Interview:Iwata Asks: Skyward Sword (Volume Six: The Dense Script and Direction)

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Iwata Asks: Skyward Sword (Volume Six: The Dense Script and Direction)


November 14th, 2011




After discussing the different areas of Skyward Sword in volumes two through five, Iwata ties up some loose ends including the game's script and music, and how it was directed.



A Battle Against Contradictions

Iwata: This is our sixth time to discuss The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in "Iwata Asks." I would like the three of you participating for the first time to introduce yourselves.
Mori: I'm Mori from the Software Planning & Development Division (SPD). I worked on the scripts for cinematic scenes and part of the direction and storyboards.
Iwata: How long were you involved in this project?
Mori: About one year and three months.
Iwata: That feels a little less than the full five-year development period, but that's because if you don't make the cinematic scenes once the structural framework of a Legend of Zelda game is determined, you'll have trouble later on.
Mori: Yes. The game contents change a lot, so while I only came in during the latter half of development, a lot happened.
Iwata: I can imagine so. I'd like to explore that more later.
Mori: Okay.
Wakai: I'm Wakai from the Entertainment Analysis & Development Division (EAD). I coordinated the overall sound and wrote some of the music myself. The first Legend of Zelda game that I worked on was The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. This was my second Legend of Zelda game.
Iwata: Did you participate in this project from the very start?
Wakai: No, not from the start, but since about three years ago.
Iwata: Even so, that's quite a marathon.
Wakai: Yes, it was.
Iwata: I heard that in the end there was a total of ten sound staff members and it blew my mind! (laughs)
Wakai: Yes. (laughs)
Iwata: I'd like to ask about the "dense" sound later, too.
Wakai: Okay.
Yoshida: I'm Yoshida from SPD. I was director of cinematic scenes.
Iwata: Were you involved about as long as Mori-san?
Yoshida: Yes, that's right. But we were arranging the surrounding environment from early on, so I started a little sooner than he did.
Iwata: The game required a lot of cinematic scenes, so you had to start by making a solid foundation and system.
Yoshida: Yes.
Iwata: Shall we start with the script? How does the script get made?
Fujibayashi: First, I thought of a script that would roughly fit the framework of the game and proposed that to Aonuma-san, saying, "How about something like this?"
Aonuma: This time, the theme is the sword which makes use of the Wii MotionPlus accessory. When you think of a sword in The Legend of Zelda, you think of the Master Sword. Rather early on, we decided to address the origin of the Master Sword.
Fujibayashi: That's right.
Aonuma: About that time, we began talking about how that would make this the first story in the series, and we wondered about involving the birth of Hyrule Kingdom. On the other hand, there was the setting of the floating island in the sky, and we thought, "How did that get there?"
Iwata: Basically, it's there because Fujibayashi-san wanted to jump down from a high place!
Fujibayashi: Yes. (laughs) We settled on having the sky and surface world, and on top of that, it was going to tell the story of the creation of Hyrule, with the untold story of the origin of the Master Sword. So, looking back at the series so far, we began knitting together the various elements. And then all sorts of contradictions arose.
Iwata: There have been a lot of games in the series since the original Legend of Zelda game 25 years ago and they each have their various stories and settings. Trying to create a new setting based on them all is bound to become a battle against contradictions.
Fujibayashi: Yes. Then about two years ago, we had to think about a number of things all at once—from the system to the stages and game fields—and Mori-san, Yoshida-san and the cinematic scene staff were beginning to join the team, so we were under pressure to make the hakogaki soon.
Iwata: The hakogaki is a rough synopsis of the essential points of the script.
Fujibayashi: Yes. Time was running out, so I told everyone that I didn't feel well and holed up at home one whole day to write it! (laughs)
Iwata: I can't condone such behavior, but you wanted to concentrate alone.
Fujibayashi: Yes. I locked myself in and from morning to evening did nothing but write the synopsis.
Iwata: Even though you didn't feel well? (laughs)
Fujibayashi: Well, I suppose I didn't feel well, but I worked hard anyway! (laughs)

