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?