle to figure out how to handle those roads.
Iwata: Roads are particularly essential to a game like The Legend of Zelda.
Aonuma: That’s right. But the first thing we thought of this time was that perhaps we didn’t need those roads.
Iwata: What do you mean?
Aonuma: Well, [director] Fujibayashi-san and I talked for a long time about how, if we could make the gameplay in each area dense, then we wouldn’t need to physically join them. Then the question was “How do we design it?"
Iwata: And what did you think of?
Aonuma: Course selection in Super Mario games.
Iwata: Course selection?
Aonuma: Yes. In Super Mario games, there’s a course selection screen, and you waltz on over to it and hop in.

Given that course selection in Mario games was a straightforward process, Nintendo felt that the same design could be applied to Zelda and would achieve similar results, neglecting to consider that the appeal of Zelda had always been exploring an expansive world. The end result was a skydiving system by which Link would drop down into each area from the sky, rather than traversing an explorable overworld.[352] Aonuma and his team had already experimented with blurring the line between dungeons and the overworld in Twilight Princess, and decided to take that idea even further in Skyward Sword. They designed each area so that it felt like a dungeon in itself, doing away with the idea of an overworld entirely to prevent players from getting lost, and to save on development time.[353] In order to further prevent the player from losing their way in these areas, the team conceptualized the Dowsing feature. Fujibayashi would later reveal that Dowsing was created so that the team wouldn't need to create landmarks or other environmental cues to guide the player along. Nintendo would promote this aspect of the game in an Iwata Asks chapter titled "Making the 'Not' Lost Woods".[354]

Aonuma would reveal: "I think we were able to keep such a big project together because the game world this time is structurally simple. We talk about all these 'dense' places, but structure-wise there are only four—forest, volcano, desert and sky."[355]

Zelda designed to be more expressive
Technology makes a return

Among the other concessions made for Japanese players, Skyward Sword was also modeled after Japanese tastes in how its hub town was designed. Link's time at Skyloft, his home town, would see him and his peers attending high school together, a popular setting for Japanese games. The plot would start out akin to a high school drama, with Zelda and Link being childhood friends—a decision that was meant to endear players to Zelda.[356][357] To make it easier to design events, the development team used a special tool that allowed designers to implement character dialogue and events themselves, rather than the programming team having to do it for them.[358] Owing to the fact that the rest of the team was busy with its responsibilities, Aonuma used this tool and personally tweaked the game's opening sections and dialogue in Skyloft himself. Daiki Iwamoto, the director of Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks was in charge of the sky area surrounding Skyloft, and Aonuma would volunteer to design the game's opening to help ease his workload.[359] Meanwhile, Xenoblade Chronicles developer Monolith Soft would contribute to the game's field layout designs, conceptualize sub-events, and even write pieces of in-game text, with Disaster: Day of Crisis director Keiichi Ono leading the Monolith Soft team.[360]

As development progressed, Aonuma, Fujibayashi and their team designed Skyward Sword such that each of the three main areas in the game would involve a gimmick of some sort. For the Lanayru Desert, the team considered the notion of time-traveling in realtime, inspired by the contrast between the past and present in Ocarina of Time, and the normal realm and Twilight Realm in Twilight Princess. This resulted in the development of the game's Timeshift Stone item, which would allow Link to turn the present into the past, impacting the environment and enemies around him.[361] The Timeshift Stone, along with the Hook Beetle item, resulted in the creation of the game's ancient civilization, consisting of clay robots powered by electricity.[362] Like in Twilight Princess, the team would once again experiment with introducing technological themes to The Legend of Zelda's world.

Fi, Link's new partner

The idea to make Skyward Sword the first chronological story in the Zelda series came from the MotionPlus accessory and focus on swordplay. In an Iwata Asks roundtable, Aonuma would reveal: "This time, the theme is the sword which makes use of the Wii MotionPlus accessory. When you think of a sword in The Legend of Zelda, you think of the Master Sword. Rather early on, we decided to address the origin of the Master Sword. About that time, we began talking about how that would make this the first story in the series, and we wondered about involving the birth of Hyrule Kingdom. On the other hand, there was the setting of the floating island in the sky, and we thought, 'How did that get there?' We settled on having the sky and surface world, and on top of that, it was going to tell the story of the creation of Hyrule, with the untold story of the origin of the Master Sword.[363]

The story setup would lead to the creation of Fi, Skyward Sword's partner character. The design for Fi and who would serve as lead concept artist on Skyward Sword were both decided through an internal competition within the development team. Takumi Wada was chosen to be the game's artist, while Yusuke Nakano—who was now mentoring younger artists at the company—provided the designs for Fi.[364][365] Similar to Navi and Midna, Fi was meant to provide the player with hints wherever the team felt they might get stuck. Concerned about their casual audience, the development team would inadvertently make Fi overbearing and intrusive, with the character routinely interrupting the player with hints and tutorial text. This would be one of the most common criticisms of Skyward Sword upon its release.

At one point, the development team considered making Zelda a playable character in the game. The idea was to allow the player to play through a "Second Quest" from Zelda's perspective after she had landed on the Surface world. This idea was ultimately discarded, but the setting of that story was used in Skyward Sword's ending cinematic.[366]

When it was released, Skyward Sword was backed by one of the largest promotional campaigns Nintendo had ever conducted. The game was used to celebrate The Legend of Zelda's 25th anniversary, with the "Symphony of the Goddesses" concert series leading up to—and following—its release. In conjunction with the game, Nintendo and publishers Shogakukan and Dark Horse released Hyrule Historia, an encyclopedia that would solidify the series' long-debated timeline and provide development insights into each game. Commercials starring Robin Williams and his daughter—who he had named after the series—were broadcast around the world to promote Skyward Sword as well.[367]

Skyward Sword received positive reviews from critics upon release in 2011, but the game has since gone on to be less fondly remembered. Despite its many concessions for less experienced gamers in Japan, Skyward Sword would sell just 352,000 units in the country and a total of just 3.67 million units globally, making it one of the lowest-selling Zelda games on a home console.[368] This was partly because the Wii was nearing the end of its tenure by the time Skyward Sword was ready for release, but also because the game stirred controversy among The Legend of Zelda's audience in the west through its linearity, excessive tutorials, and lack of an overworld.[369] Skyward Sword was a game that didn't cater to any single audience particularly well—veteran gamers in the west or more casual gamers in Japan. Negative feedback for the game would make the development team re-examine the Zelda series' identity once more, as they had done following the release of The Wind Waker. Producer Eiji Aonuma would later confirm that criticism of Skyward Sword's linear structure and lack of exploration had directly resulted in the development of Breath of the Wild.[370]

Rethinking the Conventions of Zelda

The Need for Change

Ocarina of Time

Ever since they began creating software for the Nintendo 64, Nintendo had grown wary of the time and money required to develop videogames. It had taken the company three years to develop Ocarina of Time, with producer Shigeru Miyamoto stating after the game's release: "I feel there is a bad atmosphere that you can't do something new at Nintendo these days. I never thought things like this before. So now we are changing ourselves to an organization that allows people to do new things and energize ourselves. I'm saying to my people that from now on let's go for the game that can be developed within six months and sell a million copies. If you want to finish a game within six months, you have to make it within two months because you need to polish it for another four months. If someone asks me who can make such a thing, I'd tell them that I used to do it. It isn't a great thing to take three years. [Ocarina of Time] would have been finished in a much shorter period if we had cut some parts."[371]

Through his years developing games at Nintendo, Miyamoto had grown into an extremely efficient product manager and was running the entirety of Nintendo's Entertainment Analysis & Development (EAD) department, responsible for most of the company's output. Miyamoto's outlook was that the best games were a) unique, and b) developed within moderate budgets and timeframes. He disliked the games industry's tendency towards ever-increasing budgets and game sizes, and wanted Nintendo to create software that wouldn't compete with other developers' games, but sidestep them entirely.

It was an outlook Miyamoto shared with Nintendo's president at the time, Hiroshi Yamauchi. Under their leadership, most of the company operated under a similar philosophy. Nintendo prided itself on its unique style of developing games, preferring to prototype several experimental concepts with small teams, figure out what was working and what wasn't, and get products out the door using whatever stuck.

Nintendo's external development partners would operate in the same manner. In 1999, when the company was working with Angel Studios—one of the companies it had partnered with to create Nintendo 64 games—Nintendo would sign three-month contracts with the developers. Miyamoto would tell them that he didn't want to see design documents or plans, and would instead ask them to develop prototypes for their ideas using smaller teams. If an idea wasn't clicking, Nintendo would shelve the project and have the team focus on the ideas that were, turning those into full-fledged products instead. [372]

Most of Nintendo's games were developed the same way—to be fun, replayable experiences that were quickly prototyped and obsessively polished, all within a relatively short timeframe. Projects like 1080° Snowboarding and PilotWings 64 would routinely be completed in a single year and go on to sell upward of a million units.[373][374]

The two exceptions to this rule were the company's key properties: Mario and Zelda.

Twilight Princess

Both brands saw a major increase in development time and budget on the Nintendo 64, taking three years apiece to complete. As time and technology would progress, this approach would be more easily justified for Mario, which would frequently sell upward of 10 million units and often act as a showcase for Nintendo's best ideas. In the case of Zelda, however, Miyamoto would caution the development team against letting the games grow too large in scope.[375] Following the release of Ocarina of Time, he would ask director Eiji Aonuma to create a new, more compact Zelda game within a year, leading to the development of Majora's Mask, which was put together using ideas originally intended for other projects.[376] This would continue as Nintendo introduced the Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance, with games like The Wind Waker and Four Swords Adventures seeing relatively short development cycles and sometimes compromising on quality and vision as a result.[377]

What Nintendo would fail to recognize at the time was that The Legend of Zelda was an outlier among its other brands.

While franchises like Mario and Donkey Kong lent themselves to fun, experimental ideas framed within shorter games, Zelda had grown popular for entirely different reasons. Audiences enjoyed Ocarina of Time because of the game's sense of scale and immersion, not just because it was fun to play. Exploration and world-building, not gimmickery, were what defined a Zelda game, and these required considerable budgets and development time to realize. It wasn't until Twilight Princess that Nintendo would acknowledge this and devote the time and budget needed to create a new Zelda of that scale. Inspired by the atmosphere of Ocarina of Time and the grandeur of Lord of the Rings, Twilight Princess would be the first Nintendo game in years that could truly be considered a big-budget, AAA production for its time.

Unfortunately, Twilight Princess would put the Zelda team through a grueling three-year development cycle. While it would sell over 8.8 million units globally,[378] it was also one of the most expensive games Nintendo had ever produced, leading to the company scaling its next Zelda project—Skyward Sword—down considerably, once again in the name of inventiveness and the notion that fun could substitute for scope and ambition. At the same time, Nintendo had also grown apprehensive about developing games they considered too complex or exploratory, for fear that they wouldn't appeal to casual gamers in the company's home market of Japan. This audience, Nintendo felt, was intimidated by 3D games where it was possible to get lost, and would make concessions across both Mario and Zelda games to appeal to them.[379]

The result of this ping-ponging was an entire decade of Zelda games following Ocarina of Time that, while well-received, had turned out rather inconsistent. Majora's Mask was wonderfully inventive, but smaller in scope than Ocarina of Time and didn't provide a reliable template the series could use going forward. The Wind Waker alienated fans with its cartoony visuals and was padded out by lengthy fetch quests, owing to its relatively short development cycle. Twilight Princess had come closest to replicating Ocarina of Time's success, but its enormous open world could feel empty. Finally, Skyward Sword didn't know who it was designed for, neither capturing the exploratory essence of Zelda nor appealing to Nintendo's casual audience. Every game had missed the mark in some way, failing to recapture the pioneering spirit of Ocarina of Time, or be as well-rounded a product as that game had been in 1998. Despite Nintendo's constant promises to surpass Ocarina of Time, it never quite managed to do so.

By 2012, series producer Eiji Aonuma knew that the franchise needed some sort of drastic overhaul, or Zelda was at risk of growing irrelevant amidst a sea of more impressive and focused action-adventure games. Skyward Sword had been released the year prior with one of the largest marketing campaigns in Nintendo's history and only sold 3.6 million units worldwide—far less than Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, and also coming up short of The Wind Waker.[380] The series needed to find a new direction for itself, one that could sustain it well into the future.

Fittingly, this reinvention of the franchise would begin in typical Nintendo fashion: with a smaller, more experimental game.


A Link Between Worlds

After the development of Spirit Tracks wrapped in 2009, the majority of its development staff moved on to Skyward Sword, which was to be released for the Wii. Only three members of the team stayed back, among which were designer Hiromasa Shikata (who had served as one of many sub-directors on Twilight Princess) and programmer Shirou Mori (who had served as lead programmer on the Nintendo DS Zelda games). The two, along with a third member, were to brainstorm ideas for a The Legend of Zelda game for Nintendo's upcoming portable platform, the Nintendo 3DS.[381]

Since the Nintendo 3DS was capable of connecting wirelessly to other Nintendo 3DS systems, Shikata and Mouri initially thought up a game around player communication, similar to Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures. When they presented the idea to their managers, it was turned down by Shigeru Miyamoto, who felt the concept sounded stale.[382]

A prototype where Link could blend into walls using Toon Link as a placeholder

Distraught, the trio began rethinking the game from scratch and Shikata chanced upon the idea of Link being able to merge into walls. Based on this idea, Mouri developed a prototype featuring Toon Link, which the team presented to Miyamoto once again in October 2010, this time being granted the approval to flesh out their new concept. Two weeks later, though, the three developers were called upon to help develop launch games for the upcoming Wii U console, and the project was shelved.[383] Shikata would go on to work on Nintendo Land while Mouri would be assigned to New Super Mario Bros. U.[384]

Prior to joining those teams, the developers left their prototype in the hands of Zelda series producer, Eiji Aonuma, hoping that he would help keep their project alive so they could resume work on it in the future.[385] At the time, Aonuma was still working on Skyward Sword, which was to be released the following year. It took another year for the game to be completed, and once it was, Aonuma revived the prototype developed by Shikata and Mouri. In November 2011, he assigned two other developers to it, having them tweak and improve the wall-merging system further so that it could be used to start designing dungeons.[386] Aonuma intended to bring both Shikata and Mouri back once they had completed work on their Wii U projects, and would keep them involved in discussions all throughout the process.[387]

In parallel, Aonuma and Miyamoto had been discussing the idea of porting A Link to the Past to the Nintendo 3DS. In a press interview in early 2011, Miyamoto had stated that he would be interested in porting the game to the Nintendo 3DS with stereoscopic 3D visuals, and would later gauge Aonuma's interest in the idea.[388] Aonuma felt that remaking an older top-down Zelda in stereoscopic 3D didn't sound exciting enough and would elect that the team use Shikata and Mouri's prototype to create a sequel to the game instead.[389] The prototype was originally designed to be played from an isometric perspective, similar to the Nintendo DS Zeldas, but Aonuma felt that the contrast between regular gameplay and Link merging into a wall wasn't striking enough. Using the top-down perspective of a classic Zelda game, he theorized, would contrast better with the side-scrolling perspective of the wall-merging ability.[390]

To convey the idea to the team, Aonuma used a tool to render A Link to the Past's map in stereoscopic 3D, following which Miyamoto greenlit the project.[391][392] By this point, Miyamoto was no longer taking a hands-on role in Nintendo's major games and was instead focused on mentoring the company's younger employees, which meant that Zelda was now largely in the hands of Aonuma and his team, even more so than in the past few years.[393]

By the time the project had been fully greenlit, it was July 2012 and Aonuma hoped to have this new Zelda released for the Nintendo 3DS the following year.[394][395] He also had enough time to gauge player feedback on Skyward Sword and learnt that audiences weren't particularly pleased with the linear, restrictive nature of that game. Sales of Skyward Sword had been poor in comparison to other Zelda games as well, and Aonuma understood the need to do something different with the franchise going forward.[396] It was Hiromasa Shikata, who was now back on the project and serving the role of director, that would suggest the change begin with his game.

Shikata had the impression that A Link to the Past allowed the player to tackle its dungeons in any order. When he discovered that this wasn't the case during a replay, he suggested they adopt a non-linear structure for its Nintendo 3DS sequel.[397] While Aonuma and the team liked the idea, it posed a number of problems, chief among which was how items would work. In Zelda games up until that point, the player would clear a dungeon, retrieve an item, and use that item to find the next dungeon. If players were allowed to find and tackle dungeons in any order they liked, the game would need to make every item available to them at once. Aonouma, inspired by a hobby, solved the problem by suggesting an item rental system. Players would be allowed to rent items from a shop using the Rupees they had in their possession. If they died, the items would be returned. However, if they were willing to pay a higher price, they would be able to buy the items permanently and keep them forever.[398] This would give players incentive to avoid dying, make Rupees more useful at the same time, and allow players to explore any dungeon they liked.

Different visual styles were explored
Concept art for Zelda
Hilda, Zelda's Lorule counterpart

Once the item rental system was in place, it gave birth to a sense of freedom that hadn't existed in prior Zelda games. The team, now having grown to full capacity, designed the game such that players would be able to go back-and-forth across the entire map as they liked. To speed up travel, players could discover new routes or quick-travel points that would warp them to different zones on the map. Like A Link to the Past, the game was broken up into light and dark worlds, Hyrule and Lorule, with the latter being a twisted version of Hyrule. This gave the project its title: A Link Between Worlds.

By this point, the team had also settled on a visual style for how Link would look while he was merging into a wall. The artists experimented with different styles, including graffiti, pop art, and fauvism, eventually settling on a mural-like aesthetic for the wall ability.[399] This gave rise to A Link Between Worlds's villain, Yuga. Once the art team had decided that Link would turn into a mural painting while travelling along walls, the question became why. And so, they decided that the villain of the game would be a crazed painter that could turn people into art using magic.[400]

A Link Between Worlds's artistic bend would carry over to the more technical aspects of the game as well. It was decided early during development that the game would showcase the appeal of stereoscopic 3D on the Nintendo 3DS, and Shiro Mouri—who was now serving as lead programmer—would mandate that the game run at 60 frames-per-second at all times, as it allowed for a smoother 3D experience and would also let the team make use of the Nintendo 3DS's touch screen for quick item selection.[401] Once they learnt what they could do with stereoscopic 3D, the team would design elaborate multi-layered dungeons using verticality to showcase a sense of depth that hadn't been possible with prior top-down Zelda games.

A Link Between Worlds

As development progressed, the goal of A Link Between Worlds became to challenge the conventions of a traditional Zelda game and prove that Nintendo was capable of introducing some much-needed change to the franchise. The item rental and wall-blending systems were both fresh, new features that hadn't been explored before. The game itself was designed to be structurally non-linear and afford the player a great deal of freedom. Puzzles were designed around the concept of height and dungeons even included light platforming elements that weren't typically seen in Zelda. Aonuma would point out that these features were possible because of the younger members of the development team—similar to how Aonuma and Yoshiaki Koizumi had helped reshape Zelda for a new generation on the Nintendo 64.[402]

A Link Between Worlds was completed in October 2013 and released to critical acclaim. Earlier in the year, Aonuma had said to fans that the Zelda development team was rethinking the conventions of the series with its next console game, which was in development for the Wii U.[403] A Link Between Worlds, which was released in the interim, helped give Nintendo's audience confidence that the company was capable of delivering on its promise, and would go on to sell over 4 million units worldwide over the next few years.[404]


Tri Force Heroes

TFH Playing Totem.png
The three Links

Development on Tri Force Heroes began after A Link Between Worlds was completed and lasted less than two years.[405] Since the majority of the Zelda team was already working on Breath of the Wild, Nintendo partnered with Grezzo, the studio behind the Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask remakes for the Nintendo 3DS, to develop the game. Grezzo was hired to create levels, enemies, and the game's user interface, while Nintendo would program the main game systems and design level layouts.[406]

Prior to developing A Link Between Worlds, director Hiromasa Shikata had served as a designer on Spirit Tracks and felt the co-op mechanics of that game would make for an interesting two-player experience.[407] Shikata felt that the Nintendo 3DS provided an opportunity to allow for easy co-op, unlike prior multiplayer Zeldas on the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo GameCube.[408] The development team settled on a three-player game when system director Shiro Mouri, who had served as a lead programmer on A Link Between Worlds, suggested a mechanic whereby players would be able to climb atop one another and form a totem pole.[409] (The team found that depicting more than three players in a totem pole formation was difficult without zooming the camera out too far or distorting the stereoscopic 3D effect of the Nintendo 3DS.)[410][411]

Early in development, the team considered including voice chat for when the game was being played online with strangers; however Shikata felt that this would lead to situations where a more experienced player would end up giving orders to the other two, which would go against the spirit of finding solutions to puzzles together.[412] To mitigate the issue, he developed the idea of communication icons, inspired by the Line messenger app. These icons wouldn't convey exactly what the party was meant to do, but would broadly allow players to communicate what they wanted from one another. This, the team felt, would make for a puzzle in itself.[413][414]

While designing the game's puzzles, the team based them around items that would work best with three-player co-op. The Boomerang could to grab other players, while Gust Jars could be used to blow players over large gaps.[415] In order to make it easier for players to play together, the team designed the game so that it could be shared via the Nintendo 3DS's Download Play feature. In this mode, the game's music would be changed to 8-bit, in order to compress data while transferring the game to another Nintendo 3DS. For players that liked the 8-bit tunes, the team created the Timeless Tunic.[416]

Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma found the three-player mechanic and totem pole concept interesting because it would mean that the player at the bottom would be in charge of movement, while the players above would be in charge of using items and attacking, which would necessitate cooperation.[417] However, Aonuma requested that the team also implement a singleplayer mode and suggested they allow the player to switch between characters—similar to the very first game he had directed, Marvelous: Another Treasure Island.[418] While playing in singleplayer, the player would be able to take control of two AI-controlled companions dubbed "Doppels". In Japanese, these companions were called "Manebito"—the title of a cancelled piece of software that Nintendo had originally intended to release for the Nintendo GameCube.[419]

Early concept art of Styla's curse

Tri Force Heroes's focus on fashion came from the development team wanting to allow players to collect gear and customize their characters like in Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks. The team eventually settled on the idea of players collecting outfits, which led to the game's story taking place in a kingdom obsessed with fashion.[420][421] Initially, the story involved a kidnapped princess, but Shikata felt this was unnecessarily complicated and didn't fit the theme or lighthearted nature of the game. The plot was then changed so that the game's princess, Styla, would be cursed to wear an ugly, irremovable jumpsuit and Link would need to find a way to break the curse.[422] At one point, the team even wanted to include an outfit inspired by the Japanese idol industry in the game, but learnt that idols were viewed differently in the west and changed the costume to one of a cheerleader instead, feeling that it broadly conveyed the same image of "giving support".[423]

A much larger change that was made during development was Link's design. The development team initially planned to model Link after his design in A Link Between Worlds, but a while into production Aonuma requested that they use Toon Link instead.[424] Despite the change in the character's appearance, Nintendo would maintain that this Link was the same as the one in A Link Between Worlds, with Tri Force Heroes taking place after that game.[425]

Tri Force Heroes received its western name sometime during E3 2015, just months prior to release. However, Aonuma felt the term "Heroes" was a little too serious and wanted to give this particular Zelda a different, more lighthearted vibe.[426] He was reminded of the French novel, The Three Musketeers, and decided to name the game after the book, with its final Japanese title being The Legend of Zelda: The Three Triforce Musketeers.[427]

Tri Force Heroes was released in October 2015 worldwide, and received mixed reviews, averaging out at a 7/10 on review aggregator Metacritic owing to repetitive gameplay, lack of replayablity, and a weak singleplayer mode. The game would go on to sell over 1.33 million copies worldwide.[428]


Breath of the Wild

Following the release of Skyward Sword, series producer Eiji Aonuma learnt that players weren't happy with the linear, restrictive nature of the game.[429] Aonuma and the Zelda development team had been trying to come up with a new template for the series ever since Ocarina of Time, and had tried a variety of approaches between The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword, each with its own, distinct goals. What Aonuma had determined by 2012 was that the series would need a structural overhaul if it was to remain relevant.

This had already influenced A Link Between Worlds, which was designed to be non-linear in structure and afford the player a great deal of freedom. The goal of A Link Between Worlds was to "rethink the conventions of Zelda" and prove to players that Nintendo was capable of reinventing the series to remain current with modern trends. As development on the Nintendo 3DS game—led by Twilight Princess sub-director Hiromasa Shikata—was ongoing, a separate team led by Skyward Sword director Hidemaro Fujibayashi was also planning the next console Zelda, meant for release on the Wii U.

EARLY CONCEPTS AND DEVELOPMENT

Work on the Wii U Zelda began with two broad goals:

1. To create an open-world game set in a large, seamless environment

2. To rethink the conventions of the Zelda series

Series producer Eiji Aonuma suggested that the team begin by re-imagining Link and the kind of adventures he would go on. The development team had a considerable amount of freedom to brainstorm interesting takes on the character, with over one hundred designs being submitted.[430] One early idea involved a possessed Link with an artificial arm that would be capable of turning into different items. Another re-imagined Link as a modern-day wandering minstrel, riding around on a bike and seeking the power of the sacred "Tri-Caster," which would consist of Din's Drum, Farore's Bass, and Nayru's Keyboard.[431] Younger members of the development staff would even pitch ideas such as "The Legend of Zelda: Invasion," which would see aliens invading Hyrule and stealing cattle, and "Hyrule Wars," a game where Link would charge across a war-torn battlefield with enemies shooting laser beams.[432]

In these early concepts, most designs of Link included features such as capes or bags. Because the team intended to create an open-world game, they wanted Link to exude a sense of adventure and imagined him as a travelling hero. The team settled on giving him blue clothing early on, because the color blue stood out against the backgrounds they were designing and because Aonuma felt that his usual appearance in a green tunic and hat had grown predictable. Aonuma also asked the team not to make him look overly "cool," as he didn't want the player to feel that they were controlling an already accomplished hero that had no room to grow.[433][434]

The Wind Waker with modern lighting and shaders

While the artists were brainstorming ideas for Link's new design, art director Satoru Takizawa and his team were experimenting with different art styles for the game. They began by conducting PBR (physically-based rendering) tests using realistically-lit cityscapes and then brought Link's character models from The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword into their new HD development environment. The team found that The Wind Waker's cel-shaded graphics stood out the most of all three games after they had applied modern shaders and lighting techniques to them, and decided that cel-shading would once again form the basis for their new art style.[435] At the same time, the team understood that The Wind Waker's cartoonish visuals were controversial and too childish in appearance for the kind of game the new Zelda was going to be.[436][437] Wanting to strike a balance between the cel-shaded look of The Wind Waker and the more realistic games like Twilight Princess, they opted for a visual style that would mix cel-shading with realistically proportioned characters. This, Takizawa reasoned, worked well with the game’s unique physics-based gameplay. It didn’t look overly realistic, but was believable enough that it would remind players of real life and convey how the game’s physics worked at a sub-conscious level.[438]

These experiments were conducted in 2012, and in January 2013 Nintendo would officially announce that development of a new Zelda game for the Wii U was underway. Aonuma would announce his intent to rethink the series' conventions, alongside a remaster of The Wind Waker for the Wii U, based on the team's graphical experiments.[439]

OPEN-AIR EXPLORATION

Development on the new The Legend of Zelda game for the Wii U kicked off in earnest in early 2013.[440] Skyward Sword director Hidemaro Fujibayashi had been put in charge and began pondering how to rethink the conventions of Zelda within the structure of an open-world game. Fujibayashi wanted to create a game where the player would progress through the world, spot interesting terrain, and intuitively want to experiment with what they could do within the game's world.[441] To accomplish this, Fujibayashi felt it was necessary to create an "active" game (where the player would have a large number of options available to them and be encouraged to take initiative and experiment) rather than a "passive" one (where the player would simply play within the confines of pre-scripted mechanics). The development team began experimenting around this idea by creating an area where the player could go anywhere and would not be obstructed by impassible walls. If they came to a wall, they would simply be able to climb to the top, jump off, and glide to their destination. This would transform the wall into another optional path the player could take and allow for "active" decision-making while traversing the world.[442] In particular, Fujibayashi felt that the ability to glide anywhere in the game world was a crucial ingredient that would give the player a newfound sense of freedom,[443] and that it represented a return to the "essence" of Zelda, referring to the open-ended nature of the original Nintendo Entertainment System game.[444] To accommodate this style of gameplay, the team added a jump button to its game—a first for the series.[445]

To convey the idea to general manager Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma, Fujibayashi and his team fleshed out their open-world prototype. They created an early version of the game's starting area, with Link getting out of the Shrine of Resurrection and being able to explore the area around it. The team scattered trees everywhere, making certain that every single tree was climbable, and hid Rupees and other items in places they felt the two might wander off to whilst exploring. When asked what the player would do in his new Zelda game, Fujibayashi replied that players would be able to do "everything".[446] Fujibayashi's open-world idea was greenlit for development and the team began working on a larger prototype using a world the size of the map from Twilight Princess. The idea was to take a map the size of Twilight Princess's world and see if the team could turn it into a single, seamless area using the increased processing power of the Wii U.[447]

Breath of the Wild's map, made up of trianglular shapes meant to draw the player's gaze

After work began on the actual game's world, the development team used the "Field Triangle Rule" whilst designing its fields, scattering a variety of triangular shapes across the map. Triangular shapes would accomplish two things: a) draw the player's gaze, and b) give players a choice as to whether to go over the triangle or around it. These triangles would be of varying sizes, each serving different purposes. Larger triangular shapes such as mountains would serve as landmarks that could be spotted from a considerable distance away and draw the player's attention. Medium-sized triangles were given the role of partially obscuring structures, facilities, and other elements in the world behind them, making the player want to explore. Finally, smaller triangular shapes such as rocks and undulations were included to serve as obstacles across shorter distances and keep the player on their toes.[448] Rectangular shapes were used to similar effect. Unlike triangles, which would gradually reveal what was behind them as you approached, rectangles were useful for obscuring things from sight completely.[449]

One of the team's primary objectives was to ensure that the game world felt "dense" enough. They did this by balancing three keywords: distance, density, and "time spent". Since this was Nintendo's first open-world project, Fujibayashi and the terrain artists would walk around the company's home town of Kyoto with a map of the city, using the experience to determine just how large they wanted their game world to be, and how long it would take players to traverse it. This would also give the team a sense of how to spread events, enemy encounters, and other such elements out across the world, accounting for both distance and density.[450] The third keyword, "time spent," was used to refer to the "amount of time the player might spend on a single element placed in the game world," depending on its size and complexity.[451]

The developers also tried to ensure that players would have sufficient reason to visit every part of the game world. They initially attempted this by erecting Sheikah Towers throughout the map, populating the space between them with various events. However, this made playtesters feel as though they were being herded from tower to tower, and so the team re-examined its approach. They began using the concept of "gravity," strategically placing structures of varying visibility and significance across the map, which were meant to draw the player in different directions, allowing them to get sidetracked and constantly discover new things.[452] Given the number of playtesters involved, Aonuma would request that the team build a PC tool that could track the journeys of up to 100 players, updating with markers of their travels every hour. This would allow the team to identify areas of the map players weren't engaging with and modify them.[453]

Interesting landforms, reminiscent of Xenoblade

"Gravity" would also affect players differently depending on their playstyle. The team found that more aggressive players might prioritize enemy encampments in the hope of finding better gear, whereas those that enjoyed uncovering the game's map might work towards activating all the Sheikah Towers first instead. During night-time, the concept of gravity would work differently, with structures that were emitting light drawing the player's attention over everything else.[454]

The new Zelda's world would eventually end up being over 12 times the size of Twilight Princess.[455] To help design the world, the Zelda team enlisted the aid of Monolith Soft, developers of the Xenoblade games. Monolith Soft had amassed a tremendous amount of experience designing an open-world game with Xenoblade Chronicles X, and a large number of designers that had worked on the game helped create environments and dungeons for this new Zelda, sometimes giving the landscape of Hyrule a look reminiscent of the Xenoblade series.[456] During the development process, the team also realized that an open-world game's appeal didn't come solely from an abundance of story events and things to do, but that a large part of the appeal was simply being able to journey and explore, to which pockets of emptiness were actually beneficial.[457]

The Zelda team also looked to western-developed open-world games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for reference, to determine what sort of challenges they would encounter and how they could improve upon the template of open-world titles.[458] The team also made it a point to design its game world such that players could play for brief periods of time, without being trapped in any one activity for too long.[459] Dungeons in Skyward Sword could take several hours to complete, and so the team focused on just four main dungeons for its new game, and a number of smaller puzzle rooms scattered around the world, dubbed "Shrines".

