New Fan Works  Old Fan Works  Zelda Series  Multimedia  Features  Interactive  Site Info

E3 2004

Miyamoto and Aonuma Talk about Zelda

On Wednesday, May 12th after the show closed for the day, some Nintendo bigwigs had a discussion with some lucky members of the press. Shigeru Miyamoto, the God of Nintendo, and Eiji Aonuma, the producer of the new game. Miyamoto and Aonuma said some things about the new game, and then had a Q & A session with the reporters. There's some nice info about the new game, but as always with Nintendo, they were tightlipped about specific details.

Tom Harlin, Nintendo of America: I'd like to begin by introducing our speakers. This is my co-host, Bill Trinen from Nintendo of America. He will serve as the translator for this event. Next we have someone that needs no introduction, Mr. Miyamoto. Beside him is Mr. Tezuka, and Mr. Konno. They will each start by giving a small introduction about essentially who they are and their work at Nintendo. We'll start with Mr. Miyamoto.

Shigeru Miyamoto: Good evening. I'll be speaking Japanese tonight. [laughs]. I would like to thank so many of you for joining us here tonight. Mostly we're going to be talking about the Nintendo DS and the new Zelda game. But first there's something I'd like to clear up. I've heard that some of you have heard that my heart is doing so well these days. Is there a rumor going around? [Laughs] There are rumors going around that I've actually quit Nintendo? At least, that's the rumor going on over in Japan right now. [laughs] At the hotel yesterday I had a good kilometer swim, and my heart's doing fine, so you don't need to worry.

Actually, things are really going great for me, I'm really enjoying work and a part of a great situation at Nintendo. My work has been divided up a little bit recently. And I'm sure you all know that the president Mr. Iwata has been in development for some time and last year he has been taking a look at Nintendo's internal development and made some changes to our structure. We've been trying to break up the molds of all of our producers at Nintendo.

We have our own internal first party development studio. We also have second party development studios which are games that are developed outside of Nintendo but published by Nintendo. We also have games produced by third parties. We've seen the number of second party developed titles increase dramatically. And because of that increase in second party development, the number of titles I was overseeing had increased as well. And every day I'd get countless documents on my desk that I'd have to put my stamp of approval on just to disperse money to our second parties. [laughs] So, as of last year I have been put in charge of first party content exclusively. And that's where my focus is now. We've also opened an EAD studio in Tokyo. That studio has been responsible for Donkey Kong Jungle Beat which is available for play on the show floor.

So I'm in a great environment now and have a great setup because I work directly with a lot of the Nintendo DS tech demos on the show floor today.

I am overseeing Zelda in its entirety, in a sense. Mr. Aonuma is the producer. I think that if you have questions about Zelda you should perhaps not ask me, but Mr. Aonuma.

Just very quickly though, as for the reason why Link has changed, there were very, very, very, very many people out there who wanted Link to change [laughs]. Also there's another reason and that's that in developing the Wind Waker we know that we were going to be creating a game in which Link was a young boy and trying to create a very active and very energetic young boy and trying to choose the right style for portraying the young boy in a game like that we tried many different experiments. The ultimate decision we came to was that the cel-shading in Wind Waker was the best option for expressing that. We also wanted to create a very unique game world on the GameCube.

But since then, we've been left with a very big question: and that was, what are we going to do when we decide to make Link a teenager again -- a 16-year-old Link. So after Wind Waker we tried several different models and made varied versions of them. Ultimately we decided that in showing a teenage Link really the best style of expressing him would be something that's closer to our graphical style in Ocarina of Time. So Mr. Aonuma actually wasn't lying at the Game Developer's Conference when he said we were working on Wind Waker 2. He just didn't tell the whole story. And fortunately because he didn't tell the whole story, we were able to surprise you all here with a big announcement about the series.

So the rest I will leave up to Eiji Aonuma.

