Interview:Iwata Asks: Skyward Sword (Volume Three: The Dense Volcano and Enemy Monsters)

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http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/wii/zelda-skyward-sword/2/0

Volume Three: The Dense Volcano and Enemy Monsters 1. The View from the Top of the Road 2. Enemies with a Touch of Humanity 3. Fight with Your Eyes on Your Opponent 4. You're Not Adventuring Alone 5. Even Beginners Can Enjoy This Dense Game


Iwata: The contents of Legend of Zelda games are dense, and "Iwata Asks" needs to be dense too, so this time I would like to ask about both the volcano and enemy monsters. Except for Fujibayashi-san, who participated in the previous sessions, would you please introduce yourselves, stating what you worked on for this game?

Tominaga: Sure. I'm Tominaga from the Entertainment Analysis Division (EAD). I mostly worked on the volcano game field and the planning of the dungeons.

Iwata: You made the volcano.

Tominaga: Yes, that's right. Thanks for having me here today.

Kiuchi: I'm Kiuchi, also from EAD. I mostly designed the enemies.

Iwata: You made the enemies, including the ones that appear at the volcano.

Kiuchi: Yes.

Oyama: I'm Oyama from EAD. I lent support to the designers and worked on various effects.

Iwata: It was quite awhile ago, but you participated in our session of "Iwata Asks" over Wii Fit.

Oyama: Yes, about five years ago.

Iwata: Okay, Fujibayashi-san, there's a volcano game field. Why did you decide to make a volcano?

Fujibayashi: We made the forest game field that we talked about last time on a mostly flat basis, but a game field making use of ups and downs would also provide a wide variety of gameplay. A mountain was the obvious place for that.

Iwata: Why a volcano and not just a mountain?

Fujibayashi: When The Legend of Zelda comes up, I think of the old volcanic area of Death Mountain. We chose a volcano because that provided lots of ideas for gameplay.

Iwata: It has lots of possibilities, so when you were put in charge of the volcano, where did you start, Tominaga-san?

Tominaga: This time you can do a new action called the Stamina Dash, so I thought if I combined that with a volcano, with its ups and downs, I could make something fun based around slopes.

Iwata: You wanted to make landforms that would make use of the Dash feature.

Tominaga: That's right. With Stamina Dash, you can even scramble up steep mountain slopes. I wanted to make it so that once you did that, you could look down from up on high.

Iwata: I think you could climb up high and look at the view fairly often in the series before. What makes this different?

Tominaga: There's no interruption in the pace. In the series so far, when we made a mountain path, it had to be a zigzag, so it took time to climb someplace high.

Iwata: Now he can use Dash to run up, so that doesn't happen. Tominaga: Exactly. If we make a long slope, he can climb up at a good pace, so he can reach a very high place in a short time. I thought it would be great if players could look down at the land below and say with pleasure, "What a great view!"

Iwata: There are the perfect scenic viewpoints.

Tominaga: Yes. And even if you don't go all the way to the peak of the volcano, you can check out the view from partway up. Usually, you would just climb a single path to the top and then continue on, but this time I wanted players to be able to stop partway, turn around, and relax as they enjoy the scenery.

Iwata: The A Button opened up, allowing Link to Dash, which led to including more slopes, and the result of that was becoming able to enjoy splendid sceneries, but at first glance, all those things may seem unconnected. Isn't that mysterious?

Tominaga: It is. The next thing I knew, we had included those fun elements. It was a very refreshing feeling as I worked on the game to see how adding one new action for the players allowed still further new elements.

Iwata: What other features of the volcano did you use?

Tominaga: Well, it's a volcano, so there's lava bubbling up, not just in the dungeon, but all around the game field. In some places the lava goes up and down, and in some cases you have to empty it in order to move on. And… Oh, I better not say any more.

Iwata: That's something to enjoy when playing the game?

Tominaga: Yes. (laughs) We were able to include puzzles and gameplay characteristic of The Legend of Zelda everywhere.

Iwata: Oyama-san, you were in charge of various effects. What did you think as you made the volcano landforms?

