Interview:Iwata Asks: The Wind Waker HD

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Iwata Asks: The Wind Waker HD


September 18, 2013




The Wind Waker HD developers discuss the development of the remake and of the original.



How Toon Link Was Born

Iwata: Today, I'd like to ask about The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. Before we discuss the Wii U version, I would also like to ask about the original, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for the Nintendo GameCube. First, please introduce yourselves, including what you worked on before as well as this time. Aonuma-san, we'll start with you.
Aonuma: I worked as director on the original game. This time as the producer, I went to work hoping to take this opportunity to fix what hadn't gone well before. I remember saying the same thing for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D! (laughs)
Iwata: Right! (laughs) Iwamoto-san? You also discussed The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword with me.
Iwamoto: I wasn't part of the team for the original game. Soon after, I worked on The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures and The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. This time, I was the director.
Iwata: You weren't involved with the original version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, but you have been deeply involved with "Toon Link."
Iwamoto: Yes. Toon Link and I go way back. This was my first time as a developer for The Wind Waker, so I played through the original again and worked on the places that I thought could be improved upon.
Iwata: Okay. Takizawa-san.
Takizawa: For the original version, I had the title of design manager, but to be specific, as a member of the core design staff, I was involved from the start where we talked about things like "Let's give it this kind of look." I was also mainly in charge of enemy characters and effects. This time, um…what was I? HD Refining Art Director?
Iwata: That's quite long! (laughs)
Takizawa: In any case, I thought about how to refine all the graphics to HD, while doing a lot of the actual work.
Iwata: In other words, you were the visual director. All right, Dohta-san?
Dohta: The original came out before I joined the company, so I simply enjoyed playing the game.
Iwata: Oh, you were a player!
Dohta: Yes. I played it like other players play. This time, I was paired with Takizawa-san and had the title of HD Refining Program Director. I provided refining direction with regard to the technological aspects of transferring the original Nintendo GameCube visuals to the Wii U version.
Iwata: And last, Arimoto-san.
Arimoto: I participated on the original as a designer trying to see how we could fully create a world based on the character art by Takizawa-san and (Yoshiki) Haruhana-san. When it came to the refining work this time, I took on the responsibility of taking data from the original and somehow making it work! (laughs)
Iwata: It was your job to make it work.
Arimoto: Yeah, it was. Takizawa-san and I checked the data from the original and started pulling it together.
Iwata: Well now, let's move on. The original Version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was released in 2002, but at NINTENDO SPACE WORLD the year before, in 2001, we had revealed what the upcoming Zelda game would look like.
Aonuma: Yes, that's right.
Iwata: That announcement was shocking to Zelda fans. Many were surprised and puzzled. How did those visuals come about and how did you create that world? In other words, could I ask you to first talk about how Toon Link came to be?
Aonuma: Well…that look wasn't what I had at first proposed.
Takizawa: At the time, Haruhana-san and I were a part of the core staff from the start, and we had been trying to figure out which graphical direction to take for the next Zelda game. And we wondered whether continuing the path taken by Ocarina of Time, and evolving upon it by giving it more detail was really the right path.
Iwata: You were looking for a direction to take on how to evolve the series.
Takizawa: Yes. Although it may be an exaggeration to say we questioned whether it was "the right path."
Aonuma: Of course, simply carrying on down that road was an option, and we proceeded with a prototype, but it was incredibly normal and didn't exceed expectations.
Iwata: The looks improved, as expected. At Nintendo Space World the year before, in 2000 when we announced the Nintendo GameCube, we showed a demo video of an evolved form of Link from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, so a lot of people were expecting something along those lines.
Aonuma: Yes. But it was difficult for us to imagine ourselves easily coming up with new ideas and expanding on that world if we had chosen that path. Of course, while a game is more than its visuals, it was going to be made mostly by the same people, and the ideas we had within the same team has its limits.
Takizawa: Everyone on the core staff making the game at that time had a sense that proceeding in that direction didn't feel quite right. Then one day, out of the blue, Haruhana-san hit us with that new Link.
Iwata: Just out of the blue?
Aonuma: Yeah, it sure was.
Takizawa: The instant I saw that drawing, my designer's spirit came to life and I thought, "With a character like that, we can give him actions that will look and feel good no matter how he moves!"
Aonuma: Soon after you saw that, you drew a picture of a moblin.
Takizawa: Yes. I immediately drew inspiration from Haruhana-san's sketch and dashed off a Moblin, thinking, "Then the enemy should look like this!"
Aonuma: Then we began thinking about how we could have them fight, and it suddenly got interesting, with ideas coming out at an incredible speed, and I thought, "This'll work!"
Iwata: Haruhana-san's sketch was a detonator for the core staff that set off a bunch of ideas.
Takizawa: Animations came along pretty quickly, too. I remember how, when we first had the initial images, Aonuma-san was all cool, like "Oh, this is what you're thinking… Hmm…" But when he saw the demo, he was like "Whoa! They're so cute they really have grown on me!"
Everyone: (laughs)
Aonuma: Looking back at the history of Zelda games, that happens a lot. For Ocarina of Time as well, once we had Link and a certain kind of enemy, gameplay started developing rapidly.
Iwata: Making the action structure and the interaction elements become the starting point for everything else. Once those things are done things rapidly starts branching out.
Aonuma: In the case of The Wind Waker, the visuals for Link and the Moblins started everything. Things quickly shaped up around how we would have them fight.
Takizawa: Another benefit of those visuals was how we could represent the mechanisms and objects for puzzles in a more easy-to-understand way. When the visuals are photorealistic, it had the adverse effect of making information difficult to represent game-wise.
Iwata: In terms of the graphics required within a game, sometimes more problems arise the more photorealistic it is.
Takizawa: Exactly. You can't tell what moves and what you should touch. But if you change the visual style of parts that move, it'll stand out like a sore thumb.
Aonuma: We solved those problems with regard to gameplay, and more than anything, we felt we achieved a new sense of combat against new enemies thanks to the stylized actions performed by cel-shaded characters. We decided rather early on that we definitely wanted to go with that direction.

