Aonuma explains “Swift Sail” for The Wind Waker HD

AndrewAugust 8th, 2013 by Andrew

Wind-Waker-HD red sailAs Nintendo prepares to release The Wind Waker HD for Wii U this October, much interest has arisen across the internet over the possible changes that this updated version has from its 2003 original on the GameCube.  In several interviews and Nintendo Directs, the company has expressed that one aspect which will change is the ability to sail faster through the use of a new “swift sail” available to obtain as an item.  Today, Eiji Aonuma, producer and current director of the Legend of Zelda series, has provided new details about this sail which are quite noteworthy.

Fly to the jump for more details!


On Miiverse, following the Nintendo Direct, Eiji Aonuma provided clarification about what effect the addition of this red sail will have on the core gameplay of sailing around throughout the title.  It seems that this item will allow one to not only sail faster, but also at full speed, regardless of the wind direction.  Here is the full post:

“Hello, members of the Zelda Community! This is Eiji Aonuma of Nintendo. It’s great to be posting here again.

In the Nintendo Direct video that aired today, we announced new information on the soon to be released The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. I would like to take this opportunity to talk about things that we weren’t able to include in the announcement.

The Nintendo Direct video showed a glimpse of the Swift Sail (red sail) that allows the ship to go faster. Those of you who played the original may have noticed, but not only will this sail make the ship go faster, but it will always be full of wind, meaning you’re now able to control the ship to any direction you want, without having to use the Wind Waker to change direction of the wind.

…Some of you may wonder whether this can still be called a sailing ship, but along with this sail and the nautical chart displayed on the Wii U GamePad that works like a car nav, it’s now become much easier to travel to the small islands and salvage points scattered around the great sea. Even if you struggled with sea exploration in the original, I think you’ll have a blast exploring the great sea once more.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD will launch this October.

The always energetic Toon Link and the great, open sea is waiting for all of you to set sail. Thank you!”

-Eiji Aonuma, Producer

Personally, while I enjoy the idea that there will be a faster means to traverse the Great Sea throughout the game, I am worried that this could detract from the more “nautical” simulation present in The Wind Waker on the GameCube.  I understand Aonuma’s argument, and I certainly feel that it will be much easier to collect items and such like a true explorer, however, I am a fan of the slower paced nature of sailing in the original game, which is more representative of reality.  Even so, I’m still interested to try out these new features, and I cannot make an accurate judgement before playing the game myself.  Who knows?  I may grow to like it more than the sail in the original title!

What do you think?  Do these facts interest you?  Are you excited to test out the Swift Sail for yourself and collect items much faster than was possible in the GameCube game?  Let us know in the comments section below!

Source: GenGame (via Miiverse)

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  • jugglaj91

    “which is more representative of reality.”
    Good thing you have a choice then. No one is forcing you to use the swift sail, it is there for those who want to go a bit faster.

  • TrenchCoatGallifreyan

    Having spent hours maneuvering into tight spots to hunt for treasure, I can say this is definitely going to be useful.

    Still waiting for Zelda U before I get the WiiU.

  • Keith Speidel

    The sail seems optional and would seem like it shouldn’t be included on first play through, but rather as an incentive for that second play through like pajama link.

    • Spencer Tinnin

      I think he said sometime earlier that you can’t get it too early in the game and you have to either buy it later or do some trading quest

    • Andrew

      I would agree.

  • Franklin Howell

    I dig it. I dig it immensely.

  • Tehlul

    Very useful in the case of the forsaken fortress

  • Tweedlebean

    I liked the sailing. It wasn’t nearly as boring as the train in spirit tracks. The only thing I feel this will help is the triforce piece collection, which was tedious as hell.

  • Perry Dunetz

    honestly? all it’ll do is make it that we don’t have to change the wind when we wanna turn, which in my opinion is a good thing

  • Phantom_Roxas

    The Swift Sail is honestly my biggest reason to be excited for this. I kind of get what you’re getting at with the slower pace of the sail being closer to reality, but come on, considering how you can talk to your boat and make the very winds your plaything, I really don’t think that a faster boat is the least “realistic” thing. And honestly, a faster boat is a GOOD thing, because the sailing is boring as all hell in Wind Waker, and I found the train in Spirit Tracks more exciting, although that could be because I just have a bias towards Spirit Tracks.

    I wasn’t even considering the fact that you have to change the winds all the time, so the fact that they’re making the sail so amazing that it doesn’t matter what direction the wind is in is a godsend. And yet, despite the fact that there is literally nothing bad about the Swift Sail, I expect it to be so good that Wind Waker purists lose their mind because it makes the game “easier”, even though all it’s really doing is making the game less tedious.