Oyama: There is no one particular thing that I focused on because it's a volcano, but with regard to effects for the player-character, I spent a long time on and tried a number of effects for when Link falls into the lava.

Iwata: Until now, when Link fell into the lava, it looked a little painful.

Oyama: Yes. We represented it relatively seriously in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, but this time, in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, it isn't as comical as in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, while also not being as serious as in Twilight Princess.

Iwata: The art is different than ever before.

Oyama: Yes. Early on in development, it was similar to Twilight Princess. Then some staff members said, "This time isn't like that," and "It doesn't feel right." Being too serious didn't fit the art this time. For example, when an enemy gets you in a Super Mario game, it doesn't feel unpleasant.

Iwata: In Super Mario, you just laugh and say, "All right, I'll try again!"

Oyama: That's right. So this time, we paid attention to making it so you say, "All right, I'll try again!" and feel like playing it over again. I listened to everyone about how Link should move when he falls in the lava and readjusted it over and over.

Fujibayashi: We decided to make it look like Link was hot rather than in pain.

Oyama: That way it doesn't feel unpleasant and you will try again.

Iwata: I see. I feel like that is something that you could say with regard to the theory behind the design of the whole game this time. I suppose achieving a balance between the realism—the photorealistic world—of Twilight Princess and the more cartoonish world of The Wind Waker was an incredibly important guiding principle this time.

Oyama: It certainly was. It would be jarring if a certain effect didn't blend in well.

Fujibayashi: So when Link falls into the lava this time…

Oyama: He jumps up! (laughs) And his green tunic catches fire! It's a little on the comical side.

Iwata: What awaits at the volcano?

Fujibayashi: The key item at the volcano is the Bomb.

Iwata: Is the Bomb the first item you get once you enter the volcano game field?

Fujibayashi: Yes. It's funny how the two most dangerous things are together. The volcano is hot, so if you aren't careful, the bombs will explode! Also, there's lava flowing not just in the dungeon, but around the whole game field, so if you don't use them safely, there are certain things you can't solve.

Iwata: They're bombs, so "Handle With Care." (laughs)

Fujibayashi: That's right. This time, you don't just throw the bombs overhand, you can also roll them underhand, so you can roll them down slopes, which is really fun.

Iwata: And you can put a curve on them.

Fujibayashi: Yes. So far in the series, the uses of the Bomb were limited. You could blow up a suspicious-looking rock to get past it or toss it down the mouth of a monster to defeat it. This time, you don't just throw it but also roll it for different uses depending on the angle of the Wii Remote controller, so the possibilities expanded. For example, just thinking about how we could get the Bomb close to the targets led to some new gameplay.

Tominaga: And bombs aren't the only things rolling down slopes.

Fujibayashi: That's right! (laughs)

Iwata: What else does?

Fujibayashi: Enemies!

Iwata: Enemies? Kiuchi-san, you worked on the enemies. What did you do?

Kiuchi: The old Bokoblin enemy from the series shows up. When you defeat enemies, usually they fly back and blow up with a boom and that's the end of them, but this time I thought about having them roll. (laughs)

Iwata: There are slopes, so what could be more natural, right?

Kiuchi: That's right. Then I wondered how a Bokoblin would roll. We tried a number of things, and in the end had them roll down like a big wheel.

Tominaga: They look so cute rolling like that! (laughs)

Iwata: Cute?! (laughs)

Kiuchi: Yes. (laughs) I hope that after people defeat them, they won't just pass by but will watch the Bokoblins roll!

Fujibayashi: You might give them a push just to see it happen! (laughs)

Kiuchi: The Bokoblins are often at a sort of lookout partway along a slope. They will fire arrows at you or throw rocks. When Link runs up with the Dash, he can just reach that lookout point.

Fujibayashi: Then Link is hanging there by both hands.

Kiuchi: When he tries—with an "Oomph!"—to clamber up onto the lookout, the nearby Bokoblins tromp over and try to step on his hands!

Iwata: Step on his hands?! That's mean! (laughs)

Kiuchi: And Link slips down.

