The newest Iwata Asks has been published and it features some intriguing production elements about The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Due for release later this week, A Link Between Worlds didn’t start out as a direct sequel to A Link to the Past, in fact, it was first considered as a successor to Spirit Tracks with Toon Link.
As a Link Between Worlds started production soon after Spirit Tracks was completed, it was natural for the team to think about a successor to the title. But with most of the Spirit Tracks team working on Skyward Sword, only three members were left to continue development on a new handheld game – and it wasn’t easy. Producer Eiji Aonuma, director Hiromasa Shikata and assistant director Shiro Mouri brainstormed a working idea involving communication. But when they presented it to Shigeru Miyamoto, he said, “this sounds like an idea that’s 20 years old.”
Distraught but not broken from the presentation with Miyamoto, Shikata was struck by the idea that Link should be able to merge and move in the walls, though he wasn’t entirely sure it made sense. At this point, assistant director Mouri stepped in to say it was a great idea and that he’d make a prototype, which can be seen in the Iwata Asks interview here.
Mouri: There’s this other programmer who is usually a really mild-mannered person, but Shikata-san, who had suggested the idea, was so indecisive about it that the programmer got mad and angrily said, “I think the idea of entering walls sounds amazing, so what’s wrong with it?!”
Iwata: Even though he’s mild-mannered?
Mouri: Yeah. (laughs) He got even hotter, saying, “We’re at a fork in the road as to whether this project runs astray or not, so I’m not changing my mind!” and “We’re making this no matter what, so tell us what to do!” Then Shikata-san was like, “Maybe the point is turning corners on the walls…” without any confidence, so I got angry too and fired back, “Then I’m making a prototype!”
Iwata: When you made that prototype, was it a direct top-down view like in A Link to the Past?
Shikata: No. As in Spirit Tracks, the viewpoint was overhead from an angle.
Aonuma: At the time, we were thinking of it as an extension of the Nintendo DS games.
Tominaga: But [Miyamoto] didn’t just criticize, he also gave us a hint. He suggested basing it on The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.Iwata: That was when A Link to the Past first came into the picture?Tominaga: Yes. And right after Aonuma-san said, “What if we base it on A Link to the Past, and try pairing entering walls with a point of view looking down from directly overhead?”