There has been much talk about the visuals for Skyward Sword, and a lot of people have mistakenly referred to them as “cel-shaded” – including us!
Not so, according to the man, himself, Shigeru Miyamoto. During his E3 presentation he referred to the graphics as like a moving painting. And during the Nintendo Roundtable this evening he referred to them as “Impressionistic.” Specifically, the sky and mountains were inspired by the art of Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne .
It turns out that Eiji Aonuma had originally intended on using the graphics of Twilight Princess, but was told by Mr. Miyamoto fairly early on that they had to use a new graphic style. Mr. Miyamoto said he felt that looking to Impressionism (of which he’s very much a fan) for inspiration allowed them to have characters and creatures with exaggerated features without it looking too strange. Mr. Aonuma joked that had Miyamoto not made him change the graphics, the game would have been out sooner.
One thing is certain: this new painterly Impressionism-inspired visual style is unlike anything we’ve yet seen in a Zelda game!