Iwata: It's like a scene from a comic book! (laughs)

Fujibayashi: When the Bokoblins find you, they say, "Foogyah!" so you know they've found you. And when the Bokoblins trample on you, it looks like they're grinning.

Iwata: But they aren't really?

Fujibayashi: No, it just looks that way for some reason. (laughs)

Kiuchi: After that, you're ready for revenge, right? Then, when a Bokoblin raises a rock over his head to throw it at you, you blast him with the Slingshot! And then…

Iwata: He's busy lifting up a rock, so… Oh, I get it. (laughs)

Kiuchi: That's one way to beat them. And aside from the Slingshot, you can use whatever item you have on hand. The Bokoblins can react in surprising ways, so try whatever you can!

Iwata: I get the impression that even though the Bokoblins are enemies, they play an important role this time.

Tominaga: Yes. Until now, they just got in Link's way, swinging their swords and firing arrows, but this time, we did various things to give them a touch of humanity.

Fujibayashi: There are various types of Bokoblins. The Bokoblins who live in the forest are really primitive-looking, but those who live in the desert are in a slightly different style with surprisingly modernish weapons.

Iwata: Oh…

Fujibayashi: There's one that walks around carrying a lantern, and there's one that has a sword crackling with electricity.

Iwata: What happens when Link attacks that one?

Fujibayashi: If his attack gets blocked, it shocks him and he can't move for a while.

Iwata: I see. Why are there so many kinds of Bokoblins?

Fujibayashi: In this project, we created groups for each field—forest, volcano, desert—and they each proceeded with development. But the Bokoblins appear in every field, so the group making enemies cut across the others. That gave rise to the question "The Bokoblins at the volcano act like this, but how about in the desert?' (laughs)

Kiuchi: Then everyone threw out all kinds of ideas, saying, "This would work in our area," so the Bokoblins built up and grew more distinctive.

Fujibayashi: Their voices are great, too. I can't get that "Foogyah!" out of my head. And they shout "Neeaahh!" as they come down off the ropes, which is also pretty good. (laughs)

Tominaga: It's so cute. You want to hear it again and again.

Iwata: You guys sure do love those Bokoblins! (laughs)

Tominaga: Yes! They attack in all kinds of ways, which is despicable, but you just can't hate them! (laughs)

Kiuchi: Bokoblins were the first enemy to come along.

Iwata: Bokoblins were the first enemy you made?

Kiuchi: Yes. I've known them the longest, so I could pour the most love into them.

Iwata: Well, it shows! (laughs)

Iwata: How did you begin making the first enemies, the Bokoblins?

Kiuchi: Link can swing his sword in any direction in this game, so we began by coming up with as much variation in enemy movement as possible.

Iwata: First, you appointed the Bokoblins to be Link's opponent in sword battles.

Kiuchi: Yes. Since you can swing your sword however you want, the movements and stances of the enemies take on new importance.

Tominaga: Until now, the Bokoblins stood guarding with their swords upright, and sometimes guarding with their swords sideways, but in battle, either way was fine.

Iwata: You decided which looks good visually.

Tominaga: Yes. Until now, gameplay never focused on the direction you swung the sword, so the stances of enemies weren't that important. But this time you have free control over how you swing the sword, so we needed to rethink everything from zero, including enemy stances.

Iwata: The Wii MotionPlus accessory allows Link to swing his sword freely, which has an effect on enemy stance and movement.

Tominaga: That's right. For example, if the enemy is guarding the same way, with the sword upright, but toward the left, you can swing from the unguarded right and deliver damage. You can attack your opponent's opening. It's easy to say that, but even that one thing was something we hadn't been able to do so far in the series.

Oyama: Yes, the battles with the enemies have completely changed compared to The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

Iwata: You made enemies for that game.

Oyama: Yes. I think the enemies this time have really evolved. At that time, it was important that they look good, but this time you can swing your sword at them from all kinds of angles, so not just how they guard, but how they take damage has taken on a rich variety.

Iwata: With increased variation in the enemies' movement, does the challenge when you face them grow?

Tominaga: Yes.

Kiuchi: Now you watch closely how the enemies move, thinking, "What kind of stance is this enemy in right now?"

