Those who have followed the development of the Zelda storyline through the years may have noticed a fairly steady trend: writers and directors of Zelda games, when they work on multiple installments, tend to make their works related to one another in the series chronology. The tendency first started with A Link to the Past and Link’s Awakening, which were both written and directed by Nintendo legends Kensuke Tanabe and Takashi Tezuka, respectively, and continued through the rest of the series. With this tradition in mind, what might this say about the upcoming Skyward Sword, directed by Hidemaro Fujibayashi, who has had a long history with the series so far?
Mr. Fujibayashi started his work with Zelda with Flagship’s Oracles titles for GameBoy Color, which he directed. The Oracles games of course introduced the iconic Oracle characters while also bringing back a few old favorites like Malon, Twinrova, and Ganon. While we’ve since heard that the Oracles aren’t particularly important to the timeline, they didn’t go without influence on later Flagship Zelda titles. Four Swords brought back the Roc’s Cape and Magnet Gloves and Minish Cap featured cameos from the Oracles themselves.
It’s commonly held that the next Zelda game Mr. Fujibayashi led after Oracles was Four Swords, and that The Minish Cap didn’t come until a few years later. Research on Minish Cap, however, indicates that its development began in 2001, just after the release of the Oracles games and before Four Swords’ conception. It would have been the first original Zelda adventure on the GameBoy Advance, but Nintendo later shelved it for the multiplayer project. After finishing Four Swords, Flagship went straight back to work on Minish Cap.
Curiously, the original logo for the game depicts the Master Sword in place of the Four Sword. Bearing in mind that Minish Cap began its development before the idea for Four Swords had ever come about, it seems likely that the Master Sword would have been the main sacred sword at this point in development. Presuming that the “sword origin” story was still a part of the plot at that time, it seems clear that Minish Cap was at one point meant to tell the origins of the Master Sword. Skyward Sword has now picked up that old story concept, falling in line with the tradition of Zelda directors to lead stories that have some storyline relationship to one another.
As for whether the relationship between Minish Cap and Skyward Sword will run any deeper than that: it’s hard to say for sure. It’s absolutely certain that the original Japanese script stated in the ending that it was supposed to be Link’s “first adventure.” This placement was edited out of the English editions, which underwent a revision process by Nintendo’s Treehouse team, and seems to have since been forgotten. It’s therefore up for debate whether Minish Cap should fall within that general region of the timeline or sometime later on, especially after Aonuma has twice mentioned Ocarina of Time as first in reference to Skyward Sword‘s placement, while ignoring Minish Cap altogether. As some have speculated, however, there may yet be some surprise related to Minish Cap that Aonuma can’t reveal to us just yet.
Regardless of Minish Cap‘s final timeline placement, however, it seems Fujibayashi’s plans for a Master Sword origin story are set to come to fruition. While Minish Cap isn’t one of the crown jewels of the series, it still had a strong sense of charm and did a good job of retaining the classic Zelda feel, so we can only hope that Skyward Sword will inherit more than just its old plot ideas and a few scattered cameos.
Source: IGN reports on Minish Cap, Feb 2003
The Skyward Sword Speculation Series is a new regular column that will focus on speculated possibilities for Skyward Sword‘s gameplay and storyline. The idea came from a general speculation article we published in the wake of E3. While we try to make our guesses based on confirmed or suggested facts, bear in mind that they are still just that – guesses – and may or may not prove to be true, or even at all accurate.