Who remembers E3 2009, where we were hopeful for a Zelda Wii announcement, and all we got was the really cool artwork pictured on the left? Well, it was enough to get us talking. There were all sorts of rumors going around about the sword-spirit being a great fairy, and The Master Sword.
Miyamoto himself drew attention to the “Master Sword” in 2009 when he said “There is one hint. Maybe from the art work you can see that he’s not holding a sword.” Well, those who said Master Sword weren’t exactly wrong. Now we’ve come to know that the next Zelda title is Skyward Sword, and has taken a new graphical direction away from this realistic look. What now for this artwork?
It wasn’t the usual Zelda like artwork, because it showed a more mature Link and went for the Twilight Princess graphic style. It seems that when this piece of art was done, the graphical style wasn’t decided. Or, did Nintendo have a complete change of direction when they incorporated Motion Plus and had to go for the more comical style to exaggerate enemy features? We do know; however, that Link in Skyward Sword is the oldest Link yet, so the “mature” impression was well conveyed.
Personally, I love the Skyward Sword graphics, but I also loved this piece of artwork. It was massive (check out the full size piece here), simple but detailed, vivid, emotional and a superb piece of art all-round. But what was it’s purpose?
Was it intended as official art at the time? Does official art really get done that early in development? Perhaps it was concept art to help Nintendo get a feel for the styles of graphics they could go for. What I’m leaning towards thinking is that this masterpiece might have just been made to be “leaked” at E3 2009.
The realistic look got a large positive response, as Nintendo learned from Twilight Princess in 2004, so a bit of a stunt isn’t out of the equation. Will we ever know? I hope it doesn’t vanish entirely. It would be great to see it in the game’s manual, or at the very least, the same picture revamped with the new graphical style.
Let us know what you thought of the E3 2009 Zelda Wii artwork, and whether you think we’ve seen the last of it.