Upon experiencing the game's world and wildlife setting, Nintendo of America dubbed this new Zelda an "open-air adventure," and gave it its title: Breath of the Wild.[460]

MULTIPLICATIVE GAMEPLAY

The Zelda development team's goal with Breath of the Wild was to create a vast, non-linear, open-world game. One of the challenges of creating such a game, they realized, would be designing a wide enough variety of puzzles and other bespoke gameplay elements to keep the player suitably entertained all throughout. Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi understood that designing individual puzzle mechanics by hand was going to require a tremendous amount of resources, and began brainstorming if it was possible to mass-produce puzzles around a consistent set of rules instead.[461]

Fujibayashi found inspiration in Breath of the Wild's gliding mechanic, and how it had materialized as a side effect of walls being made climbable. This, he felt, was "multiplicative gameplay," where one interaction between the player and field had led to the rise of a new gameplay possibilities.[462] Fujibayashi and and technical director Takuhiro Dohta looked to prior Zelda games and the interactions that were possible between the player and game world in those titles. In Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, players had been able to cut down signboards and watch the individual pieces of wood float down a river. In A Link to the Past, the team had originally intended to allow players to start "endlessly expanding fires" with the lantern, but the idea had to be shelved due to hardware and time constraints. These were all scripted puzzles involving simple science laws, but it was now possible to expand upon them using modern hardware.[463] This, Fujibayashi and Dohta felt, would aid in the development of an "active" game, where the player would constantly feel encouraged to experiment with the game's logic and try out different things.

Fire interacting with arrows

To help convey this to the development team, Dohta developed a prototype that resembled the original The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System, but allowed Link to interact with the game world in a variety of ways. Link would be able to use the elements, such as fire or wind, to trigger different reactions in the game world. He would be able to set fire to trees and have the fire spread to the surrounding shrubbery. He would be able to cut trees down, roll them into the water, and ride them down a river. The elements would also be capable of interacting with other objects like arrows, to create Fire Arrows, which could then be used to deal with enemies.[464] This would lead to the development team creating an entirely new physics system for Breath of the Wild, where elements could interact with nearly every single object in the game, causing different kinds of reactions, and be used in creative ways to solve puzzles. The rules of the game were designed to be exaggerated versions of real-world laws, which the team felt would make them feel believable and encourage players to test their theories out in-game.[465]

Breath of the Wild was originally meant for release in 2015; however, in March 2015 producer Eiji Aonuma posted a video to Nintendo's social media channels, announcing that the game had been delayed. Aonuma would go on to clarify that this was because the development team had "experienced firsthand the freedom of exploration that hasn't existed in any Zelda game to date" and that they had discovered several new possibilities for the game that they wanted to flesh out.[466] Additional comments from Miyamoto would suggest that the advent of the game's complex physics system had led to its delay.[467]

WORLD AND VISUAL DESIGN:
Jōmon vessels inspired the look of the Guardians and Ancient Shrines

Breath of the Wild was going to allow players to explore a vast Hyrule, and the development team put a great deal of effort into world-building and the lore for the game's different regions, tribes, and cultures. Of particular importance were the Sheikah, whose ancient architecture defined much of this version of Hyrule, including the Shrines, Guardians, and the Sheikah Slate. The Zelda team looked to the Jōmon period in Japanese history for the Sheikah's architecture, with the designs of the Shrines and Guardians both inspired by flame-styled Jōmon pottery.[468][469] The Sheikah themselves were designed to resemble Japanese shinobi archetypes, with their home town, Kakariko Village, being modeled after a Japanese mountain village.[470]

In addition to the Sheikah, distinct characteristics and back-stories were also designed for the Gorons, Zora, Rito, and Gerudo, as well as a mysterious tribe dubbed the "Zonai", who were said to be an ancient civilization that collapsed long ago. The Zonai Ruins in Faron and Lomei Labyrinth in Akkala were created to give players a sense that Hyrule was once shared by someone other than the Hylians and Sheikah, who also worshipped the Triforce.[471]

To make Hyrule feel like a living world, the team also designed a wide variety of wildlife that would roam the land and be able to interact with the player. Most fauna in the game was designed to be non-aggressive, but would defend itself if provoked. The player would also be able to hunt a large number of the fauna for meat and other resources that could be used in cooking and crafting. Instead of allowing players to cut grass for Hearts, the developers wanted them to survive using natural resources.

"During production, there were a number of things that I focused on expressing visually because we couldn't express them in other ways," art director Satoru Takizawa would say. "Smell is one of them. A gaming console can't simulate a sense of smell, but I talked with the terrain and effect designers about how to create a world that gave you the impression of a smell. For example, in the real world, there is a very specific smell right before it rains. I wanted to create the illusion of that smell with the visuals in this game. At the same time, I focused on creating a world where imitation sounds could be communicated. I wanted the onomatopoetic sounds of humidity, mugginess, or dryness to be felt and conveyed without sound effects. If we could simulate senses like smell and touch through visual information, the world would feel truly alive, and that was one of our biggest goals."[472]

Unlike Skyward Sword, the team conveyed a lot of story and world-building through the environment in Breath of the Wild, with even more facets of the world being expanded upon in the game's Creating a Champion art book.

BotW JP Logo.png
A return to the original logo used on the Nintendo Entertainment System

Similarly, the user interface (UI) for Breath of the Wild was designed to be the polar opposite of Skyward Sword as well. Where Skyward Sword's UI could often be large and intrusive, the development team's goal with Breath of the Wild was to create a UI that only displayed information when necessary.[473] The key to this was a warm-white color the team dubbed "Zelda White" and used across icons, logos, and even the game's packaging. Icons in the game were designed to be borderless and simple, and UI elements were cut down to the bare minimum to allow players to immerse themselves in the game's world.[474]

Based on feedback from Nintendo of America, the team also developed a "Pro HUD" option for veteran players that would reduce on-screen UI elements even further.[475]

To signify a return to Zelda's exploratory nature, the Japanese logo for Breath of the Wild reverted to the style used in the original The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System, with the North American and European logo remaining the same but recolored Zelda White.

MISCELLANEOUS DEVELOPMENT NOTES
  • Breath of the Wild was originally meant to be released just for the Wii U. In early 2016, after it had already been delayed once, Nintendo decided to make the game a launch title for the Nintendo Switch and the team was asked to make the game cross-platform across both the Wii U and Switch.[476]
  • This led to the team having to scrap ideas that would have made use of the Wii U GamePad, as well as making changes to the game's story, which would initially have featured the Sheikah Slate in a more central role.[477]
  • Aonuma would reveal that Miiverse was responsible for giving him easy access to the opinions and feedback of overseas fans, which helped decide upon a direction for Breath of the Wild.[478]
  • An early idea involved Link adopting a dog that would serve as his navigator. While this idea didn't make it into the game, it did inspire the Wolf Link Amiibo feature.[479]
  • Horses in Breath of the Wild had their own dedicated programmer and the feature was constantly worked on and tweaked all throughout development.[480]
  • One of the reasons Link doesn't wear a hat in Breath of the Wild was that the team wanted to make the character look cool. However, making a hat look cool had gotten harder and harder with modern graphics. In Twilight Princess, art director Satoru Takizawa dealt with the issue by making Link's hat longer, but this had the side effect of making it look comical when it flapped in the wind.[481]
  • Eiji Aonuma would reveal that he had attempted creating ambitious open-world games with both The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess; however, the team wasn't able to accomplish its goals with those games due to time and manpower constraints.[482][483]
  • Composer Hajime Wakai came up with the game's musical style through trial-and-error. He initially tried including music from Twilight Princess, but because this version of Hyrule was so vast, Wakai felt there was no music that would be able to live up to the world's grandeur and sense of inspiration. This led to the decision to create more ambient, understated music instead.[484] Once this decision was made, the team began using the term "environmental BGM" instead of "world BGM" during development.[485]
  • Games that members of the team were playing whilst developing Breath of the Wild included The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The Witcher 3, Far Cry 4, and Monster Hunter 4.[486][487]
  • The Fishing Rod wasn't included in Breath of the Wild because the team didn't want to include items that only served a single purpose.[488]
  • One of the unused ideas the team considered was giving Link the ability to shrink and enter tiny towns, similar to The Minish Cap.[489]
  • Aonuma would compare Breath of the Wild to going from Japanese food to Western style food. Presumably, he was referring to the game's open-world elements and non-linear structure, both of which are rarities in Japanese games.[490]
  • Despite Aonuma's love for cooking and stating years prior that he would like to include the feature in a future Zelda game, the cooking feature in Breath of the Wild came about naturally, not because he suggested it.[491]
  • While Breath of the Wild was designed to be the polar opposite of Skyward Sword, a handful of its features first appeared in that game. These include the ability to dash, the stamina gauge, and Link's shield taking damage from enemy attacks.
  • Towards the end of development, Breath of the Wild's development team grew to over 300 people in size, between Nintendo and other collaborators.[492]
  • Aonuma asked the development team to add the Master Cycle Zero to the game as one final reward the player would unlock after playing all the way through to the end of the Champions' Ballad DLC. Following this, the team actually went out and purchased a motocross bike they could ride to understand how one should control.[493]

Breath of the Wild was released globally in March 2017 to critical acclaim. Following Twilight Princess, it was the second time Nintendo had assigned a AAA development budget and schedule to a Zelda title, and the game built upon a number of elements that players had enjoyed in both Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, including a more realistically proportioned Link, a vast world to explore, and the ability to ride on horseback. Breath of the Wild would go on to sell over 18 million units across the Nintendo Switch and Wii U, successfully growing the brand and providing it with a template for future games.[494] Producer Eiji Aonuma would state that the game's "open-air" structure would form the basis for future Zeldas, and Nintendo would announce a sequel to the game two years later.[495]

