Interview:Nintendo of Europe November 2004

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The release of any Legend of Zelda title is always cause for huge excitement amongst Link's legion of fervent followers. The Minish Cap – out now – is a completely original outing for Link on Game Boy Advance that any self-respecting Zelda fan shouldn't go without. So we talked to the game's supervisor Eiji Aonuma to find out what new features the Minish Cap has under its brim…

Nintendo of Europe: For anyone unfamiliar with the game, can you give us a brief introduction to The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap?

Eiji Aonuma: Link's adventure shifts between the normal world and a fairytale-style world. Link encounters the Minish Cap, and using the magical words of this Cap (yep, it can talk!) he can change the size of his body and become much smaller. Enemies that would normally pose little threat can become a much more difficult challenge for small Link. Behind a small hole in the wall which Link never paid attention to before, a strange new world develops.

The adventure offers a chain of continuous surprises. There are some amazing new items and the mini-games in the dungeons are also different this time. Some gameplay approaches you were already familiar with cannot be used in this title, so you can enjoy the fresh and exciting exploration. There are also plenty of sub-events, such as the "piece matching" of the Kinstones.

NoE: How does the Minish Cap fit into the Zelda chronology? Is it a prequel to the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures on GameCube?

Aonuma: Yes, this title takes place prior to The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, and tells the secret of the birth of the Four Sword.

NoE: The Minish Cap is a classic adventure in the vein of A Link to the Past. How did you make it match up to previous Zelda outings?

Aonuma: As The Wind Waker was a game in which Link had adventures through a fairytale-like world, we used the expression 'Toon' to describe the style of the game. Similar to this idea, in The Minish Cap, Link moves through the world of tiny fairies, a universal fairytale story. Therefore we used graphics that were similar in style to The Wind Waker, and we also used play controls that were in keeping with the GameCube title. There is a new feeling to this game, although it also incorporates the 'good side' of the 2D title A Link to the Past.

NoE: Tell us about some of the inventive gadgets or features that Link gets to use this time.

Aonuma: There are many new items, such as the Gust Jar which can suck in and spit out anything, the Cane of Pacci which can flip objects over, and the Mole Mitts which can dig into the ground. These all help you find hidden things in the game. We want players to enjoy not only finding the small world hidden behind the normal world, which is the main feature of the game, but also finding something hidden by using items.

NoE: Are there any other surprises you can hint at? Like which familiar characters we can expect to bump into?

Aonuma: A 'town' which looks nothing special at the beginning of the story turns out to be a very important place in the middle of the game. An event takes place in the town where very important information for the game can be obtained, if you find the places where small fairies live. There are also many characters which you will be familiar with from previous titles, such as Gorons and Deku-Scrubs from Ocarina of Time, and Tingle from Majora's Mask and The Wind Waker.

NoE: Can you tell us how Zelda fits into the gameplay? There has been some suggestion you can play as her!

Aonuma: In this title Princess Zelda is turned into stone, and the mission is to help her. We will realise the idea of playing as Princess Zelda in another title.

NoE: Why should Zelda fans be excited about the Minish Cap? What makes it stand out from other adventure games?

Aonuma: The most important feature is the shrinking. It creates a surprise that any place can suddenly become a new adventure world. Another new feature is the matching of Kinstone pieces. Players collect Kinstones, which are similar to pieces of a puzzle, and by matching them with pieces from other characters in the game, something new happens. All these elements make this title a unique and a very interactive adventure game.

NoE: Thanks for your time, Mr Aonuma!