Even after all these years, we’re still finding out new things about even the oldest Zelda games.  A recently translated interview has surfaced revealing that Shigeru Miyamoto had originally intended to give “Zelda 3,” ultimately called A Link to the Past, a party-based combat system, similar to that of the Dragon Quest series made by his friend and colleague Yuji Horii.  Knowing that he wanted to return to the original Zelda formula ever since development on Zelda II started, Miyamoto’s original plan was to include a party consisting of “the protagonist, who’s a mix between an elf and a fighter, a magic user, and a girl.”  He even revealed that the fairy from The Adventure of Link was intended to be a party member for “Zelda 3.”  Read on to see highlights from the private talk between Miyamoto and Horii, as well as a link to the full discussion.

Miyamoto:  Ever since I started making the first game in the series, I’ve been saying that the third Zelda will feature a party, one that consists of the protagonist, who’s a mix between an elf and a fighter, a magic user, and a girl. The fairy that appeared in Adventure of Link was actually a party member designed for Zelda 3.”

“A girl who looked a little like a fairy and whose role consisted of reconnaissance.  Like the characters in action games that don’t engage enemies in combat but rather go and scout out the surroundings and return to you safely.  It’s also fun when action adventure games lets you choose who to send out.  That’s the sort of thing I’m thinking I’d like to put in Zelda 3.”

The two developers then continue on to discuss the progress of Miyamoto’s then current-production, The Adventure of Link.

Horii:  “How has it been, making your first RPG?”

Miyamoto:  “We started out developing it as an action game, primarily.  We’ve been careful to maintain a high degree of originality, noting where we’ve copied something from another game, though not substantially, and where we’ve done something completely new.  We’re proud of ourselves for developing the game structure.”

“The game structure of RPG titles is already more or less settled upon, and an RPG overworld is something anyone can make. But that’s all the more reason to ask yourself whether it’s good enough to use the same template as everyone else and simply expand the story on top of that.  That’s where the challenge comes in. These days, there’s a gap between players who prefer a solid story to having new features and players who prefer having new features to a solid story.”

Even in those early days of the Zelda series, Miyamoto was torn between the factions of gamers preferring story to gameplay, and vice versa.  Some things never change.  Click here to read the full discussion between Miyamoto and Horii.  After all these years, what do you think? Would the Zelda series, even now, benefit from a party system?

Source:  Siliconera.
  • Oni Link

    i wonder if it was an rpg like they wanted would it change all the other zelda games?

  • prada

    A link to the past is one underrated game! its awesome so play it!

    • kkk

      Underrated? Half the fanboys considerer it he best game in the series, if anything, it's overrated.

      • Digga

        No, he's actually right. I beat ocarina of time first, and that instantly became my favorite zelda game. But one day, my friend downloaded link to the past for me. I went ahead and beat it. Now THAT game I considered the actual best game in the series, and I was biased to ocarina of time. People who haven't played link to the past are the ones that claim link to the past to be overrated.

        • Digga

          And if you want to know the points of this game. It introduced the hookshot and mastersword, lost woods, kakariko village, and many more. It had a total of 11 Dungeons. It had two main villain, just like twilight princess (which is how that game had gotten the two villain idea, Zant, Ganandorf). It had many sword upgrades, shield upgrades, and other items upgrades. It introduced many of the Goddesses powers just like they did in ocarina of time. It's really not overrated at all, buddy.

  • aeolus

    thank god that didn't happen. Zelda would be just another RPG by now, or probably would have died out 10 years ago. I always thought Miyamoto was really big on Link doing his quests alone? Maybe what made him decide not to do a party system completely changed his perspective on the series or something.

  • Zachattack8888

    Hmmm… very interesting. Now, just for funsies, I want to play the RPG "Zelda 3".
    Sounds really interesting!

    • Banooru

      What that witch really meant to say:

      "Mmmmm… the smell of a new virtual console game. GIVE ME!"

  • Bob

    I've always thought of Zelda — and in particular the first few games — as sort of RPG-lite, if that makes sense. There are some of the same mechanics, but the system is simplified for accessibility's sake. Link doesn't grind for XP, with one exception. He kills a boss and gets levels up.

  • neos

    im glad it didnt happen. if it did we would not have games like tp, and ss. it would gust be an rpg game and that wouldnt have worked out to well.

  • minch

    Well we sorta did get party members afterwards though. Sidekicks like Navi, Ezlo, Fi etc could have probably been part of that idea… :/

  • MajorasCat

    It's always a shame when you learn that a certain feature was omitted from the end product of a game, but the developers know what they're doing. I'm sure they had very good reasons for discarding it.

  • Linkbro

    What if they made the next zelda party based like dragon quest. Think about all the possiblities. Not the next console game, but the one that is being made for the 3ds. That would be awesome and would be a breath of fresh air.

  • Drake

    Well gaming was ok back in the 1980's but when it came to the SNES in the 1990's it really broke records for my gaming entertainment when I see Super Mario World and Zelda A Link To The Past because those were big gnarly games. Well I was asking my self are Mario and Zelda the only games that are going to be fun and are there going to be anymore in the future? I told my self NO. OH MY GOSH!!! Did Nintendo made the N64, GC, Wii and the Wii U? So now that its getting better its really fun to spend my money on all kinds of video games and I still buy the old stuff because they are fun and originals are worth a lot than 3rd party and emulators. The games that im currently play are Halo, Zelda SS, Skyrim and Call Of Duty.

  • Bargg

    Well Drake who knew that gaming was going to be this far, because we are almost in 2012


    I'm still awaiting my cooperative Zelda game…

    • Gwee

      You mean like Four Swords? Or Four Swords Adventures?

      But really, a party would have been interesting. And would have taken Zelda in a completely different direction. I'm okay with it it now – there's been like 15+ titles; Zelda can handle a bit of experimentation from the model. But back then, Zelda was still figuring out what the core model was. I'm glad it went back to roots and expanded on them without straying too far.


    A Link to the Past is a game for the ages.

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