    • The Logic Breather

      yeah it’ll make it a heck of a lot easier to travel the “eye grotto” islands

  • The Master Sword

    just because of the swift sail, that doesnt mean you have to use it. you can go old school change the wind if you want to.

    • bs8814

      Go make a cup of tea while waiting ;) Well, thats what I used to do.

      • The Master Sword

        or start playing a ds game of some kind. for me, it would be pokemon, mega man or… zelda!

      • Linkfan99

        I just would close my eyes and listen to the music. Or sometimes play another game. :P

      • The Logic Breather

        I had fun just by moving the camera in circles looking at the dramatic angles trying to make toon link feel bad@$$

  • Mikeyboss182

    The Swift Sail sounds fantastic my biggest complaint with The Wind Waker was the sailing, it was fine at first but became more and more tedious as the game went on and trying to locate all those Treasure Chart chest’s in the Great Sea took me hours and was just not fun because you move so slowly.

    I think this is a great addition and can’t wait for the game.

  • The Logic Breather

    I never had much trouble with the sailing, however I did get sort of tired of being in the water with nothing to do in the overworld. THAT was the problem with Wind Waker, lack of extra content in the overworld. We blame the sailing because it was boring and it took too long to get to the places with stuff to do. What I really think ticked people off was that there is a long period of nothing but sailing immediately after the 2nd dungeon and it feels like you’re sailing loops around the entire overworld. This stretch is long, boring, annoying(sooo many peahats), and leaves us with a horrible impression of the overworld and the sailing mechanic. Even more unsatisfying is that the reward for all of our hard work is jumping straight into the 3rd dungeon. That’s a long time without a break for relaxation and that’s why nobody likes sailing in Wind Waker.
    Afterwards you do get the ability to teleport, but not to every island individually, only the main plot related islands. So you would have to sail to the less important islands after you never wanted to step foot on the boat ever again at this point. The other problem is that later you find out you’re not done with the sailing. Now you’ve got to do another stretch of sailing everyone complains about dubbed “the triforce quest” which is even more stressful because you now have to sail to most of the islands that you can’t teleport to. This part of the game isn’t a complete shipwreck however, because you now have access to the entire overworld and can really do all of the relaxing and exploring you want to before going to fight the final boss. However there are very few island left that you haven’t been forced to travel to and they aren’t that exciting. Which is probably why the “boring overworld” problem really exists. The problem could have easily been fixed if there was more than one island per tile or something more entertaining than barrel jumping or fishing for rupees and out of place pirate watch towers.
    I think that the swift sail will be nice for people trying to finish as quickly as possible, but I still think it doesn’t fix the real problem. It only makes the lack of more content more tolerable. With that being said I still think Wind Waker makes the top 5 IMO just because the story, characters, and side quests were really entertaining to me. This game has some of the most memorable dungeons and boss fights I think and I spent countless hours on the windfall statue and forest haven photography side quests.

    • MarkRodkin

      Ditto on not being able to explore the sea right away, thus making sailing feel like a chore instead of an adventure. What I really hated was when first getting the getting the WW on Dragon Roost, and (what I thought) was the ability now to sail anywhere by changing the wind, you actually couldn’t then immediately explore the whole sea, which felt like a ripoff. I was prepared to do that, even knowing the next place you were supposed to go was Forest Haven, but the King of Red Lions prevented you from straying too far from the “right” path. While I know that’s common in other Zelda games, at least there’s geography behind it (a blocked path, etc); in TWW, it’s an open sea, and the only barrier to exploration is just a prompt that comes up on screen saying (essentially) “you can’t go that way.” Never sat right with me. At least but some fierce opposite winds/whirlpool to block off the directions you’re not allowed to go (similar to OoA), but really, you should be allowed to sail anywhere you want. So what if you waste hours in areas you can’t so anything in yet, I’ve never complained that a Zelda game was too long or had too much exploration

  • sportpak

    So, everyone’s gets to win a ribbon now, that’s fantastic. The game was/is great the way it was made. Why dumb it down for the people who felt it was too hard before. I prefer the original method. While it was tedious and bothersome once in a while, it was still me playing the game. Why can’t we just buck up and work a little bit. Sheesh

    • TheLastAirbender

      It wasn’t that it was hard. It’s that it was annoying. Having to change the angle all the time wasn’t difficult, it was annoying. They are fixing a thing many people had issues with.