Breathing Life Into the Characters

Iwata: So you completed the synopsis of the script by holing up at home in an entire day?
Fujibayashi: Well, I really concentrated on it. Like an old novelist, I wrote a page, crumpled it up and tossed it aside, wrote a page, crumpled it up and tossed it aside. (laughs) Then I thought, "This is good," and took the version I was satisfied with to the office.
Iwata: What did Aonuma-san say when you showed it to him?
Fujibayashi: He gave it a cursory glance through and said, "Yeah, I think that's fine."
Everyone: (laughs)
Iwata: Did you feel like he had treated it lightly? (laughs)
Aonuma: Did I really seem like I was treating it lightly?
Fujibayashi: Well, I figured you were going to have various criticisms about it but you seemed very understanding! (laughs)
Aonuma: That's because all the key points were there.
Fujibayashi: I remember how relieved I was.
Iwata: Aonuma-san, how aware were you of how worried Fujibayashi-san was?
Aonuma: Well, I've repeatedly worried about things like that an awful lot, too. So rather than commenting on it a whole lot, this time I wanted Fujibayashi-san to make The Legend of Zelda in line with what he thought it should be like. I thought it would be okay as long as there weren't the sort of contradictions that we mentioned earlier.
Iwata: So the synopsis got the okay. Mori-san, then your work on the cinematics team could begin, right?
Mori: Yes. I was to write the dialogue based on the synopsis, so we met face-to-face and began hashing it out. But after hearing everything, the phrase, "That hasn't been decided clearly yet," always popped up. (laughs)
Iwata: Horrible words. (laughs)
Mori: Yes. (laughs)
Iwata: Those who make the cinematic scenes can't begin their work unless the content is clear. (laughs) What did you do? Considering the schedule, didn't you have to get cracking?
Mori: (looking troubled) Exactly.
Iwata: So you started making the scenes, all the while pushing back your fear that what you made would go to waste later on.
Mori: Well, that's, you know…
Iwata: You're used to it? (laughs)
Mori: Yes…you might say that. (laughs)
Everyone: (laughs)
Mori: There are times when they say, "There's been a change," and we just say, "All right, we'll fix it." But there are other times when we resist.
Fujibayashi: You don't "resist," you "consult." (laughs)
Mori: That's right. There are times when we "consult."
Iwata: (laughs)
Mori: Speaking from the viewpoint of a scriptwriter, various characters show up in the synopsis, and with regard to each one, it is—to use a somewhat grand expression—necessary to breathe life into them.
Iwata: You start with limited information in the synopsis, expand upon that image of the character and bring it to maturity.
Mori: Yes.
Iwata: How do you breathe life into characters?
Mori: Writing scripts is the same for everything from video games to novels, movies and anime, I believe. You have to delve into what lies behind the characters—what kind of life they have lived up until they appear in the work at hand and what they are thinking as they act.
Iwata: That sounds like something an actor would say! (laughs) In other words, you have to get into character, including what doesn't actually appear in the game.
Mori: Exactly. When you do that, how the character feels in certain situations, how that changes as circumstances change, and what that character will say come bubbling up within you. But…
Iwata: Yes?
Mori: When they say, "We changed that," I think, "But he wasn't the kind of character to do such a thing!" It just doesn't sit right with me at all.
Iwata: And then you resist, or rather consult with, Fujibayashi-san. (laughs)
Mori: Yes, that's right. (laughs)
Iwata: So Mori-san wrote the script and then passed the baton to Yoshida-san.
Yoshida: Yes. The staff around me draws storyboards for the script that Mori-san made, so I explained the scenario to them and had them draw storyboards. Then I had the motion designers make animation for those storyboards using 3D models.
Iwata: You were in charge of turning what had been written on paper into actual animation.
Yoshida: Yes.
Iwata: When I hear that, it sounds as if the work went incredibly smoothly, but in reality there was some pretty intense back-and-forth, right? (laughs)
Yoshida: Yes, that's exactly right. (laughs) Once you have animation, a lot both good and bad becomes clear. Then voices from all quarters start saying, "No, not like this! Not like that!"
Iwata: When what isn't noticeable in words or in the storyboards actually appears as animation, everyone starts throwing out their opinions.
Yoshida: That's right. I take those opinions to the designers making the motion and then everyone start saying this and that.
Iwata: It's hard to be caught in the middle. (laughs)
Yoshida: It sure is. (laughs)
Wakai: Then it comes to the sound group, and Yoshida-san has an even harder time!
Iwata: Once the visuals are in motion, then it's time to add sound.
Wakai: Yes. A little while after putting sound to the animation, Yoshida-san started coming up and saying, "I'm sorry, but this changed"—like it was one of his primary work responsibilities! (laughs)
Iwata: Like saying "I'm sorry!" was his job?
Wakai: Yes! (laughs)
Iwata: You had matched up the sound perfectly, but the timing changed, so you had to redo it.
Wakai: That's right. But that's not Yoshida-san's fault.
Yoshida: Well… (laughs)
Wakai: Things change for various reasons.
Iwata: But Yoshida-san does at one point incur a little animosity? (laughs)
Wakai: Yes. (laughs)
Mori: But he makes so many adjustments that development would have been in shambles without him.
Yoshida: (laughs)

