During The Wind Waker’s original release, the concept of cel shaded graphics was just emerging and received heavy criticism from fans who were hoping to see a title with improved graphics from the Nintendo 64 era. As we know now, the complete opposite was held to be true: Nintendo released a Zelda game that many viewed as “cartoony” and “childish”; however, over a decade later The Wind Waker is one of the most beloved and heartwarming entries to the series.
Similar to the initial judgement fans placed on the game, Eiji Aonuma had his own apprehensions of proposing a game to Miyamoto that used cel shaded graphics.
In an interview with MTV, Aonuma elaborated on what he kept hidden from Miyamoto:
“When we were first working on the toon shaded Link, and that graphic representation of the Hyrule world, because it was such a drastic change, we actually kept it a secret from Mr. Miyamoto in the beginning. We had actually recently shown an example of what the next Zelda might look like, based on the ‘Ocarina of Time’ graphic style, and because this direction was so different, we knew that Mr. Miyamoto wouldn’t approve it as it. So, I worked with my team to at least get it to a point where a battle sequence between Link and a Moblin would actually work in this world, and then that was the first time that we brought it to Mr. Miyamoto. That was only time we felt comfortable bringing it to Mr. Miyamoto.”
Aonuma went on to say that whenever Miyamoto asked him to show him progress of the upcoming game, he would avoid a proper presentation and try to buy more time.
Retrospectively, if Miyamoto had not agreed to Aonuma’s decision, today the Zelda universe would be lacking a vital member from its roster. Secrets may not make friends, but they did produce an experience that will forever be held in the hearts of Zelda fans.
MTV also talked with Aonuma regarding other aspects of The Wind Waker, including the origin of cel shading and Aunoma’s opinion of rereleasing games. You can read the full article here to find out more!