  • GerFubDhuw

    Wouldn’t full speed at all time actually make it harder to locate and pick-up the treasure? I found it much easier to use a slightly slower wind to pick up treasure since I could manoeuvre more easily that way.

    Still this is a good feature although personally I’d say more warp locations would have been better. Getting to the Forsaken Fortress was a pain since you warped inside of mother and child island. Actually that could have been solved with a one way exit from Mother and Child Island, like a water fall or something.

    • Draven

      The game will still have cruise. Use that.

  • MarkRodkin

    Don’t really care about a faster sail

    But changing wind direction without the titular Wind Waker? FAIL

    Next they’ll replace the Master Sword in OoT with an Uzi, to make things “much easier”

  • TopherChico

    I’ll be happy with this sail only if it’s obtainable after you’ve completed more than half of the game. I want to be forced to sail properly to start, and at some point, obtain the new sail for the ease of completing the 100% exploration factor.

  • Nintendo4Ever

    so why do we need a wind waker anymore?

    • mwc1985

      To use the Deku Leaf for gliding…..all three times you do that.

      • K

        Treasures chests spawn to the song. You don’t have the upgraded sail at the beginning because it’s just that, and upgrade. The Wind Waker in general also has other melodies as well. The item still will get a lot of use.

        • mwc1985

          I was joking. I know it will still get used. I already pre-ordered a long time ago and super excited to play it.

  • TwiliTetra

    But then… One of the Wind Waker’s main uses, ISN’T useful anymore.

    • TheLastAirbender

      … In the second half of the game.

  • TheIvoryDingo

    Who knows, maybe it’ll be something you don’t necesarily HAVE to use.

  • CheatMasterK

    I hated how slow sailing was, so I’m really okay with this.

  • HappyLink

    I played WW for the first time recently, and I have to say I LOVE everything about. It’s become one of my favs. The funny thing is I enjoyed all the sailing throughout the entire game as well as the triforce quest. It’s probably because I’m an extremely patient person by nature, not like all of you impatient gamers. Also, the longer sailing trips were a great time to have a snack or water break :)

    • HappyLink

      And inevitably, my comment gets down voted by impatient gamers LOL.

  • HerosShade

    since slow sailing was boring after a while, i guess this is okay. but the experience of really navigating the great sea should not be replaced. as long as this “swift sail” is as option, im game.

    • K


      1. Stop with the real gamer talk. It’s not like it makes the game any harder or anything. It just makes it less tedious. So everyone is a real gamer until they unlock it and make use of it? Don’t be ridiculous. Just because people are not playing like you doesn’t make them any less of a gamer. Should people do speed runs, you know, and actual challenge like I am considering to be a real gamer? Of course not.

      2. Majora’s Mask has the NPCs operate based on the time of the 3 day system. If they take that out how will the game work. Please think about it…

      • HerosShade


        i was being very sarcastic the whole time. the “real gamer” talk was true to how i feel, but purposely exaggerated. and as for majora’s mask, i know what i said was ridiculous – that was the point.

        • K

          Gotcha. Can’t really agree with how you go about this though. Sarcasm in a post is hard to read. Not sure how the Majora’s Mask comment being that crazy proves any points.

          • HerosShade

            you make a good point. i will be sure to write posts more thoughtfully from here on out.

          • EyeOfSheikah

            People on the Internet… Working their problems and disagreements out… By talking it out…?

            I’ve seen it all.

    • asmith

      Real gamers? You need some Jimquisition in your life.

  • Igos Du Ikana

    Good job Anouma accommodation for something that was not a mistake is a great idea. It is little nit pickey things like this that get so much attention when there are other areas where the series could obviously improve. That was a defining part of the game and people can not like it, but still its not something. I am tired of them trying to make the series all inclusive by slowly sacrificing things that people who would not normally like a Zelda game would find annoying in order to boost sales. Considering this is not working in any way shape or form is even more distressing. This is not an improvement its like adding a quick complete feature fr someone who would rather not be playing that type of game in the first place.

  • Calanekeeps

    It’s strange, for a long time I was under the impression that most Zelda fans disliked how slow sailing was and how you had to change the direction of the wind all the time, but I was horribly wrong. Every site I go to, almost everybody is angry about the swift sail and saying they loved the way things were before… Huh… I guess they should take this feature out. It would appear that most fans would be happier that way.

    • skullkids

      why take it out,the already incredible sailing will be even faster and more enjoyable with it

      • Timmy Rossow

        Don’t like sailing? It’s this thing called “BALLAD OF GALES”. Maybe you should meet it sometime.