This Game Is Indeed "The Legend of Zelda"

Iwata: How many cinematic scenes did you make?
Mori: About 79?
Yoshida: Yes.
Fujibayashi: For a total of over 120 minutes.
Iwata: Huh?! That much?! That's like a whole movie!
Fujibayashi: Yes, but we decided to count the number rather than the amount of time and to set the number last time in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess as the standard. I wrote all the dialogue for the scenes this time that I wanted to portray and counted them, and there were a lot more than I had expected.
Iwata: You had a lot that you wanted to portray through cinematics.
Fujibayashi: Yes. We keep them organized by giving them each a number. For example, for number 30, about three files in there, like 30-1, 30-2 and 30-3.
Iwata: There was a 1, 2, and 3 just for number 30? Then number 30 isn't just one! (laughs)
Aonuma: He's been sneaky. (laughs)
Everyone: (laughs)
Fujibayashi: But all together there were 79. (laughs)
Iwata: But if number 30 has a 1 and a 2 and a 3, and you don't count those separately, then it's not 79! (laughs)
Fujibayashi: No, we talked about that, saying, "Those scenes are shared, so it's okay, right?" I thought people would say, "Whoa! That's a lot!" but I remember Yoshida-san saying, "Well, this amount should be all right."
Yoshida: Yes, but I did give you a hard time, like, "So these three only count as one?" (laughs)
Mori: I do remember chiding you about the cinema scenes several times, like, "This isn't just one."
Fujibayashi: Well, you know. (laughs) But you use what's there for a set, so I thought it would be all right if we used them well. Then lots of cinema scenes came together, we applied them to the game, and Aonuma-san looked at them. The first thing he said was, "There's a lot!" (laughs)
Iwata: (laughs)

{{Interview/A|Fujibayashi|There was one scene I wanted to do no matter what. It's toward the beginning. [[Princess Zelda|Zelda}} jumps down from Skyloft toward Link as he is flying on Loftwing, and Link panics and tries to catch her.}}

