The Legend of Zelda series has a penchant for innovation and trying new things, as this is the very core of Nintendo’s being. This is apparent from first glance at many of the franchise’s titles; even from looking at box art or game manuals for these games, one finds a plethora of artistic techniques and styles, from the extreme dark shadows of Majora’s Mask, to the Hollywood gritty brown of Twilight Princess. Nintendo doesn’t utilize many styles just for diversity’s sake, each style and look of the games are meant to reflect the mood and atmosphere of each game. For example, the cartoon-like cel-shading of Wind Waker evokes the feeling of a playful, light-hearted story, then pirates show up, your sister gets kidnapped and suddenly you find yourself on a grand adventure. Plus the style of the characters match the style of the characters in the scroll of the game’s prologue, giving the player a feeling that they are filling in the unfinished portion of the story.
With such a simplistic style, it was easy to make a vast ocean without having to use special water effects that would just take up more space on the disc.
What are some of your favorite art styles in the Legend of Zelda franchise? Why are they your favorite? Do they help the game set atmosphere? How do they help the design of games?