References

  1. "When we made Sheriff, I drew pixel images with another designer and we started searching for materials for the machine's housing. We would talk about wanting to make a new unit that was like no other one in the world. So we even went to a company that did the interior of airplanes. This company could make wood grain prints that looked like natural wood. So we bought these stickers and attached it to the cabinet and made it look like an old American saloon. At any rate, back then, I was doing all of the design from the content of the game to thyae housing." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Investigating a Glove Interface)
  2. "Miyamoto: So I sketched out a few ideas for games using Popeye. At that point, Yokoi-san was good enough to bring these ideas to the President's attention and in the end one of the ideas received official approval. Yokoi-san thought that designers would become necessary members of development teams in order to make games in the future. And that's how Donkey Kong came about. Iwata: But originally it was going to be a Popeye game. Miyamoto: That's right. But while I can't recall exactly why it was, we were unable to use Popeye in that title. It really felt like the ladder had been pulled out from under us, so to speak." — Nintendo, Mario Couldn't Jump At First, Iwata Asks, published n.d., retrieved May 20, 2020.
  3. "All coin-operated video games looked essentially the same on the outside: a cabinet, joysticks, and a screen. What made the games unique was inside the cabinet, the PC board, or 'mother board'—the game's processor, chips, and circuitry. Arakawa could have the "Radarscope" cabinets repainted, and he could have the 'Radarscope' program chips removed. The problem was that he had nothing with which to replace those chips. Arakawa weakly told Yamauchi that he needed a new game quickly."  (Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World (Vintage Books) pg. 104)
  4. "The NOA staff gathered in a corner of the warehouse around a couple of card tables. They came up with a simple translation of Miyamoto's story and they had to name the characters. Arakawa christened the princess Pauline, after James's wife, Polly. They were trying to decide what to call the rotund, red-capped carpenter, when there was a knock on the door. Arakawa answered it. Standing there was the owner of the ware house. In front of everyone, he blasted Arakawa because the rent was late. Flustered, Arakawa promised that the money was forth coming, and the man left. The landlord's name was Mario Segali. 'Mario,' they decided. 'Super Mario!'"  (Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World (Vintage Books) pg. 109)
  5. "Yamauchi instructed Uemura to leave off the frills. No keyboard —it might scare off customers. No modem or disk drive. The sys tem would play games on cartridges, not disks. Floppy disks were threatening to computerphobes and, more important, they were copiable. The system would have minimum memory, since memory was so expensive, but it would have more than its competitors'. Atari's system had 256 bytes of RAM (random access memory, the amount of instructions a central processing unit can refer to at one time); the Nintendo system would have 2,000 bytes of RAM. In addition, games for the new Nintendo machine could be far more complex than the most powerful Atari games; a Nintendo cartridge could contain thirty-two times more computer code than an Atari cartridge."  (Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World (Vintage Books) pg. 33)
  6. "So that means that Tezuka-san and Miyamoto-san were working on Devil World at the same time as Miyamoto-san was working with Nakago-san on Excitebike." —Satoru Iwata (It Started With A Square Object Moving)
  7. "It was from that time that I worked on the games together with Takashi Tezuka-san. I recall there was one time when we wanted a character that would fly up and down but we didn't have enough free space to make a new character. So we were asking ourselves what we could do when we thought: 'Why not try giving the turtles wings!' (laughs)" —Shigeru Miyamoto (I Saw A Pipe On The Way Home From The Office)
  8. "As Excitebike was being developed in Tokyo, I went on a lot of business trips there together with Miyamoto-san and we'd often stay over in a hotel. That was right at the start of the bubble economy and there were times when it would be really hard to secure a hotel room. There were even times when we slept in the same bed. That's how we made Excitebike. Then after that, we began to work on Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda at the same time." —Toshihiko Nakago (It Started With A Square Object Moving)
  9. "I thought we should take advantage of the Disk System's ability to rewrite data by making a game that allowed two players to create dungeons and then explore each other's creations. We designed that game, and the overall response was that playing through the dungeons was the best part."  (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 2)
  10. "I remember that we were very nervous, because The Legend Of Zelda was our first game that forced the players to think about what they should do next. We were afraid that gamers would become bored and stressed by the new concept. Luckily, they reacted totally opposite. It was these elements that made the game so popular, and today gamers tell us how fun the Zelda riddles are, and how happy they become when they solved a task and proceed with the adventure. It makes me a happy game producer. We started to work with Legend of Zelda at the same time as Super Mario Bros, and since the same people did both games we tried to separate the different ideas. Super Mario Bros should be linear, the next step in SMB should be obvious. Zelda should be Mario's total opposite." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Creating Mario's opposite)
  11. ""When we first created the Legend of Zelda, we started working on Super Mario Brothers at the same time and I was involved in them both. Many of the developers were also working on both titles at the same time, so whenever we exchanged ideas for the new titles, we always said 'This is a Mario idea', or 'This is a Zelda idea' but in between there are always some ideas that can be used in both games. So it's not that one game influences the other game, it's that ideas get separated according to which title they are more appropriate for."" —Shigeru Miyamoto (Shigeru Miyamoto Wind Waker Interview 2006)
  12. "As with the Mario series, I came up with the concept for the Zelda series from my adventures as a child exploring the wide variety of places around my home. There were plenty of caves and mountains. We didn't have that many toys to play with, so I would make slingshots or use sticks and twigs to make puppets and keep myself amused." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Childhood influences)
  13. "When Nintendo was first developing The Legend of Zelda, there was no system for moving around the map like in the final game. The initial design called for the player to immediately enter a dungeon from either the title screen or a menu. The image below shows a method they tested for displaying the entrance to dungeons from a three-dimensional angle."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 220)
  14. "In the beginning, there were only dungeons without an overworld." —Yasunari Soejima (A game about exploring dungeons)
  15. "We basically decided to do a real time adventure game. No one wants to do physical things like pushing and pulling by selecting them from a menu. If they’re going to push something, they want to put some force behind it." —Takashi Tezuka (A real-time adventure game)
  16. "Link’s name comes from the fact that originally, the fragments of the Triforce were supposed to be electronic chips. The game was to be set in both the past and the future and as the main character would travel between both and be the link between them, they called him Link. Also conceptualized alongside the main character was the "Triforce," a trio of electronic chips that would play a role in Link's time-traveling adventure." —Shigeru Miyamoto (A link between settings)
  17. "Link was depicted in early art examples as right handed. However, in order to aid in the creation of the pixel art and for the purposes of configuration in game screens, he was altered to be left handed."  (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 138)
  18. "Of course, the title of the game wasn't decided right at the beginning. I knew I wanted it to be The Legend of something, but I had a hard time figuring out what that "something" was going to be. That's when the PR planner said, "Why don't you make a storybook for this game?" He suggested an illustrated story where Link rescues a princess who is a timeless beauty with classic appeal, and mentioned, "There's a famous American author whose wife's name is Zelda. How about giving that name to the eternal beauty?" I couldn't really get behind the book idea, but I really liked the name Zelda.""  (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 2)
  19. "I remember he had me make a lot of different sounds for when you use the flute (when you warp). He was very particular about that one sound. 'It shouldn’t just be ‘pretty’. I want it to evoke something more mysterious', he told me." —Koji Kondo (Evoking a sense of mystery)
  20. "Back then, there were a lot of things we intended to do but weren’t able to because of hardware constraints. For example, for the Level 7 dungeon entrance, we just changed the colour of the ground when the water drained, but we intended to have the water actually disappear. And you can burn small trees, but we intended for you to be able to burn down big ones. There were a lot of things like that, and I wanted to express them realistically in a Zelda game for the Super Nintendo." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Hardware constraints)
  21. "Basically, we were going to make lots of dungeons using one square per room, and lay them out like a jigsaw puzzle." —Takashi Tezuka (Using graph paper)
  22. "Tezuka-san said, 'I did it!' and brought this to me. I created the data exactly in line with it, but then Tezuka-san made a mistake and only used half of the data. I said, 'Tezuka-san, there's only half here. Where did the other half go?' and he was like, 'What?! Oops, I messed up...' But Miyamoto-san said it was fine just like that. So, using the half of the memory that was left over, we decided to create the Second Quest." —Toshihiko Nakago (The Second Quest)
  23. "In the very first Legend of Zelda, in the very opening title screen, we used to use the classical music of "Bolero," because that tempo was perfectly matched with the speed of the opening screen rolling. But I remember it was just before, when we really had to complete the final ROM for reproduction, they told me that unfortunately the copyright of that music hadn't expired yet, so I had to compose a completely new piece of music that night. I recall that I did it within one day. You know, "da-da-da-da" -- that was done in just one day. We already had the ground level music figured out, so what I did was just an arrangement to perfectly match with the opening scroll." —Koji Kondo (Creating the title theme)
  24. "NES / Legend of Zelda / 6,510,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  25. "Development started with Mr. Miyamoto saying he wanted to make a side-scrolling action game that made use of up and down movements for attacks and defense. It’s rooted in actions like jump strikes, downward strikes, and high and low shield defense moves. Types of moves that weren’t possible in the first game. Rather than being a continuation of the series, it started as a new sword and shield type of action game. We were experimenting while producing the game so we didn’t really have the first game’s systems in mind while developing it. As for it being unique within the series, we were searching for new ways to play so you could say it’s like a spin-off. At the end of development we decided on a story and that Link would be 16 years old then attached [The Legend of Zelda 2] and released it as the second game in the series." —Tadashi Sugiyama (Up and down actions)
  26. "The foundation of action games at the time was to feel difficult for everyone. Games didn’t have a ton of content at that time so in order to have them played for as long as possible we felt like we couldn’t make them easily clearable. We also did debugging so we would play a game too much and the game would have a high difficulty that was interesting to us. One thing I remember is a call that we received from a customer at the time. He said he just couldn’t beat the final boss. We talked with him and found out he was fully equipped so we had to tell him he could only rely on his skill at that point. A pretty tough answer, right? The person seemed to playing on behalf of a child… Sorry about that." —Tadashi Sugiyama (A high level of difficulty)
  27. "There were various restrictions at that time so we put in the level up system as a way to have players battling enemies time and time again. As for the symbol encounters, the field map was narrow so the system added a luck factor to it." —Tadashi Sugiyama (An element of luck)
  28. "Ever since I started making the first game in the series, I’ve been saying that the 3rd Zelda will feature a party, one that consists of the protagonist, who’s a mix between an elf and a fighter, a magic user, and a girl. The fairy that appeared in Adventure of Link was actually a party member designed for Zelda 3. A girl who looked a little like a fairy and whose role consisted of reconnaissance. Like the characters in action games that don’t engage enemies in combat but rather go and scout out the surroundings and return to you safely. It’s also fun when an action adventure game lets you choose who to send out. That’s the sort of thing I’m thinking I’d like to put in Zelda 3." —Shigeru Miyamoto (A fairy character)
  29. "So one thing, of course, is, from a hardware perspective, if we had been able to have the switch between the scenes speed up, if that had been faster, we could have done more with how we used the sidescrolling vs. the overhead [view] and kind of the interchange between the two. But, because of the limitations on how quickly those scenes changed, we weren't able to. The other thing, is it would have been nice to have had bigger enemies in the game, but the Famicom/NES hardware wasn't capable of doing that. Certainly, with hardware nowadays you can do that and we have done that, but of course nowadays creating bigger enemies takes a lot of effort." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Shigeru Miyamoto's 'Bad' Game)
  30. "NES / Adventure of Link / 4,380,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  31. "Before Super Mario 64, I had actually been making Zelda II: The Adventure of Link in polygons with Miyamoto-san. We were experimenting with a thin, polygon Link seen from the side and fighting with his sword. Chanbara was a pending issue at the time. We couldn't really bring Zelda II: The Adventure of Link into form at that time, but I kept that desire to achieve a sword-fighting Zelda game until I joined this team." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (Zelda II using polygons)
  32. "I’m still worried about whether or not players will figure out that they have to work switches by pressing A and pushing or pulling in the opposite direction. It’s a little complicated. It would have been better if you could just press A in front of something to push it. But if that had been the case, players themselves wouldn’t understand whether they were intended to pick something up or throw themselves against it. I think they’d be unsatisfied if they’d solved a puzzle by accident when they hit A, intending to pick something up, but the character pulled it instead. However, if we’d made the controls too difficult, there would have been people who didn’t learn how to use them. That’s why we put in a way to grab things, and the game became the way it is today. There were staff members opposed to it, though. There are switches that require you to pull them, right? You’ve got to pull them no matter what, so you should be able to do it just by pressing A. But just pressing a button doesn’t make you feel like you’re pulling anything. That’s why I put in two types of switches, one which wouldn’t be correct. If players can decide for themselves which way it’s supposed to go, they’ll get a greater sense of satisfaction when they figure it out. It took a lot of time to bring out that feeling." —Shigeru Miyamoto (A sense of satisfaction)
  33. "When he speaks, there is a phrase that Mr. Miyamoto always mentions that speaks directly to the very nature of the Zelda series. The phrase is, 'Zelda is a game that values reality over realism.' In the art world, realism is a movement which faithfully replicates the real world to whatever extent possible. Reality, though, is not mimicking the real world. The big difference is that even using more exaggerated expression can be an effective means of making things feel more real." —Eiji Aonuma (Reality over realism)
  34. "In addition, back when LoZ was being made, having a world based on swords and magic was still a fresh idea, as was the concept of being able to save your game. A system that allowed you to buy items in-game was also new, not to mention solving dungeons. However, in the 5 years since the game’s release, a lot of titles have appeared on the market that do the same sort of thing, so the sense of innovation has disappeared entirely. I thought hard about what we could do next that would entertain the players. Just because it was no longer innovative didn’t necessarily mean that we should have cut out the shopping and dungeons entirely." —Shigeru Miyamoto (What to do next)
  35. "I’m still worried about whether or not players will figure out that they have to work switches by pressing A and pushing or pulling in the opposite direction. It’s a little complicated. It would have been better if you could just press A in front of something to push it. But if that had been the case, players themselves wouldn’t understand whether they were intended to pick something up or throw themselves against it. I think they’d be unsatisfied if they’d solved a puzzle by accident when they hit A, intending to pick something up, but the character pulled it instead. However, if we’d made the controls too difficult, there would have been people who didn’t learn how to use them. That’s why we put in a way to grab things, and the game became the way it is today. There were staff members opposed to it, though. There are switches that require you to pull them, right? You’ve got to pull them no matter what, so you should be able to do it just by pressing A. But just pressing a button doesn’t make you feel like you’re pulling anything. That’s why I put in two types of switches, one which wouldn’t be correct. If players can decide for themselves which way it’s supposed to go, they’ll get a greater sense of satisfaction when they figure it out. It took a lot of time to bring out that feeling." —Shigeru Miyamoto (A sense of satisfaction)
  36. "It’s more like we begin by doing a bunch of silly experiments with a small number of people, then, once the project begins to take shape, we put a larger amount of staff to work on it. If you start out messing around with a large number of people, you’ll end up with a bunch of employees with too much time on their hands. Specifically, we eke out what system the game is going to use by testing the hardware limits early on, then incorporate things like the enemies and the scenario afterwards." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Utilizing staff effectively)
  37. "Three years in the Making: A Link to the Past was in development for about three years. The team began work on it long before the Super NES even launched—spending the first year on planning, the second on experimenting, and the third on actual development."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 230)
  38. "At one point, there were plans for the player to be able to perform more actions such as eating or dancing, but the team ultimately opted to limit player actions to essentials like Talk, Push/Pull, Lift/Throw, and Run."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 230)
  39. ""Now that graphics have gotten a lot prettier, I wanted to make animations to match. Adding the diagonal movement that Zelda 1 lacked, for example. If you can move diagonally, you’d want to cut diagonally with your sword, too, right? But when we tried to put in a diagonal thrust, the operability of the game declined, and we ended up using a spin attack instead."" —Shigeru Miyamoto (Better graphics and animation)
  40. "When we were starting the project, we experimented to see if it was possible to include a multi-world structure into the game. Our plan was that events in the hub world would have an effect on the other, overlapping worlds." —Takashi Tezuka (Multiple worlds)
  41. "At first there were 3 worlds, but players would’ve gotten confused. That’s why we had to fix things up. It’s difficult to plant a new concept like that in an action game, you see." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Three worlds)
  42. "Kensuke Tanabe already had an idea for a truly memorable hero-awakening scene when we started this project. In the midst of a forest, with light filtering down through the leaves, the sword stood waiting for someone worthy of wielding it to arrive (the illustration on the Japanese package shows this). Link draws the sword out as the light trickles through the leaves." —Takashi Tezuka (A memorable hero awakening)
  43. "In his new design, which is targeted toward foreign fans, Link appears a little more mature than he did in The Adventure of Link."  (Hyrule Historia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 142)
  44. "In the first game, The Legend of Zelda, he was about 12 years old. In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, he was about 16, but I never wanted to make him just another cool hero. Until The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Link was a playful and childish character. I had worked on all the games since the first one, and I thought that if we made him too cool, he wouldn't be Link anymore." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Not making Link "too cool")
  45. "We didn’t have Link start out as a sword-wielding hero right from the start, because we had already decided at the beginning of the project that we wanted him to awaken as a hero when he pulls out the Master Sword. We did make a number of adjustments to the placement and ordering of the weapons and items so that we could get the ideal flow for the game, no matter the player or play style. We thought that players would form an emotional connection with Link as they play and by the time he ultimately becomes a hero, it would just be natural that he can use a variety of different weapons." —Takashi Tezuka (The ideal flow for the game)
  46. "At the start of development, we wanted players to be able to freely choose which weapons to hold, not just the sword and shield. We also thought about having these weapons combine, say for example, having the Bow & Arrows set to the A Button and a Bomb to B Button so that when you use them together (i.e. press both the buttons), Link would shoot an arrow with a bomb attached. In the end we didn’t use this in A Link To The Past, as Shigeru Miyamoto requested that Link always have the sword equipped. We were able to implement this system in the next title, Link’s Awakening, though." —Takashi Tezuka (Combining weapons)
  47. "Ever since I started making the first game in the series, I’ve been saying that the 3rd Zelda will feature a party, one that consists of the protagonist, who’s a mix between an elf and a fighter, a magic user, and a girl. The fairy that appeared in Adventure of Link was actually a party member designed for Zelda 3. A girl who looked a little like a fairy and whose role consisted of reconnaissance. Like the characters in action games that don’t engage enemies in combat but rather go and scout out the surroundings and return to you safely. It’s also fun when an action adventure game lets you choose who to send out. That’s the sort of thing I’m thinking I’d like to put in Zelda 3." —Shigeru Miyamoto (A party system)
  48. "We did include alternate paths/solutions for players that are easier, though. Originally, the system in Zelda we envisioned was more open-ended: for example, if there was a rock blocking your way, you could safely ignore it and keep playing: there was always another way around. I wanted something that players could get so lost in, it would take them a whole year to finish. The problem with making an “open-ended” version of Zelda like that was the messaging and plotline. If you ignore structure like that, then the plotline can quickly get screwy and NPC messages start to not make sense. Programming in enough logic to handle all the different possibilities probably would have required about 150% more memory than we had." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Hardware constraints)
  49. ""There were a variety of ideas that didn’t make it into the game. Using the lantern on a grassy area to cause an endlessly expanding fire, for example. And digging a ditch with the shovel or bombing the swamp breakwater to cause water to rush into the hole. Work on these was in progress. If we’d had another 6 months, we might have been able to make them a reality."" —Shigeru Miyamoto (Scrapped ideas)
  50. "Our game designers had a pretty good idea of what could be done on the hardware back then, so I don’t believe we had any unexpected implementations. Having said that, though, we had a long battle with the memory size, and I remember very clearly that the engineering team worked extremely hard to optimize it." —Takashi Tezuka (Battling memory constraints)
  51. "After graduation, I had the opportunity to be hired at Nintendo, and I went with it. And when you ask, 'why Nintendo,' my first opportunity to play a Nintendo system was in college, but my ambition had always been to make drama. That was my goal: Having a character, in a certain kind of world, having him go through a series of actions to accomplish something, and creating a dramatic tension throughout that. And games seemed like a really good opportunity to create a kind of drama that you don’t find in films. It was very interesting. And Nintendo was geographically very close to my university, Osaka University of Arts." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (The drama of games)
  52. "My first assignment was to do the art and layout and eventually the writing for the manual for The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past. What was funny was that at the time, it didn’t seem like they’d really figured out what most of the game elements meant. So it was up to me to come up with story and things while I was working on the manual. So, for example, the design of the goddesses as well as the star sign associated with them." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (Working on the manual)
  53. "The Legend of Zelda logo design, which we created for Nintendo." —Tim Girvin (The Legend of Zelda logo)
  54. "SNES / A Link to the Past / 4,610,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  55. Nicky Woolf, Eiji Aonuma and the spirit of adventure, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2009/nov/25/eiji-aonuma-legend-zelda-interview (Interview), published Nov, 2009, retrieved November 17, 2019.
  56. "My grandfather was a carpenter and so was my uncle. There was a carpenter’s shop nearby my home, so I grew up watching them making things. So when there was drafting or craft homework, I used to pick up a piece of work and put nails on it to make something. Also, I guess it has something to do with the fact that my parents didn’t buy any toys for me." —Eiji Aonuma (Talk: Latest Zelda’s making process & “Ocarina of Time” proposal disclosed)
  57. "One of the alumni who went to Tokyo University of the Arts was Yoichi Kotabe, who did the key animation for “Heidi, Girl of the Alps.” He was working at Nintendo doing key animation for “Mario”. I might add, Mr. Kotabe did key animation for “Pokémon” as well. When I was looking for a job, I met some people at the game company from the exhibition held at a gallery. So I became interested in the game companies afterwards. When I went to the job center at the university, they gave me the business card of Mr. Kotabe." —Eiji Aonuma (Talk: Latest Zelda’s making process & “Ocarina of Time” proposal disclosed)
  58. "So, one of the interviewers who interviewed me on the recommendation of Mr. Kotabe was Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto. At the time of the interview, I showed him the artwork that I did during university, and Mr. Miyamoto liked them. That’s how I joined Nintendo in 1988." —Eiji Aonuma (Talk: Latest Zelda’s making process & “Ocarina of Time” proposal disclosed)
  59. "Actually, I never played a game when I was young. When I landed a job in Nintendo, I asked my girlfriend at that time, “What is a TV game?” And she lent me DQ1. Of course, I knew Nintendo was making games, but I’d never played it. It’s a digression, but the next game that I borrowed from her was the “The Portopia Serial Murder Case”. It was even a PC version (laughs)." —Eiji Aonuma (Latest Zelda’s making process & “Ocarina of Time” proposal disclosed)
  60. "And then she gave me “DQ” and this time she made sure I played it right. I stayed up all night to play it and she kept by my side the whole time, coaching me like, “You need to go south five steps” and “Now go to the east four steps”." —Eiji Aonuma (Latest Zelda’s making process & “Ocarina of Time” proposal disclosed)
  61. "Unfortunately, though, the game we made together never made it out into the world. I spent a lot of time developing games with external companies. But I really wanted to develop inside Nintendo." —Eiji Aonuma (The Game that Changed Destinies)
  62. "At that time, I heard that Mr. Miyamoto had played the Super NES game that I had made, called “Marvelous: Mohitotsu no Takarajima” and said that I should come and join his team if I wanted to make a game like that. At that time, only the people who could produce good results were called and the position was usually a director. So I had a strong sense of responsibility for the work that was assigned to me." —Eiji Aonuma (Latest Zelda’s making process & “Ocarina of Time” proposal disclosed)
  63. "He used the only Game Boy development kit we had at the time to recreate something like a Zelda game. We weren't particularly planning to make a Zelda game for Game Boy, but we thought we'd try it out to see how it will work. So at first there was no official project. We'd do our regular work during normal work hours, and then work on it sort of like an afterschool club activity." —Takashi Tezuka (Kirby and Chomps in Zelda)
  64. "He used the only Game Boy development kit we had at the time to recreate something like a Zelda game. We weren't particularly planning to make a Zelda game for Game Boy, but we thought we'd try it out to see how it will work. So at first there was no official project. We'd do our regular work during normal work hours, and then work on it sort of like an afterschool club activity." —Takashi Tezuka (Kirby and Chomps in Zelda)
  65. "That was 1991. At that time I asked to begin official development of The Legend of Zelda game for Game Boy. That's when we were able to get one more development kit. But at the time, we still had the idea of simply transplanting The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past to Game Boy..." —Takashi Tezuka (Like an afterschool club)
  66. "I can't really remember that either, but I think it was because there was a lot left over that we still wanted to do. Maybe I felt that way more than anyone else because I had joined development partway through, but I strongly desired to do more." —Takashi Tezuka (Kirby and Chomps in Zelda)
  67. "When I started I was given a list of requirements by the director, Mr. Tezuka, such as no Triforce, no Princess Zelda, no Hyrule, and a closed field. I recall having a lot of trouuble with storyline consistency in ALttP, and this meant I could leave out the stuff that got bottlenecked. Mr. Tezuka requested a world full of strange characters lin in Twin Peaks, which was a popular show back then. I then wrote a script that fit my vision of an egg hatching on a mountaintop ending the world with Koizumi's 'Your dream? Or someone else's dream?' Koizumi worked on the main thread of the story and I did the odd characters." —Kensuke Tanabe (Link's Awakening DX: Staff Questionnaire)
  68. "We had (Kensuke) Tanabe-san join early on. He thought up the sub-events and stuff like the "Straw Millionaire" parts. Then later on (Yoshiaki) Koizumi-san joined." —Takashi Tezuka (Kirby and Chomps in Zelda)
  69. "Koizumi-san was in charge of the opening movie and main story . He's a romantic, and I think that shows in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. He was in charge of the whole flow of the story." —Takashi Tezuka (Kirby and Chomps in Zelda)
  70. "I was talking about fashioning The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening with a feel that's somewhat like Twin Peaks. At the time, Twin Peaks was rather popular. The drama was all about a small number of characters in a small town." —Takashi Tezuka (Make All the Characters Suspicious Types)
  71. "When I started I was given a list of requirements by the director, Mr. Tezuka, such as no Triforce, no Princess Zelda, no Hyrule, and a closed field. I recall having a lot of trouuble with storyline consistency in ALttP, and this meant I could leave out the stuff that got bottlenecked. Mr. Tezuka requested a world full of strange characters lin in Twin Peaks, which was a popular show back then. I then wrote a script that fit my vision of an egg hatching on a mountaintop ending the world with Koizumi's 'Your dream? Or someone else's dream?' Koizumi worked on the main thread of the story and I did the odd characters." —Kensuke Tanabe (Link's Awakening DX: Staff Questionnaire)
  72. "So when it came to The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, I wanted to make something that, while it would be small enough in scope to easily understand, it would have deep and distinctive characteristics." —Takashi Tezuka (Make All the Characters Suspicious Types)
  73. "After graduation, I had the opportunity to be hired at Nintendo, and I went with it. And when you ask, 'why Nintendo,' my first opportunity to play a Nintendo system was in college, but my ambition had always been to make drama. That was my goal: Having a character, in a certain kind of world, having him go through a series of actions to accomplish something, and creating a dramatic tension throughout that. And games seemed like a really good opportunity to create a kind of drama that you don’t find in films. It was very interesting. And Nintendo was geographically very close to my university, Osaka University of Arts." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (Super Mario Galaxy Director On Sneaking Stories Past Miyamoto)
  74. "But some people at HAL Laboratory might say they never heard anything." —Takashi Tezuka (Kirby and Chomps in Zelda)
  75. "I'm certain it was an important element in the series making a breakthrough. If we had proceeded from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past straight to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time without The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening in between, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time would have been different." —Eiji Aonuma (Make All The Characters Suspicious Types)
  76. "The situation is totally different now. There are so many people with so many different job titles. But back then, the people who wrote the manuals often became the people who came up with most of the backstory for the entire game. The first real game work that I did was on Link’s Awakening. But at the same time, I came in to write the manual, as I did on the previous game. But they had nothing in place. So I ended up making an entire story to go along with the game. The dream, the island, that was all mine. And so that was my first experience doing the kind of work that we would now call 'event design'. But there were not too many people at the time with expertise in that area, so I really had free reign to do what I wanted, so long as I didn’t make Miyamoto angry." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (Super Mario Galaxy Director On Sneaking Stories Past Miyamoto)
  77. "GB / Link's Awakening / 3,830,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  78. "You might say that, but before Super Mario 64, I had actually been making Zelda II: The Adventure of Link in polygons with Miyamoto-san. We were experimenting with a thin, polygon Link seen from the side and fighting with his sword. Chanbara was a pending issue at the time. We couldn't really bring Zelda II: The Adventure of Link into form at that time, but I kept that desire to achieve a sword-fighting Zelda game until I joined this team." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (The Legend of Zelda with Chanbara-style Action)
  79. "The staff who worked on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time had all played The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, so they had a sense of how far they could go with the The Legend of Zelda series." —Eiji Aonuma (Make All the Characters Suspicious Types)
  80. "Yeah.. I programmed it :) Koizumi san did the models/animation. [...] on the demo? I honestly can't remember.. maybe he "directed" it, it was literally only a few seconds though.." —Giles Goddard (Tweet by Giles Goddard)
  81. "Since I was working at Nintendo, The Legend of Zelda was a title I wanted to work on at least once. Luckily, that opportunity had come along, so I put my hand right up. But before we became involved, (Takao) Shimizu-san made a chanbara (sword fighting) demo video." —Toru Osawa (The Legend of Zelda with Chanbara-style Action)
  82. "I started writing the script with chanbara at the front of my mind. Then Koizumi-san joined us, and there were three of us." —Toru Osawa (The Legend of Zelda with Chanbara-style Action)
  83. "The game Zelda designer Shigeru Miyamoto and his team wanted to create would be set in a persistent world. Every change Link would make to his surroundings would stick. If you smashed a box, it would stay broken. If you dug a hole, it would remain there until you covered it. If you left footsteps in the sand, they would stay. All this was supposed to be made possible by the enhanced storage space of the 64DD." —Peer Schneider (Hyrule Times Vol. 4: Cancelled Games)
  84. "We were using the Super Mario 64 engine for Zelda, but we had to make so many modifications to it that it's a different engine now. What we have now is a very good engine, and I think we can use it for future games if we can come up with a very good concept. It took three or so years to make Zelda, and about half the time was spent on making the engine. We definitely want to make use of this engine again." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo Power interview with Miyamoto)
  85. "We were using the Super Mario 64 engine for Zelda, but we had to make so many modifications to it that it’s a different engine now. What we have now is a very good engine, and I think we can use it for future games if we can come up with a very good concept. It took three or so years to make Zelda, and about half the time was spent on making the engine. We definitely want to make use of this engine again." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo Power interview with Miyamoto)
  86. "We put constructing the system first, and since we were going to determine the story in line with the system's capacity, at first I thought only having Ganon's Castle might be enough." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Ganon's Castle as the Only Setting?)
  87. "Right. In the beginning, he had the image that you are at first walking around in first-person, and when an enemy appeared, the screen would switch, Link would appear, and the battle would unfold from a side perspective." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (The Legend of Zelda with Chanbara-style Action)
  88. "I was making the model for Link, so I couldn't stand to see my Link not appear." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (The Legend of Zelda with Chanbara-style Action)
  89. "ROM cartridges don't have moving mechanical parts, so you can retrieve motion data in an instant wherever it is, but with a magnetic disk, it takes time to move certain mechanical parts, so depending on where the data is, it takes time to retrieve it, so you couldn't make Link move. If there weren't many movements and you could fit them in the memory, you could read them to memory from the magnetic disk beforehand, but there were 500 patterns." —Satoru Iwata (What We Couldn't Do with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
  90. "We wondered what we could do about that, and when Koizumi-san joined the team, I said, 'Since we're going to include chanbara-style action, let's go to Toei Kyoto Studio Park!'" —Toru Osawa ("Let's Go to Toei Kyoto Studio Park!")
  91. "As we went along looking at everything, it was so hot that we ducked into a playhouse to cool off. They were doing a ninja show. A number of ninja were surrounding the main samurai and one lashed out with a kusarigama (sickle-and-chain). The lead samurai caught it with his left arm, the chain stretched tight, and the ninja moved in a circle around him." —Toru Osawa ("Let's Go to Toei Kyoto Studio Park!")
  92. "As we went along looking at everything, it was so hot that we ducked into a playhouse to cool off. They were doing a ninja show. A number of ninja were surrounding the main samurai and one lashed out with a kusarigama (sickle-and-chain). The lead samurai caught it with his left arm, the chain stretched tight, and the ninja moved in a circle around him." —Toru Osawa ("Let's Go to Toei Kyoto Studio Park!")
  93. "Then, when we were making The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I thought up something when we were making the camera system for fighting enemies. What caught my attention in the studio park was the sword fight. They regularly put on shows in which the hero defeats ruffians. Watching that, I thought, "Hmm, that's weird." That was because there was no way one person could fight and win when surrounded by 20 opponents. I thought there must be some kind of trick, so I watched very closely, and it was simple. It's a sword battle, so there's a script and a certain setup. The enemies don't all attack at once. First, one attacks while the others wait. When the first guy goes down, the next one steps in, and so on." —Yoshiaki Koizumi ("Let's Go to Toei Kyoto Studio Park!")
  94. "Usually, if you were to make a fairy, you would make a cute girl, but that wasn't possible with the Nintendo 64 system, so I just made a ball of light with wings. I called it the Fairy Navigation System, took it to Osawa-san, and asked, 'How's this?' He immediately said, 'Let's name it Navi.' Because she navigates!" —Yoshiaki Koizumi (Where the Name Navi Came From)
