Interview:SuperPlay April 23rd 2003

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SuperPlay April 23rd 2003


April 23, 2003





Miyamoto reflects on The Legend of Zelda and defends The Wind Waker.


[1] SuperPlay Magazine, April 2003
Translated by SuperSectionX of IGN Boards

A boy named Link. Battling the forces of evil

SP: It's been 17 years since the Legend of Zelda was released in Japan. Do you remember that day?
SM: Yes, I remember that we were very nervous since The Legend of Zelda was our first game that forced the players to think what they should do next. We were afraid that the games would be bored and stressed by the new concept.

Luckily, they reacted totally opposite. It was these elements that made the game so popular, and today gamers tell us how fun the zelda riddles are, and how happy they become when they solved a task and proceed with the adventure. It makes me a happy game producer.
SP: What visions and goals did you have when you started to develope the game?
SM: We started to work with Legend of Zelda at the same time as Super Mario Bros, and since the same people did both games we tried to separate the different ideas. Super Mario Bros should be linear, the next step in SMB shoudl be obvious. Zelda should be Mario's total opposite.
SP: And everything proceeded as planned?
SM: During the developement of Legend of Zelda we actually were able to include more ideas than we first thought was possible. And with the technical improvements that has been done through the years we are able to include more of our original ideas. During these years many new faces has worked with Zelda and brought new ideas.
SP: It is said that the tale of Hyrule was created by Kensuke Tanabe, and he was very inspired by Tolkien's books. How much of the original manuscript was written by him and what was your ideas?
SM: You still talk about the first Zelda game?
SP: Yes
SM: Tanabe wasn't included in the Zelda team before the Zelda Alttp game. He wrote the story to that and Zelda LA game.
SP: So it wasn't him that wrote the original Manuscript?
SM: No,no. All ideas to The legend of Zelda were mine and Takashi Tezukas.
SP: Okay, so what influenced you then?
SM: Books, movies and our own lives. Legend of Zelda was based on my childhood.
SP: The sequel, Zelda II AoL was a different game. Why was that? And why have you never done anything like it again?
SM: It was my orginal idea, but the actual game was developed by another team, different persons that made the first game. Compared to Legend of Zelda, Zelda II went exactly as we first thought. All games I make usually gets better in the developement process since all good ideas are comming, but Zelda II is a little failure.
SP: So that's why the third game looked like the first one?
SM: Exactly, we actually see A link to the past as the real sequel to Legend of Zelda. Zelda II was more of a sidestory what happend to Link after the happenings in Legend of Zelda.
SP: How does the Zelda games get together? Is there any connection between the different games or do you take tell us a new Zelda story each time?
SM: For every new Zelda game we tell a new story but we actually have an enormous document that explains how the game relate to eachother and bind them together. But to be true they are not too important to us. We care about develope the gamesystem give the player new challenges for every chapter that are born.
SP: Will the story always come in 2nd when you develope games?
SM: Most important thing for me is that the player should get sucked into the game. I want the games to be easy to understand, and that the people appriciate the games content, its core. I will never deny the importance of a great story but the plot should never get that important that it gets unclear.
SP: Hideo Kojima used to say that when people spend 10 hours with his games, he wants to give them a message. You have any message you want to give us?
SM: It's worth considering, but I dont have plans to change the world, I just try to create the perfect game. I have never had the ambition to mediate any message. All I want to do is entertain people.
SP: The generation that I belong to was brought up with your games in the 80s and are now in its 30s. You never thought about making games to that group of age?
SM: I have never intended to make games for a specific age, I want to make games for both kids and adults.
SP: I know what you mean, but at the same time many gamers think that they grow away from the Nintendo games. It's a fact that games like GTA appeal older gamers.
SM: Yes it's true. The gaming industri are broader than ever, and there are many different ways to produce a game on. Appearently many older gamers like GTA , but that does not mean Nintendo will develope similar games, instead it is our task to find new ways and create substitute. It is our duty to produce alternatives to GTA.

I think it is important that we producers keep things inside moral and ethic borders. I actually think that game designers have some responsbility what we create. Of course the art of freedom and the right to speak are important, but we should beware what we do. Games are interactive entertainment and could affect young persons.
SP: GTA does not interest me, but I must say that I became a little disappointed in the first scenes I saw of Zelda TWW. Not that you used cellshading, but that Link looked childish.
SM: You played the full version?
SP: Yes
SM: Whole game?
SP: No, only the Japanese version without understanding the story.
SM: I think you will get another understanding when you played whole Wind Waker in english. There are humor in the game, but also deeper parts. The first trailer was just a presentation of Link's new face.
SP: But is this the Link you first thought of when you created the first Zelda game?
SM: Link long looked like the same even though that a new technic changed some details. But in Ocarina of Time 2 versions were created in him. 1 younger and 1 older. As you see now, the younger Link is the main character in Zelda the Wind Waker. He blended in better in the surroundings than older Link. Adult Link is in Super Smash Bros Melee and SCII. And we started with him as the main character in the new Gamecube game before we changed direction and made the Wind Waker.

It's my responsibility that Link are always Link, the character I once created. And I always think of how he will look in future games.
SP: Shouldn't there be some room left for a Zelda adventure with adult Link as the main character? A darker, more serious Legend of Zelda with more depth?
SM: Sorry, but I can't talk about my plans for the future, but it is sure possible that we will make a game like that.
SP: What is your favorite game in the series?
SM: We was time limited in the development of Zelda WW, and was forced to leave some things out of it, but when I look at the finished game, I think that we have created something uniqe, both graphical and content wise.
SP: What is the power in Legend of Zelda? And why has Link become such popular character?
SM: Link is a regular boy when the game begin, but destiny make him fight evil, and I think many people dream about becomming heroes. For me it has always been important that the gamers grow together with Link, that there are a strong relation between the one who holds the controller and the person who are on the screen. I have always tried to created the feeling that you really are in Hyrule. If you don't feel it that way, it will lose some of its maigc. One of the things that make Wind Waker so special is that we wanted to make the graphics clearer and in that way we could show Link's facial expressions.

The way Link's reacts creates a closer relationship with the player.

I strive to create communication and relationship in my games. Both social with several people gathering ifront of the tv to play together and relations with the controller and characthers on the screen.