The Zelda Cycle

Iwata: After Toon Link was revealed with much fanfare, I got the impression that a debate over its pros and cons continued among the fans until release. As the developers, what were your impressions about the response after the game was released?
Aonuma: At the time, we couldn't really directly see the response online the way we can now. There was already a division between those who liked that artistic style and who didn't, and I had the impression after release that we hadn't quite gotten across that barrier in order to deliver the Zelda game that we wanted. That was just my own vague idea after talking to a number of people.
Iwata: So you think that the players' opinions were first divided just by whether they liked the art style or not?
Aonuma: Right. This was a few years ago, but one day, my wife said a friend had told her the visuals for The Wind Waker on the GameCube were really pretty, so if we had it at home, she'd want to play it.

Iwata: Hmm, isn't that a little too good to be true? (laughs) Did your wife know you were working on The Wind Waker?

Aonuma: She knew it, but she didn't seem to have much interest when it came out.

Iwata: Does she usually play video games?

Aonuma: About the time of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, she started playing the games I made, but before that, she didn't play video games very much, partially because our child was so little.
Iwata: What was your impression, Takizawa-san?
Takizawa: Well, I have a story similar to Aonuma-san's. My wife never plays video games. But when she saw the TV commercial back then, she said it looked interesting. And that was the first time I'd ever heard her express disappointment over not being very good at video games.
Iwata: Ah, something came across through those visuals.
Takizawa: I think that's what it was. We were able to create visuals where we could get someone who doesn't usually play video games want to play one. That really made me happy.
Aonuma: Back then, probably, video games still had an image of being difficult. For example, controllers were getting more and more buttons.
Iwata: Perhaps, that image was at its peak about that time. It was a time where making games more realistic and lavish excited a lot of people. Wind Waker was released at a time when the gaming industry wasn't able to offer an idea that could open up games to a broader base of people.
Aonuma and Takizawa: That's right.
Iwata: If I think back, people were cleanly split into two groups. With one happy and saying "The characters are so expressive that it's like I'm controlling an anime," and another resisting it, saying "It's like a game for small kids with the characters this cute."
Aonuma: Yes. There was a clear split.
Iwata: But later, as time passed, voices that Toon Link is childish started dispersing and those who said they like him were gaining more ground. Or is that an exaggeration? (laughs)
Aonuma: No, that really happened.
Iwata: Actually, if you look closely at the world of The Wind Waker, it has its own sense of reality that's takes advantage of its anime-themed world. It's so inventive with a lot of bright ideas packed in that you think "Wow! So much detail!" But I suppose I notice those things as president of Nintendo because I try to see its charms! (laughs)
Aonuma: Well, there's a clear split with those who are reluctant even to try it.
Iwata: But I think that has changed recently.
Aonuma: There's a "Zelda cycle."
Iwata: Yes. Bill Trinen-san at Nintendo of America—who always plays a big role in preparing the overseas versions of The Legend of Zelda games—always talks about the Zelda cycle.