Iwata: That is sword-fighting. You fight with your eyes on your opponent.

Kiuchi: Yes.

Iwata: In sword fights so far, as long as you banged away at the controller, a lot of the time you could manage to beat your opponent somehow. This time is different.

Kiuchi: Exactly. Instead of rushing to attack, it's important to watch closely how your enemy is moving, think about it, and only then swing your sword. For example, if someone with a sword were really standing in front of you, even if you had a sword too, you wouldn't be so quick to attack.

Iwata: That's true. When your life depends on it, you freeze up. (laughs)

Kiuchi: It's just like that. You keep a certain distance, watch your opponent's movement closely, and then you think, "Is this it?!" That's when you lunge. When that works, it's rewarding and exhilarating.

Iwata: It's like the enemy's movement contains hints.

Tominaga: That's right. Of course, you can defeat some enemies by swinging wildly, but first you observe the enemy's movement and form, and you seek an opening. Judging distance is also important. If you get too close, the enemy might strike first, but if you stay too far away, your sword won't reach.

And you have to stab some enemies, so this game is like a challenge from us to a sword duel using Wii MotionPlus. This may be saying a little too much, but you can enjoy so much new sword fighting in this game that I can't help it, so I encourage anyone to strike down their enemies!

Fujibayashi: Speaking of fighting with your eyes on your opponent, we talked in the first session about how challenging the enemy named Ghirahim is.

Iwata: He can read Link's movement, so Miyamoto-san got irked and said, "Is it even possible to beat this guy?!"

Fujibayashi: Yes. (laughs) Ghirahim also does this thing where he repeatedly lunges at you with something like a knife. Looking at his anticipatory movements and dodging, blocking with the Shield, and parrying with your sword is one of the strategies.

Iwata: I see. You watch his attack movements to predict his next attack.

Fujibayashi: Yes. Then one day, when Miyamoto-san was fighting during a test-play, that series of attacks came and he defended with his shield. That is, of course, one correct action, but the strength of the attack hadn't been adjusted yet, so there was a kawham! and the Shield broke. Miyamoto-san was stunned and said, "My shield…" (laughs)

Everyone: (laughs)

Fujibayashi: You're supposed to fight with your eyes on your opponent, but while we were watching, something unexpected happened. A chill settled over the room.

Iwata: I think I sort of wanted to see that reaction. (laughs) The Shield wasn't originally something that breaks, but this time it does.

Fujibayashi: Yes.

Iwata: Why did you make the Shield breakable?

Fujibayashi: This time, we talked with Miyamoto-san about the Shield as much as Link's sword and put in gameplay suited to swordfights. There's an action called Shield Attack. For example, when it looks like an enemy is going to beat you, if you hold out your left hand, which holds the Nunchuk, you can attack with the Shield.

Kiuchi: You control intuitively as if you really have a shield on your left arm, so it feels awesome when your Shield Attack is effective.

Iwata: The onscreen movement matches how your body feels.

Kiuchi: Exactly. Your two hands synchronize with Link holding his sword in his right and his shield with his left. And when you take an attack from an enemy and think "Uh-oh!" you can thrust with your shield and turn an ugly situation into a good opportunity.

Fujibayashi: But there's a problem. If you could do a Shield Attack without any risk, Link would be too strong. For that reason, if you don't do it right, the Shield's gauge runs down.

Kiuchi: When the gauge is completely depleted, the Shield shatters.

Fujibayashi: At that time, we had exaggerated the force of the attacks to test gameplay surrounding Shield Attacks.

Iwata: Aha. That's why Miyamoto-san's shield broke. (laughs) But the first time we talked, we talked about how, in that fight against Ghirahim, it would be effective to stop the sword and attack by tricking him.

Fujibayashi: That's right. There are unique aspects of gameplay for when Link attacks as well as for when he defends. Either way, it is important to pay close attention to the way your opponent is moving. And if you just don't know what to do, Fi will give you a hint.

Iwata: Fi is like Link's sidekick.