  95. "Ever since I started making the first game in the series, I’ve been saying that the 3rd Zelda will feature a party, one that consists of the protagonist, who’s a mix between an elf and a fighter, a magic user, and a girl. The fairy that appeared in Adventure of Link was actually a party member designed for Zelda 3. A girl who looked a little like a fairy and whose role consisted of reconnaissance. Like the characters in action games that don’t engage enemies in combat but rather go and scout out the surroundings and return to you safely. It’s also fun when an action adventure game lets you choose who to send out. That’s the sort of thing I’m thinking I’d like to put in Zelda 3." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Discussion Between Miyamoto & Horii)
  96. "I came up with the idea of having each person living there followed around by a fairy. That way, even if we just showed the fairies…" —Yoshiaki Koizumi (Where the Name Navi Came From)
  97. "The addition of Navi had merits with regard to the script as well. We were able to expand the story around the idea of meeting and saying good-bye to a fairy." —Toru Osawa (Where the Name Navi Came From)
  98. "Even as I was making Super Mario 64, I would write down memos of what I wanted to achieve with The Legend of Zelda. Then when I started making The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I whipped out those memos and consulted them." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (The Legend of Zelda with Chanbara-style Action)
  99. "My company is sometimes worried about losing money, so when motion capture was suggested we were met with a 'Do you really need that much equipment? Isn’t what you’re doing now okay?' sort of reaction. We started out using wireframe motion capture, but soon we made our own method which actually cost twice as much. But what’s the point of doing something that’s already been done before? When we were photographing horses, we even went as far as discussing how to bring a real horse into the studio. In the end we got 2 footstools and a plank and making our own horse like that." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Looks Like the Animation is Incredible in This Zelda (Part 1))
  100. "It created quite a fuss when I first made [Hyrule Field]. People were like, 'You can't make it that big!' (laughs) Even riding a horse, it was so big that you would get bored riding around it, so we had to add something. Then lots of people took a hand in it, having enemies appear and putting holes here and there. We'd be like, 'This area's a bit empty, so I'll make a hole and put something in it.'" —Makoto Miyanaga (Making the Fields)
  101. "When I first created a Zelda that’s played with 3D in Ocarina of Time, what we put our attention on is: To cope with how we were still not familiar with 3D yet, we show 'routes' so that you could progress forward without getting lost in even broad worlds." —Eiji Aonuma (Nikkei Trendy Interview with Aonuma)
  102. "It created quite a fuss when I first made [Hyrule Field]. People were like, 'You can't make it that big!' (laughs) Even riding a horse, it was so big that you would get bored riding around it, so we had to add something. Then lots of people took a hand in it, having enemies appear and putting holes here and there. We'd be like, 'This area's a bit empty, so I'll make a hole and put something in it.'" —Makoto Miyanaga (Making the Fields)
  103. "It created quite a fuss when I first made [Hyrule Field]. People were like, 'You can't make it that big!' (laughs) Even riding a horse, it was so big that you would get bored riding around it, so we had to add something. Then lots of people took a hand in it, having enemies appear and putting holes here and there. We'd be like, 'This area's a bit empty, so I'll make a hole and put something in it.'" —Makoto Miyanaga (Making the Fields)
  104. "My company is sometimes worried about losing money, so when motion capture was suggested we were met with a 'Do you really need that much equipment? Isn’t what you’re doing now okay?' sort of reaction. We started out using wireframe motion capture, but soon we made our own method which actually cost twice as much. But what’s the point of doing something that’s already been done before? When we were photographing horses, we even went as far as discussing how to bring a real horse into the studio. In the end we got 2 footstools and a plank and making our own horse like that." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Looks Like the Animation is Incredible in This Zelda (Part 1))
  105. "I changed the character design for Link a lot for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. At first he had a button-nose. My wife said, 'All of Nintendo's characters have funny noses. Don't you have any handsome ones?' I was shocked. Then when we were making The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I was in charge of Link's character design, so I made him a little better-looking. I cut back on his sideburns and made his nose a little stronger. And I pierced his ears, making him sort of cool. But it wouldn't suit Nintendo if he were too cool, so he wears that long underwear." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (Thirteen Years Later)
  106. "My company is sometimes worried about losing money, so when motion capture was suggested we were met with a 'Do you really need that much equipment? Isn’t what you’re doing now okay?' sort of reaction. We started out using wireframe motion capture, but soon we made our own method which actually cost twice as much. But what’s the point of doing something that’s already been done before? When we were photographing horses, we even went as far as discussing how to bring a real horse into the studio. In the end we got 2 footstools and a plank and making our own horse like that." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Looks Like the Animation is Incredible in This Zelda (Part 1))
  107. "My company is sometimes worried about losing money, so when motion capture was suggested we were met with a 'Do you really need that much equipment? Isn’t what you’re doing now okay?' sort of reaction. We started out using wireframe motion capture, but soon we made our own method which actually cost twice as much. But what’s the point of doing something that’s already been done before? When we were photographing horses, we even went as far as discussing how to bring a real horse into the studio. In the end we got 2 footstools and a plank and making our own horse like that." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Looks Like the Animation is Incredible in This Zelda (Part 1))
  108. "Nakano: Back then, 3D graphics had come into the mainstream. Digital art featuring 3D-rendered models had started to be produced within the company for games like Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64. This may have been the trigger for the move toward in-house illustrations. At the time, such digitally rendered images were, both technologically and financially, not easy to outsource. That's when talk started about how we'd have tno choice but to start doing the artwork ourselves. To this end, we brought in an SGI supercomputer, and desperately struggled to learn how to use the PowerAnimator tool as we created the illustrations for titles like Mario."  (Art & Artifacts (Dark Horse Books) pg. 411)
  109. "The work was really piling up, but I said I wanted to show Young Link. I think that caused the other developers a bit of a trouble. But when I saw Adult Link that Koizumi-san had made, it was cool, but I said, 'I don't want to make this without Young Link!' Then we tested whether we could use both Adult and Young Link. Link is a boy. In the first game, The Legend of Zelda, he was about 12 years old. In Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, he was about 16, but I never wanted to make him just another cool hero. Until The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Link was a playful and childish character. I had worked on all the games since the first one, and I thought that if we made him too cool, he wouldn't be Link anymore. On the other hand, I did want Link to be somewhat cool, so we decided to have both Adult and Young Link. He doesn't just grow from the point of view of stats—as in an RPG—but actually grows up in appearance. When we did that, then all sorts of ideas bubbled up." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Many Characters, Many Roles)
  110. "At first there was always Adult Link. At first, we were just going to have him in an adult form. If you think about the chanbara element, that only made sense. With a child form, the sword would be small and his reach too short, so he would be at a terrible disadvantage, especially against large enemies. But partway through development, Miyamoto-san and others on the staff started saying they wanted to see a cute little Link. We thought about how we could have both the child and adult forms appear in the same game and came up with the device of going seven years into the future by drawing the Master Sword and then returning back to his child form when he returns it to the pedestal." —Toru Osawa (Where the Name Navi Came From)
  111. "The innocent eyes of a child are able to see through to the truth, so Young Link knows instinctively that Ganon is a bad guy. When Adult Link meets him again, and Ganon says he's that boy from years before, it really hits you. You think to yourself, 'That's right. I'm that child from before.' Putting in that scene was really fun for me." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Many Characters, Many Roles)
  112. "At that time, I heard that Mr. Miyamoto had played the Super NES game that I had made, called “Marvelous: Mohitotsu no Takarajima” and said that I should come and join his team if I wanted to make a game like that. At that time, only the people who could produce good results were called and the position was usually a director. So I had a strong sense of responsibility for the work that was assigned to me." —Eiji Aonuma (Latest Zelda’s making process & “Ocarina of Time” proposal disclosed)
  113. "I joined the project some time after it had started. I was invited to join because there was nobody who could 'design the dungeon.' I was like, 'what do you [mean] there [isn’t] anybody who can design…?' You know what I mean, right?" —Eiji Aonuma (Latest Zelda’s making process & “Ocarina of Time” proposal disclosed)
  114. "So, I made it clear for the player to see the entrance of the room where the boss is as he walks into the dungeon. You can say I put baits. The player cannot get in right away, but he has to go around and try to climb up the wall before he finally gets into the dungeon. So when he makes that far, he is allowed to come back to the entrance, even though the game is over while he is playing." —Eiji Aonuma (Latest Zelda’s making process & “Ocarina of Time” proposal disclosed)
  115. "I, personally, really like the Forest Temple. It was the very first dungeon we designed in Ocarina of Time. At that time we envisioned a lot of material and tried to recreate our ideas. We made the game’s characters around the same time." —Eiji Aonuma (Looks Like the Dungeons Are Difficult in This Zelda (Part 2))
  116. "While playing the previous [The Legend of Zelda game], I tried to put in elements to solve the questions that I had for those games. For example, it is a terrible rule to restart from the entrance if the player fell inside the a [sic] dungeon. I made it clear for the player to see the entrance of the room where the boss is as he walks into the dungeon. You can say I put baits." —Eiji Aonuma (Latest Zelda’s making process & “Ocarina of Time” proposal disclosed)
  117. "As I was making dungeons, I got involved in other systems, as well. And later, I became a kind of system director." —Eiji Aonuma (Latest Zelda’s making process & “Ocarina of Time” proposal disclosed)
  118. "The Water Temple is in Lake Hylia. Aonuma-san designed that dungeon. The boss that appears there is Morpha. Just when I was making that, there was a landform like a pool. When I was making that boss, I casually... [...] A model of a fish for putting in an empty bottle. I borrowed that and had it swim in the pool in the dungeon, and when I saw it swimming around, I thought, 'Oh! I can go fishing!'" —Kazuaki Morita (Making the Fishing Game)
  119. "I requested it and put it in myself, and it got left that way." —Kazuaki Morita (Making the Fishing Game)
  120. "That's why he started saying that if Link was going to ride a horse, he wanted to include mounted archery and one-on-one battle. (laughs) We were able to include the mounted archery, but not the one-on-one battle." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (What We Couldn't Do with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)
  121. "(Kazuaki) Morita-san at SRD programmed that. You don't just cut the sign, but float it in the pond. When Miyamoto-san saw that, he burst out laughing and said, "Now that's The Legend of Zelda!"" —Yoshiaki Koizumi ("Now That's The Legend of Zelda!")
  122. "The staff who worked on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time had all played The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, so they had a sense of how far they could go with the The Legend of Zelda series." —Eiji Aonuma (Make All the Characters Suspicious Types)
  123. "When we decided to handle Link growing up from a 9-year-old child to a more mature 16-year-old, I wanted lots of characters to fulfill various roles. For example, Kaepora Gaebora is a grandfather figure who gives Link all kinds of advice and looks out for him. And since Link is a boy, I wanted girls besides Princess Zelda to show up." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Many Characters, Many Roles)
  124. "Forty of fifty. It’s the biggest development group I’ve ever had. We also have a programming company working closely with us. If I include those people, maybe 120 people are working on Zelda altogether." —Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo Power vol. 111, 1998 (How Many People Did it Take to Develop Zelda: Ocarina of Time?)
  125. "N64 / Ocarina of Time / 7,600,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  126. "We are going to make games that no one has ever seen. I feel there is a bad atmosphere that you can't do something new at Nintendo these days. I never thought things like this before. So now we are changing ourselves to an organization that allows people to do new things and energize ourselves. I'm saying to my people that from now on let's go for the game that can be developed within six months and sell a million copies. If you want to finish a game within six months, you have to make it within two months because you need to polish it for another four months. If someone asks me who can make such a thing, I'd tell them that I used to do it (laugh). It isn't a great thing to take three years. Zelda would have been finished in a much shorter period if we had cut some parts." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Interview:64 Dream June 1st 1998)
  127. "Since we already made The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, we had 3D models that we invested a lot of time in to build. This all started by (Shigeru) Miyamoto-san asking whether we could make a game in one year if we repurpose the models. But we were already talking about trying to make Master Quest for Nintendo 64DD. We were told to repurpose the dungeons from Ocarina of Time and make a game out of it, and I was handed the baton to make that happen. However, when we made Ocarina of Time, we made those dungeons thinking they were the best we could make. That's when Miyamoto-san asked me to remake them, so I hesitantly obliged...but I couldn't really get into it." —Eiji Aonuma (Make it in a Year)
  128. "I secretly started making new dungeons that weren't in Ocarina of Time, and that was much more fun to me. So, I grew up the courage to ask Miyamoto-san whether I could make a new game, he replied by saying it's ok if I can make it in a year." —Eiji Aonuma (Make it in a Year)
  129. "It’s a shame when a game takes 3 years to make. So, I figured, why not do it in 1? I wanted to be able to say “We can do it too!” I thought that if we just used the engine for Ocarina of Time and layered a new scenario on top of that, we’d be able to create a reasonably large game in 12 months. When it comes to Zelda, we’re always trying to advance the series by making each installment a step up from the one before. That means a 2 year development period is the norm. That being said, we usually start out with a small number of staff who spend a year experimenting with new ideas, so it comes to about 3 years in total. Plus, if we’re developing for new hardware, we spend another year studying its capabilities. However, it really only takes a year to make the game itself. For Majora’s Mask, we had 30 to 50 staff members working on the game right from the get-go. With amount of resources required for a Zelda game, we had everyone working overtime. Striving for a unique experience with every game makes for hard work. And we did manage to do that with Majora’s Mask. So, all in all, I can say that it made for one strenuous year." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Zelda Is Always Bringing Something New to the Table)
  130. "For Majora’s Mask, we had 30 to 50 staff members working on the game right from the get-go. With amount of resources required for a Zelda game, we had everyone working overtime. Striving for a unique experience with every game makes for hard work. And we did manage to do that with Majora’s Mask. So, all in all, I can say that it made for one strenuous year." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Zelda Is Always Bringing Something New to the Table)
  131. "Even if we used elements from Ocarina of Time, it took over 3 years to make Ocarina of Time, so no matter what we did the game was going to have a smaller volume. But we knew the users wouldn't be satisfied with it being smaller, so when we started talking about how we needed 'some clever idea', Koizumi (Mr. Koizumi Yoshiaki, the director of Super Mario Galaxy among others. As well as co-director on Majora's Mask with Mr. Aonuma) came along and talked about the movie "Run Lola Run" that was popular at the time. Then Koizumi suggested 'What if we made something like this into a game?'. Using the concept of 'time', if you played in the same places and enjoyed the same events over and over, we thought you might be able to create an entertaining game by giving it depth, rather than breadth. The three-day system came out of that. Though in the original plan we had a system where you would repeat an entire week." —Eiji Aonuma (Famitsu Majora's Mask 3DS Eiji Aonuma Interview - Translated by Kewl0210)
  132. "When my other game design got scrapped and I was stuck back with the development team, I asked Miyamoto what I was supposed to do. I still remember the answer he gave me. 'Do whatever you can!' That’s what he told us! I remember thinking to myself 'That’s not helpful at all!' I’d originally been designing a board game, based around the theme of cops and robbers. I wanted to make it so that you technically had to catch the criminal within a week, but, in reality, you could finish the game in an hour. I figured I’d just throw what I already had into Majora’s Mask." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (Zelda Is Always Bringing Something New to the Table)
  133. "To put it simply, I was responsible for the fairy-tale sections, and Koizumi was responsible for creating realistic depictions of the lives of the townspeople." —Eiji Aonuma (Zelda Is Always Bringing Something New to the Table)
  134. "Though few details regarding the title have been revealed, IGN64 learned at last month's E3 that Nintendo Japan was quietly readying a 'follow-up' to Zelda 64 that would feature all new worlds to explore, as well as never-before-seen characters and items -- all running on the same engine. It is believed that Zelda: Gaiden is that game. The 64DD-based title, according to E3 reports, is scheduled for a late '99 release in Japan." — IGN Staff, Zelda Sequel Invades Spaceworld, IGN, published June 17, 1999, retrieved April 25, 2020.
  135. "Yusuke Nakano: In Majora's Mask, we wanted Link to look like a child with a touch of grown-up expressions. In Ocarina of Time, he went through some bittersweet experiences as Adult Link. After all, Majora's Mask does take place right afterward. Right from the development phase, it was decided that Majora's Mask was going to have a dark atmosphere, so we wanted this expression to match. So we set out out to depict a character that seemed rather mature for a child. We put a lot of shadows on him. That's partially because of an overseas comic that I was a fan of at the time. But overall, I feel that it came across well in creating a dark and mysterious mood."  (Art & Artifacts (Dark Horse Books) pg. 414)
  136. "But when you returned to the first day it was like "Do I have to go through an entire week again...", so we thought three days would be just right." —Eiji Aonuma (Make it in a Year)
  137. "The development of Ocarina of Time was so long, we were able to put in a whole lot of different elements into that game. Out of those, there were ideas that weren't fully utilized, and ones that weren't used to their full potential. One of those was the mask salesman. So in Majora's Mask we felt it would be fun if Link himself transforms whenever he puts on those masks. As a basis of Zelda games, you're able to use items to do all sorts of different things, and we felt it would be a lot of fun if Link would acquire all these abilities by putting on these different masks. We felt that would expand the gameplay. So we made the game so Link could transform into Deku Link to fly in the air, Goron Link to roll across land, and Zora Link so that he could swim underwater. We also gave each of them a storyline." —Eiji Aonuma (From Hospitality to a Challenge)
  138. "When we talked about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in a previous Iwata Asks, we talked about hospitality. But Majora's Mask isn't like that. It's all a challenge to our players. It's like we're saying to them 'can you clear this?'" —Eiji Aonuma (From Hospitality to a Challenge)
  139. "Actually, we started out by cutting the Ocarina of Time development team in half and adding some new people. Once we realized that our initial setup just wasn’t going to work, I was forced to recall the original team members. In the end, around 70% of the team was made up of people who had worked on Ocarina of Time." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Zelda Is Always Bringing Something New to the Table)
  140. "We had 6 directors working on Majora’s Mask, just doing game design. There were even more directors in addition to them, but it was those 6 individuals that were involved in creating the foundation of the game. Aonuma was the supervising director, Koizumi worked on the sub-events and player-related aspects, Takano was in charge of the script, Usui was involved with the dungeons, and Yamada was the head of system management. Finally, Kawagoe served as the cutscene director." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Zelda Is Always Bringing Something New to the Table)
  141. "Zelda: Gaiden requires the 4MB Expansion to run – and it really shows. There are far more trees out in the fields and some of the rooms we entered during Spaceworld's "Dungeon Tour" featured as many as six Stalfos skeletons at the same time. Speaking of which, there are plenty of new and old creatures in Gaiden. Ocarina of Time players will recognize the frost statues from the ice caves and the bouncing Tektites, but Link also faces mean-eating swamp plants, slime blobs and the slug-like shadow creatures from A Link to the Past that Link can only see when he is facing them. [...] To sum it all up: From what I have played of Gaiden so far, the game is definitely set to give N64 owners exactly what they've been asking for the moment they finished Ocarina of Time. Since the controls and battle system are virtually identical, playing Gaiden is like returning to a world that you just left a few hours ago. It speaks for Gaiden's designers that despite the similarities, the game manages to surprise even Zelda veterans with interesting new twists and gameplay elements. Hopefully, the quest is just as long and involving as Ocarina of Time's – just with less "hey!" from Navi and a slightly higher challenge level." — Peer Schneider, Legend of Zelda: Gaiden, IGN, published September 3, 1999, retrieved April 25, 2020.
  142. "Whether or not we release it or not, we are still working on the game." —Shigeru Miyamoto (More Zelda Details Surface)
  143. "Normally, we wrap things up around 10 p.m., but tonight we finished up early since Mr. Miyamoto was taking the Zelda team out to dinner. There, game system director Eiji Aonuma and supervisor Takashi Tezuka told me how they've incorporated things from their everyday lives into the game. Development began in August, 1999 (though ideas for a sequel began right after Ocarina was finished), and the team rarely got to go home. As a result, many of the characters--like the Deku Scrubs, who are involved in a cross-country trading sequence--talk about not being able to spend time with their wives. During the development process, the programmers would often say, 'Let's not bring my wife into this,' which was their way of saying that they didn't want to be reminded of their home life. They already felt bad that they were spending so much time at the office to work on perfecting the game. As a little in-joke, Mr. Takano scripted that the mayor in the game says "Let's not bring my wife into this," during his exhausting, overlong council meeting." —Jason Leung (Jason Leung (Author of English Screen Text) Diary Part I)
  144. "Of course, that's one of the aspects of this game, but the fact that you're redoing the three days also means that you can change the way you do things. It is extremely difficult to link everything together both smoothly and without any contradictions. If we go the extremes, in Zelda, clearing dungeons is an important element, but at first you'd think that assigning time limits to those dungeon is an absolute no, wouldn’t you? But as we built the game we started to think it was a must that ‘with the game having a three-day time limit, the clock should continue ticking even in the dungeons and if you enter a dungeon near the end of the third day, you definitely wouldn't be able to clear it.’ If you were to enter the dungeon one minute before the end and then started to live forever in that dungeon, the pressure of this being the last minute would be lost. Even though it's a forbidden thing for a Zelda game, we still decided to have the clock tick in the dungeons. When we first sent it to the Mario Club, we had loads of angry feedback saying ‘It doesn't fit Zelda!’ But after a while that feedback would change to ‘It's actually a good thing’." —Shigeru Miyamoto ([ ])
  145. "I don't know what the marketing copy was in the US, but in Japan if you translate the phrase that Majora's Mask was marketed with it means 'This Time There's a Fear In Zelda.' That was a phrase that our past president had thought up. It was basically this idea that Majora's Mask was darker. Maybe darker is not the right term. But there was this weird vibe to the game and a strange mystery to it that was really different from what you experienced in other Zelda games." —Eiji Aonuma (Interview: Eiji Aonuma)
  146. "N64 / Majora's Mask /3,360,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  147. "This game was initially being developed for N64, so the concept was to create a Resident Evil that could be stored on a cartridge. The big point is that at that time PSone was the main platform, but if you have two characters and switch between them, you have to load each time you switch. But if you use N64, there's no need for loading because of the cartridge. That's why they came up with the idea of having two characters. Because of the cartridge." —Tatsuya Minami (Interview: Capcom chief lifts Resident Evil 0 lid)
  148. "In an interview in the latest issue of the Japanese magazine Dengeki Nintendo 64, Okamoto let it slip that he has recently wrapped up writing the scenario for Resident Evil 64. Okamoto, who is also the president of Flagship, a Nintendo-sponsored company responsible for game scenarios, didn't talk about any story specifics or when to expect the game, but the fact that the scenario is done raises hopes that principal programming is already way underway." — IGN Staff, [1], IGN, published January 8, 1999, retrieved April 3, 2020.
  149. ""From what I heard, our Okamoto [Executive Director Yoshiki Okamoto] told Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto, 'I’d like to create a Zelda at Capcom.' That was about two years ago. After that, the staff without a project on their hands started to create a 2D game based on the Famicon Legend of Zelda. The concept was to convey the greatness of the Famicon generation Zelda to the current generation."" —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages Interview with Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi)
  150. "This project originally started to convert the original NES Zelda to Game Boy Color. So one of the titles will be a perfect conversion of NES Zelda. However, in working on this game, we have come up with a lot of new ideas, so there will be some new features. Basically I can tell you that there is a connection between the three tales. You can start with any one of them, but if you play them in a different order than someone else, the two player's games will be different..." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Talkin' Zelda with Mr. Miyamoto)
  151. "One of the most intriguing elements mentioned is the Link System for the three upcoming Game Boy Color Legend of Zelda games. Apparently you'll be able to start playing the series from any game of the three games without getting lost in the different storylines. In addition, the three games will be linked in such a way that a result of a certain action in one story will have an effect on another story. How this will be accomplished (Link-cable, piggy-backed cartridges) remains to be seen." — IGN Staff, The New Legend of Zelda, IGN, published August 20, 1999, retrieved April 4, 2020.
  152. "Nintendo has announced the names of the Game Boy Color Legend of Zelda Tri Force series games." — IGN Staff, Official US Names for Tri-Force series, IGN, published May 14, 2000, retrieved April 4, 2020.
  153. "Tentatively titled Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Series, this adventure will span three games for the Game Boy Color, with the first game (announced in Japan as Legend of Zelda: The Mysterious Acorn: The Tale of Power) set for release in late summer. Six weeks after this release, we will see the release of the second game, tentatively titled The Tale of Wisdom (release in early Fall), and the final game in the series, The Tale of Courage, should make it to market six weeks after that, just in time for Christmas." — IGN Staff, Zelda Every Six Weeks, IGN, published January 14, 2000, retrieved April 4, 2020.
  154. "At first, I participated as a kind of secretary that put all the ideas together. Back then, I was only an open ear to the concepts being tossed about, but I gradually began to take part in the actual development of the game. The idea was first to make a presentation to Mr. Miyamoto, so I wrote a proposal based on Okamoto’s concept." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages Interview with Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi)
  155. "No, we developed them one at a time with the same team. At first it was just me exchanging ideas with the scenario team. Then, as the scenario progressed, I discretely approached the Capcom artists and programmers I was interested in. This sort of HR thing is normally handled by my direct supervisor Funamizu [Producer Noritaka Funamizu] but I thought I’d best sound the staff off first. Funamizu scolded me saying “that’s my job,” but I still got the staff members I wanted to join the team." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages Interview with Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi)
  156. "The core of the game was pretty much decided. That is to say, the fact that it would be on the Game Boy Color, the use of the four seasons, and the decision to retain the feel of the 2D Zelda games. It was also decided that it would be a series, so I thought the link system up as a way to make use of that idea. I wanted, for example, that if you missed an enemy in the first game, you would encounter it in the next one. That’s the kind of game I wanted to make it. Zelda is a game with a solid world, so I thought we could express the characters’ 'existence' like in the N64 games on the Game Boy, too." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages Interview with Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi)
  157. "We wanted to go in a different direction from the big serious story games like Final Fantasy. This is an action-oriented RPG. It's a 'lighter' style, kind of like a weekly TV drama (as opposed to an epic film). We knew that we could use the same basic style as the existing Zelda games and make two really fun games. We also liked the possibility of having multiple endings and the replay value that you get from two linking games. I knew that we could project a fun, entertaining style with multiple titles." —Yoshiki Okamoto (The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons Interview - Part II)
  158. "After numerous delays and endless difficulties getting the Zelda Tri-Force system to work properly, Nintendo of Japan has regrettably decided to cut out one of the three Zelda Mystical Seed Game Boy Color titles." — IGN Staff, Zelda's Tri-Force Down To Two, IGN, published July 25, 2000, retrieved April 4, 2020.
  159. "Using that system, the team had to redo both the scenario and the maps several times to make all the elements fit. During that process, we realized that, since the Game Boy Color screen is narrower than a TV screen, the player must scroll the screen to the left and right to see the whole room. That created some difficulties in game play development. If you see a crack on a wall, you know that you need to use a bomb to break through. But, if you can't see the crack, because all of the walls in the room aren't visible at once, you could miss it. That led to more difficulty in developing the maps." —Yoshiki Okamoto (The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons Interview Part I)
  160. "The Zelda series really only started to have scenarios after the hardware specifications improved. The original Zelda was a pure action-RPG and didn’t have much of a story to begin with. I wanted to combine both those aspects (action-RPG and an actual scenario) this time around. At first, we’d only planned on creating a game one-tenth the size of the final version. But it just kept growing as development progressed and gradually turned into an original game. We began with a rough image of the game. After thinking up the topography, we created the map. After the rough map was done, we thought up the characters. We also altered the scenario as we made the game." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages Interview with Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi)
  161. "'You should name your characters'... such a simple sounding idea really opened my eyes to something important. This is just one example, but I feel like I was taught the secret to Nintendo’s “warm game feel”. What made me the happiest was that both Mr. Yamada and Mr. Miyamoto treated me as though I was a member of Nintendo. We talked not as Nintendo or Capcom staff, but as staff working together on the creation of a game. I believe that in the end, this kind of welcoming feeling influenced Zelda." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages Interview with Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi)
  162. ""As for the characters, characters from Ocarina of Time appear in Oracle of Seasons, while Majora's Mask characters appear in Oracle of Ages."" —Yusuke Nakano (Interview 2: Illustrator Interview)
  163. "Rather than Capcom-ness, I believe it expresses the Capcom Zelda team’s personality. We used slightly deep characters in order to bring out the world’s appeal. It might just be the difference between Kyoto and Osaka [where Nintendo and Capcom’s main offices are located respectively] but the appearance of characters that are borderline outlaws might indeed be of Capcom-ish nature. However, ultimately I don’t believe there are any differences game system-wise." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (http://www.gamedesigngazette.com/2017/12/the-legend-of-zelda-oracle-of.html)
  164. "Nayru Takes Ages: Nintendo's Yusuke Nakano was in charge of character illustrations. He would listen to how the development team envisioned the sprites and their impressions of the characters, then expand on these notes and turn them into illustrations. Finalizing Nayru in Oracle of Ages took half a year. Her design called for a "wise, beautiful, older sister-type woman," and Nakano struggled to express these traits in just the right way."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 255)
  165. "There’s a 'Dark Tower' in Oracle of Ages, with people made to work there. Their dialogue is along the lines of 'There’s no end to this work' or 'I can’t go home'. There were also team members that couldn’t go home much during development, so we put those characters in as a parody (laugh). But our team feels really cozy, so the general atmosphere was great. People who’d just come by with a message would end up in a meeting and chat with us for two hours before leaving again." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages Interview with Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi)
  166. "Mr. Miyamoto can always see the big picture. There were some issues that we could not see clearly from the beginning. After we started to produce a three-title concept, where players would reach the same goals no matter in which order they chose to play the games, it was difficult for us to see all of the problems in making three linking games. When Mr. Miyamoto said, "Wouldn't it be simpler to create two titles, instead of three?" we said, "Yes, of course!" He really saved us. Then, we moved in the direction of the two-title concept. To be honest, I think that it would've been impossible to develop three titles like that. Even now (with two titles releasing simultaneously) we are working very hard to prevent program bugs." —Yoshiki Okamoto (The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons Interview - Part II)
  167. "GBC / Oracle Games / 3,960,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  168. "If you count all the graphic development, then it took over two and a half years. The actual direction and scriptwriting didn't begin until right after Majora, but we were already drawing graphics and experimenting with them before that. That's why we were able to show that movie with the more realistic Link fighting Ganon at the Nintendo Spaceworld show that summer." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Interview With Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma)
  169. "There isn't a clear distinction between Miyamoto's style and mine. I think over the years I've always asked myself, 'What would Miyamoto do in this situation?' But, I've gradually gained confidence to add my own little distinct touches, my own little Aonuma-esque touches. And when I do that, and show it to Miyamoto-san, he usually accepts my ideas; gradually these increase in my various projects." —Eiji Aonuma (A Chat with Eiji Aonuma)
  170. "Nintendo loyalists should know this: it's a whole lot prettier than anything you've seen and it's a whole lot darker than any Zelda game you've ever witnessed. As soon as the spectacular began to play Spaceworld attendees were cheering, and for very good reason." — IGN Staff, Zelda on Gamecube, IGN, published August 24, 2000, retrieved April 5, 2020.
  171. "When my other game design got scrapped and I was stuck back with the development team, I asked Miyamoto what I was supposed to do. I still remember the answer he gave me. 'Do whatever you can!' That’s what he told us! I remember thinking to myself 'That’s not helpful at all!' I’d originally been designing a board game, based around the theme of cops and robbers. I wanted to make it so that you technically had to catch the criminal within a week, but, in reality, you could finish the game in an hour. I figured I’d just throw what I already had into Majora’s Mask." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (Zelda Is Always Bringing Something New to the Table)
  172. "The story goes back to the year 2000. It was during the GameCube presentation event, where we revealed a demo software called Mario 128. I was the director of that demo. After that event, I kept thinking of ways of somehow turning that system, used in Mario 128, into a product." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (How Super Mario Was Born)
  173. "Of course, simply carrying on down that road was an option, and we proceeded with a prototype, but it was incredibly normal and didn’t exceed expectations. But it was difficult for us to imagine ourselves easily coming up with new ideas and expanding on that world if we had chosen that path. Of course, while a game is more than its visuals, it was going to be made mostly by the same people, and the ideas we had within the same team has its limits." —Eiji Aonuma (How Toon Link Was Born)
  174. "So, on Ocarina of Time, Koizumi created Link's model, Haruhana-san mostly constructed the character models, and Takizawa-san mainly worked on the enemy models."  (Art & Artifacts (Dark Horse Books) pg. 411)
  175. "At the time, Haruhana-san and I were a part of the core staff from the start, and we had been trying to figure out which graphical direction to take for the next Zelda game. And we wondered whether continuing the path taken by Ocarina of Time, and evolving upon it by giving it more detail was really the right path." —Satoru Takizawa (How Toon Link Was Born)
  176. "Haruhana: At the time, as the console's hardware specs went up, many games were heading in a more photorealistic direction. And, at that time, when I was flipping through a game mag, all I saw were really similar-looking games, and I began to worry we would be making one of them. So we thought about what we needed to do with our art to make it stand out. How could we make the readers of that magazine stop and look at our project? We decided that making a realistic Ganondorf and Link wasn't it..."  (Art & Artifacts (Dark Horse Books) pg. 417)
  177. "he instant I saw that drawing, my designer’s spirit came to life and I thought, “With a character like that, we can give him actions that will look and feel good no matter how he moves!” I immediately drew inspiration from Haruhana-san’s sketch and dashed off a Moblin, thinking, “Then the enemy should look like this!”" —Satoru Takizawa (How Toon Link Was Born)
  178. "At the time, when the GameCube came out, within the computer graphics world, within the industry, "toon shading" was kind of a buzzword. There was a lot of chatter about it, but no one had really explored it in games yet, at the time. The staff that I work with was curious, so we challenged it. We tried it. We said, 'why don’t we try it on a game, and if it works, maybe we can move forward.'" —Eiji Aonuma (Nintendo's Eiji Aonuma Pulls Back the Curtain on The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD)