Aonuma: Basically, as time progresses, negative opinions about The Legend of Zelda turn into positive ones. At first, I wasn't sure about that, but seeing the response to The Wind Waker HD, I think it may be right.

Iwata: And it isn't restricted to The Wind Waker. Every time a new Zelda title comes out, there's no shortage of negative opinions, but a year or two later, people are revising their opinions, and its reputation goes up.

Aonuma: The response of fans in North America was like that for The Wind Waker. When we first announced the original version in 2001, the majority of voices we heard were against it. However, the responses for the Nintendo Direct we aired in January were incredibly favorable. Also at the Nintendo Experience event at Best Buy which was held at the same time as this year's E3, a lot of people lined up in front of the single demo station for The Wind Waker HD in each store, saying they really wanted to play it.

Iwata: This might jinx things, but we weren't able to expand the reach of the Nintendo GameCube hardware to the fullest, so even if people thought it looked good, a lot of them didn't buy the hardware and decided to wait it out.

Aonuma: The other thing I could say is that we upended a lot of things with The Wind Waker, and we continued to do so beyond that as well. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess had serious and photorealistic looks, and then The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword had a painting like look with its half cel-shaded animation. It keeps changing with each new release.

Iwata: To that point, I think a part of the reason that the sentiment for The Wind Waker is increasing is that people have now seen both Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, and have realized that The Wind Waker did have its own appeal.

Aonuma: I suppose so.

Iwata: After that, Toon Link settled into handheld games, so the number of people who have taken a liking to him is gradually increasing.

Iwamoto: When I worked on The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, some people were definitely like "What? Toon Link?!" But with The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, it seems like opinions like that had completely disappeared.

Aonuma: As we make The Legend of Zelda games for the Nintendo DS, I think we were finally able to reach across to those people that while the appearance may change, it's still in fact a Zelda game.

Iwata: And eleven years is more than enough time for people to have a fresh feeling towards it. I doubt many people would feel like playing the remake of a full-length game that came out two years ago, no matter how fun it was, unless it had something really mind-blowing. But when eleven years pass, you might not be able to start over from scratch, but you're able to enjoy it with a fresh feeling.

Aonuma: That's right, so when playing the game again, even those of us who made it have forgotten a lot about it. We feel like we're regular players and say things like "Huh? Was it like this?" as we play along.

Iwata: You get stuck on the puzzles, even though you made the game yourself! (laughs)

Takizawa: Yeah! So we keep a strategy guide at hand. Imagine a developer using a strategy guide to play his own game! Takizawa (laughs)

The First Part Is Divine But...