Iwata: Last time, we talked about that skydiver who rescued a woman in the air.
Fujibayashi: Yes. I wanted to portray Zelda's personality in this game all at once in that scene. She's bright and lively, emotional and impulsive. We made that cinematic scene, but when Aonuma-san saw it, he said, "It's so long… It's too long!" I thought, "Oh no! If it stays like this, he's gonna cut it!"
Iwata: What were you unsatisfied with, Aonuma-san?
Aonuma: What bothered me the most at the time was how, toward the beginning, cinematic scenes were running one after the other.
Iwata: The players would think, "Come on, let me play the game!"
Aonuma: That's right. They want to get into the game as quickly as possible, so I thought, "You can't pile on the cinematic scenes like this!" I even said, "Do we even really need this scene with Zelda jumping down?"
Fujibayashi: Yes, you did. (laughs)
Aonuma: And I got hung up on how it was like a lovey-dovey romance scene. I said, "Are we really going to go this direction in The Legend of Zelda?"
Iwata: I see. (laughs) But Fujibayashi-san, you really wanted to put that in.
Fujibayashi: For that lovey-dovey scene, it was someone else wanted to put it in. So I said, "We'll think about it," and we disbanded and shaved away other parts.
Aonuma: And he pushed it through to the end.
Iwata: Fujibayashi-san, are you glad you left it in?
Fujibayashi: Yes. I really like it.
Aonuma: I'm glad we ended up leaving it in, too.
Fujibayashi: It connects to the dormitory material.
Aonuma: Yes. And I think it was really important to make the player feel like they really want to help Zelda.
Mori: That's right. We paid special attention to making the players want to save her when writing the dialogue, too. Part of the background is that Link and Zelda were childhood friends, so it's only natural that they are close. For that reason, we wanted to make Zelda care for Link from the start more than ever before.
Iwata: So she has bursting amounts of feelings for him from the very beginning? (laughs)
Mori: Yes. (laughs) And Zelda disappears in the beginning, so we tried to make it so that as you're looking for her, you have several near misses and then feel even more strongly that you want to help her.
Aonuma: Until now in the series, after Zelda appears once, Link doesn't see her again for a long time as he goes around alone on his adventure. That's why some people call it The Legend of Link! (laughs)
Fujibayashi: In preparing the script this time, we envisioned where Zelda is and what she is doing while Link is on his adventure—even if you can't see her.
Iwata: Oh, that's new. Instead of saying, "Zelda is off somewhere distant," you adventure with her constantly in mind.
Fujibayashi: That's right. And like Mori-san said, you have several near misses.
Aonuma: And Zelda isn't a princess this time.
Iwata: She isn't "Princess" Zelda.
Aonuma: No, she isn't.
Iwata: If she isn't a princess from the start, then…
Aonuma: But while Tetra was a pirate in the beginning, in the end she became a princess. This time, she isn't a princess from start to finish.
Iwata: Oh, that's a series first.
Aonuma: Yes, that's right. Zelda appears in this story as a normal girl and partway along is called a messenger of the Goddess. So it's a good thing that the title is The Legend of Zelda and not The Legend of Princess Zelda! (laughs)
Iwata: Indeed! (laughs)
Aonuma: In the end, you find out how Zelda became a legend.
Iwata: For the first time since the series began 25 years ago!
Fujibayashi: Yes. So for the first time, this game is indeed The Legend of Zelda!