  179. "When he speaks, there is a phrase that Mr. Miyamoto always mentions that speaks directly to the very nature of the Zelda series. The phrase is, 'Zelda is a game that values reality over realism.' In the art world, realism is a movement which faithfully replicates the real world to whatever extent possible. Reality, though, is not mimicking the real world. The big difference is that even using more exaggerated expression can be an effective means of making things feel more real." —Eiji Aonuma (GDC 2004: The History of Zelda)
  180. "Another benefit of those visuals was how we could represent the mechanisms and objects9 for puzzles in a more easy-to-understand way. When the visuals are photorealistic, it had the adverse effect of making information difficult to represent game-wise." —Satoru Takizawa (How Toon Link Was Born)
  181. "From the ropes on suspension bridges to the strands hanging from Moblin spears, strings feature heavily in The Wind Waker. It can be tricky to make strings behave with realistic physics in games, and their functionality was brought over by a Majora's Mask programmer in charge of Majora's Wrath, an enemy who used whips."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 261)
  182. "In a recent interview with Famitsu, he mentions that his inspiration for the art style comes from an anime movie he worked on that was released in 1963. Wanpaku Oji no Orochi Taiji (The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon) inspired Kotabe and ultimately led to the art direction of Wind Waker." — Brian Thomas, Wind Waker’s animator reveals his inspiration for the game, Zelda Universe, published November 8, 2018, retrieved April 25, 2020.
  183. "Without much hesitation, we decided rather early on to set the game among the seas. We liked how we could use the open sea in designing the mechanics of the game world, and more than anything, we thought it would be interesting to show the sea in that visual style. I think we got into a good flow with everyone coming up with ideas about what the islands in those seas should be like and what the people living there would be like." —Eiji Aonuma (The First Part Is Divine But...)
  184. "Sailing Tricks: To make transitions seamless between sailing and landfall, developers experimented with sizes of both islands and the sea itself. The GameCube would not load fast enough if the islands were too large, placed too close together, or if Link approached them too quickly."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 261)
  185. "With Wind Waker, we started off with this idea that we wanted to introduce a new style of movement. We ended up with the player on a boat moving around an ocean between islands. The idea was that Hyrule was down below and had basically been flooded over. Once we had come up with the idea that the player would be sailing across the ocean, then it became a question of how Hyrule got flooded. That becomes an example of how we started off with the idea and from there we thought about how to build a storyline around that." —Eiji Aonuma (Interview: Eiji Aonuma)
  186. "Ocarina of Time basically has two endings of sorts; one has Link as a child and the other has him as an adult. This game, The Wind Waker, takes place a hundred years after the adult Link defeats Ganon at the end of Ocarina." —Eiji Aonuma (Interview:GamePro December 4th 2002)
  187. "When we make a game we don't worry about graphics as much as whether the game is of a high enough quality to appeal to lots of people. I think this game is a high-quality title, but it's targeted equally towards both children and adults. The graphics aren't something necessarily dumbed down for kids; you'll find that the game is governed by a very strong sense of realism. You'll realize this once you try the game." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Interview With Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma)
  188. "If I think back, people were cleanly split into two groups. With one happy and saying 'The characters are so expressive that it’s like I’m controlling an anime,' and another resisting it, saying 'It’s like a game for small kids with the characters this cute.'" —Satoru Iwata (The Zelda Cycle)
  189. "We never hesitated in our desire to make a completely new Zelda game. But we did notice the negative reaction when we announced it, so we were uneasy. But developing the game timidly would have been the worst thing, so we plunged ahead, determined to go all out hoping to gain acceptance." —Eiji Aonuma (The First Part Is Divine But...)
  190. "At the end of the production we fought against the clock and there were parts that I was forced to approve even though it didn't feel complete" —Eiji Aonuma (Zelda producer slags own game)
  191. "It’s like that advertising line we used at the time (in the Japanese market) about it being animation you can touch." —Satoru Iwata (The First Part Is Divine But...)
  192. "Nintendo of America today announced that more than 560,000 consumers have pre-ordered its GameCube third-person adventure title Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. The company said that the pre-sell campaign for Wind Waker is its most successful in history." — Craig Harris, Wind Waker Tops 560,000 Pre-Orders, IGN, published March 12, 2000, retrieved April 7, 2020.
  193. "GC / The Wind Waker / 4,430,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  194. "At one point, I had heard that even Wind Waker, which had reached the million mark in sales, was quickly losing steam, and that things were sluggish even in North America, where the market was much healthier than in Japan. I asked [Nintendo of America] why this was. What I was told was that the toon-shading technique was in fact giving the impression that this Zelda was for a younger audience, and that for this reason, it alienated the upper-teen audience that had represented the typical Zelda player." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  195. "Basically, most of the things we try to change in new Zelda games come from experiences in developing improvements and expansions on past Zelda games. What I like to call inevitable changes. The question of whether what the creators see as being inevitable or necessary changes will be considered so by the consumer is a difficult one to answer. But, we think that as long as we're able to add new elements of fun without losing what was good about the last installment, then we believe the new games will continue to be games that Zelda fans are happy with." —Eiji Aonuma (GDC 2004: The History of Zelda)
  196. "I was thinking about what was happening to the market, and what it could potentially mean. We hadn't been able to add any truly new ideas to the core Zelda gameplay since the series made the jump to 3D. This resulted in some seasoned gamers growing tired of the formula. In contrast, those who had never played a Zelda game felt intimidated because they felt these games were too complicated. These, Miyamoto felt, were the real reasons the game did not sell well." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  197. "Development of this as of yet untitled new game started as early as 2001, but was temporary put on hold to secure resources for development of The Four Swords, the multiplayer component of the GBA version of A Link to the Past." — IGN Staff, Miyamoto Confirms New Zelda, IGN, published February 24, 2003, retrieved April 5, 2020.
  198. "That was 1991. At that time I asked to begin official development of The Legend of Zelda game for Game Boy. That's when we were able to get one more development kit. But at the time, we still had the idea of simply transplanting The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past to Game Boy..." —Takashi Tezuka (Like an afterschool club)
  199. "This project originally started to convert the original NES Zelda to Game Boy Color. So one of the titles will be a perfect conversion of NES Zelda. However, in working on this game, we have come up with a lot of new ideas, so there will be some new features. Basically I can tell you that there is a connection between the three tales. You can start with any one of them, but if you play them in a different order than someone else, the two player's games will be different..." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Talkin' Zelda with Mr. Miyamoto)
  200. "A year after the release of The Wind Waker, A Link to the Past & Four Swords was released on the Game Boy Advance. As of this title, the Toon Link character created by Haruhana-san became the main character for the portable video game releases. The bigger eyes are well suited the smaller screens on the portable game units."  (Art & Artifacts (Dark Horse Books) pg. 419)
  201. "GBA / A Link to the Past & Four Swords / 2,820,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  202. "As some of you know, at E3 2004 we unveiled the game that would become Zelda: Twilight Princess—the realistic Zelda game. We announced that it was being developed by the team that had been developing Wind Waker 2. Actually, there’s a reason that decision was made at the time that it was. At one point, I had heard that even Wind Waker, which had reached the million mark in sales, was quickly losing steam, and that things were sluggish even in North America, where the market was much healthier than in Japan. I asked [Nintendo of America] why this was. What I was told was that the toon-shading technique was in fact giving the impression that this Zelda was for a younger audience, and that for this reason, it alienated the upper-teen audience that had represented the typical Zelda player. Having heard that, I began to worry about whether Wind Waker 2, which used a similar presentation, was something that would actually sell." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  203. "The need to innovate gameplay was not limited only to Zelda. Nintendo recognized the problem of gamer drift and our philosophy was a new style of gameplay was needed to breath life into the market. Our answer to this was the invention of a certain system. As you are all aware, the system we called 'Connectivity' linked the Game Boy Advance to the Gamecube, allowing the Game Boy Advance to be used as a controller with its own screen. We implemented this system of Connectivity in The Wind Waker as the Tingle Tuner, and several other titles took advantage of Connectivity as well. However, there wasn't any one title that used Connectivity as its central game mechanic, and Miyamoto felt no one had conveyed to gamers just how much fun Connectivity could be. So, work began on a multiplayer Zelda game that used Connectivity as its main game system, and I was made producer on this title." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  204. "Thank you for being honest. But, actually, I told Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto that I didn’t want to be the director anymore. This thought sprung up right after 'LOZ:TWW' was finished and we were in Europe for its promotion; I was tired of the heavy workload, and I was not comfortable conducting promotional interviews with Mr. Miyamoto. Mr. Miyamoto points out every mistake that I made in front of the reporters! For example, the most frequently asked question from the reporters is about that 'Zelda-ness (What makes a game a Zelda game)'. It’s a hard question to answer, even for us. Even Mr. Miyamoto is inconsistent with his answers. In one interview he answered, 'Zelda games are unique,' and then in another he suggested, 'Zelda games demonstrate growth'. I’m like, 'which one is it?' (laughs) But in an interview, I must give an answer to every question. So I would talk about that 'Zelda-ness' just as Mr. Miyamoto would describe, only to be interrupted by Mr. Miyamoto himself disagreeing with me saying, 'No, that’s different,' in front of all the reporters!" —Eiji Aonuma (Talk: Latest Zelda's making process)
  205. "In fact, when I finished Wind Waker, I asked Mr. Miyamoto, 'Please give me some other assignment.' He said, 'Let me think about it.' [Finally] he told me, 'OK, you'll be the producer on the next Zelda.' I said, 'What? I wanted [something else].' But he told me, 'Rather than working on details, you can coordinate and supervise and concentrate on making it a better game.' [So] I was interested in taking the assignment." —Eiji Aonuma (Interview:Electronic Gaming Monthly June 2005)
  206. "Thank you for being honest. But, actually, I told Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto that I didn’t want to be the director anymore. This thought sprung up right after 'LOZ:TWW' was finished and we were in Europe for its promotion; I was tired of the heavy workload, and I was not comfortable conducting promotional interviews with Mr. Miyamoto. Mr. Miyamoto points out every mistake that I made in front of the reporters! For example, the most frequently asked question from the reporters is about that 'Zelda-ness (What makes a game a Zelda game)'. It’s a hard question to answer, even for us. Even Mr. Miyamoto is inconsistent with his answers. In one interview he answered, 'Zelda games are unique,' and then in another he suggested, 'Zelda games demonstrate growth'. I’m like, 'which one is it?' (laughs) But in an interview, I must give an answer to every question. So I would talk about that 'Zelda-ness' just as Mr. Miyamoto would describe, only to be interrupted by Mr. Miyamoto himself disagreeing with me saying, 'No, that’s different,' in front of all the reporters!" —Eiji Aonuma (Talk: Latest Zelda's making process)
  207. "In fact, when I finished Wind Waker, I asked Mr. Miyamoto, 'Please give me some other assignment.' He said, 'Let me think about it.' [Finally] he told me, 'OK, you'll be the producer on the next Zelda.' I said, 'What? I wanted [something else].' But he told me, 'Rather than working on details, you can coordinate and supervise and concentrate on making it a better game.' [So] I was interested in taking the assignment." —Eiji Aonuma (Interview:Electronic Gaming Monthly June 2005)
  208. "Well, Mr. Miyamoto is still absolute. What he says goes. (Laughs) In that sense, things really haven’t changed that much. Obviously, I as producer cannot go to Mr. Miyamoto and say we can’t do this, or hey, we have to do this because this isn’t something I fully understand, and demand things like that. So, we’ll talk and exchange ideas and decide on things together. It’s fairly similar to the situation where I was director and Mr. Miyamoto was producer. In this case, I’m now producer, and Mr. Miyamoto is looking over me, so it hasn’t really changed. But we’ve gotten to this situation where we now have other directors working on Zelda games. So, we still have Mr. Miyamoto there, and I just want to make sure that everybody is aware that he’s still very much involved with the Zelda franchise, and still “upending the tea table" every once in a while. It’s just kind of a new development for the series that’s going to allow us to do things differently." —Eiji Aonuma (A Legend Of Zelda: The Eiji Aonuma Interview)
  209. NinEverything, Nintendo at E3 - a look back - E3 2003, YouTube, published June 2, 2013, retrieved July 16, 2015.
  210. ""The need to innovate gameplay was not limited only to Zelda. Nintendo recognized the problem of gamer drift and our philosophy was a new style of gameplay was needed to breath life into the market. Our answer to this was the invention of a certain system. As you are all aware, the system we called 'Connectivity' linked the Game Boy Advance to the Gamecube, allowing the Game Boy Advance to be used as a controller with its own screen. We implemented this system of Connectivity in The Wind Waker as the Tingle Tuner, and several other titles took advantage of Connectivity as well. However, there wasn't any one title that used Connectivity as its central game mechanic, and Miyamoto felt no one had conveyed to gamers just how much fun Connectivity could be. So, work began on a multiplayer Zelda game that used Connectivity as its main game system, and I was made producer on this title. "" —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  211. "There were two main reasons that we went with the 2D graphics for the GameCube Four Swords. One was that it was a sequel to the Game Boy Advance Four Swords game and so for continuity we chose to retain the same graphic style. The second reason was that as a connectivity game with four players, we found that it would be a lot easier to understand what's going on with all four players on one screen and being able to look at it from a top-down point of view. That obviously had a big impact in choosing that direction as well." —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda producer talks about the game, the franchise, the past and the future.)
  212. "Actually, the individual director of this game Toshiaki Suzuki, is a big fan of the Zelda series. So one thing that he did with this game that I really want to praise him for and the work that he's done on it, was he went back and looked at a lot of past Zelda games, and he took elements almost from each game. So if you're playing through, and if the only Zelda game that you played was The Wind Waker, you'll look at that and say that this is very familiar to The Wind Waker. Or for people that know Ocarina very well, might be able to pick up little hints from Ocarina. Obviously, it's not like we have the same exact same puzzles in these games, but kind of puzzles that evoke some of the same ideas and will give people a sense of familiarity and at the same time getting something new. He did a really good job with it and it's almost kind of a typical theme for the Zelda game – each new Zelda game has a lot of elements of past Zelda games in it, and he did a really good job of putting all the elements in this one?" —Eiji Aonuma (Game Informer Interview)
  213. "Four Links with a Single Player: "Hyrulean Adventure" was initially created as a multiplayer game. It wasn't until later that the single-player mode was added as a bonus. About two months before release, Miyamoto advised director Toshiaki Suzuki: "If you're going to have single player, make sure you do it properly. A single-player Zelda that isn't interesting as a game is no good." Though it would delay the game's release, they spent the next month essentially redoing the way the game played with a stronger focus on the single-player side."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 267)
  214. "At E3 2003, the response from attendees to this game was very positive, and I was very hopeful for the game's release at the beginning of 2004. But the results were not very good, and I felt very disappointed by the outcome. I believe this result stemmed from the need for each player to have a Game Boy Advance and the need for each player to also have a cable to connect that Game Boy Advance to a Gamecube. I felt requirements like these prevented it from doing as well as we'd hoped, but there was another problem. I think you might have noticed this as I was explaining the game, but it suffered from seeming too complicated. It was too difficult to convince the consumer they wanted to play the game." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  215. "Our two development themes for a Zelda on the GBA were 1) to do something no one had done before, and 2) to make something that would really bring out Capcom’s style. With Minish Cap we started off by asking: how can we make this feel like a Capcom game? Our answer was to feature Capcom’s talent for beautiful, exquisite 2D graphics." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (LoZ: The Minish Cap – 2004 Developer Interview)
  216. "The idea for a hat that shrinks Link came from the Gnat Hat in Four Swords, which itself was an idea Shigeru Miyamoto had during production of that game. The team on Four Swords thought Link's shrunken appearance was funny and wanted to use it again. They filed the idea away until The Minish Cap, where it evolved from a minor item to something central to the game's design--changing size to explore different corners of the world."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 273)
  217. "In the past, our team at Nintendo hasn’t created that much concept art. Our process is to just start creating things that wil be used as actual game data from the get-go. But Capcom showed us these concept drawings they’d made, and you could really feel their power–and passion. (laughs) They completely understood the image of Zelda, so we said “let’s go with this” and started diligently converting their concept art to actual game data. In that sense I think the graphics are very convincing–it feels like these places could actually exist somewhere." —Eiji Aonuma (LoZ: The Minish Cap – 2004 Developer Interview)
  218. "Our first approach was to take our early image sketches and try to convert them to 2D graphics on the Gameboy Advance. One picture showed a tiny creature in a barrel, and a tiny Link. Another picture showed a corridor made out of the gaps between normal sized furniture, and an unknown world opening up beyond… stuff like that. Once we saw those images, we could feel “this is going to be an interesting game.”" —Eiji Aonuma (LoZ: The Minish Cap – 2004 Developer Interview)
  219. "Tiny Link, Big World: In some cases, the world gets bigger as Link shrinks down. Other times, Link shrinks down but the world appears the same. In these latter cases, Link appears as a tiny dot, moving around the same area as he did while regular sized. The designers did this to give Link a sense of scale while also keeping players oriented to their surroundings. Producer Eiji Aonuma felt the 2D perspective of the game helped accomplish this effect, which challenged players to notice subtle details like mouse holes to find new paths and progress the story."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 273)
  220. "Zelda games are interesting in 3D too, but what we’re aiming for with Minish Cap is a 2D GBA game that can compete with the 3D Zeldas. Utilizing all our technological expertise, we’re trying to make something that will be called the pinnacle of 2D gaming." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (LoZ: The Minish Cap – 2004 Developer Interview)
  221. "Having set the framework for this new direction, my work was required on another project. I left the realistic Zelda team to work out the details, and began work as director on The Minish Cap for the Game Boy Advance, which Capcom developed. Even in the weakening Japanese market, the Game Boy Advance installbase continued to grow. The market seemed to have stabilized and as one of the titles that would help sustain it, Minish Cap was very important to the franchise. Also, because this game involved Link moving freely between the normal world and the microscopic world of the Minish, which was very close to the idea we were shooting for with the realistic Zelda, I was very passionate about my work on this title. I felt certain that the way the gameplay changed as the environment changed in Minish Cap would have a positive effect on the development of the realistic Zelda. In hindsight, by immersing myself in the Minish Cap project, I gave myself a way to escape from not being able to find a breakthrough on the realistic Zelda." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  222. "Having set the framework for this new direction, my work was required on another project. I left the realistic Zelda team to work out the details, and began work as director on The Minish Cap for the Game Boy Advance, which Capcom developed. Even in the weakening Japanese market, the Game Boy Advance installbase continued to grow. The market seemed to have stabilized and as one of the titles that would help sustain it, Minish Cap was very important to the franchise. Also, because this game involved Link moving freely between the normal world and the microscopic world of the Minish, which was very close to the idea we were shooting for with the realistic Zelda, I was very passionate about my work on this title. I felt certain that the way the gameplay changed as the environment changed in Minish Cap would have a positive effect on the development of the realistic Zelda. In hindsight, by immersing myself in the Minish Cap project, I gave myself a way to escape from not being able to find a breakthrough on the realistic Zelda." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  223. "GBA / The Minish Cap / 1,760,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  224. "As some of you know, at E3 2004 we unveiled the game that would become Zelda: Twilight Princess—the realistic Zelda game. We announced that it was being developed by the team that had been developing Wind Waker 2. Actually, there’s a reason that decision was made at the time that it was. At one point, I had heard that even Wind Waker, which had reached the million mark in sales, was quickly losing steam, and that things were sluggish even in North America, where the market was much healthier than in Japan. I asked [Nintendo of America] why this was. What I was told was that the toon-shading technique was in fact giving the impression that this Zelda was for a younger audience, and that for this reason, it alienated the upper-teen audience that had represented the typical Zelda player. Having heard that, I began to worry about whether Wind Waker 2, which used a similar presentation, was something that would actually sell. In addition, because we knew how difficult it would be to create an innovative way of playing using the existing GameCube hardware, we knew what a challenge it would be to develop something that would sell in the Japanese market, where gamer drift was happening. That’s when I decided that if we didn’t have an effective and immediate solution, the only thing that we could do was to give the healthier North American market the Zelda that they wanted." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  225. "Games have come to a dead end. Creating complicated games with advanced graphics used to be the golden principle that led to success, but it is no longer working. The biggest problem is that [developers] need to satisfy the core gamers, who want games with more volume and complexity, while they also need to satisfy average users, who don't have as much knowledge about games. The situation right now is that even if the developers work a hundred times harder, they can forget about selling a hundred times more units, since it's difficult for them to even reach the status quo. It's obvious that there's no future to gaming if we continue to run on this principle that wastes time and energy [in development]. Nintendo is called 'conservative' and 'quiet' nowadays, so we hope to show our existence as an innovator to new styles of entertainment." —Satoru Iwata (Various Satoru Iwata comments regarding the Nintendo DS)
  226. "We are going to make games that no one has ever seen. I feel there is a bad atmosphere that you can't do something new at Nintendo these days. I never thought things like this before. So now we are changing ourselves to an organization that allows people to do new things and energize ourselves. I'm saying to my people that from now on let's go for the game that can be developed within six months and sell a million copies. If you want to finish a game within six months, you have to make it within two months because you need to polish it for another four months. If someone asks me who can make such a thing, I'd tell them that I used to do it (laugh). It isn't a great thing to take three years. Zelda would have been finished in a much shorter period if we had cut some parts." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Interview:64 Dream June 1st 1998)
  227. "When it was announced with a surprise trailer at the 2004 E3, it received a standing ovation from the media audience. This was a very exciting moment for us, but we were still in the very early stages of converting the game into something more realistic. We knew that we had to create a Zelda game that would live up to the expectations of fans in North America, and that if we didn’t, it could mean the end of the franchise." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  228. ""However, Wind Waker 2 would have taken place in a more land-based setting. Rather than on the sea, so that we could have Link gallop across the land on a horse. But Link’s proportions in Wind Waker weren’t very well suited for riding on horseback, he was too short, and an adult version of Toon Link did not seem appropriate either. So, while we were stuck on those problems, we became aware of the greater demand for a more realistic, taller Link. High-budget live-action fantasy movies were also huge at the time, so with all things considered, we decided to have at it. With that, the game shifted to what would become Twilight Princess."" —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  229. "At the end of 2003, I went to Miyamoto and said, ‘I want to make a realistic Zelda’. Miyamoto was sceptical at first—I was so focused on changing the look of the game as being the solution we were looking for without coming up with a breakthrough in gameplay. And he advised me that, ‘if you really want to make a realistic Zelda, then you should start by doing what you couldn’t in Ocarina of Time’. Make it so Link can attack enemies while riding on his horse using the Wind Waker engine, and make your decision based on how that feels.’ This is something that went against everything the staff had been working on, and I expected it to come as a shock to the team—but surprisingly, my entire staff was enthusiastic about this change, and the project on which progress had slowed was given a much-needed jumpstart." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  230. "Takizawa: And the proposed setting for Wind Waker 2 was not on the sea, but on land. The desire to depict Toon Link on a horse riding around the great plans was great; however, with his small stature and short arms and legs, it would have been difficult to make him look good on a horse. It wasn't like we could create an adult version of Toon Link. And that was about the time we heard that people were wanting a realistic-looking Zelda game again. Also, at the time, there was an epic fantasy movie which was very popular. So after reexamining the situation, we said to ourselves, "Let's do this thing!" I was brought on as the art director, and the first thing I did was ask Nakano-san to start on the new design for Link."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 419)
  231. "Well, among the artists it was clear from the start that we would not pursue photo realism in this game. We didn't see any reason to engage the competition in a struggle over who could make the most photo-realistic game, or any significance in attempting to recreate the real world for that matter. Rather, we felt that it would be more meaningful to create something we wanted to make, and then show the world what kind of game can be made when you have that kind of passion. So we decided to place our emphasis on creating the palpable atmosphere that everyone liked so much about Ocarina of Time." —Satoru Takizawa (Like Trying to Mold Clay)
  232. "Nakano: He would be well built... A skinny man with a pretty face wouldn't stand a chance against a large enemy, so we thought about making hihm quite sturdy. So the first illustrations were, in a way, pretty amazing. When I showed the sketches to the overseas staff, the response I got back was, 'What the fans want is the Link they saw in Ocarina of Time.' So in the end, his face and body type were made similar to that of the adult Link from that game."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 420)
  233. "Takizawa: In order for the project to match the scope we wanted, we needed to collaborate with external artists to move forward and not just our internal designers. For that to work, we needed detailed sketches for the early stages of development. That's why I wanted to have Nakano-san onboard from the start."  (Art & Artifacts (Dark Horse Books) pg. 419)
  234. "Four months later, development had progressed to a point where Link could swing his sword and battle against enemies while riding on his horse in a realistic looking world." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  235. "Well, [it might not be the answer you're looking for], but actually, that kind of reaction was partially expected. I worked on editing that trailer myself, and I specifically wanted people not to realize it was a Zelda game at the very beginning. What we showed was simply a horse, gradually building to the close-up, and then people finally realize it's Link, it's a Zelda game. If people didn't get excited then, I was in trouble. [Laughs] I knew that there was a demand for a photo-realistic Zelda - that we couldn't deny." —Eiji Aonuma (Interview: Electronic Gaming Monthly June 2005)
  236. "The team in America was in charge of that movie. The amazing thing is that it looks like a cut-scene movie, but in reality it was compiled entirely with camera work of actual play on the ROM. There's someone in the American localization team who is a genius when it comes to that kind of camera work. You wouldn't think it possible, but he was able to create that incredibly polished movie with normal gameplay." —Satoru Takizawa (Like Trying to Mold Clay)
  237. "When it was announced with a surprise trailer at the 2004 E3, it received a standing ovation from the media audience. This was a very exciting moment for us, but we were still in the very early stages of converting the game into something more realistic. We knew that we had to create a Zelda game that would live up to the expectations of fans in North America, and that if we didn’t, it could mean the end of the franchise." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  238. "We knew what a challenge it would be to innovate gameplay on the Gamecube, so we had to come up with something new from another direction. Try though we did, we couldn't come up with any good ideas. We were afraid that though the game was no longer selling in Japan as it once did, Zelda's basic gameplay had been received well by many users in the past. If we changed it just to change it, we worried longtime Zelda gamers might not appreciate the new direction, and rather than draw new users we were worried we would end up alienating everyone." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  239. "Let me tell you something. When we did Twilight Princess, we did first-person trials. And I absolutely did not like it, it did not look like Zelda as I conceived it, nor as you must conceive it yourself as a fan of the saga. And from that point on, we thought we had to be able to see Link, whether it was during the fighting or the exploration. For us, this is the very essence of Zelda. For the moment I have a hard time imagining a Zelda in VR so as you can probably imagine, this is not a priority nor a short-term project. But I'm not closing the door on that for the future." —Eiji Aonuma (Eiji Aonuma reflects on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  240. "Upon returning from E3, I heard from my staff that the DS hardware was capable of of supporting Toon Shading. I immediately asked my staff to start implementing cel-shading on the DS because I was disappointed the cel-shaded Zelda had not been received as well as I had hoped. In a short amount of time, they were able to show me a toon-shaded Link moving in a 3D world on the top screen, and on the lower screen a Link shown on a map that was controlled entirely by touch. While I was surprised to see the toon-shaded Link from the Gamecube version moving around on the DS screen, the controls were not intuitive. So I asked my staff to display the 3D world on the bottom screen and change it so players would control Link by touching him directly." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  241. "Link-canthropy: The idea for Link to turn into a wolf came from producer Eiji Aonuma. On a business trip overseas early in development, the Zelda veteran dreamed he was a wolf locked in a cell; when he woke up, he didn't know where he was. They originally intended to have Link be a wolf from the very start of Twilight Princess, a stark departure from what would be expected of a spiritual sequel to Ocarina of Time. After some discussion, developers opted for a more traditional beginning for the sake of new players, introducing Link as a Hylian in Ordon Village before he is captured and transformed into a wolf."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 279)
  242. "For this game, we decided at the beginning that there'd be two worlds. We also decided that they'd intersect, that the Light World was being eroded by the Dark World. But we didn't decide much on what would happen once Link enters this world. One time, when I was sleeping, I had a random dream that I was a wolf and locked in a jail cell. Who knows why I had a dream like that... So when I woke up that morning, I thought it'd be kind of neat to have Link turn into a wolf. He's already been turned into a rabbit back in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, so I thought having him become a wolf in the Twilight World would be kind of cool, symbolic of his status as a hero." —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Retrospective – Episode 2: Characters & Story)
  243. "We wanted to change Link's environment, but we also wanted to create a completely different skillset available to him in this new environment, and thus create a completely different style of gameplay. We wanted him to become an animal, combining both the ideas of the wild and heroic into one." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  244. "When we were discussing the wolf's design, Miyamoto-san said: "It's no fun to just look at the back of a four-legged animal all the time." It's true that with a four-legged animal, if you look sideways on or from an angle, you can clearly see the motion of the legs and the overall way the character moves. But if you look directly from behind, it looks really boring compared to a human character's movements. So Miyamoto-san told us to have someone riding the wolf. At the early stages, we went for a very unassuming character on the wolf's back, but by the end we had made this character occupy a central place in the game." —Keisuke Nishimori (Ideas Born Out of Functionality)
  245. "This is Midna, the gal who is profusely well-informed about the Twilight Realm. Seems like there were various kinds of designs until her appearance became like this. Speaking of which, her name seems to come from midnight… “shadow” = “night” is simple, isn’t it." —Nintendo (Twilight Princess HD)
  246. "There was a secret project we were considering working on before The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for Wii, and Midna inherited the character profile for the 'goblin/devilkin' character that would have been featured in that project. Looking back at the development notes from that time, there are some descriptions left on the notes clearly reminiscent of Midna, including 'the appearance looks like a monster or a child,' 'can't tell if she's enemy or ally,' 'can't really tell what she's thinking,' 'sometimes selfish, but sometimes cute and naïve.' That's why initial design sketches for Midna looked a lot like this 'goblin' character." —Satoru Takizawa (Countdown to DLC Pack 1: The Master Trials)
  247. "Actually, at first we had planned it to be even earlier. You were going to be suddenly transformed into a wolf from the start, before you got to taste the cool Link, but Mr. Miyamoto refused to that idea. In The Wind Waker we had something similar, when you have to go save your sister to Forsaken Fortress without even understanding the situation. I like that in a story, when you are thrown into a situation you don’t understand at all and you have no idea of what to do, but somehow you manage to advance and realize it was your fate. It’s not that I hate stories that develop little by little and have unexpected twists in the middle, like Ocarina of Time, but this time I wondered what would happen if you suddenly woke up one day transformed into a wolf." —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Giant Feature: Interview with Producer Eiji Aonuma)
  248. "Having set the framework for this new direction, my work was required on another project. I left the realistic Zelda team to work out the details, and began work as director on The Minish Cap for the Game Boy Advance, which Capcom developed. Even in the weakening Japanese market, the Game Boy Advance installbase continued to grow. The market seemed to have stabilized and as one of the titles that would help sustain it, Minish Cap was very important to the franchise. Also, because this game involved Link moving freely between the normal world and the microscopic world of the Minish, which was very close to the idea we were shooting for with the realistic Zelda, I was very passionate about my work on this title. I felt certain that the way the gameplay changed as the environment changed in Minish Cap would have a positive effect on the development of the realistic Zelda. In hindsight, by immersing myself in the Minish Cap project, I gave myself a way to escape from not being able to find a breakthrough on the realistic Zelda." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  249. "Development on the project I hadn't been able to support was struggling. Though there were various small sections of gameplay that would create the framework for the game, there wasn't one single distinctive model of play, or a timeline that would connect each of the events. What concerned me most was that at this stage of development, as a result of having put priority on the idea of the two worlds and the wolf, there was still nothing special about the most important aspect of the game: there was nothing special about the movement of the new realistic Link." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  250. "Ultimately, we were able to deliver something that lived up to their expectations; however, I knew that though the art style was new and had its own appeal, [the game] still didn't have the innovation in gameplay that DS Zelda had, and that was something we had to overcome." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  251. "It was around this time that the decision was made to make the game compatible with Nintendo's upcoming Wii console, which would use a new kind of controller capable of detecting motion. Twilight Princess would need to be compatible with both the GameCube and Wii, and was to use motion controls for sword combat on the latter. As though he could see my concerns upon returning from E3, Miyamoto approached me and said, 'It's as though the Revolution pointer was designed specifically for the arrow control in Zelda. Why don't you consider making a Zelda that uses this? Controls that you experience through a direct pointing device and motion sensor. From its conception, I was curious to see how the Revolution, Nintendo's new platform announced at E3 2005, would innovate Zelda's gameplay. I was eager to try it but I thought that could only happen after we completed work on Twilight Princess. I was surprised at first to hear Miyamoto's suggestion, that we try it right away, and I didn't know how it would impact the Zelda that at that time was still missing a key ingredient. But we had to start by testing what Miyamoto had suggested, and that was getting the pointer to work as the control for the bow and arrow." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  252. "Nintendo announced this morning that its anticipated new adventure game, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, has been delayed. The title, formerly scheduled to debut this November around the world, has since been postponed to 2006 so that the developer can continue to make the game better." — Matt Casamassina, Zelda Delayed to Next Year, IGN, published August 16, 2005, retrieved April 8, 2020.