Iwata: I'd like to ask about the game's content. How did those distinctive characters and that vast ocean world come to be?
Aonuma: Without much hesitation, we decided rather early on to set the game among the seas. We liked how we could use the open sea in designing the mechanics of the game world, and more than anything, we thought it would be interesting to show the sea in that visual style. I think we got into a good flow with everyone coming up with ideas about what the islands in those seas should be like and what the people living there would be like.
Iwata: Even for a Zelda series, quite a lot of distinctive characters that we haven't seen before show up in The Wind Waker.
Takizawa: I remember that the planning staff and the character production team, led by Haruhana-san, played off each other really well.
Aonuma: Ever since Ocarina of Time, Haruhana-san had been proposing a lot of eccentric characters, but for The Wind Waker, it was like he had powered up and unlocked the safety! (laughs)
Iwata: It seems like the whole world of The Wind Waker was created by boiling down those eccentric essences.
Arimoto: That's the strength of that visual style. With the stylized, anime-like look, no matter how big the head was, or how short the legs were, it didn't feel weird. Rather, it all gave a positive impression where everyone was just fine with it.
Aonuma: Yes. The characters are truly rich and expressive.
Iwata: Right, their expressiveness really leaves a lasting impression. When you try to make the expressions realistic, it usually comes off as awkward because of the differences with real life. But with those visuals, those things don't become an issue and you can express all kinds of facial expressions and gestures.
Aonuma: That's right. Until Ocarina of Time, if we wanted to make a single mouth movement, for example, it was difficult to express some things, so we put in a lot of effort to that in The Wind Waker.
Takizawa: Now that the eyes had gotten much larger, we wanted to make their facial expressions richer by increasing the number of patterns for the eyes and mouth. Partway through, we even talked about having beams come out of those eyes! (laughs)
Iwata: Huh? Eye-beams?!
Takizawa: (Shigeru) Miyamoto-san and (Takashi) Tezuka-san said we needed to supply a reason for the eyes being so big. I don't think beams were really an option, though.
Arimoto: We made it so when you stop, the eyes move, looking this way and that way.
Aonuma: Right, right! That's when we had the idea of Link's gaze providing a hint. We used that later in Ocarina of Time 3D, but the first time we've done it was The Wind Waker.
Iwata: Oh, so that's how that happened.
Aonuma: Until then in Zelda games, we had kept some things back so that the players would play as if they were Link himself. But in The Wind Waker, even though you control Link, you also view him objectively and played as if you were interacting with the world through Link. The manner of emotional investment is a little different than in previous Zelda games, and as you spend time with it, it gradually grows on you.
Iwata: It's like that advertising line we used at the time (in the Japanese market) about it being animation you can touch. After development began, was it like you shot straight to the end without any hesitation?
Aonuma: We never hesitated in our desire to make a completely new Zelda game. But we did notice the negative reaction when we announced it, so we were uneasy. But developing the game timidly would have been the worst thing, so we plunged ahead, determined to go all out hoping to gain acceptance.
Iwata: What was it like watching development from the outside, Iwamoto-san?
Iwamoto: I wasn't watching too much, but when I actually bought the game and played it, I was surprised at how vivid the animation was. But aside from the visuals, a few things did bother me.
Aonuma: He did deliver some pretty tough opinions. But since he pays so much attention, we asked him to be director this time.
Iwata: To expand upon that, there was talk at the time of how the early parts of the game were divine but later on it sort of dragged. Of course, a lot of people said it feels great to be in that world, so they enjoyed playing to the end, but I think those words express a representative evaluation from players of The Wind Waker.
Iwamoto: My viewpoint was entirely that of a player, and as I played, I noticed places that made me think, "Aw, that's not quite right…" and "If they had just done this, it would've been better!" And this time, I played through the game again, and I noticed places that should be changed to update it for the players today.
Iwata: Yes, the times have changed.
Iwamoto: Yes. So I listed up those points, listened to opinions from the staff members who had made it, and in the end, determined areas in need of adjustment.
Aonuma: If you fix it like that, it gets dramatically better—so much so that you think, "Why didn't we do it that way in the first place?"
Iwata: Miyamoto-san often says that if you make a game twice, it gets better. Which is something to reflect upon. But I always say, "Yeah, but usually you can't do that!" (laughs)
Aonuma: That's so true.
Iwamoto: Even if you don't make it twice, when you're about to rush toward the finishline, if you have a few moments to look back, you may notice some things.
Aonuma: I know… You're absolutely right, but when you're in a mad dash, looking back is impossible.
Iwamoto: I can understand that, too! (laughs)
Iwata: I'm sure you did your best at the time, and I do think the staff, in their enthusiasm, poured a ton of energy and ideas into it. If they hadn't, we wouldn't have done an HD remake.
Aonuma: And we can only see some things now because 11 years have passed.
Takizawa Chances to look back with a cool head and make a game all over again like what we're doing now are rare.:
Everyone: (nods in agreement)
Iwata: But this time, you got to!
Aonuma: That criticism about the first half being divine and the latter half too tough has always hurt, so I think if we was just five years ago, I wouldn't have had the will power to do this.


