Aonuma Made Majora’s Mask because He Didn’t Want to Remake Ocarina of Time Dungeons for Master Quest
Posted on February 13 2015 by Rod Lloyd
Satoru Iwata recently sat down with Zelda franchise director Eiji Aonuma to chat about Majora’s Mask 3D for the newly-revived Iwata Asks interview series. In the interview, Aonuma explains the specific circumstances behind the decision to develop Majora’s Mask for the Nintendo 64 in the first place. As some fans may already know, the idea for Majora’s Mask sprouted from the development of Ocarina of Time Master Quest on the ill-fated Nintendo 64 Disk Drive. Aonuma explains that the idea more specifically stemmed from his disinterest in repurposing old dungeons for the project, and his somewhat rebellious tendency to develop entirely new dungeons in secret.
Iwata begins the interview by asking Aonuma about the original Majora’s Mask‘s development:
“Iwata: First let’s start by asking you about the Nintendo 64 version. If I remember correctly, the development for Majora’s Mask began when somebody requested that it be made in one year.
Aonuma: You’re right. 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
Iwata: At the time when Ocarina of Time came out, there was a plan in the works of releasing Master Quest for 64DD.
Aonuma: Correct. 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.”
The initial decision to release Master Quest makes a lot of sense considering Ocarina of Time‘s three year development cycle. Miyamoto requested that a new Zelda game be developed in a year, and a reworked version of Ocarina of Time made the most sense.
However, Aonuma explains that he began to grow disinterested and bored with the process of repurposing already-existent dungeons:
“Aonuma: 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.
Iwata: To Aonuma-san, you just made the ultimate dungeon, so you didn’t want to ruin a perfect formula.”
Aonuma then reveals how he rebelliously began work on entirely new dungeons, under the nose of his superiors:
“Aonuma: …So 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.”
This story really shows the innovative heart of Aonuma, who pushed himself to move out of the ordinary with Ocarina of Time and create something entirely new with Majora’s Mask. It also shows how receptive Miyamoto was with Aonuma’s ideas, as he could have easily dismissed the development of a completely new Zelda game in favor of the safer Master Quest option. I’m glad they decided to push forward with Majora’s Mask, as the year 2000 would have been far more disappointing with just the release of Master Quest.