  253. "The release of Twilight Princess was postponed by a year from the originally planned date, wasn't it? That was actually the very first time I have ever suggested to Miyamoto-san that we delay the release of a game by a year! (laughs) I was very aware that it would be a real challenge to complete the project on time, but most of all I knew we had to do everything to ensure that this would be our masterpiece, the greatest Zelda of all time." —Satoru Iwata (Make it 120% Zelda!)
  254. "At the start I didn't envisage the project expanding to the scale it eventually did. But it seems that in the minds of the staff, they wanted to make a very big Zelda, and as development continued, the project grew and grew. At one point, in the middle of development, I actually thought: 'This is getting a bit out of hand.' I made various attempts to rein in the project, but when something has developed naturally to that size, it becomes somewhat difficult to apply the brakes. At that point, all we could do was fill in the space by cramming it full of more fun elements for the player to enjoy. We kept adding more and more to the game, but the size caused a lot of trouble, right up to the end. Of course, this is not a bad thing, and in the end it has become a Zelda game which has retained a sense of proportion. It's undeniably big, but I believe all those fun elements which make up this world justify this size. Now that we have finished, I feel that with a generation accustomed to watching epic films like Lord of the Rings, when you want to design a convincing world, that sort of vast scale becomes necessary. But it's a fact that putting it all together was a challenge, and I sensed how much I still had to learn as a director." —Eiji Aonuma (Make it 120% Zelda!)
  255. "These dungeons may be the best ever in the history of adventure games. They sure are huge, but normally dungeons are closed spaces. In Ocarina of Time I designed some dungeons, and most of them were closed areas, but this time there are more open-air dungeons. But it’s organized as a dungeon, it has doors and is divided into separate areas. The truth is that it’s easy to create closed dungeons, like the ones in Ocarina of Time. In open-air dungeons, their relationship with the exterior needs to be more conscious, and it’s very difficult to achieve that. Although it was hard, the dungeon team wanted to create things never seen before, and I think that lead to the large scale of this game." —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Giant Feature: Interview with Producer Eiji Aonuma)
  256. "A Dungeon Overworld: Every Zelda game up to this point was clearly divided between an overworld and dungeons. Developers wondered what combining the two would look like, resulting in Link's quest to collect Tears of Light across provinces. While care was given to make the encroaching Twilight Realm feel uncomfortable to motivate players, developers made sure not to make it so unpleasant that players would stop playing. Sound was key to achieving this balance."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 270)
  257. "The reason we had to change things boils down to the fact that in the first village, there were a lot of things particular to the GameCube version. This meant that there were many aspects of the Wii version that did not take into consideration the fact that players wouldn't be familiar with the game itself or the Wii Remote. Because of this, and I think this again goes back to what Iwata-san just referred to as "ideas born from functionality", there were still a huge number of things that needed to be communicated to the player at the beginning of the game so they would be able to enjoy playing it on Wii. At first, the idea was that the player would spend one day in the village, but out of the blue it was decided to make it three days. We got a sheet of paper with a specification plan written on it, a kind of 'Miyamoto-san's Three-Day Plan'." —Aya Kyogoku (Like Trying to Mold Clay)
  258. "At that age you’ve matured a little, and if your parents tell you not to do something, you go and do right the opposite. That’s why Link turns his sword when fighting an enemy. That move reflects Link’s mischievous side, and he shows some style when he overuses his physical strength. To me, it’s like George Chakiris from West Side Story (a musical film from 1961; George Chakiris had the role of the leader of the villains). The origin of those elements is old, but I asked the staff to include them." —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Giant Feature: Interview with Producer Eiji Aonuma)
  259. "It’s half-joke all this of goat-throwing all the way to the end, but the non-joke part is that we thought thoroughly of how many new elements we should include for the first time in the series. Moreover, we considered how those actions would affect Link’s character, and they became an important factor for sketching the young man that is Link. Once we included the goat-throwing move, all the developers started getting so familiar with it in such a way that it was just natural when we thought of it when Link was standing before a dungeon entrance, and then we had him open the entrance door with his hands, using his strength. Until now, in all the games in the series you just pushed the A button and the doors opened automatically. The game’s aimed at an older audience, so this mischievous, physical image of Link suggest that he trusts his physical strength because he grew up in the country. If it hadn’t been like that, he couldn’t have grown up to become a young man throwing goats and living in the middle of the nature. Originally, Link’s been portrayed as a neutral image, but in this game I think we firmly reflect a manly, strong image. And I think all the female fans out there will be especially fascinated with a certain scene... Right?" —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Giant Feature: Interview with Producer Eiji Aonuma)
  260. "At first, we had doubts of whether Link’s former voice actor was suitable for this game. Then we got a message from NOA (Nintendo of America) saying they felt Link’s former voice was out of place. This Link is more sensitive, so we decided to have a voice that conveyed an image a bit different from the one in Ocarina of Time. We received many voice samples, even from women, we tested some of them inside the actual game and the one that suited the best was the voice of Mr. Akira Sasanuma (a voice actor from Arts Vision; he’s famous for his role of Dearka Elsman in Gundam SEED). His voice has a mischievous tone in it too; we wanted Link to sound a little like a bad guy." —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Giant Feature: Interview with Producer Eiji Aonuma)
  261. "Realistic Horse Riding: Great care was taken in Twilight Princess to incorporate battle on horseback and improve the realism of horse riding. Keisuke Nishimori, who was in charge of character design, decided to ride a horse himself to experience what it was actually like. What Nishimori learned from the ride, and how big a horse actually feels when standing next to one, helped bring a greater sense of realism to horses in the game."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 279)
  262. "I would say that because there was such a huge number of people working on this project, there were also a lot of differences in each individual's perception of Zelda. On top of that, everyone was very stubborn about their opinions, too! (laughs) So of course there weren't many cases in which everyone agreed on how to proceed. It was much more common to have people voicing their disagreement and offering constructive criticism. As a result, the developers probably debated this Zelda with more fervor than any other Zelda game to date, and I think that passion is evident in the game. I'm sure that the director, Aonuma-san, had to expend a good deal of effort to bring everything together. But in the end I believe he succeeded in doing just that, and the result is the biggest Zelda to date." —Mitsuhiro Takano (Like Trying to Mold Clay)
  263. "Everyone was feeling rather anxious and knew this situation wasn't good, so the main staff members got together to try to sort it out. Although there were some good results, there were some negative ones too. For instance, people lost their sense of individual responsibility. There were a huge amount of decisions which they said had "been made by all of them" and that therefore shouldn't be changed. My answer to this was: "You couldn't all have decided, somebody must've made the decision! Who was it?" When I asked why something wasn't completed, I was often told that it was being adjusted. I would say "the adjustments should've been done by now. Shouldn't you start by saying sorry?" (laughs) I suppose in that sense, I have been a little on the strict side. You have to start by getting people to take responsibility and be able to say: "It isn't done yet, I'm sorry. I take the responsibility." I just think that if we could all understand this, we could work together on solving the problems. Once we fix them, it's finished. It's as simple as that and then we can all relax. Then when we give it to focus testing groups we get a more positive response." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Focusing on the Player's Perspective)
  264. "I've been involved in developing several prototypes throughout the course of the project, so there weren't any serious problems, but... Firstly, the leaders hadn't been checking the progress of the staff. Many staff members weren't able to properly execute the most fundamental parts of their assignments. They weren't able to play catch yet; in fact, they hadn't even got the gist, such as catching the ball in the middle of the glove... Sloppy work, you might say. That's why I've mostly been helping by explaining to them clearly so they could better understand what they are supposed to do in order to correctly execute their assignments. There's one thing I've been grateful for, and that is the level of motivation these people have. The cause of the sloppiness wasn't due to people's lack of motivation, but more that they were stuck in a rut due to the huge amount of work they had." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Focusing on the Player's Perspective)
  265. "It's a well-known fact that Zelda games always have signposts that can be sliced apart by the player. The village at the beginning of this game is no exception. However in this game, finally, the pieces you cut off can be picked up! And because we've made it so the pieces float, it'd be a real waste if the player didn't get to see this. That's why we let them pick them up, carry them to the river and throw them in! Setting up this feature took us about the same time as it did to work on one of the horses!" —Shigeru Miyamoto (Focusing on the Player's Perspective)
  266. "Perhaps the most persuasive point for us was that the players who tried the game at E3 instinctively swung the Wii Remote around like a sword. It wasn’t just the sword either, we also noticed that during the fishing sections, players were manipulating the Remote like a fishing rod and reel, even though it was controlled by the buttons. Seeing this, we realised that this must be an intuitive movement. We knew we had to make some kind of adjustments to the game to incorporate this. When people first pick up the Wii Remote, they are expecting the game to respond if they swing it. That's why we knew we had to integrate this functionality into the game. We worried a lot about the actual implementation of these features, but decided to simplify the system so that swinging the Remote did in fact create a sword-swinging motion in the game, but didn’t cause people any stress when trying to do so. Luckily, Zelda isn’t just about slashing away at enemies from start to finish, and I was glad when we were able to recreate a spinning attack with a simple flick of the wrist, which is a lot easier than trying to do it with button commands. Getting to that stage though was very time-consuming, and full of adjustments." —Eiji Aonuma (A First-rate Link, Even by Nintendo Standards)
  267. "This time, I gave Mr. Morita the freedom to do whatever he liked and he came up with such a wonderful thing; he even developed the input operations for the Wii remote. For me, the fishing pond’s a sacred place; I was totally speechless. (laughs). It even makes you wonder if the Wii remote was created for fishing (laughs). There’s a married couple from NOA who enjoy bass fishing. When they came to Japan, we let them play with the remote. We didn’t tell them how to use it, but they started fishing all of a sudden, caught a fish and were amazed. When they asked us why they were able to do it without being told the instructions, we simply replied that it was because they had done exactly the same things they would’ve done had they gone fishing (laughs). I thought the Wii remote was awesome. The water gets all muddy after it rains so the player has to observe the changes and enjoy fishing. When Mr. Morita told me he wanted to include weather changes, I thought, 'Eh? You want to go that far? If you have some extra time I’d rather'... But he said that there would be no fishing without that, so I told him to go ahead (laughs)." —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Giant Feature: Interview with Producer Eiji Aonuma)
  268. "In the context of this new climate, when Zelda became the biggest project in the company, some people started to say half-jokingly: 'We could probably make five other new games if we didn't have Zelda.' It would be going too far to say that making this kind of huge game is somehow obsolete, but there are trends even within parts of Nintendo to move away from this approach. During development, wasn't there any sense of melancholy in the team, a feeling that the days of enormous projects like this were numbered?" —Shigeru Miyamoto (Each Philosophy Benefits from the Existence of the Other)
  269. "'For Twilight Princess we used the adult Link and one of the interesting things about that was how we considered the precise proportions of Link and the world. The scale is because we aimed for a more realistic quality in the size of the environments of Hyrule and what that Link faced,' Aonuma said. 'But the question is whether or not we were able to incorporate any and all of the interesting game ideas that were able to take advantage of that kind of sheer grand scale within the Zelda universe. I am afraid that definitely no, we were not able to do all the things that perhaps with hindsight we had the capabilities to do.'" —Eiji Aonuma (Aonuma's Twilight Princess Regrets)
  270. "First-party software and accessory sales brought in more than $190 million on their own. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess in particular rang up strong sales of more than 454,000, or three games for every four consoles." — Brendan Sinclair, Over 600,000 Wiis served, Gamespot, published November 27, 2006, retrieved April 11, 2020.
  271. "Wii/GC / Twilight Princess / 8,850,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  272. "I'm working on a new Legend of Zelda game now. One thing I've realized as I've been working on it is that a lot of the things I want to do with this new 'Zelda' game are things I thought of while making Twilight Princess. I can't talk specifics, but to me, Twilight Princess was a starting point, making it possible to do what I'm doing now." —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Retrospective – Episode 4: Reborn on Wii U)
  273. "Rumours that Nintendo was planning to acquire Bandai first emerged last year, when the company originally picked up its 2.6 per cent stake in the firm, and were quickly quashed by official statements from both sides - although in a curious interview which appeared in the Japanese business press, a son of the company's founder later claimed that there had been a conspiracy within the Bandai board to facilitate just such a takeover by Nintendo." — Rob Fahey, Nintendo may buy a bigger stake in Bandai - Iwata, GamesIndustry.biz, published June 10, 2004, retrieved April 28, 2020.
  274. "While Iwata tempered this comment by saying that Nintendo does not have any plans to buy out Bandai at the moment, he is clearly aiming to firm up the relationship between the two companies - and perhaps even to win a seat on the Bandai board for Nintendo, which could have serious implications for the Japanese games industry." — Rob Fahey, Nintendo may buy a bigger stake in Bandai - Iwata, GamesIndustry.biz, published June 10, 2004, retrieved April 28, 2020.
  275. "For the most part, both groups will be combined under a new company called Bandai Namco Games. Namco's console game division, business program division, cellphone division, and new business group, 'Incubation Center', will be placed under and have their games be published by Bandai Namco Games. At the same time, Bandai's home game division will also be joining these groups bringing the total to five separate entities under this new company. With around 1800 employees, Bandai Namco Games will be established on March 31st, 2006." — David Karlin, Bandai and Namco Finalize Merger Details, 1Up, published January 11, 2006, retrieved April 28, 2020.
  276. "We released three games in the Xenosaga series, but they weren't very well received. It was really mortifying. All of the young team members felt that way, not just the leaders. So we all decided, 'Next time we need to make a game that players will enjoy.' So that made the atmosphere during the Xenoblade Chronicles development very different compared to other games." —Tetsuya Takahashi (Burning Bridges)
  277. "Interviewer: I suppose you can see it in the business merger and the change in management ranks. It sounds like a very difficult problem. Sugiura: Yes, you can't lean too way in either direction. However, when the time to choose came, we were also struck with the powerful feeling of 'We want to continue making original products,' which had been one of the tenets for our company's creation. 'Well then, what should we do now?' we thought. It was at this time someone came to talk to us—the Nintendo representative director at the time, Shinji Hatano-san. Hatano-san said we should 'go forth and create more and more unique, original games with an independent spirit—games that you wouldn't find anywhere in the sea of what exists in the industry'. That was just the thing Monolith Soft looked to accomplish. And so, it was decided that we would become a subsidiary of Nintendo." — Monolith Soft, The Background Behind Establishing Monolith Soft, monolithsoft.co.jp, published August 21, 2017, retrieved April 28, 2020.
  278. "Interviewer: I suppose you can see it in the business merger and the change in management ranks. It sounds like a very difficult problem. Sugiura: Yes, you can't lean too way in either direction. However, when the time to choose came, we were also struck with the powerful feeling of 'We want to continue making original products,' which had been one of the tenets for our company's creation. 'Well then, what should we do now?' we thought. It was at this time someone came to talk to us—the Nintendo representative director at the time, Shinji Hatano-san. Hatano-san said we should 'go forth and create more and more unique, original games with an independent spirit—games that you wouldn't find anywhere in the sea of what exists in the industry'. That was just the thing Monolith Soft looked to accomplish. And so, it was decided that we would become a subsidiary of Nintendo." — Monolith Soft, The Background Behind Establishing Monolith Soft, monolithsoft.co.jp, published August 21, 2017, retrieved April 28, 2020.
  279. "I gladly put together some visual artwork and went together with Iwata-san to Aoyama. Itoi didn’t really bite on the idea, and I thought, 'That’s weird' while the talks went on, and then Itoi figured it out." —Yasuyuki Honne (Baten Kaitos Director Shows Off A Gamecube Mother Game That Never Was)
  280. "Namco Bandai held 96% of the stock in Monolith Soft. It will retain 16% of the stock, and Nintendo will become majority shareholder with 80%." — Chris Kohler, Nintendo Buys Xenosaga Developer Monolith Soft, Wired, published April 27, 2007, retrieved April 13, 2020.
  281. "I’d like to make an HD game that will wow the players. I want to show that Japan can still keep up with the USA when it comes next gen technology. Our goal is to become something like the developers of the Fallout series, Bethesda Softworks." —Michiko Inaba (Xenoblade Developer, Monolith Soft, Want To Be Like Bethesda Softworks)
  282. "Previously based only in Tokyo, Monolith Soft now have a new studio in Kyoto, which is where Nintendo’s main headquarters are located. The move, Monolith reveal on their website, was taken in order to strengthen their relationship with Nintendo." — Ishaan Sahdev, Monolith Soft Open A New Studio Closer To Nintendo, Siliconera, published July 8, 2011, retrieved April 14, 2020.
  283. ""As some of you know, at E3 2004 we unveiled the game that would become Zelda: Twilight Princess—the realistic Zelda game. We announced that it was being developed by the team that had been developing Wind Waker 2. Actually, there’s a reason that decision was made at the time that it was. At one point, I had heard that even Wind Waker, which had reached the million mark in sales, was quickly losing steam, and that things were sluggish even in North America, where the market was much healthier than in Japan. I asked [Nintendo of America] why this was. What I was told was that the toon-shading technique was in fact giving the impression that this Zelda was for a younger audience, and that for this reason, it alienated the upper-teen audience that had represented the typical Zelda player. Having heard that, I began to worry about whether Wind Waker 2, which used a similar presentation, was something that would actually sell. In addition, because we knew how difficult it would be to create an innovative way of playing using the existing Gamecube hardware, we knew what a challenge it would be to develop something that would sell in the Japanese market, where gamer drift was happening. That’s when I decided that if we didn’t have an effective and immediate solution, the only thing that we could do was to give the healthier North American market the Zelda that they wanted."" —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  284. "At E3 2003, the response from attendees to this game was very positive, and I was very hopeful for the game's release at the beginning of 2004. But the results were not very good, and I felt very disappointed by the outcome. I believe this result stemmed from the need for each player to have a Game Boy Advance and the need for each player to also have a cable to connect that Game Boy Advance to a Gamecube. I felt requirements like these prevented it from doing as well as we'd hoped, but there was another problem. I think you might have noticed this as I was explaining the game, but it suffered from seeming too complicated. It was too difficult to convince the consumer they wanted to play the game." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  285. "GBA / The Minish Cap / 1,760,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  286. "Game creation has in various ways, met a deadlock. Over the past twenty years, games have followed a straight path in development that have made them more complex and good looking. This law of growth and success is no more. Put frankly, games have stopped selling." —Satoru Iwata (Various Satoru Iwata comments regarding the Nintendo DS)
  287. "Games have come to a dead end. Creating complicated games with advanced graphics used to be the golden principle that led to success, but it is no longer working. The biggest problem is that [developers] need to satisfy the core gamers, who want games with more volume and complexity, while they also need to satisfy average users, who don't have as much knowledge about games. The situation right now is that even if the developers work a hundred times harder, they can forget about selling a hundred times more units, since it's difficult for them to even reach the status quo. It's obvious that there's no future to gaming if we continue to run on this principle that wastes time and energy [in development]. Nintendo is called 'conservative' and 'quiet' nowadays, so we hope to show our existence as an innovator to new styles of entertainment." —Satoru Iwata (Various Satoru Iwata comments regarding the Nintendo DS)
  288. "Working on Majora’s Mask for the Nintendo 64 and then The Wind Waker for the GameCube in succession, I began to worry that, due perhaps to the growing number of buttons necessary to control the game, or the 3D environment, new players might find these games intimidating and avoid them. I felt that there were sure to be many players who thought ‘Zelda looks fun, but there’s no way I can play it’, and give up before even giving it a try. For that reason, ever since then I have been thinking of ways to square this circle: how to make the controls easier without losing any of the unique fun-factor of a Zelda title." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  289. "It was around May 2004, right after we finished the Four Swords Adventures game. The DS hadn’t been released yet and the game was in the experimental stage. We started by trying many ideas on how to use the stylus and the two screens." —Daiki Iwamoto (The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass interview with Eiji Aonuma)
  290. "At first we worked on creating a game that followed the connectivity style of Four Swords Adventures with the two screens, but then Mr. Aonuma suggested we didn’t continue with that. He said we should think of a completely new Zelda gameplay that would become a DS standard. We didn’t mind the simplicity, so we ended up with the idea of a stylus-controlled game." —Daiki Iwamoto (The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass interview with Eiji Aonuma)
  291. "Upon returning from E3, I heard from my staff that the DS hardware was capable of of supporting Toon Shading. I immediately asked my staff to start implementing cel-shading on the DS because I was disappointed the cel-shaded Zelda had not been received as well as I had hoped. In a short amount of time, they were able to show me a toon-shaded Link moving in a 3D world on the top screen, and on the lower screen a Link shown on a map that was controlled entirely by touch. While I was surprised to see the toon-shaded Link from the Gamecube version moving around on the DS screen, the controls were not intuitive. So I asked my staff to display the 3D world on the bottom screen and change it so players would control Link by touching him directly." —Eiji Aonuma (Reflections of Zelda)
  292. "Aonuma: We didn’t want to have an empty sea you just crossed to get from island to island. In order to turn the ocean into another 'field,' we included many elements, and it shows. Iwamoto: That’s a lesson we learned from The Wind Waker... Fujibayashi: We also put a lot of thinking from the very beginning into adjusting some elements, like how large the ocean would be, the size of the islands, the distance between islands and the cruising speed." —Eiji Aonuma, Daiki Iwamoto, Hidemaro Fujibayashi (The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass interview with Eiji Aonuma)
  293. "I gave the order to forbid using the buttons (laughs). It takes some time to adjust the controls to be comfortable, be it buttons or stylus." —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass interview with Eiji Aonuma)
  294. "The American staff liked the word “hourglass,” so they asked us to include it in the game’s title." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass interview with Eiji Aonuma)
  295. "In this dungeon, it is very important to move in as efficient a manner as possible, so taking notes in order to solve puzzles becomes a very effective means of saving time. If you continue doing that, you will able to get through the dungeon increasingly quickly, and have the satisfaction of progressing deeper and deeper into the dungeon. This sense of achievement you get as you feel yourself developing in the game is actually a very important part of what makes a game ‘Zelda-esque’ and is something you can enjoy in this game in a new form." —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass interview with Eiji Aonuma)
  296. "This time round, there is a dungeon with a time limit called the Temple of the Ocean King* which the player will enter on a number of occasions. It struck us that it would be interesting to see how the gameplay would differ if the player was racing against the clock in a dungeon. On top of that, we thought: ‘What if we have enemies appear that can’t be defeated?’ You would have no choice but to run away, right? We thought that trying to clear the dungeon within a certain time limit, while also having to outrun an enemy, would really make the game exciting and fun. In a sense, this style of dungeon broke the ‘promise’ between the developers and players about what a Zelda dungeon should be like. For that reason, we thought it might be difficult for newcomers to the series. But, funnily enough, something that we discovered during development was that players who had never played a Zelda game before were relatively comfortable with this dungeon, whereas players who were familiar with Zelda would be taken aback and say: ‘Hey! This is difficult! What’s going on?!’" —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass interview with Eiji Aonuma)
  297. "No, the DS game was coming along nicely, but after finishing Twilight Princess, I wanted to get deeply involved in the development, so I delayed the release date." —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass interview with Eiji Aonuma)
  298. "At first, we had the idea of creating a good game in a short time. We thought Brain Age was our rival. Brain Age’s like that smart transfer student. The Zelda Team’s not in the top places, but it studies hard. And then comes this transfer student and easily gets the first place without studying. That’s very frustrating. After three long years, we finally finished Twilight Princess and the transfer student’s the one that’s smart and cool and gets the firs place? Damn it (laughs)!" —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass interview with Eiji Aonuma)
  299. "In the battles in this title, Link cannot see his opponents and must wait until they make a move. This was an idea that we have been sitting on for a number of years. There are also aspects of the multiplayer mode, such as taking the pieces of the Triforce back to your base, which connect the game to The Legend Of Zelda: Four Swords on the GameCube. The fact that one player controls all three Phantom Guardians pursuing Link brings in a cooperative aspect to the gameplay. While controlling the Phantom Guardians, the player can decide: ‘Okay, you’re responsible for this area!’" —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass interview with Eiji Aonuma)
  300. "And actually, if you look at the registration on Club Nintendo, although The Legend of Zelda series has traditionally had more of a male audience, on the Nintendo DS, it seems as though lots of women are also enjoying it." —Satoru Iwata (New Puzzles and Drama)
  301. "NDS / Phantom Hourglass / 4,760,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  302. "That's right. After we made Ocarina of Time, and Miyamoto-san said, "There are still things you can do, aren't there"... I think those words came back again, inside me." —Eiji Aonuma (Why Tetra Makes No Appearance)
  303. "But at first, we didn't have a single railroad fan. At the beginning, since we were making a new The Legend of Zelda, I put out a proposal. I said, 'This time, why don't we do away with the ship? Instead, let's have a big, "The Legend of Zelda -like" development, where you rush across the land of the wide world, headed to some place you've never been.' I think it's fun to have a new land becoming clearer and clearer right before your eyes, and have all sorts of different developments open up. It piques your sense of adventure, too. But then we had to think about what to use as a mode of transportation, in place of a boat, and at that point, I remembered a certain picture book." —Eiji Aonuma (Play That's Only Possible on a Train)
  304. "My son loved this book. When he was four or five, this was the book he'd bring me every night before bed. 'Read it, Daddy, read it.' In the book, the children keep on..." —Eiji Aonuma (Play That's Only Possible on a Train)
  305. "That's the story. It's a very simple one, but the pioneering spirit, the kids building the railroad... Something about it seemed as though it would fit with The Legend of Zelda But I didn't tell the staff about this book." —Eiji Aonuma (Play That's Only Possible on a Train)
  306. "But the problem is that, even if people can lay the tracks anywhere they like, they won't know where to lay them. Then, to make the story work, there are places where you absolutely mustn't go, and other places where you really can't be at certain points in time. So we examined all sorts of different ways of playing. That went on for about a year." —Daiki Iwamoto (Play That's Only Possible on a Train)
  307. "In this world, the tracks were there to begin with, but for some reason they've been erased. The player has to put them back to the way they were. Then, we remade it that way, and when we took it to the monitor, lots of people said, 'It's easy to understand and easy to play'." —Eiji Aonuma (Play That's Only Possible on a Train)
  308. "With the railroad tracks, there's a clear route, and people said it was really fun to work on steadily expanding them. So I thought, "Well, I had that part right." (laughs) But on the other hand, some people in-house felt that the freedom may be lost. But even if the destination is set, there's a freedom in the expansion." —Eiji Aonuma (Play That's Only Possible on a Train)
  309. "Haruhana: The people who led the designs on this project were the art director of Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the 3DS, Koji Takahashi, and the art director of Splatoon, Seita Inoue. During the production of Spirit Tracks, Inoue's proficiency was amazing. He was originally in charge of the menu screens, but he was involved in the designs of the trains and areas around the main dungeons as well."  (Art & Artifacts (Dark Horse Books) pg. 420)
  310. "But I did think that I didn't want to get too caught up in making it 'The Legend of Zelda-like'. There was even an argument about how a train didn't really seem to fit with 'The Legend of Zelda'. Then people were wondering whether we shouldn't change the train to something else. Still, we talked to the designer, and to all sorts of people, and we ultimately decided to stick with the train. In the first place, everybody has their own idea of what The Legend of Zelda is supposed to be like." —Daiki Iwamoto (When You Hear 'That Legend of Zelda Sound')
  311. "It's a little different this time, though. There are "treasures", and you can collect many different types. Once you've accumulated a set number of a certain sort of treasure, you can exchange those for your train part. Not only that, the things you collect vary from player to player. This train is split into four sections: the train itself, the gun battery, and then the passenger cars and freight cars. You can customize all of them. There are all sorts of different variations to play around with, and one of them is pretty incredible." —Eiji Aonuma (Play That's Only Possible on a Train)
  312. "In the last game, there was a type of play where you could switch to playing as a Goron; we decided to build things around controlling the Phantom at a relatively early stage. We'd been trying to think of a method for intuitively and easily controlling a subplayer for a while at that point." —Daiki Iwamoto (Why Tetra Makes No Appearance)
  313. "But it wasn't that I didn't like her so much as that I was enthusiastic about characters in my own way. I was searching for something that hadn't been portrayed much, and there was Princess Zelda. At first, we hadn't settled on the subcharacter, and I discussed several things with the staff. Then we thought that, since they're adventuring together, it would be better to have it be a girl. But, you know, we couldn't have it be Tetra every time, so we started to consider introducing a new character. The thing is, though, it's "The Legend of Zelda". I thought it wouldn't be much fun if Princess Zelda didn't show up and if we brought in some unrelated princess instead, so, in the end, I asked for permission to use Princess Zelda." —Daiki Iwamoto (Why Tetra Makes No Appearance)
  314. "Developers felt that it was important for the Princess Zelda of Spirit Tracks to contradict what players might expect from royalty, and purposefully wrote her to act more like any girl at her age might. The game's cutscene designers had plenty of fun with this idea, especially in the early scenes, when Zelda, driven out of her body, is still getting used to being a spirit."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 291)
  315. "Then, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks was decided as the subtitle for the North American edition, before we'd found ours. "Spirit" means "soul", so we took that and tried "Train Whistle of the Soul". But that made it sound kind of creepy, possibly haunted (laughs). We were making a pleasant game about running a train across wide-open spaces, and we just didn't think it fit." —Eiji Aonuma (Customizing the Train)
  316. "Finally, we asked for suggestions from the staff and wrote them all on a white board, and from those suggestions, we narrowed it down to "Train Whistle of the Wide World"." —Daiki Iwamoto (Customizing the Train)
  317. "Once again, A Link Between Worlds demonstrates the lesson Nintendo and retailers learnt from The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, which was released in 2009 for the Nintendo DS. Spirit Tracks received a shipment of over 600,000 copies, but only went on to sell through half that amount at launch. Due to the number of unsold copies sitting on store shelves, over the next few weeks, the game’s price dropped considerably, going as low as 2,000 yen in less than two months at some stores." — Ishaan Sahdev, No, Zelda Isn’t Dead In Japan… But It Could Do Better, Siliconera, published January 10, 2014, retrieved April 14, 2020.
  318. "NDS / Spirit Tracks / 2,960,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  319. "If you've been adding up all the weekly sales figures, you were probably already aware of this, but sales tracker Media Create announced today that the DS has crossed the twenty million mark in Japanese sales." — Anoop Gantayat, Twenty Million DS Systems in Japan, IGN, published November 16, 2007, retrieved April 16, 2020.
  320. "And actually, if you look at the registration on Club Nintendo, although The Legend of Zelda series has traditionally had more of a male audience, on the Nintendo DS, it seems as though lots of women are also enjoying it." —Satoru Iwata (New Puzzles and Drama)
  321. "And, well, to be honest with you, Zelda: Twilight Princess is not doing very well at all in Japan. It is very disappointing. But it is doing okay here in America." —Shigeru Miyamoto (The man who made "Mario" super)
  322. "Games have come to a dead end. Creating complicated games with advanced graphics used to be the golden principle that led to success, but it is no longer working. The biggest problem is that [developers] need to satisfy the core gamers, who want games with more volume and complexity, while they also need to satisfy average users, who don't have as much knowledge about games. The situation right now is that even if the developers work a hundred times harder, they can forget about selling a hundred times more units, since it's difficult for them to even reach the status quo. It's obvious that there's no future to gaming if we continue to run on this principle that wastes time and energy [in development]. Nintendo is called 'conservative' and 'quiet' nowadays, so we hope to show our existence as an innovator to new styles of entertainment." —Satoru Iwata (Various Satoru Iwata comments regarding the Nintendo DS)
  323. "Well, I think a lot of people who bought the Wii are not necessarily the types of people who are interested in playing that kind of game. And a lot of the people who would want to play it [due to chronic shortages of the console] can’t find a Wii! But mostly, I think it’s that there are fewer and fewer people who are interested in playing a big role-playing game like Zelda [in Japan]." —Shigeru Miyamoto (The man who made Mario super)
  324. "Super Mario 64 DS sold about four times as much in America as in Japan, so a lot of peple who play games in America are used to playing 3D Super Mario. Against that background, it isn't exactly wrong to say, "Super Mario in 3D is difficult, so we made an introduction that is like 2D Super Mario," but that isn't quite true—it's just that not everyone is used to it yet." —Shigeru Miyamoto (A Future Without Borders Between 2D and 3D)
  325. "Actually, there was a time when I thought it might be impossible to make a 3D action game that would be so accessible, anybody could easily pick it up and enjoy the experience. When you’re playing on a 3D plain, it’s so easy to lose track of where you are in the field. And if the camera moves automatically, there are people that would get 3D sickness. So during the development of Super Mario Sunshine, we prepared several different camera modes that the players can choose from. However, this burdened the players with an additional task; they had to decide on the camera angle before they could go into gameplay." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (Listening to Many Voices)
  326. "It seems a lot of people are saying things like 'Unlike 2D Mario, I get lost in 3D Mario' and '3D Mario is more difficult than 2D Mario, so I can't do it,' and I had a feeling that you were determined to do something about that sometime." —Satoru Iwata (Playing a 3D Game Like It's 2D)
  327. "Yes, but I think that we had solved a lot of the problems inherent in 3D Mario games with the first Mario Galaxy. You play on spheres, so if you run around them, you will always return to where you started." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Playing a 3D Game Like It's 2D)
  328. "It really helped when you suggested including a DVD called Super Mario Galaxy 2 for Beginners with hints for beginners. At that point, we wouldn't have been able to put so much in the way of tutorials into the game itself. We had cut down on the tutorials in the game so that players familiar with the previous Super Mario Galaxy could dig right in, and that DVD allowed us to more than make up for that." —Shigeru Miyamoto (The Most Important Thing Is Resonance)