Link Over the Edge

Iwata: This Legend of Zelda game is exactly what its name suggests, and while Zelda isn't a princess this time, she is heavily featured.
Aonuma: Yes. Mori-san has really dedicated himself to how to portray Zelda. That was true for Tetra in The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Princess Zelda in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks and, to go back even further, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Iwata: Mori-san, what were you in charge of for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time?
Mori: I was director of cinematics.
Aonuma: Some people are still playing it, so I can't be too specific, but the last scene.
Iwata: Yes?
Aonuma: He just couldn't settle on an expression for her face.
Mori: Yes, that's right.
Aonuma: Did you eventually find something that satisfied you?
Mori: That was for the Nintendo 64 system, so there were hardware limitations to what we could express.
Iwata: There were severe constraints on representing facial expressions on the characters.
Mori: Yes. I asked about adding one more expression for eyes, but they said it was impossible.
Iwata: You couldn't do it the way you wanted.
Mori: I proceeded with what was available, but it just didn't look right to me. I ended up frustrated to the very end.
Aonuma: Ever since, Mori-san has wanted Zelda to have more vivid facial expressions.
Mori: That's right. Later on, I worked on storyboards based upon scripts that others had written, but The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks was the first time I wrote scripts for cinematic scenes. That was fairly…
Iwata: Fairly what?
Mori: (looking slightly embarrassed) I was like, "Yes! This is my Zelda!!"
Everyone: (laughs)
Aonuma: Oh! I like that honesty! (laughs) He talked earlier about breathing life into the characters, and I knew Mori-san would portray Zelda so she would possess a great deal of charm. This time has Mori-isms.
Iwata: Mori-isms?
Fujibayashi: Here and there, you run across wording that we call Mori-isms.
Aonuma: Sometimes I can even cry a little from his writings. I'm like, "So he decided to put this line here?" (laughs) They really hit home. Like, there are several places where I thought, "Ah, these are Mori-isms." Those wouldn't be possible if it weren't for Mori-san, who has portrayed Zelda for so long.
Fujibayashi: Because of that, when I wrote the synopsis, I left some places blank on purpose so Mori-san could fill them in.
Iwata: You wanted him to fill them in with Mori-isms. (laughs)
Fujibayashi: Yes. I wanted to leave the blanks to him. But I have my own preferences, so I wrote those places where I thought, "I definitely want this line to go in!"
Iwata: And those are Maro-isms? (laughs)
Fujibayashi: Well, we were a good duo and worked well off each other. (Editor's note: "Maro-ism" is a play on word taken from the last part of Fujibayashi-san's first name Hidemaro to contrast with the Mori-ism mentioned earlier.
Mori: Yes. But Fujibayashi-san can be really particular too. For example, Zelda has a slightly mischievous side to her this time. In order to emphasize that personality, there's an early scene in Fujibayashi-san's script where she pushes Link off Skyloft!
Iwata: Zelda shoves Link over the edge?!
Mori: Yes. For some reason or another, she did it about three times.
Iwata: Three times?! (laughs)
Mori: Yes, because you can only repeat the same gag three times. (laughs)
Fujibayashi: I did that for two reasons. One was, as Mori-san just mentioned, that I wanted to give Zelda a mischievous personality, and the other is that I wanted to emphasize how they were up in the sky.
Iwata: Such a scene arose because the first setting is up in the sky.
Fujibayashi: I wanted to emphasize how they were living someplace really high. But it is true that we've never had anyone push Link off from a high place before.
Aonuma: If he fell from the sky, he would die, so as a bit of mischief, I was like, "Isn't that going a bit far?!" (laughs)
Fujibayashi: I wanted to show how such occurrences were an everyday thing on Skyloft. If someone pushed you and you fell, Loftwing would intercept you in the air.
Aonuma: I guess you wouldn't die.
Fujibayashi: And you like that kind of thing, right, Mori-san? I mean, girls pushing around boys.
Mori: Huh? Well… (laughs)
Everyone: (laughs)
Fujibayashi: So I told Mori-san to do a good job brewing it out, and passed on to him the ingredient of Zelda pushing Link three times.
Mori: When I received that ingredient, I understood that it happened on a daily basis, but even Link would panic if he got pushed off all of a sudden.
Iwata: It would be surprising.
Mori: You'd really let out a scream, right? No matter how often it happened, it wouldn't look right if Link just calmly accepted it with an unconcerned expression. I went to put in Link's reaction, but when Miyamoto-san saw that he said, "Why is Link so surprised?" and "This is normal on Skyloft, right?" I thought, "Yes, I guess he's right."
Iwata: But it would be strange to stay calm when pushed off like that.
Mori: Yes. I wondered how I should make it look, but Miyamoto-san thought of a reason for why Link would be surprised when pushed off.
Iwata: He didn't just say, "Why is he surprised?" He also came up with an idea for you.
Mori: Yes.
Fujibayashi: So we fixed up the beginning a lot.
Aonuma: Yes. Many times.
Fujibayashi: Miyamoto-san said it just didn't strike the right note. In the end, we have decreased the number of time Zelda pushes Link off to two.
Iwata: When Miyamoto-san makes his final check, he pays a lot of attention to how it will look to people playing in that world for the first time.
Aonuma: Yes, he does.
Iwata: The longer development lasts, the harder it becomes for the staff to see that. One of Miyamoto-san's important roles is viewing the game from the perspective of a first-time player.
Mori: Yes. We were really thankful for that.
Fujibayashi: We reworked that scene over and over, so I hope everyone will pay attention when Zelda pushes Link off Skyloft! (laughs)

"Record It with an Orchestra!"