Fujibayashi: Yes. An informative—and cold—one! (laughs)

Tominaga: Yes, yes. She's always cool and collected. Whether Link is in a tight spot or not, the way she talks never changes. (laughs)

Fujibayashi: She knows everything, so when you're in a big pinch, no matter how excited everyone else is, Fi alone is calm. She's a dependable aide!

Iwata: How did that trusty aide named Fi come about?

Fujibayashi: A sidekick is necessary in the Legend of Zelda series.

Iwata: In a game where you do so much, I suppose it is asking a little much to expect the players to figure everything out and discover everything on their own without a sidekick.

Fujibayashi: And Link doesn't talk, so Fi was absolutely necessary to represent Link's emotions and explain the vast world of the game. And while keeping her function as a sidekick, we made her to be a character with personality like never before so she would mesh with the script.

Iwata: When Link calls forth Fi, she offers hints and advice.

Fujibayashi: Yes.

Iwata: Oyama-san, what impression did you have of the way Fi was portrayed?

Oyama: I played through it all once when all the various areas were done to a certain degree. It didn't feel much as if Fi and I were on an adventure together.

Iwata: Fi didn't feel like a partner. After all, she speaks so objectively.

Oyama: Yes. (laughs) Link has no idea about the game fields he is going to journey through, but Fi knows all kinds of things about the game world, about the forest and volcano and so on, so she functions as a sort of navigator. As touched upon earlier, we made the game divided up into a forest team and a volcano team and so on, so the connections between the various game fields were lacking.

Iwata: I suppose everyone was concentrating so hard on making each area densely packed with content that they had little thought to spare for those connections.

Oyama: I think so. Then we made it so that when you first entered a new field, like the volcano, Fi would explain it up front, telling you what kind of place it was and offering warnings accordingly. We emphasized how Link is not alone on his adventure.

Iwata: If you can do a good job saying, "You're not adventuring alone," does that change the way the game feels to play?

Oyama: Absolutely. When you're in trouble, Fi doesn't just offer up hints. Rather, events occur that make you realize how important she is to Link. She's also involved in the story, but I shouldn't say any more.

Fujibayashi: The reason I asked Oyama-san to work on those connecting elements was because when each area was taking shape, I noticed that the connections between the various areas weren't very good. Just when I was looking around for someone to fill in the gaps, he was coming up with good ideas rather frequently, so I asked him to be the "gang leader*" in connecting all the areas. (*Editor's note: The original word used here is "bancho", typically a title given to a leader of a high school gang.)

Iwata: Gang leader? (laughs)

Fujibayashi: I call it the "gang leader system." Toward the end, when I couldn't handle all the work or when things are beyond my ability, I appointed "gang leaders" to polish it up.

Oyama: Someone in charge of a dungeon is polishing up the dungeon he made as hard as he can, so he isn't thinking about connecting the gaps. So each day I would play what was done, and if I felt someplace was a little thin, I would offer my opinion right away and come up with my own solutions.

Fujibayashi: Fi's messages focusing on each area were written by planners, so differences in Fi's verbal mannerisms arose. I made them all sound coldly logical, and where they were lacking, I wrote additional text. Right after I made Oyama-san the gang leader for establishing connections between the areas, he would say, "This message lacks something," and I started doing more of that work.

Tominaga: Fujibayashi-san wrote a ton of messages! Later on, when I played through from the beginning and saw those places where Oyama-san had made connections, I thought, "Oh, I see. That's how they're connected."

Iwata: All the worlds created by the various teams linked together perfectly.

Oyama: I believe so.

Fujibayashi: I also appointed Oyama-san as a gang leader to handle entrances to dungeons.

Iwata: Oh, yes. In our last session of "Iwata Asks," you said that you wanted somehow to recreate the way Link went into dungeons in the original game, The Legend of Zelda.

Fujibayashi: Yes.

Iwata: Oyama-san, you were the one who fulfilled Fujibayashi-san's request to recreate that tump-tump-tump sound, weren't you?

Oyama: Yes. Until now, the effect wasn't much different than going through a normal door, but this time he wanted me to recreate that feeling in the original Legend of Zelda of going into a dungeon. But even if we did it exactly the same way…

Iwata: It wouldn't work.