  329. "Early on, we established the theme of making a 3D Super Mario game that would be close to 2D so that anyone could play. One big difference between 2D and 3D is the camera. We made adjustments as we went to the parallel-track camera we used in Super Mario Galaxy 2 so it would be easy to play." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (Like an Archeologist)
  330. "That's the fun of a 3D Super Mario game, it has been that element of searching. The appeal was wandering around a broad game field and looking for the goal. But this time, we put that aside and decided to make a game that returns to the original idea of reaching a goal pole at the end of the course." —Koichi Hayashida (The Missing Link Between 2D Mario and 3D Mario)
  331. "Given that course selection in Mario games is a fairly straightforward process, Nintendo’s designers felt at the time that the same design could be applied to Zelda, and would achieve similar results." — Ishaan Sahdev, Why Zelda: Skyward Sword Has No Overworld, Game Design Gazette, published October 12, 2017, retrieved April 16, 2020.
  332. "After we finished The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, we began work on the new game in the series. After awhile Fujibayashi-san had finished making The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, and he showed us a planning document saying he wanted to make it. We had him be director and discussed something that would use Wii MotionPlus, which was developed right around that time, so players could freely operate the game. For about half a year after that, I have to say the mood was very nasty! (laughs)" —Eiji Aonuma (Starting with a Detour)
  333. "When you have a development period of five years, it's often the case that around two of those years wind up being completely wasted effort. With this game, though, I think all the work that everyone put into this project gets fully seen in the final product. I did say it was five years, but the first two of those were spent with assorted experimentation, so essentially it was three years. We went through kind of a long experimentation period, I suppose." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Miyamoto On the Twists and Turns of Skyward Sword)
  334. "We really studied the skeletal structure of a person's skeletal structure." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi ("Have it Stop.")
  335. "That's right. And Swordplay in Wii Sports Resort uses sticks, so whichever way you swing, as long as the trajectory is right, no problem. But Link is holding a sword. You can't have him flap an enemy with the flat of his blade." —Ryuji Kobayashi ("Have it Stop.")
  336. "In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, you can pick up grass. So adding a new action was a theme whenever we made a new Zelda game. This time, we wanted to put in something before Miyamoto-san said anything and put in the dash action." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi ("Have it Stop.")
  337. "Yes, and that interrupts the flow of the game. For that reason, I had a strong desire to put in some kind of action so that whatever you hit, it reacts and won't kill your speed. Thus, we made an Link able to dash up." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi ("Have it Stop.")
  338. "That way, even if you don't look at the screen, the items are at certain angles and you can select them by tilting the Wii Remote Plus. As you play, you remember that, for example, the bow is at the top and your bombs are on the right." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (Selecting Items Without Looking at the Screen)
  339. "There's a string attached to the icon, so even if you make a big movement with the Wii Remote Plus, it moves in a circle, but no further. The first time I saw that, I thought, 'What's with this unsightly string!' (laughs) But when I actually tried it out, it felt comfortable. When first seeing screenshots of that string, many people may feel like something is off, but once they play it, I hope they'll realize how comfortable it feels." —Eiji Aonuma (Selecting Items Without Looking at the Screen)
  340. "" — (The man who made Mario super)
  341. "Super Mario 64 DS sold about four times as much in America as in Japan, so a lot of peple who play games in America are used to playing 3D Super Mario. Against that background, it isn't exactly wrong to say, "Super Mario in 3D is difficult, so we made an introduction that is like 2D Super Mario," but that isn't quite true—it's just that not everyone is used to it yet." —Shigeru Miyamoto (A Future Without Borders Between 2D and 3D)
  342. "Actually, there was a time when I thought it might be impossible to make a 3D action game that would be so accessible, anybody could easily pick it up and enjoy the experience. When you’re playing on a 3D plain, it’s so easy to lose track of where you are in the field. And if the camera moves automatically, there are people that would get 3D sickness. So during the development of Super Mario Sunshine, we prepared several different camera modes that the players can choose from. However, this burdened the players with an additional task; they had to decide on the camera angle before they could go into gameplay." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (Listening to Many Voices)
  343. "It seems a lot of people are saying things like 'Unlike 2D Mario, I get lost in 3D Mario' and '3D Mario is more difficult than 2D Mario, so I can't do it,' and I had a feeling that you were determined to do something about that sometime." —Satoru Iwata (Playing a 3D Game Like It's 2D)
  344. "As we see it, one reason why a number of people who love 2D Mario do not want to play 3D Mario appears to be because they are afraid to be lost in the 3D world by not knowing the exact directions, while they feel that they can play with 2D Mario with no such issues. One of the development themes of the original Super Mario Galaxy was to create a 3D world where people may not be easily lost, and the spherical shape was adopted as the game play theme for this reason. However, when we look at the Japanese sales, I do not think that we were able to effectively tackle this challenge with the original." —Satoru Iwata (Why Do Japanese Gamers Not Take To 3D Mario?)
  345. "We are going to make games that no one has ever seen. I feel there is a bad atmosphere that you can't do something new at Nintendo these days. I never thought things like this before. So now we are changing ourselves to an organization that allows people to do new things and energize ourselves. I'm saying to my people that from now on let's go for the game that can be developed within six months and sell a million copies." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Interview:64 Dream June 1st 1998)
  346. "Games have come to a dead end. Creating complicated games with advanced graphics used to be the golden principle that led to success, but it is no longer working. The biggest problem is that [developers] need to satisfy the core gamers, who want games with more volume and complexity, while they also need to satisfy average users, who don't have as much knowledge about games. The situation right now is that even if the developers work a hundred times harder, they can forget about selling a hundred times more units, since it's difficult for them to even reach the status quo. It's obvious that there's no future to gaming if we continue to run on this principle that wastes time and energy [in development]. Nintendo is called 'conservative' and 'quiet' nowadays, so we hope to show our existence as an innovator to new styles of entertainment." —Satoru Iwata (Various Satoru Iwata comments regarding the Nintendo DS)
  347. "I think the real thought behind trying to do more in terms of the puzzle solving in the overworld really came from Twilight Princess. In that game we had this massive overworld, but you would get into the dungeons and the dungeons themselves were also quite large. Looking at that I was like well why do we have this great massive overworld and these great big dungeons? What's the purpose and the difference between the two of those?" (1/2) "We kept the dungeons with sort of that gameplay idea of get the key, unlock the door, move onto the next room, but kept those a little bit more compact I think than they've been in maybe Twilight Princess. At the same time we sort of blurred the line between what was a dungeon and what was overworld. The idea being that the whole game would feel like this world that you need to explore, one where you can still see the results of your actions having an impact on the world around you." —Eiji Aonuma (Behind the Scenes of Zelda: Skyward Sword)
  348. "You say that there were twists and turns, but I heard there were few detours this time compared to the last game The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess." —Satoru Iwata (Starting With a Detour)
  349. "Fujibayashi: All right. First of all, the producer, Aonuma-san, said, "Let's make this Legend of Zelda game compact." Iwata: Miyamoto-san has always said that to Aonuma-san—and this time Aonuma-san said it to you! (laughs) If you make a bunch of new fields, and just stretch it out, it just gets big and can be a bit of a drag. Fujibasyashi: That's right. I thought we could discover a new pleasure if, instead of just stretching it out, we made fields with height and depth, so that every time you went to one, you would experience a fresh surprise and discover new enjoyment." — Nintendo, Making the First Field, Iwata Asks, retrieved April 16, 2020.
  350. "Usually, when we make a Legend of Zelda game with a continuous body of land, we need an overlapping part to join one game field to the next. This time, we made all kinds of gameplay for the forest, volcano and desert areas, and needed to create roads for going back and forth among those places. Every time, it was quite a struggle to figure out how to handle those roads. But the first thing we thought of this time was that perhaps we didn’t need those roads." —Eiji Aonuma (Why Zelda: Skyward Sword Has No Overworld)
  351. "In Super Mario games, there’s a course selection screen, and you waltz on over to it and hop in." — Ishaan Sahdev, Why Zelda: Skyward Sword Has No Overworld, Game Design Gazette, published October 12, 2017, retrieved April 17, 2020.
  352. "For Skyward Sword, that kind of narrowed, focused world helped us with that, but at the same time it meant you didn’t have that wide-open world to explore. We’ve heard the complaint about lack of openness from a lot of fans. As we’re deciding what the core gameplay mechanic was, we have that open-world desire at the forefront of our minds, and we’re trying to figure out how to incorporate that as well." —Eiji Aonuma ('Zelda' Producer Talks Fans, Legacy and New Games)
  353. "I think the real thought behind trying to do more in terms of the puzzle solving in the overworld really came from Twilight Princess. In that game we had this massive overworld, but you would get into the dungeons and the dungeons themselves were also quite large. Looking at that I was like well why do we have this great massive overworld and these great big dungeons? What's the purpose and the difference between the two of those? We kept the dungeons with sort of that gameplay idea of get the key, unlock the door, move onto the next room, but kept those a little bit more compact I think than they've been in maybe Twilight Princess. At the same time we sort of blurred the line between what was a dungeon and what was overworld. The idea being that the whole game would feel like this world that you need to explore, one where you can still see the results of your actions having an impact on the world around you." —Eiji Aonuma (Behind the Scenes of Zelda: Skyward Sword)
  354. "Until now, we've prepared landmarks that you could see from afar or we devised something or other to lead the players to avoid anyone getting lost, but with Dowsing, we don't have to do that. And another method to avoid people getting lost is the Beacon that works like Smoking Signals." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (Making the "Not" Lost Woods)
  355. "I think we were able to keep such a big project together because the game world this time is structurally simple. We talk about all these "dense" places, but structure-wise there are only four—forest, volcano, desert and sky. Those four worlds were independent, and the goal with regard to each one's volume came into view, so I think we could do it because each staff member had in mind a prediction like 'If we work hard in this direction, this Legend of Zelda game will turn out great!'" —Eiji Aonuma (The Secret to Extreme Density)
  356. "This game’s plot is something like a school drama, you could say. The flying sequence at the E3 demo is Link competing against his classmates. One of them looks kind of a like a bad guy, as you saw, and he shows up in other ways in the game too, since he has a major thing for Zelda. Like with Majora, there are a lot of game events involving the townspeople that get intertwined with the main story. Link, Zelda and their other friends all go to the same boarding school, and you’ve got teachers and a principal as well. It’s a bit of a different setting from previous Zeldas." —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword’s Plot Has Elements Of A School Drama)
  357. "Something that always gives me trouble when I'm working on Zelda is the fact that, although the point of his adventure is always to save Princess Zelda, that seems more and more contrived the further away Zelda is from Link in terms of relationship. It's like you see this girl for just a moment and you're supposed to want to rescue her because she's probably a princess or something. One of the themes here was to figure out how to really make the player think 'I want to save her!' instead of just making him do so as part of the story progression. The game's story would start to drag if we spent a long time framing this at the start, though, so having them be childhood friends is what we thought was the quickest and easiest way to establish their relationship and portray them in this new world." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (Interview:Famitsu November 22nd 2011)
  358. "We used a special tool for development this time so planners could do all sorts of things. Before, planners would ask the various people in charge to work on character dialogue and the timing of events, but this time the planners could, to a certain extent, take care of such things themselves. In other words, what we would usually ask the programmers to do, we could do ourselves. But that way, since you can do anything yourself, you're alone up till the very, very end, taking pains over it." —Eiji Aonuma (The Producer Trap)
  359. "Usually, at the beginning, just by talking to the other characters, you imagine the drama that will unfold and get really excited, but that wasn't true at all. And it wasn't clear whether the people who appeared were Link's classmates or what. I pressed him, saying, 'Come on, you got to get this part right!' and he said, 'Well, I'm busy with some other stuff right now.'" —Eiji Aonuma (The Producer Trap)
  360. "Ono worked on many projects while at Monolith Soft, including Disaster: Day of Crisis and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. During Skyward Sword's development, Monolith Soft worked on field layout designs, conceptualizing sub-events, and writing some of the text. Exactly how much of the aforementioned tasks the team completed is not known." — Patrick Barnett, Monolith Soft's Involvement in Skyward Sword Detailed, Nintendo World Report, published May 22, 2012, retrieved April 16, 2020.
  361. "Like an experiment shooting an arrow in an empty desert, and when it hits something, that suddenly changes in real time to a verdant land. We wondered if we could turn back time before your very eyes, and when we did it that made quite an impact. And, using the forest game field, we explored gameplay very representative of The Legend of Zelda that involved trees growing up one after the other and things disappearing or multiplying. The transformation system was the result of that experiment we did for gameplay with contrast in the desert. You cut through space and that becomes the past. If you use your sword to strike a stone in the desert called a Timeshift Stone, the present turns into the past in a widening circle. Placing Timeshift Stones here and there around the game field expanded into various types of gameplay, and it began to look as if we could include some challenging ones. The present time that Link is in is a desert region, but underneath all the quicksand lies an ancient civilization. If you strike a Timeshift Stone with your sword, your surroundings transforms back in time to reveal that ancient civilization." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (The Transformation System)
  362. "But thanks to this mechanical item, we decided to expand on that theme, which gave birth to the ancient civilization that is part of the backdrop this time. At first, we weren't thinking about having an advanced ancient civilization be part of the milieu. As you can tell from a rocket fist. (laughs)" —Eiji Aonuma (Rocket Fists Give Birth to an Ancient Civilization)
  363. "This time, the theme is the sword which makes use of the Wii MotionPlus accessory. When you think of a sword in The Legend of Zelda, you think of the Master Sword. Rather early on, we decided to address the origin of the Master Sword. About that time, we began talking about how that would make this the first story in the series, and we wondered about involving the birth of Hyrule Kingdom. On the other hand, there was the setting of the floating island in the sky, and we thought, 'How did that get there?'" —Eiji Aonuma (A Battle Against Contradictions)
  364. "Wada: The decision of who would be in charge of the artwork for Skyward Sword was decided by a competition among the group. At that time I had only been at the company for two years, so it was an honor to be chosen."  (Art & Artifacts (Dark Horse Books) pg. 422)
  365. "Nakano: The design for Fi was also a competition. I participated in that, and my design ended up being picked."  (Art & Artifacts (Dark Horse Books) pg. 422)
  366. "During development, the team considered turning Zelda's adventure after she landed on the Surface into a fully playable "Second Quest". It never became reality, but the setting of that story was used in the cinematic shown after the game's ending."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 297)
  367. "Nintendo Greece has just aired a new Skyward Sword ad featuring the Williams pair (ignore the unfortunately squashed screen)." — Tony Ponce, Zelda and Robin Williams return in this Skyward Sword ad, Destructoid, retrieved April 17, 2020.
  368. "Wii / Skyward Sword / 3,670,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  369. "For Skyward Sword, that kind of narrowed, focused world helped us with that, but at the same time it meant you didn’t have that wide-open world to explore. We’ve heard the complaint about lack of openness from a lot of fans. As we’re deciding what the core gameplay mechanic was, we have that open-world desire at the forefront of our minds, and we’re trying to figure out how to incorporate that as well." —Eiji Aonuma ('Zelda' Producer Talks Fans, Legacy and New Games)
  370. "A lot of the fans that played Skyward Sword said that they were really bummed out that they couldn’t find the hidden element of the game. A lot of the users, when they looked at the map, they said, ‘OK, there’s these places I can go, but how come I can’t go over here?’ I’ve always thought that when creating a 3D game where it’s easy for users to get lost, it’s really important to tell the users what they need to do. But then, after creating this larger world, I realized that getting lost isn’t that bad. Having the option to do whatever you want and get lost is actually kind of fun. I think fans that enjoy a more linear type of gameplay will also enjoy this type of gameplay." —Eiji Aonuma (How The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is learning from Skyward Sword's haters)
  371. "We are going to make games that no one has ever seen. I feel there is a bad atmosphere that you can't do something new at Nintendo these days. I never thought things like this before. So now we are changing ourselves to an organization that allows people to do new things and energize ourselves. I'm saying to my people that from now on let's go for the game that can be developed within six months and sell a million copies. If you want to finish a game within six months, you have to make it within two months because you need to polish it for another four months. If someone asks me who can make such a thing, I'd tell them that I used to do it (laugh). It isn't a great thing to take three years. Zelda would have been finished in a much shorter period if we had cut some parts." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Interview:64 Dream June 1st 1998)
  372. "If you want someone to fail, you want them to fail fast, before they spend a lot of money. That's how Nintendo was. When I was working on the Dream Team [at Angel Studios], they wanted us to do this DNA-based driving game called Buggy Boogie. You had these vehicles that would eat other vehicles and adopt their powers and morph. It was really cool. But they would sign three month contracts, and Miyamoto himself would say that he did not want any documents. He would just say, 'Find the fun, and I'll be back in three months to take a look at what you have.' We went through about three iterations of that. We busted our hump trying different things, but at the end of it, he kept coming back and saying that it wasn't there, and it wasn't fun. We were a new company that didn't know how to make games. After about six or nine months, he came back and said, 'You guys have really worked hard, and we see the progress, but we're not seeing the product. But another opportunity has come up for a fantasy golf game, so why don't you guys work on that? In three months, we'll be back. Show us a golf game.' So rather than getting pissed off at us and canceling the contract after two years and millions of dollars, they spent just a tiny fraction of that with a small team and said, 'Well, it was just a bad idea.' It maintained the relationship with them, so we could go off and do something else." —Clinton Keith (High Moon Shining: Inside Sierra's San Diego Outpost)
  373. "We started work in April or May of 1997." —Giles Goddard (1080 Snowboarding Interview)
  374. "The Pilot Wings 64 production began in earnest in June 1995 and the product was released as a launch title for the Japanese launch in June 1996. We continued to operate as a division of Paradigm Simulation until 1997 at which time we decided to spin the entertainment division out as a separate company forming Paradigm Entertainment." —Dave Gatchel (Q&A: Paradigm Entertainment On Stuntman, Pilot Wings)
  375. "Fujibayashi: All right. First of all, the producer, Aonuma-san, said, "Let's make this Legend of Zelda game compact." Iwata: Miyamoto-san has always said that to Aonuma-san—and this time Aonuma-san said it to you! (laughs) If you make a bunch of new fields, and just stretch it out, it just gets big and can be a bit of a drag. Fujibasyashi: That's right. I thought we could discover a new pleasure if, instead of just stretching it out, we made fields with height and depth, so that every time you went to one, you would experience a fresh surprise and discover new enjoyment." — Nintendo, Making the First Field, Iwata Asks, retrieved April 16, 2020.
  376. "When my other game design got scrapped and I was stuck back with the development team, I asked Miyamoto what I was supposed to do. I still remember the answer he gave me. 'Do whatever you can!' That’s what he told us! I remember thinking to myself 'That’s not helpful at all!' I’d originally been designing a board game, based around the theme of cops and robbers. I wanted to make it so that you technically had to catch the criminal within a week, but, in reality, you could finish the game in an hour. I figured I’d just throw what I already had into Majora’s Mask." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (Zelda Is Always Bringing Something New to the Table)
  377. "At the end of the production we fought against the clock and there were parts that I was forced to approve even though it didn't feel complete" —Eiji Aonuma (Zelda producer slags own game)
  378. "Wii/GC / Twilight Princess / 8,850,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  379. "It must be pointed out that during those years, Nintendo as a whole were making a concentrated effort to prevent the Japanese audience at large from abandoning videogames. The general consensus was that audiences in Japan didn’t like getting lost or having to stumble around before managing to find their way. This was considered the primary reason that 3D Mario games never managed to sell as much as the 2D ones, and even Super Mario Galaxy 2 was designed to make traversal as simple and straightforward as possible, compared to its predecessor." — Ishaan Sahdev, Why Zelda: Skyward Sword Has No Overworld, Game Design Gazette, published October 12, 2017, retrieved April 18, 2020.
  380. "Wii / Skyward Sword / 3,670,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  381. "When The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks was over, much of the staff went to develop Sword. The only ones left were Mouri-san, another programmer and I. The Nintendo 3DS wasn't out yet, but our goals was to make a Zelda game for the handheld that would follow the Nintendo DS, so for about the first year, we thought a lot about what to do." —Hiromasa Shikata ("Sounds Like an Idea That's 20 Years Old")
  382. "When The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks was over, much of the staff went to develop Sword. The only ones left were Mouri-san, another programmer and I. The Nintendo 3DS wasn't out yet, but our goals was to make a Zelda game for the handheld that would follow the Nintendo DS, so for about the first year, we thought a lot about what to do. A Link to the Past wasn't on our minds at all. We didn't even have the idea of Link entering walls. We were thinking about a Zelda game with the theme of communication. When we presented it, Miyamoto-san said, 'This sounds like an idea that's 20 years old.'" —Hiromasa Shikata ("Sounds Like an Idea That's 20 Years Old")
  383. "When we showed this to Miyamoto-san, he said, 'Let's do it.' And we were stoked, too. But before two weeks had passed, we got involved in launch titles for the Wii U." —Hiromasa Shikata ("Don't Forget Us!")
  384. "After that, I developed Nintendo Land and Mouri-san developed New Super Mario Bros. U. Incidentally, for Nintendo Land, I worked on The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest." —Hiromasa Shikata ("Don't Forget Us!")
  385. "They didn't say it in words, but in effect, they were saying, When you see this, remember this project existed. (laughs)" —Eiji Aonuma ("Don't Forget Us!")
  386. "It was right after the development of Skyward Sword had ended, so about November 2011." —Kentaro Tominaga (Direct Top-Down View)
  387. "But I always had them participate in the presentations. Miyamoto-san said that this would work for a new Zelda game, and then development started in earnest." —Eiji Aonuma (Beautiful Teamwork)
  388. "I think A Link To The Past. Do you remember Xevious? It’s two-layered and I really wanted to create that at the time. So to see Link To The Past in two layers would be quite attractive for me." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Miyamoto: “We’ll Focus More On Gaming”)
  389. "Actually, Miyamoto-san had been challenging me to do something ever since the Nintendo 3DS came out. He suggested making a 2D Zelda game like A Link to the Past playable in stereoscopic 3D. But simply taking a 2D game and making it 3D isn't interesting at all." —Eiji Aonuma (Direct Top-down View)
  390. "It didn't look different enough when you entered the wall. Then, as I was discussing various things with Tominaga-san, we considered placing the camera directly overhead and fixing it there, and we made a test version. It felt really intriguing when Link entered a wall and the view switched from a top-down view to a side view." —Eiji Aonuma (Direct Top-down View)
  391. "So I used a tool myself to render the landforms of A Link to the Past into 3D." —Eiji Aonuma (Direct Top-down View)
  392. "I wasn't sure it was right for a producer to go that far, but I thought showing the actual thing would be more convincing and made three-dimensional landforms. I had them place Link and move him around. When they saw that they all marveled out loud and were convinced that it works. When we showed it to Miyamoto-san, he finally gave the okay." —Eiji Aonuma (Direct Top-down View)
  393. "Inside our office, I've been recently declaring, 'I'm going to retire, I'm going to retire. I'm not saying that I'm going to retire from game development altogether. What I mean by retiring is, retiring from my current position. What I really want to do is be in the forefront of game development once again myself. Probably working on a smaller project with even younger developers. Or I might be interested in making something that I can make myself, by myself. Something really small." —Shigeru Miyamoto ([2])
  394. "It was two months after Miyamoto-san ripped it apart in May of 2012. The first presentation was no good, the second one was okay, the third was no good, and the fourth was okay, so it went through a cycle of bad to good." —Kentaro Tominaga (Direct Top-down View)
  395. "Iwata: A lot of people, overseas in particular, were calling for a new Zelda game for the Nintendo 3DS to come out by the end of 2013. Aonuma: Yeah. We released The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for the Nintendo 3DS, but that was a remake of a Nintendo 64 game. So when I heard people asking if we would come out with a whole new game, I really wanted to satisfy those expectations." — Nintendo, Direct Top-down View, Iwata Asks, published 2013, retrieved April 19, 2020.
  396. "A lot of the fans that played Skyward Sword said that they were really bummed out that they couldn’t find the hidden element of the game. A lot of the users, when they looked at the map, they said, ‘OK, there’s these places I can go, but how come I can’t go over here?’ I’ve always thought that when creating a 3D game where it’s easy for users to get lost, it’s really important to tell the users what they need to do. But then, after creating this larger world, I realized that getting lost isn’t that bad. Having the option to do whatever you want and get lost is actually kind of fun. I think fans that enjoy a more linear type of gameplay will also enjoy this type of gameplay." —Eiji Aonuma (How The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is learning from Skyward Sword's haters)
  397. "Every time we make a new Zelda game, we always look for a different approach, and looked for a long time. When it was time to make this game, I had the vague idea that in A Link to the Past, you could clear multiple dungeons in parallel. But when I played the game again, that wasn't very true. So I thought it would be good to do that for this game and we made it so that when it comes to the seven dungeons in the latter half, you can go to any of them as you like." —Hiromasa Shikata ("Rethinking the Unquestioned")
  398. "I thought we could use that in this Zelda game. I thought if players started by renting items cheaply, then they would want their own and work hard to collect rupees!" —Eiji Aonuma ("Rethinking the Unquestioned")
  399. "Painting Link Design Concepts: The in-game mechanic of flattening Link into a painting gave artists a lot of room to experiment with different styles, including graffiti, pop art, and fauvism, all seen above. Game play requirements for Link to move along the wall and slip between cracks prompted the artists to switch from a more straightforward perspective to a side view that emphasized the direction Link was traveling."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 302)
  400. "One Canvas, Many Styles: Deciding the style Link would be painted in proved difficult. The game's artists experimented with a wide range of techniques. A toon-style Link was considered, similar to The Wind Waker but flattened. This didn't mesh with the rest of the game's art, though. Other styles were explored, from a child's scribbles to line drawings. After they decided on a style, the question became why he would turn into a painting. This is how Yuga was born: a crazed painter who could turn people into art using magic."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 302)
  401. "That's right. When Mouri-san suddenly asked about doing 60 frames per second, I answered, "Huh? But 30 frames per second is plenty for The Legend of Zelda!" But he persisted, and when I asked why, he said it stabilizes the stereoscopic 3D." —Eiji Aonuma (Beautiful Teamwork)
  402. "We made this game with the idea of rethinking the conventions of Zelda games, and we truly did take on all kinds of challenges. The ones who undertook that were younger developers, and during development, I often exclaimed, 'We can do that?!'" —Eiji Aonuma (Eiji Aonuma)
  403. "Aonuma: Our mission in developing this new Zelda game for Wii U is quite plainly to rethink the conventions of Zelda. I'm referring to things such as the player is supposed to complete dungeons in a certain order. That you are supposed to play by yourself, the things that we've come to take for granted recently. We want to set aside these "conventions," get back to basics to create a newborn Zelda so players today can enjoy the real essence of the franchise. We had actually worked on this kind of challenge with Skyward Sword, but we weren't able to put efforts in changing the linear structure of the game. I hope to be able to talk with you in more detail about how it will change after I see it come together a bit more." —Eiji Aonuma (Wii U Direct - Nintendo Games 1.23.2013)
  404. "3DS / Link Between Worlds / 4,070,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  405. "マルチプレイのゼルダを作りたいというのは,前々から思っていたことなんですが,実際に作りましょうと動き始めたのは,「ゼルダの伝説 神々のトライフォース2」(以下,神トラ2)ができあがってからです。" —Hiromasa Shikata (なぜ今,マルチプレイなのか。そして“ゼルダのリアリティ”とは? 「ゼルダの伝説 トライフォース3銃士」,青沼英二プロデューサーと,四方宏昌ディレクターに聞いた)
  406. "Well, roughly speaking, GREZZO did most of the work on making the levels, creating enemies, dealing with the user interface and so on, while Nintendo took care of programming the main game systems and laying out the level concepts. Does that sound about right?" —Hiromasa Shikata (Tri Force Heroes Miiting part 2)
  407. "「ゼルダの伝説 大地の汽笛」で,リンクとファントムを切り替えながら遊んでいくシステムがあったんですが,僕はあれを2人で同時に遊べたら面白いだろうと思っていました。 でも青沼さんが以前,「マーヴェラス ~もうひとつの宝島~」というゲームを作っていて,あれが3人だったんですよね?" —Hiromasa Shikata (なぜ今,マルチプレイなのか。そして“ゼルダのリアリティ”とは? 「ゼルダの伝説 トライフォース3銃士」,青沼英二プロデューサーと,四方宏昌ディレクターに聞いた)
  408. "We did have Zelda: Four Swords. But, if you remember, you had to have the game link cables, so getting four people together and linking everybody up to be able to play so that you could participate was a bit troublesome. With the 3DS and wireless communication systems, it eliminates that obstacle for people to play multiplayer. So, when we were working on Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, we thought 'Hey, you know what? The time is right for us to go back and start looking at that multiplayer stuff that we want to work on. And that's really where they said ‘Okay, we've got the hardware, we have our interest now, let's do it.’'" —Hiromasa Shikata (The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes Director Talks Outfits, Online Co-op, and PVP)
  409. "システムディレクターの毛利さんですね。" —Hiromasa Shikata (なぜ今,マルチプレイなのか。そして“ゼルダのリアリティ”とは? 「ゼルダの伝説 トライフォース3銃士」,青沼英二プロデューサーと,四方宏昌ディレクターに聞いた)
  410. "神トラ2のときに,トップビューの画面で裸眼立体視を活用して高さ方向にアプローチした遊びを作ったんですが,今回はそれを別の形に発展させて,「トーテム」という,縦に積み重なって高いところにアプローチする形にしたんですね。ところがこれ,4人重なると画面から見切れちゃうんですよ。画面内に収めるためには,カメラをどんどん引かなきゃいけなくなりますし,そうするとキャラクターも小さくなってしまう。これでは遊びにくいという話になって,そこで3人という形に落ち着いたんです。" —Eiji Aonuma (なぜ今,マルチプレイなのか。そして“ゼルダのリアリティ”とは? 「ゼルダの伝説 トライフォース3銃士」,青沼英二プロデューサーと,四方宏昌ディレクターに聞いた)
  411. "裸眼立体視をしたときに4人が重なると,視差が強くなりすぎるという問題もありましたね。高さにアプローチするにしても,2段で持ち上げるというのは,4剣などの過去のシリーズでもありましたし,ネタ的にも3段がちょうどいいだろうということになったんです。" —Hiromasa Shikata (なぜ今,マルチプレイなのか。そして“ゼルダのリアリティ”とは? 「ゼルダの伝説 トライフォース3銃士」,青沼英二プロデューサーと,四方宏昌ディレクターに聞いた)
  412. "When we started, we considered using voice chat. However, the idea came up when I was playing Four Swords with someone on the development team, someone who knew the game very well. What happened was, there was a difference between someone that knew the game and someone that didn't -- the person who knew the game was pretty much just telling the person who didn't, 'Just do this. Do that.' And the other person would just follow. I didn't think that was a very fun gameplay experience. So I thought, 'Perhaps there's another way to communicate that would be fun for both parties.' Instead of voice chat, I came up with communication icons to convey the messages among the players." —Hiromasa Shikata (The Story Behind Triforce Heroes: An Interview With Aonuma and Shikata)
  413. "It's almost like the "Like" button on Facebook. When someone presses "Like," no one really knows what that "Like" implies. Going off that idea, with these icons, it's not just a direct meaning--it hides another meaning behind it. Figuring that out ended up being pretty interesting and a good feature, so we went with that idea." —Eiji Aonuma (The Story Behind Triforce Heroes: An Interview With Aonuma and Shikata)
  414. "And we have a [messaging] app in Japan called Line where you can communicate with stickers. We got some inspiration from there for the communication icons." —Hiromasa Shikata (The Story Behind Triforce Heroes: An Interview With Aonuma and Shikata)
  415. "We primarily focused on how three-player co-op would work best with the items that we chose. For example, with the boomerang, we thought it could be used to grab other players. And Gust Jars could be used to blow other players over edges that you wouldn't be able to make on your own. So when selecting and creating these items, we put an emphasis on three-person multiplayer." —Hiromasa Shikata (The Story Behind Triforce Heroes: An Interview With Aonuma and Shikata)
  416. "A Timeless Theme: Wearing the Timeless Tunic changes all of the game's music to mimic the 8-bit sound of an NES. This music was originally added to the game as a way to compress data when transferring the game to another 3DS unit for Download Play. The Timeless Tunic was created so that players could hear the tune whenever they wanted."  (Encyclopedia (Dark Horse Books) pg. 307)
  417. "ところが,2段で重なったり3段で重なったりのバリエーションもありますし,下にいる人が意志を持って動いて,上の人がそれに攻撃を合わせたりとか,息を合わせる必要のある遊びになっているんですよね。しかも,同じようなことをやっていても,毎回ちょっと違った手応えみたいなものが得られて。そこで,トーテムって3人が1個になるってことなんだなって理解できたんです。だから先ほどもお話ししたとおり,高さへのアプローチという意味はもちろんあるんですけど,3人が完全に協力することが大事だという,とてもシンプルな構造でもあるんですよね。" —Eiji Aonuma (なぜ今,マルチプレイなのか。そして“ゼルダのリアリティ”とは? 「ゼルダの伝説 トライフォース3銃士」,青沼英二プロデューサーと,四方宏昌ディレクターに聞いた)
  418. "先ほども名前の出た,僕が昔作ったマーヴェラスというゲームが,キャラクターを切り替えて遊ぶものだったんですよ。で,最初に,マーヴェラス方式で1人で遊べるかどうか試してもらって。" —Eiji Aonuma (なぜ今,マルチプレイなのか。そして“ゼルダのリアリティ”とは? 「ゼルダの伝説 トライフォース3銃士」,青沼英二プロデューサーと,四方宏昌ディレクターに聞いた)
  419. "パーツを組み合わせて自分のアバターを作り出すみたいな形で。だから僕らの頭には,マネビトという言葉が,アバター感覚のものとしては残っていたんですよ。で,「マネビトって呼んじゃっていいですか?」って僕が聞かれたんですけど,「そんなの,マネビトを作った人に聞いて」って答えるしかなくて。" —Eiji Aonuma (なぜ今,マルチプレイなのか。そして“ゼルダのリアリティ”とは? 「ゼルダの伝説 トライフォース3銃士」,青沼英二プロデューサーと,四方宏昌ディレクターに聞いた)
  420. "With regards to collecting, in the DS games like Spirit Tracks and Phantom Hourglass, each game had a component of collecting. In Phantom Hourglass, it was collecting boat parts; for Spirit Tracks, it was train parts. So this time, when were thinking, 'What can we do with three people and collecting?' it ended up being outfits. So we think we're not detouring too much from that original collecting aspect in other Zelda games." —Hiromasa Shikata (The Story Behind Triforce Heroes: An Interview With Aonuma and Shikata)
  421. "In this game, we definitely went for a more lighthearted story. We wanted to make the outfits the main part of the story, and then that drifted into the idea of people loving fashion. So the story became about a kingdom full of people who love outfits and clothes. If the story had focused on the princess being abducted or some other heavy theme, it would have deterred from the outfit aspect. Instead, we thought we could put the princess in this really unstylish outfit, and from there it turned into this light-hearted, joking story." —Hiromasa Shikata (The Story Behind Triforce Heroes: An Interview With Aonuma and Shikata)
  422. "お姫様がさらわれるとかいう話もあったんですけど,それはちょっと重すぎるだろうし,そもそもオシャレとは関係ないだろうと。じゃあ,オシャレと関係のある一番の呪いって何かな? と考えたら,それはもう格好悪くなることだなって。童話では呪いでカエルにされてしまうなんていうのもありますが,それとは違ってすごくダサくなる呪いしかないだろうと。" —Hiromasa Shikata (なぜ今,マルチプレイなのか。そして“ゼルダのリアリティ”とは? 「ゼルダの伝説 トライフォース3銃士」,青沼英二プロデューサーと,四方宏昌ディレクターに聞いた)}}
  423. "This is a draft of the Cheer Outfit. At first we discussed to go with an idol costume. The ability increases partners’ Energy Gauge, as everyone would be more energetic when getting cheering from an idol. But it seems like the image of an idol is greatly different in Japan than other countries. It turned into a cheerleader when thinking about what has easily understandable image of “giving support” in any country." —Keisuke Umeda (Zelda: Tri Force Heroes – Cheer Outfit’s idol origins, how the Timeless Tunic came to be)
  424. "Haruhana: Actually we had our share of trouble for this title as well. For a while into production, the main character was the Link used in A Link Between Worlds. But one day, Aonuma made an announcement: 'We're going with Toon Link!'"  (Art & Artifacts (Dark Horse Books) pg. 424)
  425. "The game takes place several years after A Link Between Worlds and features the same hero. Certain events bring him to the kingdom of Hytopia, where he dresses as he does in order to hide his heroic origins. There's no telling where the other hero candidates come from, but the player character you control is the true Hyrulian hero from A Link Between Worlds." —Nintendo of America (Fans asked the developers of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes: “Where does the game fall in the series timeline?”)
  426. "これはいろいろと議論があったところなんですよ(笑)。そもそも海外でのタイトルである「トライフォースヒーローズ」が,今年のE3の時点で決まっていました。「トライフォース」というのは英語圏だと,ゼルダの中に出てくるものとはちょっと違うニュアンスでも受け止められている言葉なんですよ。軍隊の中のチーム名を「○○フォース」なんて呼ぶじゃないですか。" —Eiji Aonuma (なぜ今,マルチプレイなのか。そして“ゼルダのリアリティ”とは? 「ゼルダの伝説 トライフォース3銃士」,青沼英二プロデューサーと,四方宏昌ディレクターに聞いた)
  427. "候補としては,「3勇士」なんていうのもあったんですけど,これまでのゼルダのイメージとはちょっと違うものにしたいという思いもあったんです。それで「3」という数字を聞いたときに,一般的に思い浮かべるのはやはり,あのフランスの有名な小説の題名でもある「三銃士」だろう,と。これなら,今までのゼルダとは違うイメージにもなるし,今回のタイトルにとってはいいんじゃないかということで決まったんです。最終的な決め手は,略すと「トラサン」になるというところでしたけどね(笑)。" —Eiji Aonuma (なぜ今,マルチプレイなのか。そして“ゼルダのリアリティ”とは? 「ゼルダの伝説 トライフォース3銃士」,青沼英二プロデューサーと,四方宏昌ディレクターに聞いた)
  428. "3DS / Tri Force Heroes / 1,330,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  429. "A lot of the fans that played Skyward Sword said that they were really bummed out that they couldn’t find the hidden element of the game. A lot of the users, when they looked at the map, they said, ‘OK, there’s these places I can go, but how come I can’t go over here?’ I’ve always thought that when creating a 3D game where it’s easy for users to get lost, it’s really important to tell the users what they need to do. But then, after creating this larger world, I realized that getting lost isn’t that bad. Having the option to do whatever you want and get lost is actually kind of fun. I think fans that enjoy a more linear type of gameplay will also enjoy this type of gameplay." —Eiji Aonuma (How The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is learning from Skyward Sword's haters)
