Interview:GameSpot June 27th 2010
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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Interview With Eiji Aonuma (Wii)
GameSpot AU sits down with Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma to discover how Wii MotionPlus enhances the game, the inspiration behind its art style, and some interestingly cryptic details about its storyline.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Interview with Eiji Aonuma (Wii) (Gamespot)
Aonuma: Hi, my name is Eiji Aonuma, and I am the producer of the Legend of Zelda series, and I am also the producer on The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
Gamespot: In what way do you think Wii Motion Plus enhances the game for the players?
Aonuma: I think the thing that's most obviously easily understandable is the swordplay. I think with the Wii Motion Plus we've been able to add a fidelity that we haven't seen before. But in addition to that, we also have the ability to switch out items -- select items, and use them instantaneously without having to pause the game -- via the B button press, and having that menu selection right there on-screen in real time, you're not pausing, you don't have to stop the game. Previously we used subscreens and while that was fine we think we really like this new integration and how it fits with this game, and again, so with Wii Motion Plus, we've created a very seamless interface that I think is just very immersive and good for the gameplay.
And another thing, if we look at some of the traditional weapons, like the slingshot and the bow and arrow, where these are weapons that you have to actually point at the screen, previously we used the sensor bar and the pointer, and you had to point at the screen and aim via that technology. Now however with Wii Motion Plus, we are able to do that just by tilting your wrist. It's sort of like a digital mouse. You don't actually actively have to point at the screen to aim, and we think that control works really well.
Gamespot: Did you intend to create a similar control style to Wii Sports Resort?
Aonuma: Wii Sports Resort was done before Zelda and so to a degree they had their hands on the technology before we did. And I definitely think that we took the experiences they had and that helped us when we were doing implementation with things like the swordplay. However as far as the bow and arrow, I think that's just the most natural way to use it, so looking at when we were implementing we didn't say "hey we're doing a Zelda game so we have to change it, we have to differentiate it," and we also didn't think that we were imitating Wii Sports Resort. Again, it just seems to be the most natural way to use the bow and arrow with Wii Motion Plus.
Gamespot: How much can you tell us about the game's storyline?
Aonuma: Basically it starts with Link and Link is a young man who lives in Skyloft, which is a floating land that floats above the clouds, and again that's where he lives. And then there's an incident that occurs that reveals to him the existence of another land below the clouds and that land is something that has been dominated by some evil force, and Link has to go there. So with Link travelling back and forth between Skyloft and this other land, the story unfolds, and part of it is that he's searching for a lost or a valuable friend.
Gamespot: Can you describe the inspiration behind the game's art style?
Aonuma: It starts really with the swordplay, with Wii Motion Plus we have that extra fidelity that we talked about earlier, and because we have that extra precision we were able to pinpoint where you are going to strike the enemies, and in which fashion, from which angle you are going to strike the enemies. And in order to convey to the player where they had to do that, they had to design the enemy characters in a way that that was easily understood. So for example, if you were going to, the weak point was a hand or something you would have a little over-exaggerated features in the character design, and when they started doing some of that over-exaggeration, some of that deformation of the enemy design, they discovered that the art style they have now worked really well. Looking back at if we had used the Twilight Princess more realistic graphics, the deformation just didn't really match, didn't seem to be a good fit. So again based on the swordplay informing the character design, having those enemy designs look natural and look good, they had to have a more manga style artwork. And once that was in place, then they took that and placed them within the world and said "okay, what's the art style that fits these characters? How does that inform how we're going to do the world art style?" And that's where we came up with this more watercolor-esque palette that we're using this time. Again, it all started with how we're implementing swordplay.
Gamespot: In what way do you think the game will be different from previous installments?
Aonuma: One of the things that's different this time is just some of the basic gameplay structure. We went back and looked and said "how do we want to mix things up this time around?" If you look at The Legend of Zelda as a series, there are some things that are fairly traditional in the structure of the game in that you have a traditional field area and then a dungeon area. So, a dungeon area... we thought maybe we won't have the dungeon areas just be that place where you go and you fight some enemies, you solve a puzzle, and you beat the boss, but maybe we can make some field areas that operate sort of like dungeons, or maybe we'll have dungeons where you're not just going in to battle enemies, but maybe a dungeon where say you lose your sword and you have to flee from the enemies and solve puzzles. So again we're trying to mix up and take away some of the borders between dungeons and fields so that things seem to be, I don't want to say smoother, but just again get rid of some of those borders between the two different types of areas that we've traditionally had.