Iwata: All right, Wakai-san, I'd like to ask about the overall sound.
Wakai: Okay.
Iwata: From your point of view, what was the challenge this time with regard to the music?
Wakai: The orchestra. It wasn't entirely new because of the Tokyo Software Development Department's experience with games like Super Mario Galaxy, but I think this was the first time for EAD in Kyoto to use an orchestra.
Iwata: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess did partially feature orchestral music, but that part was done by the Tokyo Software Development Department, too.
Wakai: So without any know-how, it was quite a challenge.
Iwata: Did you receive any advice from Tokyo Software Development Department?
Wakai: Yes. (Mahito) Yokota-san, who knows a lot about orchestral music, is there, one other staff member came on board, and we asked the Tokyo Software Development Department to be in charge of a number of music for cinematic scenes, as well as making arrangements related to recording the orchestra. In Kyoto, we focused on other music in the game. That's how the sound team came to have ten people.
Iwata: Without the music in the cinematic scenes, could you have proceeded with a smaller staff?
Wakai: Yes. One about half the size.
Iwata: So you can say that due to the cinematic scenes, your staff doubled. It must have been hard to put music to all 120 minutes of cinematics, though.
Wakai: It was. Besides, all ten of the sound staff members weren't working full-time on this game, and we had our hands full just putting music to the game, but toward the end, the cinematic scenes rapidly came together.
Iwata: That's when the staff suddenly grew.
Wakai: That's right.
Iwata: Aonuma-san, how was it decide to record with an orchestra this time?
Aonuma: At first, I wasn't thinking about using an orchestra at all. But during the roundtable at E3 2010, a reporter asked if we would use an orchestra for The Legend of Zelda, and Mr. Miyamoto replied, "An orchestra suits The Legend of Zelda, so we'll be thinking about it." When I came back to Japan, Wakai-san came up to me in a fluster and said, "Is the music going to be orchestral this time?!" I was like, "No, I don't think so."
Wakai: That's right!
Aonuma: I only experienced recording one track with an orchestra for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, but it was a lot of work, so schedule-wise, I was certain we couldn't do it for the whole game. To my surprise, though, Miyamoto-san said, "Record it with an orchestra!"
Iwata: Oh, so Miyamoto-san gave you a push?
Aonuma: Yes. He said that something like that is necessary for a game like The Legend of Zelda.
Fujibayashi: That was a surprise.
Aonuma: It really was a surprise.
Iwata: You all say it was a surprise, but didn't we use an orchestra for Super Mario Galaxy?
Aonuma: Yes. We felt like it worked in Super Mario Galaxy, so I suppose that is why Miyamoto-san was sure that if we used that impressive sound in The Legend of Zelda it would turn out great.
Iwata: And it was well received in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
Aonuma: That's right. That all connected to the orchestra this time. We had him be present for the actual recording, and he was saying in a heartfelt way, "I knew an orchestra was right for The Legend of Zelda!"
Iwata: I see. (laughs) And that led to The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony Concert.
Wakai: I think so.
Iwata: You were on stage at that concert. How was it?
Aonuma: It was really exciting. Many people even cried as they listened to the music from the series.
Iwata: I heard that, too.
Aonuma: I was listening from the side of the stage, but it touched a special place in my heart such as I'd never felt before. Just listening to the orchestra, it gradually came over me. Then all that I had experienced in the game welled up within me.
Wakai: Kondo-san said that it brought tears to his eyes, too. Apparently he was even tearing up during rehearsal. (laughs)
Iwata: Were you there for the concert?
Wakai: Yes. It made an impression on me how the eyes of everyone in the hall were sparkling.
Iwata: The power of music is incredible.
Fujibayashi: I truly believe so. I couldn't go, but I experienced how incredibly powerful an orchestra can be. About February this year, everyone on the development staff was in a tired spell.
Iwata: During a long development period, times like that arise.
Fujibayashi: Everyone had powered down. As if choosing just such a time, the sound team used the sound room to hold a preview of the orchestral music done at that point. Listening to it boosted everyone's motivation.
Iwata: Their spirits rose a hundredfold?
Fujibayashi: Yes. Their energy shot up.
Wakai: I'm so glad. That was just what we wanted! (laughs)
Everyone: (laughs)
Wakai: People in the sound staff could really tell that everyone in the staff was exhausted. In order to raise their motivation, we decided to hold that event.
Fujibayashi: We were really happy listening to it.
Iwata: And all of a sudden you powered up. (laughs)
Fujibayashi: Yes! (laughs) I think because of that preview we were able to stick with development to the end, trying to make a game that would live up to that music.
Iwata: I see. Lastly, I would like each of you to say something to the fans about what you would like them to pay attention to in the game. Since we've been talking about the sound, would you start, Wakai-san?
Wakai: With regard to the sound, we tried something new by putting in an orchestra, but here and there you will find characters who sing, and they sing during the cinematic scenes, too.
Iwata: Once again, you've done something extravagant! (laughs)
Wakai: Yes. (laughs) Lots of characters appear this time, and they all have their own thematic sound. We have used those to good effect all over the game, so I hope players will enjoy that. And another thing is how you can play the harp this time using Wii MotionPlus.
Iwata: (Masato) Mizuta-san from Sound mentioned that. You can play the harp even while walking.
Wakai: Yes. And while you run too. The sound changes along with the background music, so I hope everyone will look forward to that.

