Z-Targeting, or L-Targeting, is a game mechanic introduced to the series in Ocarina of Time in order to ease both the programming and gameplay of enemy confrontations and interactions with other objects. When a cursor appears over an object, the player can press (and hold, depending on settings) Z (or L in Ocarina of Time 3D) to focus on that object and interact with it directly. Since its inception in Ocarina of Time, it has also appeared in every 3D game including Majora's Mask, The Wind Waker, Ocarina of Time 3D, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword.
The idea of locking onto enemies was conceived by Ocarina of Time General Director Toru Osawa and 3D System Director Yoshiaki Koizumi. After deciding on the game's fighting style, the directors visited Toei Kyoto Studio Park for inspiration. Osawa and Koizumi recount their experiences there in Iwata Asks:
"As we went along looking at everything, it was so hot that we ducked into a playhouse to cool off. They were doing a ninja show. A number of ninja were surrounding the main samurai and one lashed out with a kusarigama (sickle-and-chain). The lead samurai caught it with his left arm, the chain stretched tight, and the ninja moved in a circle around him."
"What caught my attention in the studio park was the sword fight. They regularly put on shows in which the hero defeats ruffians. Watching that, I thought, "Hmm, that's weird." That was because there was no way one person could fight and win when surrounded by 20 opponents. I thought there must be some kind of trick, so I watched very closely, and it was simple. It's a sword battle, so there's a script and a certain setup. The enemies don't all attack at once. First, one attacks while the others wait. When the first guy goes down, the next one steps in, and so on."
Since Ocarina of Time 3D is played on the Nintendo 3DS, which doesn't have a 'Z' button, it uses the 'L' button for this function and calls it "L-Targeting". Some games allow players to decide whether pressing 'Z' once engages the target until it's out of range or another is chosen, or the button must be held to maintain the lock.
- ↑ "Watching the kusarigama show, I hit on the idea of making a kusarigama that you can't see when you use Z Targeting." — Toru Osawa, Iwata Asks: Ocarina of Time 3D - Original Development Staff - Part 1
- ↑ "Then, when we were making The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I thought up something when we were making the camera system for fighting enemies. [...] One thing I had been trying to figure out with regard to Z Targeting was how to fight multiple enemies." — Yoshiaki Koizumi, Iwata Asks: Ocarina of Time 3D - Original Development Staff - Part 1
- ↑ "Since we're going to include chanbara-style action, let's go to Toei Kyoto Studio Park!" — Toru Osawa, Iwata Asks: Ocarina of Time 3D - Original Development Staff - Part 1
- ↑ 4.1 4.2 Iwata Asks: Ocarina of Time 3D - Original Development Staff - Part 1