Iwata: This is changing the topic, but making software for the Nintendo GameCube and Wii U is different in every way right down to the mechanics of the hardware, so you wouldn't usually be able to convert a game for Nintendo GameCube to a game for Wii U very easily. I'd like to ask Dohta-san and Takizawa-san about that.
Takizawa: To start with the inspiration for development, as we were developing Wii U, we talked about how we would handle a new Zelda game for it, and as we thought about that…
Iwata: You also made Zelda HD Experience.
Takizawa: Yeah, that was a natural evolution of Twilight Princess, while we also experimented with an illustrated taste as opposed to something that was photorealistic. Apart from that, we tinkered with taking data from previous Zelda games and simply plugging it into Wii U in HD to see what it would be like. Dohta-san really applied himself to the actual work of that.
Iwata: Well, we have a wealth of images, so a programmer can do quite a lot by working at it.
Takizawa: That's right. We took the various versions of Link from the Zelda HD Experience, [Skyward] Sword and The Wind Waker and lined them up in the same setting. We used practically the same shader and brought out the same shading, and Link from The Wind Waker made an overwhelmingly strong impact. He exerted some kind of unnatural pressure.
Iwata: He wasn't doing anything. His appearance alone stood out.
Takizawa: Yeah! And it looked natural. We thought that was amazing, so we set up the sea and islands from The Wind Waker, put them on the Wii U and adjusted the images. That resulted in great images with vibrant sunlight and superb contrast.
Iwata: Is that what we showed in the January Nintendo Direct?
Takizawa: Yes.
Dohta: I was doing that work, when suddenly I got an e-mail from Aonuma-san asking how long it would take to pull it off.
Iwata: Aonuma-san had sprung into action. And with a question that pointed directly at the possibility of the project. (laughs)
Dohta: Yeah! (laughs) To be honest, we'd secretly been calculating it, so I answered that we could do it so it can be released by fall 2013.
Iwata: Aonuma-san, I suppose you were surprised they could do it in under a year.
Aonuma: I sure was! (laughs) If they had said it would take time, I don't think I would have said we should do it, but under a year was extremely attractive! And I thought making an HD version of The Wind Waker had value as a way to observe how we would make the visuals for the Zelda game for Wii U.
Iwata: I suppose so.
Aonuma: I went to Miyamoto-san right away and said, "Can we make this?" Then that talk about the Zelda cycle came up and gave us a push. And since we could do it in a short amount of time, he greenlighted development.
Takizawa: Well… May I interrupt? Even if the hands-on staff said they could do it and I were the producer, I'd ask for more time! (laughs)
Everyone: (laughs)
Dohta: The make-up of the team was a little special this time, with only a few in-house designers. When it came to things that could be done with sheer manpower like working on high-resolution textures and so forth, a lot of external designers worked with us. In other parts like the refining were basically done by Takizawa-san, Arimoto san and one more person, and we moved forward with those three being the main designers.
Iwata: Three designers? Considering the deadline, even though it was a remake, correcting each bit of data by hand would be impossible.
Dohta: Yeah. Actually, designers in-house that could work on this were limited since it needed to be people who were familiar with the data and direction of the original designs. We knew we weren't able to rely on a workflow that employed a lot of people. So this time we used a special method. We devised a way to convert Nintendo GameCube data for the Wii U and to make visuals look better, while hardly laying our hands on the 3D modeling data.
Iwata: Did that exist from the start?
Dohta: Not at first. We had been gathering the Wii U know-how at that point from a variety of places and had been adjusting old images so they would show up as cleanly rendered images for The Wind Waker HD.
Iwata: But that new method wouldn't make all the art look better than on the Nintendo GameCube, would it?
Dohta: No. Some would require special, individual attention. We wrestled with a lot of data, speculating as to what the developers' intentions were in the original designs, and reflecting that on the Wii U shader.
Iwata: Speculating about their intensions… It sounds like archeology!
Everyone: (laughs)
Takizawa: Well, that's exactly what Dohta-san was doing.
Dohta: Yeah. Something might clearly look weird in the data but look great in the original art. Work went on for some time as I repeatedly grappled with how to recreate such things on Wii U.
Iwamoto: One issue after the other like that came up.
Dohta: The more we did, the more appeared.

