Posted on July 04 2013 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
How about this for a twist of events. While the original Wii U tech demo of Zelda was definitely based upon the Twilight Princess art style, Nintendo told us it wasn’t indicative of the Zelda U art style. That’s no real surprise given how The Wind Waker occurred in the wake of the Spaceworld 2000 GameCube Tech Demo. However, one of the main reasons The Wind Waker HD came to be was that they were testing art styles for Zelda U and The Wind Waker just looked so good they decided to simply remaster it for the Wii U as a tide me over until Zelda U. What we didn’t know previously was that Nintendo also gave the same treatment to Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. However, as we all know… Nintendo is not releasing an HD remake for either of those experiences. From an interview at Wired:
Wired: So let’s talk about the Zelda games that are on the table right now. Of all the Zelda games that you could bring back and do an HD version of, why Wind Waker? What is it personally about Wind Waker for you that you wanted to reintroduce it? Because I always liked Wind Waker. I think when it first came out there were a lot of voices that said “I don’t like this direction Zelda is going in,” but I think time has shown that it’s a really timeless game.
Aonuma: When we looked at creating a Zelda for Wii U, there were so many possibilities given the HD graphics. But rather than starting from zero, we actually ran a few tests. We tried converting other console games to Wii U. We actually did this with Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. And the result of that was, hmm, those are semi-realistic representations of the Zelda world so we weren’t really surprised with what we got. But with Wind Waker, when we converted that to HD we were really surprised at how great it looked.
We actually started thinking, maybe it was too soon to create that graphic style with the GameCube because of the limitations of the hardware. And we’re finding that we’re able to do what we wanted to do: The vision that we had then was being created thanks to the system specs and the HD graphics. It feels like we’re really able to create the complete Wind Waker experience on Wii U. In addition to the graphics, we’ve also got the GamePad and there’s lots of other pluses that we’re finding in converting to the Wii U system.
When I suggested moving forward with Wind Waker HD, internally there was actually a lot of pushback. The reason for that is, people were saying, “Oh, that Link. People didn’t like that Link.” But in talking to our counterparts in the U.S., that wasn’t actually the case, people didn’t have that negative reaction maybe anymore to that younger Link.
It appears, internally at least, there were actually a slew of people that didn’t want The Wind Waker HD to happen. The real question that remains is what impact this had on Zelda U‘s direction. Since The Wind Waker HD exists, it’s unlikely we will see that art style in Zelda U. We now know for certain that they also converted Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, leaving those as possible directions for the series. It’s also important to note how the internal opposition toward The Wind Waker HD could potentially mean that going with the more “realistic” Twilight Princess style would face fewer internal hurdles.
Later this year we are getting The Wind Waker HD, for which we are preparing our The Wind Waker HD Walkthrough for those that like the ease of using guides. What this all entails for the future of the new game on Zelda U is left up in the air. What do you all think?