Interview:GameSpot November 20th 2009
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What I think about The Legend of Zelda means that there is a Link with a sword, and there is a Princess Zelda, who Link has to protect, and there is a bad guy. But that's all about Legend of Zelda, and anything else is up to our autonomy. In other words, Zelda doesn't have any specific constraint in itself. In other words, whenever I think about new game ideas, that game ideas can fit into the broad universe of The Legend of Zelda. If I can think about anything that cannot fit into that broad perspective of the Zelda universe, I should aim to produce something else. But the fact is that so far whatever I can think about as new ideas can be fit smoothly into the Zelda universe.
That's always the challenging job for us, to come up with the appropriate balance for the hardcore gamers to feel satisfied and novice players to be able to enjoy. And for this Spirit Tracks, we did not simply increase the so-called "difficulty level," because simply doing so would simply alienate the novice players. So we took a different approach, especially in the latter half of the story.
Yes, it is actually the sequel. It is taking place about 100 years after the game world of Phantom Hourglass. Because we wanted to make use of the established game system of Phantom Hourglass, we thought we wanted to incorporate some of the similarities that make you feel "oh, okay, I knew that," that kind of feeling. So as long as timeline is concerned, you're right, it's a sequel.
As I said, we wanted to take advantage of the existing engine we developed for Phantom Hourglass, and as you know in Phantom Hourglass the stage was set in the ocean and there are many items, and between islands Link was sailing the boat or ship. And I thought that by utilizing the same engine, we would be able to make the brand-new and interesting adventure. So we decided that this time Link is going to explore a huge land. We had to think about what can take place on the island and what can take place on the ship. In the case of the ship, because Link was actually controlling a rather small ship, he could not bring anything big or any human beings. But because this time Link is driving his train, it's possible for Link to carry some items, goods, or even some people from station to station.
Notably, we are taking advantage of the microphone of the Nintendo DS more often. Actually, you will know we call it Spirit Tracks in the English; the Japanese title is translated something like "The Train Whistle in the Base Land" or something like that, as it indicates that you can actually utilize the mic and your own breath to use the musical instrument called the pan flute.
Well, I will be glad if the players of Ocarina of Time would enjoy themselves finding out that how Link escapes the castle with Princess Zelda can be a kind of tutorial for later on how players are supposed to manipulate the phantom character in dungeons. But honestly speaking, I was not thinking about that. You asked that question and that reminded me yes, there is such a scene in Ocarina of Time, sorry!
We are working on the Wii version of The Legend of Zelda. In Twilight Princess, I was actually the director of the game, but for the Wii version of The Legend of Zelda I was once again the producer, and all I can say right now is that yes, we are well on the progress, we are working right now, and as Mr. Miyamoto has already stated, we are going to use the Wii Motion Plus. It's actually perfectly matched, and it can feel so much real that I wish we could have that a long time ago. Even when we look at Twilight Princess right now, we have to feel that we should have that kind of mechanism with Wii Motion Plus. It was that much feeling we already have in established development. So I hope that people are going to be looking forward to the launch.