  • Xaragon

    I am 99.99% sure that this swift sale will be entirely optional. Even in gameplay footage, the HUD implies that you can switch sails with the press of a button. For those who want more realistic slow sailing, simply toggle the standard sale, or don’t get the swift sail. People who find traditional sailing boring or a tad too slow, they may use the swift sail. It is a win win situation so stop complaining.

    • Xaragon

      *swift sail

  • Merylas

    … I think I should learn to just stop reading these articles. Every time I read something new about WWHD, I become more and more disappointed that Nintendo is investing resources into this versus… ANYthing else. And now they made the Wind Waker, the Title-naming item f the game, next to useless in The Legend of Zelda: THE WIND WAKER. Now… its only use is really to direct Toon Link to the Lost Forest and to control Makar/Medli/The Goddess Statues.

    • TheLastAirbender

      But, you only get the faster sail in the second half. And you don’t have to use it. So, really, the Wind Waker is a big part of the first half, and a smaller part of the second half.

      • HappyLink

        YES!! ATLAB and Zelda fans unite!! :D

  • ILikeLink

    I like that you can sail faster, but I don’t like the whole not-changing-the-wind idea. That’s the whole point of the Wind Waker. I mean, the game’s titled after it. That’s like having the game automatically play Zelda’s Lullaby in Ocarina of Time when you step on a triforce.

  • Shane

    Guys, this will be only give out half way of the game. You’ll still be using the Wind Waker a lot.

    • Shane

      Even with that, it should be an optional item at a shop, most likely where you got the sail in the original game. Nintendo ain’t that stupid.

  • bluelink121

    I realy dont care about the sail itself, its another SIDEQUEST! yay!

  • thejuniorinho

    Zeldadungeon, may I suggest that when this game comes out you do a walkthrough of it? Either this one or the original, it wouldn’t matter. You could also do the same for A Link to the Past when Link Between Worlds comes out? There hasn’t been one since the Majoras Mask walkthrough.

    • TrueMasterSwordWielder

      They already have a Wind Waker walkthrough available. But considering there was no Swift Sail in the original, they’ll either update it or make one for WWHD.

      • EyeOfSheikah

        He probably meant a video walkthrough

        • thejuniorinho

          Lol yeah I did mean that. Sorry for the confusion.

    • Oracle of Sages

      What do you mean there hasn’t been one since Majora’s Mask? They have walkthroughs for all 16 games at the top of the website.The Skyward Sword one was published very shortly after the game itself was released. And they will probably update the current WW walkthrough when WWHD comes out like they did with OoT when the 3DS version was released.

      • Timmy Rossow

        Not all of them. When you hover over Walkthrough for Four Swords, it says Coming Soon.

  • Ryan

    I hope there is an Original Mode in this game. I loved Wind Waker the way it was.

    • LOZ

      What do you mean? With the sails or the salvaging. Because if you mean the sails just never use the swift sail!

      • Ryan

        I mean the GameCube game in its entirety with HD graphics. This sounds like the easy mode version of the game.

        • LOZ

          OH so its the triforce charts and salvaging the shards, Well i totally disagree but i am a very impatient person. So for me collecting the triforce charts was one of my least favorite parts of wind waker.

        • TheLastAirbender

          It’s not easy mode, it’s less boring mode. Grinding for rupees and going out into the ocean to search for things is not a good way to set up the final boss.

        • Timmy Rossow

          I agree with Ryan. Putting Wind Waker in HD is like taking the pixels out of the Legend of Zelda (the original); it just wouldn’t be the same.

          • Ryan

            I want the HD graphics, just with the original gameplay. Kinda like what they did with Donkey Kong Country Returns on 3DS. New mode and original mode.

    • Timmy Rossow


  • LOZ

    I will LOVE this because having the wind always at your back O_O. The wind was always a problem for me having to change it and failing (many times) trying to get somewhere with the deku leaf (not really related to sails) but i had the same thing on my boat too so yeah.

  • Andrew

    Has it not been stated that this a secondary and optional sail that can be switched between? That way all the pureists can play the way they want with the fast option for those more prone to sea sickness.

  • LOZ

    Am i the only one that realised that this person in the pic has the salvage arm AND the grappling hook equipped? Does this suggest that the grappling hook and salvage arm and bombs and cannon are 2 different items?

    • Timmy Rossow



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  • hollander

    eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh fasteerrrrr

  • itsameluigi1290

    Sailing around at the speed of swift, got islands to go gotta FOLLOW MY SEAGULL, can’t stick around gotta keep sailin’ on, just what lies ahead only ONE WAY TO FIND OUT.

    i’m so sorry you can down vote me now ;^;

    • The Logic Breather

      Now really can escape from the sea!!!! lol

      • itsameluigi1290

        You mean escape from the sea-ty– /shot

  • TommyJim

    I’ll stick to the original sail, but thanks for trying Nintendo.

