Interview:IGN February 12th 2015

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IGN February 12th 2015

Date

February 12, 2015

Interviewee

Interviewer

IGN

Description

Aonuma comments on some of the changes in Majora's Mask 3D and the teases leading up to its release.

Source

IGN: [Please] recap the experience of revisiting [your] own work from 15 years ago.
Aonuma: T​o put it as bluntly as I possibly can, remakes kind of hurt. You're looking at all the decisions you were making and sometimes you're saying to yourself, 'I can't believe I was thinking about it like that,' or, 'Why did I think it was okay to make the user do that in that situation?'

This is something that Mr. Miyamoto made a point of telling me at one time. He said, '​you need to look back and learn more from the work you've already done, before you go on to making something new.' I have to say, that can be a really uncomfortable experience, but I also feel like I learned so much. I'm actually really grateful that I had the opportunity to do something like that at work.
IGN: How long have you wanted to talk about Zelda: Majora' [sic] Mask 3D? I feel like, as press, we've been pestering you for a while about it.
Aonuma: It has been quite a while that I've really wanted to talk about this game, as it turns out. We had tons of questions at Comic-Con about the masks – the little bit of a teaser that was in A Link Between Worlds – and so I knew after that, we needed to get moving quickly.
IGN: Were all the teases intentional? The mask, the hand in the toilet bowl in Skyward Sword, the summer-themed wallpaper with Link in a yukata, holding a fan, and wearing Majora's Mask over his head. Were those all done to that end?
Aonuma: The yukata Link wallpaper was actually something that a person in PR here wanted to put out. It was actually something that thematically fits in well, because people tend to wear yukata at the summer festival in Japan. At the summer festivals, it's also really common to find people selling masks of various popular characters for kids. So we were actually linking those two together in that particular case, just because it worked thematically, not necessarily because there was a really strong intent to remake Majora's Mask just yet, at that point. But I was really interested to see the reaction that people had to it, and that certainly helped me in how I was thinking about the matter.

As for the hand that comes out of the toilet in Skyward Sword, that was certainly something that you saw in Majora's Mask as well, but again, there was no strong intent to link those two together specifically. We mostly viewed that scene as something that would be interesting to happen in the kind of school setting where it did.
IGN: You've joked that the reason to do Ocarina of Time 3D is because you wanted to see the Water Temple changed. When did Majora's Mask 3D development start, and what were the goals at the start of that project?
Aonuma: The development of the 3DS version of Majora's Mask started right after the 3DS version of Ocarina of Time finished. We had realized if it's possible to create such an easy-to-play version of Ocarina of Time on a handheld like this, then couldn't we do something like that for Majora's Mask as well?

We felt like this was a really good fit for a handheld in particular, because Majora's Mask is the sort of game that requires you to stay focused. If you have to sit in front of your TV the whole time to have that experience, it's kind of difficult and inconvenient. But if you can play it anywhere and take it with you, that's much more compatible with the experience it offers. There were also a lot of UI elements and gameplay-type considerations that we wanted to address in the same sort of way that we did in Ocarina of Time, on a similar level to the kind of changes we were thinking about with the experience of players in the Water Temple.
IGN: So what are some of those changes?
Aonuma: It's interesting that you bring up the Water Temple, because I feel like dealing with water levels, especially in Zelda games, is really kind of a sticking point for us. It's something that always feels hard when you get to that point and you have to start thinking about it. Similarly, there's a point in Majora's Mask where you take on the form of a Zora and you're exploring this underwater dungeon trying to solve the puzzles there, but it's so difficult to navigate. Underwater levels always have a bit of that problem. I thought I had really thought through all the control issues at the original time of development, but when I came back to it I realized, no, we really do need to change some of this. I feel like what we ended up with is this very comfortable experience compared to the previous iteration, so I hope you do have a chance to try it out.
IGN: Can you put a number on how many changes are in Majora's Mask 3D?
Aonuma: That's a really hard thing to put a number on. If we talked about every single thing that was different in any way, I mean, that would be a tremendously large number. But if we limit it to just really big changes, I think that would probably be around 20 to 30 or so.

[about "the origins of Majora's Mask, and why the Japanese video game maker hasn't experimented with a one-year development cycle since]

Aonuma: It's interesting, because there's definitely this way that we talk about that sort of thing in development circles here in Japan. It's often presented as a challenge to the developers themselves to accomplish something like that, because it can be very difficult to do. Since I've been in the role of producer, though, it's not something that's been presented to me as a challenge to take on very often.

Sometimes I think about issuing it as a challenge to developers that I'm working with.

When I think about the kinds of games that you're describing, where you took the engine and you took some of the original assets and made a new game from that, you know, the kind of creation flow that we had for Majora's Mask wasn't limited just to those ideas. We also had to think about how we wanted to change the world, to take something kind of familiar and then warp it.

I definitely like that sort of a challenge. I think it's really fun to think about how you would take that sort of a game in a different direction. For me, in order to properly consider doing that again in the future, I think you really need a compelling topic or a theme with which to start.