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Aonuma: Miyamoto wasn’t a fan of Zelda Wind Waker’s art style and wanted a more realistic Zelda adventure

Did You Know Gaming? has recently translated a retro interview which came from Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream and was originally published back in the mid 2000s. The interview was with The Legend of Zelda producer, Eiji Aonuma, and it has revealed that Shigeru Miyamoto was not a fan of the art direction for The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Mr. Aonuma said that he and the rest of the team loved Toon Link and that they intentionally kept the concept designs from Mr. Miyamoto until the very last minute. When Mr. Miyamoto saw the concept art, Mr. Aonuma says that “he literally cringed” and made it clear that he would have liked a more visually realistic adventure for Link’s new adventure. Mr. Miyamoto stated in another interview that it would have taken the team around ten years to create a more realistic Zelda adventure, so he gradually accepted Wind Waker’s uniquely cartoonish style. When The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker was revealed to the general public it caused a lot of heated debate amongst gamers due to its iconic art style with some claiming it looked too childish and would not be taken seriously by other console players.

“If I had gone and talked to him from the very beginning, I think he would’ve said ‘How is that Zelda?’ Aonuma recalls. “Miyamoto had trouble letting go of the realistic link art style until the very end. At some point, he had to give a presentation against his will. That’s when he said something to me like ‘You know, it’s not too late to change course and make a realistic Zelda.”

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9 thoughts on “Aonuma: Miyamoto wasn’t a fan of Zelda Wind Waker’s art style and wanted a more realistic Zelda adventure”

  1. It was the story that got me into this. Right at the beginning and later on finding out the castle under water was Hyrule and later in just about to fight Ganan knowing the gods destroyed them by causing the flood.

    I LOVE this game.

  2. Yet even the most realistic of Zelda games still wasn’t realistic enough for me. They still always looked cartoony to some extent. Give us an Assassin’s Creed/Ghost of Tsushima/Red Dead Redemption sort of realistic Zelda game. Now THAT would be amazing and different.

  3. I am glad that Mr. Aonuma set foot on this matter and kept his independency, this is my favourite game to this day, the artstyle is gorgeous and suits well with the game theme.

    If it were another developer, maybe one a bit insecure, he would’ve listened to Miyamoto.

  4. Toon Link, to this day, is my favourite Link so I am so happy Aonuma didn’t listen to Miyamoto and went with the direction they did.
    And here in the modern time, the Toony style of Zelda The Wind Waker has pretty much become iconic to fans.

    As for this page, all we’re missing now is the obligatory “Miyamoto lied about Pikmin 4” from you-know-who.

    1. So this would mean Miyamoto wanted to do a realistic Zelda for the next game anyway. TP was WW2 originally. But Toon Link didn’t look cool on a horse and the team was struggling with a few things. I don’t remember if it was Miyamoto or Aonuma but the team was surprised that the higher up told them to switch styles and just do a realistic Zelda. It catering to the Western audience and fitting with the gritty game anesthetics of the time was a bonus for the decision.

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