Oyama: No. But I decided to try it that way once and had the footfalls go tump-tump-tump.

Fujibayashi: That's right.

Oyama: But, as might be expected, it didn't suit this game's atmosphere at all.

Iwata: It fit the visuals of the original Legend of Zelda game perfectly, but it must have been quite a task for you to come up with an effect or sound that perfectly fit the visuals this time, which are neither realistic nor like cel animation.

Oyama: That's right. I thought there was a need when players first enter a dungeon to tell them what kind of place it is and build up their excitement. For example, when you enter the volcano dungeon, there's an effect like a wall of heat hitting you.

Iwata: Do you only see that effect when you first go into the dungeon?

Oyama: Yes. From the second time on, there's an effect that conjures up that tump-tump-tump atmosphere from the original Legend of Zelda game.

Fujibayashi: We put a lot of effort into that. There was staff that specializes in cinematics and we asked them to work on the really particulars about every little detail, including the length, saying, "Make it a little longer," and "Make it shorter," right down to a few frames!

Oyama: We adjusted the time until the fade down to a precise number of frames, like ten more frames here. As a result, however, I think we were able to effectively generate that atmosphere of entering into a dungeon.

Iwata: I haven't seen that yet, so I can't wait for my second time to go into that dungeon! (laughs) It doesn't only apply to what we just talked about, but while this Legend of Zelda game has immense volume, you were thorough about addressing even the tiniest details. Why is that, do you think?

Oyama: Maybe it's because we were able to pursue everything with such care.

Iwata: The impression it makes does suggest extreme care.

Fujibayashi: I think one reason is the efficacy of the gang leader system. I have each person go beyond the confines of his or her own section with authority to address aspects of the whole production. That way we can be thorough and each person's responsibilities and roles are clear.

Iwata: Tominaga-san, when presented with the task of creating places that could be played multiple times, what did you think and how did you try to achieve that?

Tominaga: For example, even if it's the same place, the next time Link comes, he has more items, so different gameplay is possible. Earlier, Fujibayashi-san talked about using bombs at the volcano, but the next time you go there it features the Bow. It's a game field with ups and downs, so you can shoot at enemies far away. And that time, you have to advance while protecting a certain character.

Iwata: Cutting your own way forward and protecting someone else as you advance result in completely different kinds of gameplay.

Tominaga: That's right. You can protect yourself with a shield, but that doesn't work when you have something else to protect. And this time, Bokoblins with bows and arrows show up. If Link fires an arrow, they will fight back. I think we did a good job of creating the feeling of a battle in which each side takes cover in shadows, shooting and getting shot at.

Iwata: And since it is your second time there, you know where the good places to hide are.

Tominaga: The landforms are in your head, so it's easy to play.

Iwata: Yes. All right, I'd like to finish up by asking each of you say from the standpoint of your own work what you recommend to the players. Shall we continue with you, Tominaga-san?

Tominaga: Sure. First, you can, of course, enjoy solving puzzles at the volcano, but there's also a good balance of actions, like using the Dash, so I would like players to become proficient in them all. Also, there are all kinds of enemy movements, and as we mentioned with the Bokoblins, they have a touch of humanity, so…

Iwata: I wonder how many times we've talked about the Bokoblins today! (laughs)

Tominaga: Sorry. (laughs)

Iwata: I can really tell how you all simply love those Bokoblins!

Tominaga: I think we all poured effort and feeling into the Bokoblins. They really are cute and…

Iwata: I mean, no one has even mentioned Princess Zelda once! (laughs)

Everyone: (laughs)

Tominaga: Princess Zelda is, of course, cute (laughs), but to bring up Ghirahim again, we put a lot of effort into him in order to realize new gameplay using Wii MotionPlus, so while he may not be easy to beat, I hope players will closely watch his movement and overcome him!

Iwata: Just hearing talk of it makes me think it's a battle that will remain firmly in players' memories.

Tominaga: Yes. I put as much feeling into Ghirahim as into the Bokoblins, so I truly hope people will enjoy him.

Iwata: All right. Kiuchi-san?

