Development times for high profile video games –particularly Zelda games- are typically measured in years, but remakes, like the recently-released The Wind Waker HD, tend to be an exception. Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma has revealed in a recent interview that up-scaling Link’s nautical adventure to HD took only six months.
When starting out remaking The Wind Waker, Aonuma’s staff informed him that bringing the GameCube classic to the Wii U would not be a time-intensive endeavor. From this Aonuma got the idea to release The Wind Waker HD to tide Wii U-owners over until Zelda Wii U. Despite taking a relatively short amount of time, however, the remake still presented Aonuma’s crew with many challenges.
“Development was still difficult.You had to consider the difference in hardware at the time. Additionally there is a technique known as toon shading, which gives the game a very animated look. At that time, the technique was established, but had not be used before by our staff, everyone had to do everything by hand.”
Aonuma also highlighted the minor difficulties of switching the game’s original 4:3 aspect ratio to 16:9. There were issues of dramatic pacing, in which a character the team wanted out-of-sight would appear on screen to0 quickly. Nevertheless, the expansion of the game’s cinematic scope -especially on the vast open sea- was well worth the effort, Aonuma said. The boss fight with Gohma was also given a boast in visual grandeur. In the past, Gohma was so large he didn’t fit on the screen. Now, with a full-screen display, the full impact of his awe-inspiring size is more evident to the player.
Complaints about video game remakes tend to boil down to people thinking developers should focus on making new games. This criticism hardly seems valid now that we’ve seen how quickly Nintendo cranked The Wind Waker HD out, while still working on A Link Between Worlds and the secretive Zelda Wii U.
Are you satisfied with Nintendo’s work on The Wind Waker HD? Do you think the developer devoted too much or too little time to it? Let’s us know in the comments.