If there is one thing that has helped The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker stand the test of time, it is the game’s distinctive art style. But it turns out that this now defining aspect created some controversy in the development. According to a number of old interviews, reappeared and translated by the people on Did you know Gaming?Nintendo’s great Shigeru Miyamoto could not stand the way the game looked.
It is almost impossible to imagine one Wind Waker it does not look like Wind Waker. First released stateside in 2003 for the GameCube, it visually differed from the previous one Zelda game, Ocarina of the time and Majoras mask, both released for the N64. Instead of a foolish attempt at photorealism – which in a time of gaming’s technical arms race would have condemned it to a short half-life – Nintendo stylized Wind Waker with cel-shaded graphics, giving the game an adventure effect. Wind Waker was reissued 10 years later with a handful of improvements in quality of life, and while some of us disagree on which version looks better, the general consensus was: Wow, this game holds up.
First in succession Did you know Gaming?their translations, the plan was really to make one Zelda with an improved iteration of the art style of the N64 games. But early in the development, an artist stylized a “toon Link”. The rest of the team loved it, and went all in, designing the rest of the game around this recreated version of the longtime character.
Long time The legend of Zelda Producer Eiji Aonuma assumed that Miyamoto would not like the cel-shaded style, and was about to show the game to Wind Waker was far in development. Miyamoto is said to be “literally shrinking” and said that he did not think it would sell and that it was not too late to change the art direction. But the development team pushed back, citing enthusiasm for the art style. Besides, they claimed, they simply did not have the staff to create a realistic look Zelda in less than a decade.
“If I had gone to him from the very beginning, I think he would have said, ‘How is it Zelda? ‘»Sa Aonuma. “Miyamoto had trouble letting go of the realistic Link art style until the very end.”
Miyamoto was not alone. Back in 2001, after Nintendo’s revelation of Wind Waker, a subgroup of fans blew up the visuals to be too cartoonish. They wanted the previous visual style: do not just insert Ocarina of the time and Majoras maskbut in a Zelda technical demo for GameCube showed off the year before. They called Wind Waker “Cel-da.” They said it looked cool. They longed for one Zelda it looked like Final Fantasy X. They, it is assumed, are now eating their words.
Did you know Gaming?its deep dive covers a whole range of topics beyond Wind Wakerits images, including the origins of the core gimmick (using a conductor’s stick to manipulate the wind) and the much tougher difficulties the game had under development (which were reintroduced, albeit with adjustments, as the hard-hitting “hero mode” for Wind Wakerits WiiU release). If you are at all interested in the game, the whole video is worth watching.