{{Interview/A|Arimoto|This is a confession from over ten years ago, but polishing up the designer's data wasn't a custom that was firmly in place back then.

Iwata: Yes. People had their own way of operating. Each person polished up the characters they were in charge of in their own style.
Dohta: Right.
Takizawa: Dohta-san would say, "Takizawa-san! This is totally impossible for an environment map setting. Take a look!" I'd look at it and it would be data I had made myself! (laughs) Instead of admitting I was responsible, I'd say, "Whoa, that's horrible! Take care of that, would you?"
Everyone: (laughs)
Dohta: And it's not just the data. The Nintendo GameCube's 3D engine was able to generate those kinds of graphics, so I went to hear what people who knew about the engine specs at the time had to say. I went all around the company and finally got Link's eyes to move right.
Aonuma: The biggest problem was how, for the Nintendo GameCube at the time, they were using cel-shaded animation for visuals that couldn't be seen anywhere else, so everyone was working in their own way by hand.
Iwata: I suppose sometimes in the process of changing the numerous settings, something happens, and you just say, "Let's run with it."
Dohta: Yeah. As a matter of fact, we found out bugs were the cause of how some of those graphics appeared on screen. So, including those things…
Iwata: You recreated them?
Dohta: Yes. I thought, "What in the world am I doing?"
Iwata: I see. When working on the shading, you even recreated the bugs!
Everyone: (laughs)
Iwamoto: The specs were the same. There were specs no one could understand, so we had programmers analyze them and explain them.
Takizawa: Usually, you would handle that after designers had already verified it to some extent, but since we had so few designers, we had to carry on in a somewhat impolite way.
Aonuma: But doing it that way was really important for The Wind Waker HD. Adopting this process really helped us greatly.


