Interview:E3 May 2005
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Q: Mr Miyamoto and Mr Aonuma, can you tell us what role each of you played in creating this game?
Aonuma: I am the producer of this title. I use the analogy that I am in charge of putting together a tea table; when I showed Mr Miyamoto what I'd come up with, in typical Miyamoto fashion he took over! So my job is to make sure the tea table is correctly assembled.
Miyamoto: And my role is "to clean up the tea table".
Q: Can you explain the change of graphical style in 'Twilight Princess'?
Aonuma: With Wind Waker the graphics really represented a type of gameplay; we had a very energetic Link and the art style really reflected that. So this time, with a more realistic style, you will get the feeling of a more realistic world. The graphic style here does enhance the gameplay, as you'll see when you pick up the control pad. We're still polishing things up and there are a lot of things we're not ready to show you just yet.
Q: What does Mr Miyamoto feel about the game so far?
Miyamoto: Well, graphics are important to convey the type of story that we're working on. But the interactivity is important too; cleverly interacting with the characters needs to match the feeling of realism that the graphics already provide. And that's what we're working on; it's a continual learning process.
Q: Why is Link a cowboy?
Aonuma: Everybody loves horses! And in this game, you even get to name the horse yourself. But this Hyrule is so big that Link cannot just traverse it on foot. So, for it to be realistic that he is a good horseman, we came up with this.
Q: So he's not really a Clint Eastwood kind of a cowboy then? More of a ranch hand
Aonuma: Not even a cowboy really, more of a shepherd. But Japanese people understand the word cowboy better.
Q: So this is a different Link then?
Aonuma: Yes, a new Link.
Q: Storyline-wise, where does Twilight Princess fit in with the chronology of the other games?
Q: Will we get to see many animals in this E3 version?
Aonuma: In addition to Link transforming into a wolf, he'll also be able to communicate with animals - he can learn new things that way, and the animals form a big theme of the game.
Q: At the beginning of the trailer we see black and white visuals of a castle; is that Hyrule Castle? And if so, what's going on there?
Aonuma: Yep, at the beginning of the trailer you saw Link sucked into this black miasma we call the Twilight… and yes, that is Hyrule Castle, transformed by the Twilight.
Q: So if Link goes into Twilight Hyrule, he becomes a wolf?
Aonuma: Twilight is fuelled by magic power and Link can't exist in his human form in that area. We can't go into details, but it is part of his destiny to become that wolf.
Q: With the concept of their being two worlds, does that mean the game is going to have a similar game mechanic to A Link to the Past or Metroid Prime 2 Echoes?
Aonuma: The whole idea of using dual worlds has appeared in Zelda games before, and with Metroid Prime there's a feeling that maybe they took some of our elements…
Miyamoto: Yes, they copied us! [laughter]
Aonuma: You probably shouldn't say they copied us.
Miyamoto: That's okay, I'm the Metroid producer.
Aonuma: So yes, anyway, the Twilight and standard Hyrule form two different areas, that's part of the gameplay.
Q: A lot of gamers were wondering who the female character dressed in robes might be?
Aonuma: It's nothing we're trying to hide or keep a secret, it's Zelda.
Q: So what's with the robe? Does she have some connection to what's going on, and to Link's transformation into a wolf?
Aonuma: The robe is based on a Japanese funeral robe. Zelda can't stop Twilight from taking over Hyrule, and her inability to halt Twilight at this point has a definite connection with Link's transformation, but we can't tell you more yet.
Q: How does the transformation change Link gameplay-wise? What type of abilities will it give the player?
Aonuma: Well, he no longer has a sword, but he couldn't hold it anyway. He can talk to animals, he has heightened senses, can see special things, his hearing improves. So you use these senses to solve otherwise unsolvable puzzles. His attacks, like you saw in the trailer, will be influenced by the character on his back.
Q: Who or what is this character?
Aonuma: She is Midna, a resident of the Twilight Realm. She has her own motivations and thinks that wolf-Link can help her, so they begin a co-operative relationship.
Q: Can you tell us something about the theme of the temples?
Aonuma: Yes, each one will have a theme. In the Forest Temple for instance, Link has to aid some monkeys.
Q: Can you tell us something about the battle system, like any enhancements to Wind Waker's?
Aonuma: It's the combat system of Wind Waker, but enhanced with new elements, whole new actions. Actually, we started off with the engine of Wind Waker for this game, but added so many changes and improvements to it, developed it so much, that we can't really call it the same engine anymore.
Q: Are there new elements to using the boomerang?
Aonuma: Yes, it now causes small whirlwinds, which is why it's called the Gale Boomerang. It's familiar, but we wanted to revise it to make it fresh. Throughout the game you will find familiar items, but with new, unique usages.
Q: Are there all-new items as well?
Aonuma: Yes, but you'll have to wait for the details.
Q: Can you tell us about how the item menu screen has changed?
Aonuma: In previous Zelda games players always knew how many items were left to be found. We really didn't want to give players that information this time, and with this circular menu approach, we can increase the amount as much as we want without the player knowing how many items there are. It's accessible and easy to use too.
Q: A question a lot of people will want to know the answer to… How many dungeons will there be in the final game?
Aonuma: Our motivation is to create a game that really surpasses Ocarina of Time, so to put that in numbers is not the only way to surpass it. But we think the number of the dungeons and the content of the dungeons will be better.
Q: And you will manage to have the game out by the end of the year?
Aonuma: Yes, that's what we're going to do.
Q: Now a question for Mr Kondo…Is the trailer music a fully orchestrated Zelda theme song?
Kondo: Yes. For this trailer we wanted to match the dynamic aspect of the action with suitable music, and a full orchestra helps us to do that.
Q: Does that mean you'll be using orchestral music for the actual game?
Kondo: Well, we won't be using it from beginning to end, but as an enhancer to parts of the game where we think it will be impactful or add to the feeling of drama.
Q: Will the game be in surround sound?
Kondo: Yes, like Wind Waker, Dolby Pro Logic II and 5.1 surround.
Q: We're running out of time - do you have any last comments you want to make about the game?
Kondo: Creating music and sounds that enhance & complement the visual style is our goal. We hope you enjoy what we come up with.
Aonuma: When Mr Miyamoto saw Link's early animations he thought they were still a bit puppet or doll-like. So the team has focused on that to make the animation even better. As director, I'm really excited about moving forward to fulfill users' expectations.
Miyamoto: We want the user to feel like they inhabit the Zelda world, to create a gaming experience where they ARE Link, they are the hero, that's the goal.