Kiuchi: I made enemies, so I want players to fully experience battles as only possible with Wii MotionPlus. And aside from your sword, you can use the Shield when an enemy attacks. You can simply defend with it, but once you get used to it, I hope you'll try a Shield Attack, and thereby turn a crisis into a good chance.

And thanks to the enthusiasm of the planners, programmers, and designers, the enemies respond in all manner of ways, so please use the full panoply of items to fight them. Some enemies will respond in ways you never imagined, so I think you'll enjoy that.

Iwata: Okay. Oyama-san, your message as "entrance gang leader," please.

Oyama: Well, I wasn't quite a gang leader. (laughs) I think this game turned out to be an easy one to play even for newcomers to The Legend of Zelda. The controls are extremely intuitive, and while this is really getting into details, when you run along a cliff, it's designed so it's difficult to fall.

Iwata: Until now, due to the camera angle, you couldn't tell your footing, and the next thing you knew, you were falling.

Oyama: Yes. But that has evolved this time, so even people who aren't that good at 3D games can play without getting stressed. Also, while it isn't very noticeable, we slipped in elements to make gameplay comfortable. So one point this time is the friendly design.

Iwata: The series has always been that way, but it's even friendlier than usual.

Oyama: That's right. (laughs) I hope even beginners will enjoy this dense Legend of Zelda game.

Iwata: And last, Fujibayashi-san. Do you have anything you would like to add?

Fujibayashi: This time, we talked about the Bokoblins a lot, so I'd also like to talk about the jelly-like Chuchu enemies. (laughs)

Iwata: The enemies who sort of jiggle.

Fujibayashi: Yes. If you cut them horizontally, they divide up and down, and if you cut them vertically, they divide to left and right. If they divide into upper and lower halves, they just fall back together and return to normal, and if they divide into left and right halves, they become two separate Chuchus, so they're a really trying enemy.

Iwata: They divide like amoebas.

Fujibayashi: Exactly. Chuchus are one of the examples of enemies that you may find difficult to defeat. But first, you cut them horizontally so they split into upper and lower halves in midair. Then, before they can rejoin, you slash them vertically, thereby finishing them off for good.

Iwata: In other words, you can defeat them with two strikes.

Fujibayashi: That's right. You don't punch buttons, but rather the player performs this sword technique by actually moving the Wii Remote. You can feel like your skill at swordplay has really improved, so it feels great. The volcano, in particular, has that kind of enemy—lots of enemies like that where you have to watch closely to defeat—so try different things and develop your own style.

Iwata: I don't suppose any game before has required the player to watch their opponents so closely.

Kiuchi: It seems like there should be a lot, but I don't think there were.

Iwata: As someone who made the enemies, Kiuchi-san, that must make you happy.

Kiuchi: Yes, I am. I think the tension when you fight is different this time.

Fujibayashi: Speaking of that tension, you really fear counterattacks by Bokoblins when your strength runs low! One will block—klang!—and you worry he might finish you off in one blow, so you hesitate to attack.

Iwata: When you're low on Hearts, even if you're just fighting a Bokoblin, you hesitate before attacking?

Fujibayashi: That's right. When your remaining Heart starts beeping, you know if you get hit once more you're a goner, so you really sweat over how to place your next attack.

Iwata: Unless you're certain you can make use of an opening, you hold back.

Fujibayashi: You keep your distance until you think, "There's my opening!" Then you bring down your sword and hear klannng!

Iwata: Because your enemy blocked.

Fujibayashi: Yes. Then you feel his blow strike and you cry out! (laughs) For a while, I could hear those pained cries from around the room. One key point of this game is sword battles with that level of tension.

Iwata: I see. This Legend of Zelda game's density becomes ever clearer through these interviews. This will continue for some time to come (laughs). This Zelda game has such great amount of gameplay density that even if you find out a little bit of contents beforehand, I don't think it will lessen your gameplay experience when you actually play it. Since the game is so dense I'm also making these interviews dense as well, but I would like to assure the readers that you don't have to worry about finding out spoilers here. Thanks for today, everyone.

Everyone: Thank you.