  430. "Art Director, Satoru Takizawa: Producer Aonuma-sann declared that we would be revising expectations by updating Link for this game. He wanted Link to be a more neutral character that players could see themselves as. You can feel how energized and excited the artists were about this idea from the really interesting modern concepts they drew. There were close to one hundred designs presented within the team for Link, and the number of sketches was too great to count."  (Creating a Champion pg. 63)
  431. "The Power of the Tri-Caster: Din's Drum, Farore's Bass, Nayru's Keyboard, and the Sacred Tri-Caster! His magical abilities make him popular with the ladies!"  (Creating a Champion pg. 63)
  432. "Takizawa: There's a message board that only our development staff can access, and the team posted a LOT of interesting ideas there. Many were design-related suggestions that came in after Aonuma-san spoke about reconsidering the conventions of the Zelda series and about how to approach creating a massive world that matched that direction. Some of our younger designers came up with very unique suggestions... like the ideas that UFOs could invade from space and abduct cattle, or that giant weapons could battle with laser beams while Link ran across the battlefield between them. They actually used the development tools to make sample videos that they submitted with these proposals." —Satoru Takizawa (The Making of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Video – The Beginning)
  433. "Senior Lead Artist, Character/Item: Yoshiyuki Oyama:The Link of this game was to be a traveler from the frontier who exudes a sense of adventure, which is why there are a lot of designs that feature capes and bags. At the beginning of development we drew lots of landscape concepts. Link wearing blue clothes appeared pretty early on because the blue stood out against the backgrounds we were producing."  (Creating a Champion pg. 63)
  434. "Eiji Aonuma: Link is the game's protagonist, so I've always thought we need him to look cool. Yet, if we overdo it, the people playing the game might feel they're controlling an already accomplished hero, which I felt could get in the way of the players immersing themselves in the game. For that reason, this time I decided we should make Link a more neutral character in a variety of ways. We thought that the iconic green tunic and hat had become expected, so we wanted to mix things up and update his look. Interestingly, though, nobody on the team said, "Let's make him blue!" It just organically ended up that way."  (Creating a Champion pg. 61)
  435. "While doing PBR (physically-based rendering tests), we tried our hand at creating common cityscapes as well. We threw models from previous games into our new development environment and tried some HD mockups. [...] This new Wind Waker art really stood out from the other HD mockups and really captured the imaginations of the lead artists on Breath of the Wild, myself included." —Satoru Takizawa (Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  436. "We encountered an awful lot of problems from the drastic leap we took with Wind Waker. I think we will be a bit more careful in the future, but if we find a new approach that not just the developers, but also the users would enjoy then I think we will want to break new ground again. But we haven’t found such an approach yet." —Eiji Aonuma (Aonuma: Nintendo will be “a bit more careful” choosing Zelda art styles in the future)
  437. "The Wind Waker art style in its depiction of form, feel of materials etc. is very stylized. One of our goals was to have the art intuitively suggest possible physics and chemistry gameplay based on the player's own experiences in the real world. The problem with TWW art style was, the lies it told were too big. There was also another concern with The Wind Waker art style. The concern was if older players could look at the screen for just an instance and understand everything they were seeing, they might feel the art was intended for children and was not for them. So, basing the art on something easy to tell lies with, like the Wind Waker art, we could more easily guarantee function more conforming to playability and more easily construct the reality within the game. Above and beyond that, we needed to suggest things anyone could do in the real world, so we needed a certain level of realism and we needed an information-dense, mature art style." —Satoru Takizawa (Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  438. "The Wind Waker art style in its depiction of form, feel of materials etc. is very stylized. One of our goals was to have the art intuitively suggest possible physics and chemistry gameplay based on the player's own experiences in the real world. The problem with TWW art style was, the lies it told were too big. There was also another concern with The Wind Waker art style. The concern was if older players could look at the screen for just an instance and understand everything they were seeing, they might feel the art was intended for children and was not for them. So, basing the art on something easy to tell lies with, like the Wind Waker art, we could more easily guarantee function more conforming to playability and more easily construct the reality within the game. Above and beyond that, we needed to suggest things anyone could do in the real world, so we needed a certain level of realism and we needed an information-dense, mature art style." —Satoru Takizawa (Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  439. "After the Zelda team showed the Wii U Zelda demo that we called the Zelda HD Experience at E3 2011, we continued to experiment with converting past Zelda art styles into HD as we continued to consider graphical styles for the new game, but in fact felt as if it had been transformed into something entirely new. The reason I wanted to show you these pictures today is because our new Zelda title looks like it is going to take some time to complete so I wanted to report that while you're waiting for that game to release we intend to offer you The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, reborn on Wii U, to play in the meantime." —Eiji Aonuma (Wii U Direct - Nintendo Games 1.23.2013)
  440. "Well, we started in earnest around January of 2013." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (The Making of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Video – The Beginning)
  441. "In reality we didn’t start from the concepts of 'open-air' or 'returning to the essence' we just wanted to make a game in a big, continuous world focused on exploration and discovery. Early on while considering these concepts 'open-air' and 'returning to the essence' were the words that seemed to fit the ideas best, and they became the vocabulary with which Mr. Aonuma and the staff discussed them. You progress through the world, see interesting terrain and other elements, create hypotheses and expectations about the things you see, and experiment. You try something and you get the reaction you were envisioning. After repeating this for a time the player grows, that’s the cycle. That sort of experience is the real pleasure, the essence, of Zelda and from the beginning we really just wanted to create a game where that could be savored again and again, that was our guiding principle." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (Interview: Breath of the Wild Director Talks Speed Runs, Critic Response and Future of Zelda)
  442. "Our first step in designing the game was to reexamine these conventions, and put our sights on changing the structure of the game from a passive one (where you play within the confines of a pre-prepared mechanism) to one where the user can actively engage with the game. So what is an active game? Our first approach was to remove those impassable walls, which were a convention of Zelda, by transforming the walls and allowing the user to climb them in our experimental game field. By transforming walls, which were used to represent boundaries, into another optional path, it's as if the entire landscape that lays before the user opens up, asking them 'So, which path are you going to take?' At was at this point I realized that this was the kind of game design I was striving for, and holds the potential to create this 'active game' I had envisioned." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  443. "And so, naturally, after you make the climb to the top of a tall mountain and look down, there's only really one thing you can do. You jump. By introducing an action whereby you can glide through the air with an item, once you climb you can fly to wherever you want. I felt this was the crucial ingredient that would expand the sense of freedom in the new Zelda." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  444. "And when I started to think this way, what came to mind was the original NES Zelda. Doesn't this just sound like the original Zelda? A game where the user can think and decide on their own where they want to go, and what they want to do, and experience excitement and adventure. I thought to myself, 'Maybe what I need to do to create such a game is to go back to the essence." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  445. "In Breath of the Wild, where you have an environment where things are rounder and rockier, it’s really hard to create that auto-jump function. That meant we had to let it go. We really wanted for Link to climb up things, but it wasn’t fun to create an auto-climb function. By contrast, it was really fun to have Link actually grab on things, and then being able to control that climbing motion. That’s why we needed to introduce jumping, so Link could jump up on things and start climbing." —Eiji Aonuma (Why Nintendo Had to Destroy Tradition to Create the New 'Zelda')
  446. "My response to Mr. Miyamoto and Mr. Aonuma was: You can do everything. But I had to sell it to them. How we’re going to make this happen. And I felt like the best way to convey this idea to them was to show them that you could climb walls. We put rupees at the top of the tree to let them know that this is something we’re taking into account, but I didn’t tell them. All I did was say, ‘Here, play the game.’ So the first thing [Miyamoto] did was start climbing, and he climbed the tree, and once he was able to do that and see that he can go anywhere within this small field, he got how this game will play out and that’s how I presented it to him. When we first presented this to Mr. Miyamoto, he spent about an hour just climbing trees. We left little treats like rupees on the trees, but we also left other things in other places we thought he might go. But he just kept climbing trees. Up and down. And so we got to the point where we go, ‘Do you want to look at other stuff?’ But he just kept on going. Once [he] got out of the Shrine of Resurrection, he spent an hour just within a 25-50 meter radius outside of that cave just climbing trees." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (When Miyamoto First Played Zelda: Breath of the Wild, He Wouldn't Stop Climbing Trees)
  447. "With Zelda games, what we’ve always done is, we’ve always tried to make them a game where you enter this big world of Hyrule, and there’s a lot to explore and discover; but because of the hardware limitations, what we always had to do was segment off each area and piece those segments together in a way that made them feel like a big world. But now with the hardware capabilities of Wii U, what we did was, we first started by saying, ‘well, let’s see what we can do if we take an entire world the size of the world from Twilight Princess and just try to make that as one area on the game.’" —Shigeru Miyamoto (Miyamoto On How Nintendo Are Designing The Legend of Zelda’s World On Wii U)
  448. "米津氏は,ゼルダの伝説BotWにおける地形デザイン(=フィールドレベルデザイン)において,開発チーム内で「フィールド三角形の法則」と呼ばれた手法を適用していったことを紹介した。何やら難しそうなキーワードだが,基本的には「プレイヤーを楽しませるための,地形デザインに対するひと工夫」といったものである。ゼルダの伝説BotWでは,地形の起伏や自然物の配置にあたって,それらをプレイヤーが見たとき,基本的には三角形に見えるよう設計したと,米津氏は言う。たとえば,目の前に山や丘のような起伏が立ちはだかったとすると,プレイヤーは登るか迂回するか,進行ルート分岐の選択を迫られる。大袈裟に言えば,「探索に対するプレイヤーの意志決定が試される」わけだ。三角形は先端に視線誘導をさせる効果も高いので,山や丘の頂上に,何らかの特異物などを配置することで,そこに興味を促すこともできる」とも,米津氏は述べていた。最終的に開発チームは,プレイヤー視点から見える「情景の三角シルエット効果」に対し,3つの役割を想定してレベルデザインを行うことに決めたのだそうだ。大きな三角形は,山や山脈といった大規模な地形として設定する。かなり遠くからも見える「ランドマーク」的な役割を与えたという。中くらいの三角形には,ある地点地点からさらに遠方の情景や施設,自然物を隠す「遮蔽」としての役割を与えた。最後に小サイズの三角形は近距離を遮蔽するくらいの岩や起伏がメインで,こちらは局所的な探索を促すような,ゲームの「テンポ」を司る役割を与えている。小サイズの三角形は,左右スティックの頻繁な入力を促すことになり,ゲームプレイ時の遊び応えに直結すると,米津氏は述べていた。" — 西川善司, [CEDEC 2017]「ゼルダの伝説BotW」の完璧なゲーム世界は,任天堂の開発スタイルが変わったからこそ生まれた, 4Gamer, published September 2, 2017, retrieved April 22, 2020.
  449. "米津氏は,フィールド三角形の法則の応用拡張編となる(?),四角形および台形の遮蔽効果についても言及している。三角形とは違い,四角形は,そこに向かって歩みを進めていっても,段階的に何かが姿を現すようなことはないが,一方で「突如として向こう側が開ける」効果は狙えるという。ゼルダの伝説BotWにおいても,敵の唐突な来襲や,実はここにこれが隠されていました的なサプライズを与える要素として利用したようだ。一方の台形は,四角形と三角形,両方の効果をもたらしやすいとのことである。" — 西川善司, [CEDEC 2017]「ゼルダの伝説BotW」の完璧なゲーム世界は,任天堂の開発スタイルが変わったからこそ生まれた, 4Gamer, published September 2, 2017, retrieved April 22, 2020.
  450. "氏は,規模感の仕様設計にあたって,「3つのものさし」を考えたと述べている。具体的には「距離感」と「密度感」,そして「尺感」だそうだ。距離感は,「ゲーム世界の広さ」に相当するものだ。任天堂にとって,ここまで大規模なオープンワールドゲーム(≒オープンワールド地形)を手がけたことは初めてだったこともあり,「実感を伴った知見」は持ち合わせてはいなかったのそうだだ。そこで,藤林氏らは,地形デザインに携わるアーティストなどと一緒に,任天堂の地元である京都市内を,地図片手に歩き回ったのだとか。基本的に3Dゲームの場合,ゲーム世界のスケール感はほぼ現実世界に近く,また移動速度も現実世界の人間に近い。そのため,実際に京都市内を歩いたときの「市内の距離感」を基準にして,これから作ろうとするゲーム世界の広さを割り出そうとしたわけである。" — 西川善司, [CEDEC 2017]「ゼルダの伝説BotW」の完璧なゲーム世界は,任天堂の開発スタイルが変わったからこそ生まれた, 4Gamer, published September 2, 2017, retrieved April 23, 2020.
  451. "3つめの尺感は,あまり聞き慣れないキーワードだが,藤林氏によると,「ゲーム世界に配置した1つのゲーム要素にプレイヤーが消費する時間」のことである。長さの策定にあたっては,「京都の地図を実寸で再現した,評価用のゲーム世界」に対し,1分の1スケールの観光名所建造物を配置して,その中や周辺を歩き回って所要時間を調査し,そこから,各種ゲーム要素に想定所要時間を求めたそうだ。歴代のゼルダシリーズと比べて,1つあたりのダンジョン探索所要時間が短くなっているゼルダの伝説BotW。筆者などは,「歴代作品と比べて,圧倒的にダンジョンの数が多いからだろう」などと単純に思っていたのだが,まさか実際には,“リンクに清水寺を探索させて”決めていたとは……。" — 西川善司, [CEDEC 2017]「ゼルダの伝説BotW」の完璧なゲーム世界は,任天堂の開発スタイルが変わったからこそ生まれた, 4Gamer, published September 2, 2017, retrieved April 23, 2020.
  452. "そこでゼルダの伝説BotWにおいてはまず,「ゲーム世界の広域情報を獲得できる要素」である「塔」を誘導「点」としてゲーム世界に点在させ,そこに向かわせる「動機付け」として,さらに,塔と塔の間を移動するとき,ゲームイベントに遭遇できるようなデザインを盛り込んだのだという。しかし,効果がなかったわけではないものの,この設計だけでは不十分だと,藤林氏はテストプレイヤーの感想から感じたという。塔と塔の間をまじめに街道沿いに辿った人は「一本道感がある」印象を受け,そこをあえて外した経路を辿った人は,ゲームイベントへの遭遇が希薄だという印象を抱いたのだそうだ。そのため,「悪い意味で体験がバラバラ」(藤林氏)になってしまったという。この結果などを踏まえて,開発チームは,改善案の模索を始めた。「ゲームシナリオ側の都合や強制感」をそれほどは感じさせず,プレイヤーは「自分の意思で経路を選んでいる」「探索している」と確信させつつも,実はゲームシステム側に都合よく動いてもらえているような,何かいい仕組みはないか。その結果として生まれたのが,「引力」という概念だそうだ。もちろん,引力と言っても万有引力のことではない。藤林氏は,「プレイヤーにとってお得であるがゆえに,そこに向かいたくなってしまう力」を引力として定義していた。" — 西川善司, [CEDEC 2017]「ゼルダの伝説BotW」の完璧なゲーム世界は,任天堂の開発スタイルが変わったからこそ生まれた, 4Gamer, published September 2, 2017, retrieved April 23, 2020.
  453. "In Japan, there are companies that offer playtesting services, and we did hire them with a rather diversified panel of testers who could play [the game] very intensively. We also ran playtests with Nintendo staff that were working on completely different projects in order to hear their opinions. Given the number of people involved with playtests, I asked that we create a PC tool that would display a map upon which the journeys of 100 players would appear live, with a mark every hour. It was really funny because there were as many ways of playing as players. When I'd notice some lines thickening out, meaning that several players all went to a certain place at one point or another, I would ask them why they'd gone there. They'd answer "because there was this" or "because I found that" and more often than than not, it was something that hadn't crossed my mind at all or that I hadn't seen in such a light as we developed the game, but that seemed really amusing. It allowed us to detect places no one would go to because it wasn't practical, so we could modify them, add a road, or change the topography later on in order to make them more attractive. It was a really enlightening map to observe in order to track statistics and make every part of the world interesting." —Eiji Aonuma (Eiji Aonuma : "un Zelda où l'on prend plaisir à se perdre")
  454. "遠くから見える特徴的な地形は,「何かあるのかも」と,プレイヤーの探索意欲をそそるので,強い引力があると言える。同様に塔は遠くからも見える施設で,ゲーム世界の広域情報を手に入れるのに有効なため,やはり探索好きなプレイヤーを引きつけることになるだろう。一方で「このゲーム世界で,体力的に強くなりたい」と考える人は,クリアすると確実に成長する「ハートのかけら」がもらえる「祠」(ほこら)のほうに,より強い引力を感じることだろう。「武装的に強くなりたい」なら,珍しい武器が比較的手に入りやすい,モンスター達の要塞(=敵基地)のほうにより強い引力を感じるかもしれない。またゲーム世界が夜になると,自発光する施設が目立つようになるので,引力も変わってくることになる。" — 西川善司, [CEDEC 2017]「ゼルダの伝説BotW」の完璧なゲーム世界は,任天堂の開発スタイルが変わったからこそ生まれた, 4Gamer, published September 2, 2017, retrieved April 23, 2020.
  455. "Nintendo has revealed that the open world in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is 12 times larger than the map in Twilight Princess. During a presentation at E3, Nintendo also revealed that the demo of Breath of the Wild shown at E3 -- which contains a large portion of open field as well as several enemies, Shrines, and more -- represents just 1% of the game’s total size" — Andrew Goldfarb, E3 2016: Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s Open World is 12 Times Bigger than Twilight Princess, IGN, published June 14, 2016, retrieved April 23, 2020.
  456. "Around 45 of these employees went on to work on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which lines up with Takahashi’s statement. For example; a bunch of Lead Level Designers that were responsible for Mission and Field design in X are credited for “Game Design” in Zelda. 13 artists that worked on Icon Design in Xenoblade Chronicles X were also given the opportunity to work on dungeon and landscape art in Zelda. Meanwhile, 9 environment artists from Xenoblade Chronicles X that worked on background modeling were tasked with landscape modeling and structural art in Zelda." — Ishaan Sahdev, Where Did Monolith Soft's Staff Go After Xenoblade Chronicles X?, Game Design Gazette, published February 19, 2018, retrieved April 23, 2020.
  457. "We talked a little bit about the idea of density, how dense do we make this big world. As we were developing it, we realized that filling [Hyrule] with things to do and explore is going to be a lot of work. It’s going to take a lot of people and a lot of time. But when we actually started doing it and experienced things like moving around on the horse or climbing up to a high place and paragliding down, we realized that our desire to see what’s ahead was more than just wanting to see what’s in the world. So in that sense, we realized that it’s kind of OK if there are pockets of emptiness." —Eiji Aonuma (6 Cool Things We Learned About Zelda: Breath of the Wild at E3 2016)
  458. "In the past I've also actually said that I have played Skyrim, so it's not necessarily that I don't play games. But we don't look at it from, 'Oh, what kind of things can we take from this game?' It's more of like, 'How can we prepare for this? What should we expect from games like this?' And so we also think about how many people we might need, or how we can make it improved, or with the number of people. We would collect data and then work and see what worked, what didn't." —Eiji Aonuma (How Skyrim Influenced Breath Of The Wild)
  459. "“There may even be times where you forget what your goal is because you’re doing other things on the side. There may be times when you go into one big long dungeon, or there may be times when you’re headed to a dungeon and you’re doing other things along the side. But what we’re trying to do is design it in a way that you don’t necessarily have to sit down and play it for a super long time, but kind of more matched to today’s lifestyle, where you can think for a little bit and say, ‘oh, I just want to play for a little bit today and do this one thing,’ and get that done and take a break." —Shigeru Miyamoto (Miyamoto On How Nintendo Are Designing The Legend of Zelda’s World On Wii U)
  460. "" — (Why Miyamoto Didn’t Want to Call Zelda: Breath of the Wild An Open World Game)
  461. "It's not a stretch to say that the object that made up of each of [the puzzles in past Zelda games] were made specifically for those puzzles. This, of course, allows us to finetune and polish the gameplay experience. But unfortunately, it requires a lot of resources, and this method of development by addition was not going to work for the new Zelda. So my next thought was, 'I wonder if I can take this idea of multiplication and apply it to the mass production of these puzzles.' Make the game so that objects react to the player's action, and the objects themselves also react to each other. If we could do this, I felt we might be one step closer to creating an active game." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  462. "By transforming walls, which were used to represent boundaries, into another optional path it's as if the entire landscape before the user opens up, asking them, 'So, which path are you going to take?' It was at this point that I realized this was the kind of game design I was striving for, and holds the potential to create this 'active game' I had envisioned. And so, naturally, after you make the climb to the top of a tall mountain and look down, there's only really one thing you can do. You jump. By introducing an action whereby you can glide through the air with an item, once you climb, you can fly to wherever you want. I felt that this was the crucial ingredient that will expand the sense of freedom in the new Zelda. After witnessing [how] a simple multiplication of the player's action and field create an infinite possibiity of gameplay through one movement, I came to the conclusion that this concept of multiplicative gameplay is the answer I was looking for." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  463. "Many puzzles in Zelda games are based on things like natural phenomena or simple science facts that don't require a lot of prior knowledge, but with the way we had been building games thus far, we had been using each of these individually as clues or hints to solve puzzles. It's not a stretch to say that the object that made up of each of [the puzzles in past Zelda games] were made specifically for those puzzles. This, of course, allows us to finetune and polish the gameplay experience. But unfortunately, it requires a lot of resources, and this method of development by addition was not going to work for the new Zelda. So my next thought was, 'I wonder if I can take this idea of multiplication and apply it to the mass production of these puzzles.' Make the game so that objects react to the player's action, and the objects themselves also react to each other. If we could do this, I felt we might be one step closer to creating an active game." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  464. "I thought the quickest way to bring this idea to life and to present this to the rest of the team, would be to create it in 2D. So I brought the character data to the technical director, Mr. [Takuhiro] Dohta, who will be coming up after this, and asked him to make it. As you can see, this is a 2D Zelda, but we used this as a way to experiment with the mechanisms I was talking about earlier. So you could say this is a legitimate prototype of Breath of the Wild. This prototype does not include any puzzles. All we did was provide a situation involving a river and some trees. But the user is then able to think for themselves and create a path forward. In this simple setup, there was only one rule: there is a situation and a goal. Can you reach it? And when the player's diverse actions, items, landscape, and objects that react in different ways are multiplied together using this simple rule, an active game was created where countless different events occur, for which the user can freely create solutions. And through this kind of simple, primitive experimentation, we made the call of what to change and what not to change, to complete the basic game design." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  465. "On the other hand, if we're telling lies, what use do we have for the laws of physics? I think it's so we can build a sense of trust between the player and the game. Players encounter in-game events they've observed in the real world and come to believe in the game's particular set of rules. And that's the basis for the clever lies we tell in games." —Takuhiro Dohta (Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  466. "In these last three months, as the team has experienced firsthand the freedom of exploration that hasn't existed in any Zelda game to date, we have discovered several new possibilities for this game. As we have worked to turn these possibilities into reality, new ideas have continued to spring forth, it now feels like we have the potential to create something that exceeds even my own expectations. As I have watched our development progress, I have come to think that rather than work with meeting a specific schedule as our main objective, and releasing a game that reflects only what we can create within that scheduled time, I feel strongly that our focus should be to bring all these ideas to life in a way that will make The Legend of Zelda on Wii U the best game it can possibly be." —Eiji Aonuma (Wii U - The Legend of Zelda Development Update – 3/27/2015)
  467. "I think there’s different reasons for delays. One could be that the direction just hasn’t been decided, which is probably the worst kind of delay. And the other is that the direction has been decided but putting that into reality—implementing that—is taking time. So it might have taken us six months to do this much. It’ll take us a year to do that much. In terms of Breath of the Wild, we implemented many things like the physics engine and the AI and the type of graphics that we use. We had to make sure that design has enough time to create that. It just dawned on us that we’re not able to do that in this schedule. That’s what we realized about two years ago. In this instance, we never really experienced this, so that’s why we had to delay it." —Shigeru Miyamoto (The Makers of Zelda On Why Their Games Are Usually Late)
  468. "The Jōmon period in Japanese history was the inspiration for the Sheikah Slate, shrines, and all of the other objects and structures in the game. We ended up taking that aesthetic and using it as a base to expand upon for the game's ancient civilizations. The reason for this was because the Jōmon period is relatively unknown to much of the world. It has a nuance of mystery and wonder that we fouund really appealing. We were looking for something that would feel unique, and settled on Japan's Jōmon period as a result." —Satoru Takizawa (The Making of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Video – The Beginning)
  469. "Lead Artist, Enemies: Takafumi Kiuchi: The art director gave me two directives in regard to the design of the Guardians. The first was that they should have many legs that move fluidly, and the second was that they are from an ancient culture. From there, I started sketching. At the beginning of development, it wasn't yet decided whether the Guardians would be your allies or enemies, so I tried to design them to look neutral. That way, they could be used either way. As far as the legs moving fluidly, I designed legs that could bend freely like an accordion and would allow them to move quickly over variable natural terrain. I used Jomon-era flame-shaped pottery as inspiration for its body. If you look at a Guardian upside down, you should be able to see the form of that pottery. In addition to the Guardians that ended up in the game, there was a design for a giant, fortress-like Guardian that was equipped with multiple beam cannons, but we were ultimately unable to implement it."  (Creating a Champion pg. 205)
  470. "Senior Lead Artist, Landscape: Makoto Yunezu: At the beginning of the project, I had thought about how I wanted to create some element of ancient Japanese culture somewhere in this Zelda game. From there, the connection between ancient Japan and shinobi was folded into a Sheikah village, which led to the concept behind Kakariko Village. It was built around the motifs of Japanese mountain villages with terraced rice fields, as well as other elements such as stone statues of frogs to capture the ninja essence."  (Creating a Champion pg. 257)
  471. "Senior Lead Artist, Landscape: Makoto Yonezu: As we were in the process of creating the cities and people of every region of Hyrule, we thought that if we showed fragments of a civilization that collapsed long ago, it would make the world feel more real. That's why we added Zonai relics throughout Hyrule. The ruins are primarily animal themed, but with the history of the Triforce from an ancient perspective in mind. The designs are symbolic—using dragons (courage), owls (wisdom), and boars (power). And yes, their name is a pun. 'Zonai' is a take on nazo, a word meaning 'mystery' in Japanese. (laughs)"  (Creating a Champion pg. 342)
  472. "Satoru Takizawa: During production, there were a number of things that I focused on expressing visually because we couldn't express them in other ways. Smell is one of them. A gaming console can't simulate a sense of smell, but I talked with the terrain and effect designers about how to creat a world that gave you the impression of a smell. For example, in the real world, there is a very specific smell right before it rains. I wanted to creat the illusion of that smell with the visuals in this game. At the same time, I focused on creating a world where imitation sounds could be communicated. I wanted the onomatopoetic sounds of humidity, mugginess, or dryness to be felt and conveyed without suund effects. If we could simulate senses like smell and touch through visual information, the world would feel truly alive, and that was one of our biggest goals."  (Creating a Champion pg. 419)
  473. "前作の「ゼルダの伝説 スカイウォードソード」では、体力を表すハートマークや持っているルピーの額、操作方法のアイコンなどはかなり大きく表現されているが、本作ではうって変わってとてもシンプルな物となった。これは、ぱっと見て変わったと感じてもらうことに加え、オープンエアーとなったゼルダの世界に没頭してもらうことが狙いだった。なのでUIのアートコンセプトも「なければない方がよいUI」となった。" — 岩泉茂, 【CEDEC2017】限りなくシンプルなUIを目指した「ゼルダ」。オープンエアーの世界における表現とは, Game Watch, published Sep 2, 2017, retrieved May 31, 2020.
  474. " そしてシンプルな表現の元になったのが「ゼルダホワイト」と呼ばれる色使いだ。これは真っ白よりも若干黄色がかかった色で、すべての画面にこれを使うことで統一感を出した。この色はロゴやパッケージデザインにも使われたので、今作全体にさらなる統一感を与える結果となった。" — 岩泉茂, 【CEDEC2017】限りなくシンプルなUIを目指した「ゼルダ」。オープンエアーの世界における表現とは, Game Watch, published Sep 2, 2017, retrieved May 31, 2020.
  475. "まずはグラフィックスだ。邪魔せず、悪目立ちをしないで存在感を抑えることを目的として設計。情報をまとめて、見るべき場所を減らし、邪魔しないよう作られた。全体的にサイズを小さくし、存在感を抑えると共に、アイコンも縁線をなくしてべた塗りにするなどし、クセを排除して悪目立ちをさせないように考えられた。起動した際のメニュー画面も選択肢を大きく表示するのではなく、余白を生かしたデザインに。すっきりと見せることを心がけた。武器や防具の選択画面では見慣れたルールを採用すると共に、初見でもわかりやすい構図を利用した。そしてシンプルな表現の元になったのが「ゼルダホワイト」と呼ばれる色使いだ。これは真っ白よりも若干黄色がかかった色で、すべての画面にこれを使うことで統一感を出した。この色はロゴやパッケージデザインにも使われたので、今作全体にさらなる統一感を与える結果となった。次にフォントだ。過剰な演出を置き換えるため、白抜きや縁なし、単色塗りといったものにして装飾要素がゼロになるよう心がけて制作された。大きさも、日本語については極太で展開し、海外向けのフォントは社内で制作された。日本語版フォントは力強さと懐かしさを共存させるよう、カタカナには「ロゴGブラック」、漢字には「ラグランパンチ」とフォントの種類をそれぞれ変更。斜体をかけることでテキストが引き締まって読みやすくなるよう設計されている。このフォントに合わせてロゴも設計され、こちらも統一感を出した。そしてUIの仕様・設計についてだが、常に表示されるのではなく、必要な時に表示される方向へと変更された。これにより画面から圧迫感が消えた。しかしこれでも、ゲームを進めていくと徐々に常時表示されるUIが増えてきて画面に圧迫感が出てきたため、海外チームより「もっとなくして欲しい」と言われ、プロモードを作成。この画面ではゼルダの世界をより感じられるようになり、没入感が強まることとなった。" — 岩泉茂, 【CEDEC2017】限りなくシンプルなUIを目指した「ゼルダ」。オープンエアーの世界における表現とは, Game Watch, published September 2, 2017, retrieved April 23, 2020.
  476. "And regarding the Nintendo Switch version, it was spring last year when we made a firm decision to also release on that platform. Obviously that required some adjustments to the development process and changes to be made, and to continue developing the Wii U version alongside Nintendo Switch, that was spring last year [2016]." —Eiji Aonuma (A Brief Update on Zelda Wii U)
  477. "We felt that the way the Sheikah Slate is represented in the game and how we use the GamePad in real life synced really well. So when we had to remove it, I did feel like, ‘Oh, it’s too bad we had to do that.’ And because it was so tied into the scenario, we did have to go back and redesign and rethink the scenario, which was a little bit [of] hard work." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (Hookshots, Wii U Maps, And Other Things Nintendo Cut From Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  478. "I also have to think a lot more about what fans want more than before because of the Internet and social media. I have a lot more access to what fans are saying and I interact with them more. I think that's very important, and I also think that's something I want to do more of. For that specific reason, we made Miiverse Zelda communities, and I hope people continue to post on there because I'm reading it every day." —Eiji Aonuma ('Zelda' Producer Talks Fans, Legacy and New Games)
  479. "These sketches illustrate an early idea to have a dog that would be Link's navigator companion. Wolf Link did not end up serving as a navigator, but the idea of a canine companion fighting monsters with Link came from these initial concepts."  (Creating a Champion pg. 65)
  480. "So the horses in Breath of the Wild is actually a dedicated programmer and dedicated designer. They spent four years creating the horses. They weren’t just making horses—they were in charge of [all] animals. And they made it so that it just really feels natural and smooth and it feels good for Link to be able to hop on the horse." —Eiji Aonuma (5 Favorite Things about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Nintendo Minute)
  481. "As the graphic fidelity has increased it becomes more difficult to make that hat look cool. As the game becomes more realistic it's difficult to present it in a way that's appealing. If you look at Twilight Princess, I really made the hat long, so it would flap in the wind and move around. But because of that people were like 'What's he got? What's in that hat?" —Satoru Takizawa (Why Link doesn’t have his iconic, pointy hat in Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
  482. "I actually already had the concept of an open-air world in mind back when we were making The Wind Waker. There, the idea manifested as a vast ocean through which players traveled from island to island by boat. You could pick a destination far away and work to get there, so in that sense you could call it an "open air" environment. But in the end, we weren't able to include many islands due to hardware limitations. I knew I wanted to try to make a massive world in which players could go anywhere someday. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough people back then, and that type of project takes time, so we weren't able to get the ball rolling. This time, though, we were sure we could do it because we were blessed with a great team, and there were a lot of people putting thought into making it happen." —Eiji Aonuma (The Making of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Video – Open-Air Concept)
  483. "I'm working on a new Legend of Zelda game now. One thing I've realized as I've been working on it is that a lot of the things I want to do with this new 'Zelda' game are things I thought of while making Twilight Princess. I can't talk specifics, but to me, Twilight Princess was a starting point, making it possible to do what I'm doing now." —Eiji Aonuma (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Retrospective – Episode 4: Reborn on Wii U)
  484. "There was a logic behind having no music in the open world. In the trial and error process I even tried having the music from Twilight Princess playing in the world. But because this game is open on a much grander scale than previous games, I thought that even if we had a piece of music in there, it wouldn’t be able to match that sense of inspiration the player already finds in that world. When a composer makes a piece of music he has a plan and idea of how he wants to player to feel, but if this insistence is too strong it can have an effect on the actual game. We would end up forcing a feeling of intensity onto players. The music would be all stirring and dramatic, but then the player would think: ‘hold on a minute, all I did was throw away a mushroom..." —Hajime Wakai (Breath of the Wild composers on changing up Zelda’s music formula and much more)
  485. ""Wakai: We ended up deciding we would express the game with just with the environmental noise and the scenery, because we thought this would be better. We stopped using the phrase ‘World BGM’ and replaced it with ‘Environmental BGM’. It wasn’t just environmental noise and it wasn’t just BGM, but the environmental noise becoming the BGM."" —Hajime Wakai (Breath of the Wild composers on changing up Zelda’s music formula and much more)
  486. "In the past I didn’t play many video games. But then I realized, this isn’t right, I have to. So nowadays, I actually play a lot of overseas titles. While playing [Skyrim, Witcher 3, Far Cry ], I do find some ideas, but it’s not that it connects directly to Zelda to where I would take something and use it in Zelda, but it’s more of something I keep in the back of my head while developing the game." —Eiji Aonuma (The big Zelda: Breath of the Wild interview)
  487. "Monster Hunter 4. I was playing it in the lobby this morning. I play with three of my directors every day at lunch." —Eiji Aonuma ('Zelda' Producer Talks Fans, Legacy and New Games)
  488. "Unfortunately, the fishing rod does not make an appearance. We tried to not include items this time around that had only one function. That’s why there’s nothing in the game called a 'fishing rod'. That being said there are many ways to catch fish so we hope you’ll see what you can come up with." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (Interview: Breath of the Wild Director Talks Speed Runs, Critic Response and Future of Zelda)
  489. "We had this idea of including tiny people. Since this is a 3D game, we could have all these tiny-sized towns, and Link himself could shrink. We thought it'd be super fun if we had all these tiny characters all over the place... but with all these other characters that stand out, we thought it would be difficult for these little guys to be able to live out their own place in the game. So we really wanted to have them in there for the gameplay, but we sadly had to give up on the idea." —Hidemaro Fujibayashi (The Making of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Video – Story and Characters)
  490. "I think the base of our secret sauce has always been Ocarina of Time. But this time, the change in flavor will be like going from Japanese food to Western style food. Perhaps, players will be surprised. Please look forward to it, because I think we’ll be able to make ‘something new’ like Ocarina of Time was." —Eiji Aonuma (A Brief Update on Zelda Wii U)
  491. "It didn't come from me at all, sorry! It was a logical choice since, as you walk around in the game's world, you pick up many different ingredients that we can eat as-is, but we thought it would be interesting to be able to mix them together for strengthened effects. Mixing ingredients is one of the basics of cooking and it felt natural to prepare meals in-game. It felt logical to us, but the first time my son, a Zelda fan, saw the trailer showing that we could cook, he found it weird! What might seem logical to some, might not be so to others, and no matter what might be said, I didn't insist on the integration of this gameplay idea." —Eiji Aonuma (Eiji Aonuma : "un Zelda où l'on prend plaisir à se perdre")
  492. "The organisation of 300 people was really made at the very end of the development so I don’t want to exaggerate this too much. This kind of thing [game development] happened normally in the past; in the era where a small number of people could develop game software. When that has grown to a large number exceeding 100 people, anyone would have only thought that it’s 'impossible,' so I don’t think it’s that surprising. However, if we’re looking at a simple way of thinking such as cost-cutting, it becomes 'no way [it could happen],' so at the start of the development I also had a bit of resistance with the viewpoint of a producer. But when we actually tried doing that, it makes quality control smoother, and on the contrary I also actually felt that it connects to cost-cutting, so we decided to go through with this until the end." —Eiji Aonuma (EIJI AONUMA‘S RESPONSE TO SEEING THE VIDEO OF LINK PARAGLIDING THE WHOLE MAP IN BREATH OF THE WILD AND ON THE 300 STRONG DEVELOPMENT TEAM)
  493. "Aonuma: The feeling that the world kept getting bigger whenever I got on a horse was actually quite similar to the sensation I had the first time I rode a motorcycle. That made me want to ride around Hyrule on a motorcycle [laughs]. I asked the staff if we could try doing just that, but they told me it would break the game, and I was immediately denied. So I gave up initially, but later, we were talking about how there wasn't a reward for players who played all the way through the last DLC, 'The Champions' Ballad.' I figured it was my last chance, so I tried again, telling the team, 'Since the player has played all the way to the end of the game, and this is the final reward, it is okay if it breaks the game a little bit. Let's add a motorcycle.' At first, everyone was pretty unenthusiastic about the idea, but I pressed on, saying something about making it in the image of a Divine Beast that Link can ride, to which they responded that it would be confusing if there was another Divine Beast since the others are necessary to defeat Calamity Ganon. Somehow, I got them to add the Master Cycle Zero to the second DLC. Of course, it had to be an off-road bike to be able to drive across this world. I was happy that the staff eventually really got into the idea despite their initial reluctance. The programmers actually went out and bought a motocross bike to ride and only started designing once they understood what an off-road bike felt like. Still, since it's a fictional world, I thought we shouldn't pursue a purely realistic portrayal. I would often talk to them about ideas like wanting the bike to make a vroom sound when opening up the throttle. I mean, I had this very specific idea of a special-effects-heavy movie hero in my head, tokusatsu-style [laughs]."  (Creating a Champion pg. 424)
  494. "NSW/Wii U / Breath of the Wild / 18,010,000" — Ishaan Sahdev, The Legend of Zelda - Global Sales, Game Design Gazette, published January 31, 2018, retrieved April 26, 2020.
  495. "You know, I can't speak to what other people, other companies will do in their own games, but I think for me, especially just in terms of the Zelda series, the incredible freedom that this game offers you and how well that's been received…to me, it means that freedom, that level of freedom is something that needs to be maintained in Zelda games going forward. My eyes have been opened to how important that is. So one of the things that we definitely consider is that we always wanted to make sure the player could understand what their challenges or what their hurdle is. We always wanted to make sure the challenge could be challenged. So we always wanted to make a linear way of [overcoming] a hurdle. So for example, if there was like, ‘you can't do this because you don't have the right tools' or 'you don't meet the certain requirements,’ players are going to not want to do that anymore. So we wanted to very much incorporate that. Going forward, I think we would definitely consider that way of thinking when we create something in the future." —Eiji Aonuma (Zelda: Breath of the Wild Director, Producer Discuss Speedruns, Shrine Skips)