Interview:Extended Play March 21st 2003

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Excerpts typed by Mak
(narrator - Adam Sessler)

--- A boy named Link. Battling the forces of evil with his sword, his shield, and here, the dreaded bubble burst. You're in the Zelda universe, filled with adventures that forever rocked the gaming world.

Miyamoto: Well actually, we first started work on Zelda about the same time that we started work on Super Mario Bros. for the NES. The Mario game was essentially a very simple action where anybody could look at the screen and know exactly what it was that they needed to do. Where as with Zelda, we really tried to create a game where we would put the player in a situation where they wouldn't know exactly what they needed to do next.

-- It was the first time gamers actually had to use their noggin to a new goal, completing the game. Over the years, the Zelda games continued to challenge our minds as we searched for that all important map, drank potions to get more strength, found that deku nut, oh by the way, acorn boy there, that's Link with a mask on. And, we can't forget the importance of song.

Aonuma: Actually, the name "Link" partially comes from the idea of the character being kind of linked between the player and the game.

Miyamoto: I think essentially the basic element that, that, creates the fun of a Zelda game hasn't really changed over the years. That the player visiting the world of Zelda and experiencing it.

--- And we did, through the search for Zelda, the fight to keep Ganon in the Dark World, and stopping the moon from crashing into a parallel world in Majora's Mask. Link's adventures continue in The Wind Waker, one of the most highly anticipated games this year, and the first Zelda game for the Gamecube.

Aonuma: The most important element for you really, is the wind, which is going to propel you across the ocean, and so finding ways to use the toon shading graphics style to express the fact that wind, which is something you can't see, is blowing around you all the time was a big challenge.

--- But its the toon shading that has caused the most controversy. Some long time fans of Zelda, think Link's bulging eyes and new shape make him look like a Saturday morning cartoon.

Miyamoto: And we found that both in Japan and here in the United States and around the world that once they've actually been able to pick up and play the game, they've completely forgotten about the graphics.

--- Whelp, we're not forgetting anything about this game anytime soon.

Shigeru Miyamoto on 'Wind Waker'

'The Legend of Zelda' creator speaks out on his latest title.
By Extended Play staff
Originally aired March 21, 2003
Modified March 18, 2003
Original story at Extended Play

On the eve of the release of "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker," "Extended Play" sat down with the game's creator, Shigeru Miyamoto. In this candid discussion we asked him about the history of "Zelda" games, the element of wind in "Wind Waker," and the controversial new 'toon shading graphics.

The beginnings

TechTV: The first "Zelda" game violated some of the traditions of games by not being linear. Was it hard to convince people that this was the new way to go?

Shigeru Miyamoto: I was actually very lucky, in the sense that I was able to work freely within the company and essentially create what I wanted to create without having to earn someone's approval. But it's definitely true that when we took the uncompleted "Zelda" game and showed it to people and had them play it, they kind of reeled back and said, "What am I supposed to do with this? I don't know what to do." We were able to use the feedback and I was able to find ways to give hints to people and almost guide them to where they were supposed to go. It became a very big learning process for me, and I think it turned out to have gone quite well.

The element of wind

TechTV: What are you trying to capture by having the wind element in "Wind Waker"?

Miyamoto: We are able to inspire our staff by getting them to work on graphic styles and gameplay styles that haven't been seen in other games. So trying to draw the wind was something that was very fun for them to do. We were able to do some very unique things with wind, specifically with the 'toon-shading graphics style that we've chosen for this "Zelda" game. The 'toon-style animation.

TechTV: Why did you decide to use these very stylized animations within the game?

Miyamoto: Last year in the United States we released "The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past" for the Game Boy Advance along with the multiplayer "Zelda" game "Four Swords." We have another Game Boy Advance "Zelda" game in the works right now. I was really worried that we might end up with many different "Zelda" games, with everything looking very different. And I didn't want that to happen. So, looking at the fact that Link is not maturing in the game, we really thought that this [graphical style] would be the most natural expression for Link and that he would be able to have a consistent look across all platforms.

TechTV: Were the graphics an issue in Japan, or were people happy with it from the very beginning? And how are the graphics being received now?

Miyamoto: There are some very passionate "Zelda" fans among Japan's female population, and by taking Link and making him so young, they lost that possibility for a love for this character. A lot of them were very upset about that, and other people of course were not so happy with the less-realistic graphic style.

[But] we found both in Japan and in the United States that once people [were] able to play the game, they completely forgot about the graphics.