A First for Everyone

Iwata: Moving on… Mori-san?
Mori: We talked a lot about Zelda today, and I do hope players will try hard to help her, but may I talk a little about Ghirahim, too?
Iwata: He's the enemy that Miyamoto-san had so much trouble beating—the one that can stop your sword in mid swing with his bare hands.
Mori: Yes. Ghirahim is a Demon Lord. The first description that Fujibayashi-san provided was that he is a narcissist with a personality like a snake, so we tried to make him like that as much as possible.
Fujibayashi: When I saw the images they had made, I was astonished. He would slither out his tongue! (laughs)
Iwata: Because he has a personality like a snake? (laughs)
Mori: Basically, yes. Right down to the details, we made him creepy, so please work hard to beat him.
Iwata: Earlier, you said that you think about the lives of the characters. When you think for a long time about an extreme character like Ghirahim, do you begin to feel a little unbalanced in the head? (laughs)
Mori: Well…that does happen, but it can also be fun. (laughs) For example, when there's a creepy opponent, it's fun to think about all sorts of things like what I will have him do or what he will say.
Iwata: I see. (laughs) Yoshida-san?
Yoshida: Earlier, we talked about how there were too many cinematic scenes in the beginning, but as the result of corrections upon corrections, we were able to bring them in line with the story and arrange them in a balanced way, and I'm feeling that we could do that throughout the whole thing. And aside from those scenes, when you're talking with characters, we sometimes put in three options for the messages you can choose from to say, so I hope players will enjoy the various responses.
Iwata: Instead of just the two choices of "yes" and "no," you can enjoy various conversations.
Yoshida: That's right.
Fujibayashi: Chronologically, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the very first story. At the beginning, we talked about how it traces the origin of the Master Sword, but all sorts of other elements develop, so the story is denser than ever before.
Iwata: And it's genuinely the legend of Zelda.
Fujibayashi: Yes. So we prepared a lot of story devices. I hope players will be sure to enter into this world and enjoy it to the fullest.
Aonuma: Earlier, I said that I could even cry a little, and that really is true. Parts of various scenes in the beginning are later described by Zelda through Mori-san's Mori-isms. Then my desire to save Zelda no matter what swelled within me. I hope the players will also feel that way.
Iwata: This is the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, so we have a sort of mission to deliver the ultimate game to the fans who have walked beside the series throughout that long history. On the other hand, not everyone has played the series, so I think they may feel a slight vague unease that it looks difficult or may not be enjoyable if they don't know the background.

Aonuma-san, could you briefly explain The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword to players playing the Legend of Zelda for the first time?
Aonuma: Well…this is the first story in the Legend of Zelda series, so there is no need to know anything that came before. The main protagonist, Link, just suddenly gets drawn into the story.
Iwata: He's just walking around without an idea in the world about his destiny in the green tunic!
Aonuma: That's right. He doesn't know. Wearing that green tunic, he goes to search for his childhood friend Zelda, but along the way people say things to him about how that's his fate, and he thinks "Oh…is that so?" And that is exactly the same for the players.
Iwata: In other words, while Link is on his adventure, he learns all sorts of things, and the player learns them along with him.
Aonuma: That's right. I think that kind of prequel will be easy for people who have played the series so far to accept as well. I think we blended it all together well.
Iwata: You've prepared a good entrance into the series both for people who know The Legend of Zelda up to this point and for people who don't.
Aonuma: Yes.
Fujibayashi: Speaking as the director, we paid constant attention this time to making the game playable even for five-year-olds or nine-year-olds. We tried to make something that would not have a setting enjoyable only by fans or something only the creators would be happy with. And more than anything, this time you can have sword fights with Wii MotionPlus.
Iwata: In a sense, everyone is a beginner when it comes to that. The story is the first one and it is the first Legend of Zelda game to use the Wii MotionPlus technology.
Aonuma: That's right. Everyone is starting from zero. It's the first Legend of Zelda game for everyone. For one thing, it begins with how to use Wii MotionPlus as a tool. And once you become accustomed to this tool, you can experience the mysterious sense of it matching the movement of your body.
Iwata: In that regard, we'd like to boldly ask, "Why not give it a try?" especially to those who say, "I've never played The Legend of Zelda," and "I tried it once, but I didn't really take to it."
Aonuma: Yes. Once you actually try it, hopefully you'll understand, and it will move you.
Iwata: I understand. Thank you for today, everyone.
Everyone: It was our pleasure!