In the most recent edition of “Iwata Asks,” Satoru Iwata (the president of Nintendo) sat down with members of the development team from Skyward Sword and discussed the game’s direction concerning the script, cinematics, and music.  This interview reveals a lot about the team itself and the sheer amount of decision-making that went into creating this game, which director Hidemaro Fujibayashi describes as, “for the first time…indeed The Legend of Zelda!”  Read on to see highlights from the discussion, as well as a link to the full interview.

A Battle Against Contradictions

  • Hajime Wakai, who co-wrote the music for The Wind Waker with Koji Kondo, “coordinated the overall sound and wrote some of the music.”
  • A massive ten people worked on the sound for Skyward Sword, much more than usual.  According to Iwata, this large number “blew [his] mind!”
  • From the beginning, the story team knew that they wanted to tell the origin story of Hyrule, but they also wanted to include a floating island, somehow (“Basically, it’s there because Fujibayashi-san wanted to jump down from a high place!”).  They then molded these two concepts, leading to the creation of Skyloft.

Breathing Life into the Characters

  • The original script was written in a day, when Fujibayashi (the director) pretended to be sick so that he could go home and write in peace.  He then brought it in the next day, and Aonuma told him, “Yeah, I think that’s fine.”
  • Naoki Mori worked on the storyboard and on the cinematics team.  Developing the game’s cutscenes was a time-consuming process, as the script and story was always changing; they were always unsure if the scenes that they had created would eventually be cut.
  • The sound team also had a similar problem for cinematics, because every time a scene was altered, the cinematic music would need to be adjusted to its changes.

This Game is Indeed “The Legend of Zelda”

  • Skyward Sword contains a total of 79 cinematic scenes (which, in turn, usually contain at least three sub-scenes) for a total of 120 minutes of cinematics.  Iwata seemed surprised–“Huh?! That much?! That’s like a whole movie!”
  • The beginning of the game originally had far too many scenes, which began to overshadow the gameplay.  However, the team eventually found the right balance between story and gameplay, leading to a much more flowing experience.
  • There was one scene that Fujibayashi wanted to include “no matter what.”  Taking place near the beginning of the game, “Zelda jumps down from Skyloft toward Link as he is flying on Loftwing, and Link panics and tries to catch her.”
  • According to Aonuma, this time around, rather than having Zelda and Link take part on separate adventures, Zelda is featured much more heavily.  Unline in most games of the series, which Aonuma calls “The Legend of Link,” Zelda is a vitally integral part of the story.  However, she never becomes a princess.

Link Over the Edge

  • Mori, the director of cinematics for Ocarina of Time, worked very hard to make Skyward Sword’s Zelda expressive and emotive in her face, something that he couldn’t do with the Nintendo 64’s capabilities.
  • Zelda has several unique lines which the rest of the team recognize instantly as being written by Mori.  They call them “Mori-isms.”

“Record It with an Orchestra!”

  • Mahito Yokota was specially brought on board the team to deal with the new challenge of having orchestrated music.
  • The staff of ten could have been kept down to five, but the detailed music of the cinimatic scenes required much more people to make it work.
  • Remember back at E3 2010 when Shigeru Miyamoto answered a newsperson’s question with, “An orchestra suits The Legend of Zelda, so we’ll be thinking about it.”  That was news to the gaming world, but also to the Zelda team–back in Japan, Wakai ran up to Aonuma, flustered, and asked, “Is the music going to be orchestral this time?!” to which Aonuma replied, “No, I don’t think so.”
  • Koji Kondo, longtime composer for the series, was brought to tears the first time he heard the orchestra perform familiar tracks from the Zelda series.

A First for Everyone

  • Not only do most characters have their own musical theme, but several of them sing throughout the game.
  • You can play the harp while standing, walking, and even running, all of which will interact with the background music.
  • Ghirahim creepily sticks his tongue out at Link to represent his evil nature, similar to that of a snake.
  • Skyward Sword was made to be accessible to longtime fans of the series, as well as small children.

This interview with the team gives a lot of insight into the making of Skyward Sword, which has had one of the longest development times of any Nintendo game.  To learn more, check out the full interview here.  With only a week (or less) until Skyward Sword’s release, the Nintendo team is clearly having fun upping hype levels even more.  What in this interview gets you the most excited?

Source:  Iwata Asks.