Iwata: Now I understand how you used a different method to update the visuals for The Wind Waker HD. I think it's an unusual example, but by making it that way, different things came into view.
Dohta: The way we did it this time, even the designers making the data weren't able to imagine how it would look when the images first appeared. Because a method had been put in place to completely replace the images, I think there were times when the designers saw those images come up for the first time and they'd be like, "What?!" (to Arimoto-san) Right?
Arimoto: Well, we were like, "Hmm, it's already done."
Everyone: (laughs)
Arimoto: It was a new sensation for something to show up when I had no memory of making it!
Takizawa: Dohta-san's a bit mischievous, so he'd put in some revisions thinking we'd never notice, and without telling anyone. Then he would wait for someone to notice and say something. As a designer, I couldn't stand for anyone to think I wasn't able to see it (laughs), so before Dohta-san revealed it, I wanted to point it out, saying, "Oh, I liked what you put in the other day!" We enjoyed that kind of a quiet battle between the two of us.
Dohta: It's actually a little pleasing to get caught! (laughs)
Takizawa: The quality improved at amazing speed in the latter half of development. It would change significantly in just half a day!
Iwamoto: We were worried at first. Like, "Is this going to work out?"
Aonuma: So of course, people said, "You probably can't do it in such a short amount of time." (laughs) Once we got started, a lot popped up.
Iwamoto: But like Dohta-san said, with the way we made it this time we couldn't tell how the final form would shape out in the end, so we just had to believe. The two of us just watched over, wondering how it would change. Aonuma Yeah. Like, "We've come this far, so what's wrong?"
Iwamoto: He'd say, "No, this is no good at all!"
Dohta: But you can't have a waterfall flowing in the wrong direction!
Everyone (laughs):
Iwata: Dohta-san, you never imagined that 11 years later you'd be analyzing and reshaping the data of a game you enjoyed before you were a developer.
Dohta: You can say that again! (laughs)
Iwata: As someone who experienced it both as a player and a developer, did anything stand out?
Dohta: In that sense, it felt to me like what they were originally trying to do with The Wind Waker didn't fit within the confines of SD resolution. By changing it to HD, I saw how the number of colors increased, the resolution go up, and the animation became finer and fluid, so the character's eye movement and things like that come alive. It's something that I realized comparatively as I was working.
Iwata: Before, they were trying to stuff more than would fit into the container. As you were converting the data and programs from that time into the new container, you realized what they had really wanted to do.
Dohta: Right. That's exactly what happened.
Aonuma: Upon seeing The Wind Waker HD, I realized that with the original version, we had been trying to make something beyond what the Nintendo GameCube could express.
Iwata: If it looked better than before simply placing it in a new container, then it must have been over-designed for it.
Aonuma and Takizawa: That's right.
Iwata: In other words, more energy and creativity was put in than the container could put out.
Aonuma: The reason I pushed so strongly to do it in such a short time without considering a buffer was because the world that we had really wanted to make years ago was unfolding there in the test images Takizawa-san showed me. I'd seen something to make me think, "This is it!" So as a creator, not doing it wasn't an option.
Iwata: What's more, the environment is favorable toward it now.
Aonuma: That's right.
Takizawa: Um, I love Okinawa and the southern islands, so I often go there.
Iwata: I can tell that from your suntan! (laughs)
Everyone: (laughs)
Takizawa: I think I was able to make that world convincing because when I made those first test images, I envisioned how good I feel when I'm there.
Iwata: The comfortable way it feels isn't something you can derive from a scene in a photograph.
Dohta: I think Aonuma-san has said this before, about how it's "reality over realism." With The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, I think we were able to express a good feeling that doesn't come across by simply portraying a photorealistic sea or sky.
Iwata: That includes light or a breeze that the eye can't see. Of course, it isn't actually bright and a sea breeze isn't actually blowing, but you sense those things in that gameworld. It's interesting how this game was made based on something that was created 11 years ago, but the way it feels real surpasses the many games out there today with realistic graphics.
Aonuma: Yes, it's very interesting. It's a 100% fabricated world—in exact opposition to live-action movies—but it's natural and feels comfortable. It's difficult to express why that is.
Arimoto: Maybe it's because comfortableness itself is stylized.
Aonuma and Takizawa: Um-huh!
Iwata: A stylization of comfort.
Arimoto: The sunlight and the nice breeze are represented in a pleasant way, with anything extra cut out. Only what's good is left over, so it feels comfortable.
Takizawa: Recently, I've been thinking that I want to create images from which you can sense temperature or smells, so I've been paying attention to that. When making The Wind Waker HD, I carefully adjusted the lighting and coloring up to the very end.
Iwata: In this gameworld, you think, "That sunny spot looks nice and warm," or "If I go into the shade of that tree, I'll enjoy a cool breeze."
Aonuma: The shades really do look cool. You feel like you want to go there! (laughs)
Takizawa: That's possible because of Wii U. In technological terms, the Wii U can present a wide range of brightness, but that's a somewhat dull way to describe it! (laughs) When we make Zelda games in the future, I think that will be one important point.

