Part two of the roundable of Nintendo powerhouses, featuring Satoru Iwata, Shigeru Miyamoto, Toshihiko Nakago, and Takashi Tezuka sharing thoughts and laughs about New Super Mario Bros Wii. Naturally, the topic of conversation occasionally strayed to the Legend of Zelda world, including words on the original Legend of Zelda almost not coming out for the NES/Famicom, its simultaneous creation with the first Super Mario title, the sharing of ideas between the two, the origins of heart pieces, and more. Plenty of interesting non-Zelda stuff in there, too, such as Nakago and Miyamoto’s sleeping habits, why the clouds and bushes in Super Mario Bros. are the same thing, and the design choices behind Mario’s signature hat and mustache.
Tezuka: I don’t really remember when we first began Zelda. (laughs) But I know it started with the dungeons.
Nakago: At the very start, we were developing the game using the arcade system. You mentioned it a little earlier, Iwata-san…
Iwata: We’re talking about the Nintendo Vs. System, right?
Nakago: I remember that we started out using the Vs. System.
Iwata: So it wasn’t originally made for the Famicom Disk System20.
Nakago: Right. Anyway, as Tezuka-san just said, it began with the creation of the structure of the dungeons. There were about five mountains on the screen and you’d go into the middle of them and there’d be a dungeon. That was all there was to it.
Iwata: So at the start it was a game where you only went around dungeons.
Nakago: That’s right. But partway into the development process, we thought: “It would be better to have over ground sections as well.” So we began to make these sections afterwards.
Tezuka: At that stage, we were making faster progress in developing Zelda, so we all thought it would come out before Super Mario.
Iwata: Really? So at one point it looked like Zelda might be released first? That’s the first time I’ve heard that!