Skyloft is the main attraction in the Sky area of Skyward Sword and it is where the vast majority of the characters live. Having played through Skyward Sword a number of times, I have the layout of the island completely memorized, knowing where all the houses are, all the entrances to the various areas, and even knowing where to find all the bugs. Overall I thought it was an alright main city, but I think it could have been a bit more exciting. Well it turns out there were several different concepts as to how the island was suppose to look. These were all revealed in the Hyrule Historia book that hit shelves in Japan just two weeks ago. Go ahead and make the jump to check out some of the concept pieces, as well as my analysis.
One reoccurring trend with the concept pieces is that it seemed like the original plan was for Skyloft to be more like a floating mountain of an island. Some of the pieces of artwork showcase a mountain like structure, with houses built on an incline. Other pieces show a series of islands that are connected to each other, all of which climb their way up to a top island. Even some of these early concept pieces did still have the Goddess Statue at the top of the island, much like the final version. I think it gives more of a Christ the Redeemer feel to it.
The piece to the right is one of my favorite concept pieces and I think it has more adventurous appeal. Climbing up a mountain of the main city and then looking down upon the areas below just seems like something that fits in the Zelda series. That sense of accomplishment when you reach the top, sorta like climbing Death Mountain in Ocarina of Time. I’m not sure why they scrapped the whole idea, but I suppose that depends on how early along this concept piece was created. We ended up getting a more vertical landscape in the Eldin Volcano region, so perhaps the development team scrapped the main Skyloft island design and shifted that vertical idea to the Eldin region. Shown below are a couple of other vertical forms of Skyloft.
Another form of Skyloft concept artwork is the more dense water-color look. This truly does look like an oil painting, even more so than the water-colored graphics that Skyward Sword had. Actually, it looks like one of the famous Henri Matisse paintings and perhaps it’s more in line with some A Link to the Past Official Artwork.
I think this type of artwork gives off more of an adventurous feel as well, and the colorfulness draws me to the Wizard of Oz for some reason. The concept artwork also draws me to very dense, ancient European cities for some reason. I cannot really point my finger to any particular example, but I really like the density of the landscape. Perhaps it’s just me, but despite Skyloft being a rather large city with plenty of buildings, the whole thing seemed kind of empty. Perhaps it was that the town square of sorts, the Bazaar, was indoors and thus you didn’t see the citizens walking around the island. Castle Town from Twilight Princess comes to mind and despite there being only a few folks you can actually talk to in Castle Town, there was a lot of commotion in the form of random characters walking about. Shown below are some other concept pieces in this more oil-painting style.
Still there were a couple of other concept artwork pieces shown in the Hyrule Historia book. These remaining four images seem to be much earlier in the development, and there isn’t much to them. The last piece shown below has two of the exact same buildings on top of each other, with the only difference being that the colors were different. Perhaps they were just experimenting with the colors, but in general, we did see quite the spectrum of colors in Skyward Sword. At least in comparison to Twilight Princess.
So what are your thoughts on all the pieces of concept artwork of Skyloft? Were you happy with the end result that we got in Skyward Sword? Do you think some of these ideas could have been better implemented? Let us know by posting in the comments below.
Be sure to keep checking back here at Zelda Dungeon for more news and updates concerning scans, artwork, and translations of the Hyrule Historia book. I’m personally going to be getting my copy sometime in the next few days.
Images found at History of Hyrule
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