A couple of weeks ago, Nintendo asked Zelda fans to vote from a list of pre-selected questions to ask Tri Force Heroes developers Eiji Aonuma and Hiromasa Shikata. Well, the results are now in, and the Q&A is live!
First of all, the developers clarify that Tri Force Heroes does in fact have a place in the official series’ timeline, despite some uncertainty from Shikata and even complete dismissal by a Nintendo representative in the past. While this news might make timeline enthusiasts happy, it does seem like a last-minute, slapdash attempt to cater to this specific crowd. Are you ready?
“The game takes place several years after A Link Between Worlds and features the same hero.” That’s right, the hero from A Link Between Worlds has taken a break from saving the world and is now on a quest to save a princess from her horrific fashion sense!
“Certain events bring him to the kingdom of Hytopia, where he dresses as he does in order to hide his heroic origins.” So what about those other two fellows? “There’s no telling where the other hero candidates come from, but the player character you control is the true Hyrulian hero from A Link Between Worlds.”
“The game takes place several years after A Link Between Worlds and features the same hero.”
So why only three Links this time? Why no Purple Link? Well, as Shikata has told us before, he found that utilising four Links in the game’s Totem mechanic would make the stack too high. “Having four people would make rearranging this totem difficult, and the two people in the middle wouldn’t have much to do a lot of the time. In terms of the camera, too, we’d have to zoom out from the environment the higher the stack gets, which would naturally make the player characters smaller.”
This answer gets more interesting as it goes on, discussing gameplay advantages I hadn’t even considered when changing from four Links to three. “If you’re divided into groups of two and one, the sole player gets worried about being separated from the group, and the other two get worried about how they’ve lost their partner. As a result, they’ll start to naturally stick together and try to work as a trio.”
It also improves the balance and allows for a better general judgement when going forward as a team. “[W]hen a group of people are deciding upon something, they generally rely on majority vote a lot of the time. With four people, this creates the chance of a 2-2 tie, making it hard to make snap judgments on what to do next. Having a trio work together is suited pretty well for puzzle-solving.” Sounds like they’ve thought this through!
Another little tidbit reveals that “Hyrule and Hytopia are connected,” although this isn’t elaborated on any further. Tri Force Heroes was inspired by Spirit Tracks, ” where you alternated between controlling your player character and the Phantoms.”