  • NIMPAK1 .

    I think they should at least balance the swift sail by making it so you have limited movement while using it so you can still get to islands faster without making the Wind Waker completely useless. On the other hand being able to sail faster with more mobility does sound like a lot of fun and would make me wanna go sailing without necessarily needing to sail to anywhere just because it’s fun. But on the other hand having infinite magic would also be a lot of fun especially for the deku leaf because its limited magic severely crippled its usefulness, but magic is also an essential part of the game and getting rid of it would also mean getting rid green potions/chus and any challenge of having to use limited magic.

    Maybe if you got the swift sail in an optional dungeon I would mind as much, because we’ll get an optional dungeon plus swift sailing!

  • NotGonnaBuyThisOne

    I guess I am in the minority, because I have always thought Windwaker was a flawed game. The sailing was boring. The “Great Sea” was an open expanse of nothing. You could set sail for your destination and walk away for 5-10 minutes and nothing would have happened.

    Many of the quests were not intuitive. Collect 20 fortune necklaces and give them to the school teacher to progress in the main quest? Obtaining a larger wallet as part of the main quest? Really? I’m all in favor of optional, or side quests, which is what these things feel like in every other game.

    Wind Waker is not one of my favorites, in fact, the first time I played it, I gave up on it because the sailing was just so boring. I hadn’t figured out that you literally cannot progress in the game without defeating the toad in the tornado.

  • MistyMonster

    …….. So why is it called the WIND waker if you can’t even use it to control the wind…?

    • Dragon Ball Zelda

      You can, and you do. The normal sail still needs wind, it’s just that the “Swift Sail” doesn’t.

      • MistyMonster

        Oooooh it’s optional. Sorry, my mistake :)

        • MistyMonster

          Though I still just don’t really see the point, since I never minded the sailing. I don’t think it’s as bad as people make it out to be.

  • AshesofHyrule

    This is one of those issues that if it was in the original game, it would’ve been more of a problem, but the fact that this is an remake of the original, it is only natural that developers would include a little bonus to help gamer who were not too pleased with the constant sailing.

    I really don’t see a problem here and it’s a little confounding that people would become so annoyed at the developers for including a completely optional item that is meant to ease some frustration that was widely reported on back when the game was first released. You really cannot blame the developers; the criticism was there to be taken as feedback and if you really view it an issue, you simply do not have to use it.

    I myself loved sailing and changing the wind directions, but for the final quest of the game, which this item was specifically designed to cater to, yes I found it very repetitive as I was eager to commence the final showdown with Ganon. This item will probably not become available until some point near that section of the game, so it would be a perfect balance. Even if it is available earlier on, it is completely optional, so I don’t see even the slightest problem here.

  • Timmy Rossow

    The way I see it, Zelda is Zelda (really? No way!). You can’t change Zelda and still have it be the good old Zelda that you first met when you were a kid. In essence, this “Swift Sail” is like adding a motor to the King of Red Lions, which modernizes the whole thing. You might was well give Link a rocket launcher and be done with it (actually, that would be a cannon in the game; the Phantom Hourglass cannon is terrible: so many bombs!!!).

    One thing I do approve of, however, is when I enlarged the picture accompanied with this article, I noticed how you can use the control pad to use items that are a must when sailing (wind waker, for the ballad of gales, cannon, no explanation needed, and grappling hook, for when you need to search for stuff). In the original, I always had to make sure I had the sail set on the Z button, wind waker on Y, and one (1!) weapon equipped on X. I would even have to switch out some stuff if I wanted to grapple for something, and by then I either have to use ballad of gales to escape or fight them off without any escape means. The B button, which was automatically equipped with sword, was dimmed when sailing. However, in the new version, B button is assigned to the sail automatically when you climb into the King of Red Lions.

    Other than these things, I think the new version will be great, unless Nintendo decides that we need more side quests (literally, I’ve been doing them for years, and I still haven’t finished them all), or, worse, more main quests and stuff you need to do.

  • AwesomeHylian

    Yeeeeeeeeees! Once I got to the point where I could ignore that I didn’t like the graphics, the fact that sailing was so slow but required for multiple long, repetitive quests was very irritating and almost caused me to stop playing multiple times. This add-on makes me much more intrigued about the new game and more likely to buy it later.

  • wrendalex

    I think its silly to put in the swift sail when the original had the ballad of gales.

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