Pure Entertainment

Iwata: It's about time to wrap up, but I would like to finish by asking each of you to say something to those who played the original version of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and to those who haven't. Aonuma-san, you'll be last, so let's start with Iwamoto-san.
Iwamoto: I was able to make a lot of fresh adjustments to this remake, so I would be happy if people who played the original game notice the differences. An obvious one is how the speed of the ship has doubled, and you can put the map on the Wii U GamePad in your hands, so it's easier to enjoy the gameworld. And we made it compatible with Miiverse, so please try that out.
Iwata: All right. And to people who haven't played the original?
Iwamoto: I simply want them to dive right in! Some challenging scenes come up as you play, but if you get past them and make it to the end, you'll think, "Wow! That was fun!"
Aonuma: Compared to the rest of us, Iwamoto-san's viewpoint was closer to that of a regular gamer's, so if he says it, it must be true!
Iwata: How about you, Takizawa-san?
Takizawa: I want to convey to people who have played the original that the impression it makes has changed so much that you could say we made the gameworld anew.
Iwata: In other words, you're saying it's better than their memories! (laughs)
Takizawa: I'm confident of that! We've completely redone the lighting as well, so I think players will be able to enjoy this reborn world with excitement. Some people who haven't played the original are probably thinking "Didn't that game come out over ten years ago?" But it's a game packed with unprecedented fun that doesn't feel old.
Iwata: Yes, it really is unique.
Takizawa: When it comes to the animation, we hardly corrected it at all, but that's because we think the original is the most visually pleasant of The Legend of Zelda games. I hope everyone will enjoy it in their living rooms on big-screen TVs together with their family and friends.
Iwata: All right. Dohta-san. First, to people who have played the original.
Dohta: This came up earlier, but we weren't able to express all of our creativity in the Nintendo GameCube version. In the HD version this time, we were able to express the developers' leftover grudge.
Iwata: Grudge? Not enthusiasm? (laughs)
Takizawa: But that word does seem to fit best!
Iwata: Like something held it here and it couldn't move on?
Everyone: (laughs)
Dohta: Some extremely obscure things made me surprised at how thoroughly it was made. I exhaustively uncovered them, so I hope people will notice.
Iwata: Okay. And to people who haven't played the original?
Dohta: Something I noticed all over again as a developer is how The Wind Waker is that it's such a pure game. The direction of the game itself is that way, and the story is too, pure and straightforward, without any wavering. I want people to fully enjoy that kind of pure entertainment.
Iwata: "Pure entertainment" is a good way to describe the nature of this game.
Dohta: Those who can enjoy that for the first time are quite lucky.
Iwata: Arimoto-san, what would you say to people who have played the original game?
Arimoto: I think they will discover things they didn't notice before. For example, the brothers Orca and Sturgeon on the first island don't really look alike, but when you see them in HD, Sturgeon's eyes have a sharp glint to them behind his glasses. When we saw that, we thought, "Oh, they really are brothers!"
Iwata: Thanks to HD, the sharp gaze shared by the two became apparent. (laughs)
Arimoto: Yeah. There are other things too, though! (laughs) And some people who haven't played the original game think that there's nothing more to Link in The Wind Waker than his cuteness. While he does look cute, his actions are always manly and cool!
Takizawa: If you look at what he does and accomplishes in the game, he is the manliest Link in the history of the series.
Arimoto: He doesn't make a lot of sugary cute facial expressions and poses.
Iwamoto: But he does kind of frolic when he gets a Heart Container!
Arimoto: Oh, right! (laughs)
Iwamoto: That's cute.
Everyone: (laughs)
Iwata: Well, the rest of the time, he plays it cool, which makes that behavior stand out. And last, Aonuma-san. Your closing comments, please.
Aonuma: Earlier, we described the game as pure and straightforward, and I do think a lot of the original game came together in a burst after that one picture of Toon Link. We really dashed through at full power. However, when I played through it, a lot of clumsy spots came into view. We fixed those places and put it in HD, adding a new, polished edge.
Iwata: Right.
Aonuma: I think people who have played the original game are sure to notice that. I think they will definitely be able to sense, in a magnified way, what was there before. We made this version easier to play and more comfortable to make progress with, so I think they will be able to experience the joy of playing through every inch of this world.
Iwata: It's easier than before to experience the gameworld through and through.
Aonuma: Yes. And to those playing for the first time, it wouldn't be wrong at all to think of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD not as a remake but as a brand new The Legend of Zelda game reborn for the world today.
Iwata: It's a straight and robust Zelda game for 2013.
Aonuma: Yes. I hope they will experience that to the fullest.
Iwata: I feel like the many elements refined for this game are hands extended to all kinds of people in all directions. I'm looking forward to how people will receive it when it reaches their hands.
Aonuma: I want to see what kind of reception The Wind Waker HD finds. With regard to the intent of the original version and whether the feeling invested in it was right. I think it will become an important turning point for thinking about The Legend of Zelda in the future.
Iwata: I also think The Wind Waker HD will be a fun game for people to watch others play. You could say that one criteria of a good game is that it's fun for people to simply watch, and that is particularly true of The Wind Waker HD. Thanks to the HD graphics, the power of the visuals, facial expressions and gameworld have joined into one whole more than ever so that you can sense light, wind and warmth not usually apparent to the eye. I hope everyone will enjoy it on a large screen together with their family and friends. Thank you for today.
Everyone: Thank you.