Eiji Aonuma: I'm sure all of you saw the video of the new Legend of Zelda game at this point. One thing that I'd like to point out to everybody is that none of that is CG. It's all done in real-time and running on the [game] engine. That movie was actually created by somebody who took a version of the game, played it, videotaped and then cut the pieces together to make the movie.

One more thing I'd like to point out. For a long time now -- ever since Ocarina of Time -- Mr. Miyamoto has talked about how he'd like Link to be able to fight on horseback so he could have mounted battle scenes with Link swinging his sword. Unfortunately we were not able to do that in the N64 games. And this time that's been a big focus for us with the new game on GameCube. So I think in that sense, the fact that we're seeing Link on horseback and swinging a sword, I think that's one more way in which Link has matured.


After their little monologues, the bigwigs answered questions from the press.


Q: How long has the game been in development, how far along is it, and why isn't it playable at E3 2004?

Aonuma: In terms of playable versions on the show floor, we're still not sure exactly how long it's going to take to complete the game at this point. But the plan is to by E3 next year have a version that you will be able to play to your heart's content. And in terms of how far along the game is, as I mentioned everything you saw in the movie yesterday is from a version that's running real-time playable on the engine. At this point we've got the engine running and everything's working and it's a matter of plugging in and putting in the finishing pieces.

Q: Wind Waker had a water theme and Majora's Masks had mask. What kind of theme will the new Legend of Zelda game have?

Eiji Aonuma: Well, generally with Zelda games what we try to do is let everybody know what the main theme of that game is going to be once we can present the entire game to you in a format that you're going to be able to play. Hopefully you'll all be happy to know that we do have a quest and a theme and when you're able to play the game we'll tell you what it is.

One thing that I can say is that up until now we've really focused on a young link maturing into a more grown up Link. This time we're going to be focusing more heavily on a more teenage/grown-up Link and so with that in mind we're going to be looking at different ways to express Link as an older teenager and trying to incorporate those types of features into the game.

Q: The game looks great. Will the gameplay feel the same as Wind Waker?

[Eiji Aonuma turns to translator Bill Trinen, who has played the game, and asks for his opinion.]

Bill Trinen: Mr. Aonuma asked me what I thought since I actually played the game. [Laughs]. Yeah, it's pretty good. [More laughter]

Eiji Aonuma: One of my other ideas in Wind Waker was more simplified control for the game, which was tied to the graphic style and the theme of that game as well. One thing that we're doing right now as we go forward is looking at how we're going to show Link in this more grown up role. We ask questions like what kind of control scheme can we implement that's going to reflect that more grown up Link.

Shigeru Miyamoto: Obviously everybody wants us to show things as early as we possibly can and as much as we would like to show things at a very late stage we don't always have that opportunity. And if we wait to show it until everything is done then I don't get the chance to upend the tee table. Obviously one of the main purposes of the E3 show is to focus on the titles that we're going to have out in the next year. This game is going to be launching in 2005 so I hope you'll all understand that while the game is very far along at this point we're not going to be revealing a whole lot of details yet.

One thing I've been asking for is that over the last 18 years the Zelda franchise has seen a lot of the gameplay style used throughout the series and that's needed to remain true to the series, I'd like to see a lot of new ideas implemented, especially in the realm of puzzle-solving and that sort of thing. So I've asked Mr. Aonuma to focus his attention on that.

Q: In the trailer that we saw yesterday, a lot of areas looked very familiar to Ocarina of Time. We saw a castle and Link rode Epona. He might have been in the Lost Woods. Is Link going back to Hyrule and is this now the true sequel to Ocarina of Time?

Eiji Aonuma: How do you know that horse was Epona [smiles]? Unfortunately I cannot reveal all of that at this point in time. Please wait a little while longer.

Q: The graphics in the game are beautiful. Will the game feature high production values throughout? To be more specific, will we see detailed cinematics, major story developments and will characters speak with acted voices?

Shigeru Miyamoto: I actually don't want Link to talk very much. Maybe I'll record my own voice for when he talks, or maybe you can record your own voice [laughs].

This transcript is from IGN, so I take no credit for it.

Sections Articles