Skyward Sword Impressionist inspired art

In recent years Nintendo has developed a trend using a major installment in the Zelda series as a jumping off point for a sequel utilizing the predecessor’s art style.  To save time and costs, Majora’s Mask utilized everything from the engine to the graphics and even characters for its direct sequel. Similarly, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks shared a similar engine and graphic style which they borrowed from The Wind Waker. Even Four Sword Adventures used a mishmash of A Link to the Past’s graphic style and The Minish Cap, whose art style was based in part on The Wind Waker.

So when asked by Game Informer if the next Zelda game would feature an art style similar to that of Skyward Sword, Eiji Aonuma’s answer may surprise you.

According to an article on Nintendo Everything, they’ve been provided with a transcript of an interview with Eiji Aonuma from the latest issue of Game Informer. They quote Mr. Aonuma as saying:

“With Wind Waker, the graphics were suited to handheld gaming. Also the game ended with Link embarking on a journey, so it left open the possibility of what comes after the game. With Skyward Sword, positioning it as the first Zelda game means everything else connects to it and comes after it. It becomes a little bit difficult to do something else within that world and certainly much more difficult to do something that comes before it.”

Whether you are a fan of the Impressionist-inspired art style found in Skyward Sword or not, it’s surprising that they’d buck their trend of reusing a new graphic style.

Also surprising is that there are apparently no immediate plans to use the world found in Skyward Sword for a direct sequel.

What do you think about this surprising admission? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Nintendo Everything

  • TnzSki

    That's too bad, I really like Skyward Sword's graphical style. I hope that they can at least have something similar to it in the future.

    Also, first.

  • AbysmalZero

    Well, I'm a little sad to hear there may be no more impressionistic styling to come. I really enjoyed it.



  • Jiggy Ziggy

    It doesn't matter to me what kind of art style they use, but it sounds like a new Zelda game won't be out soon though. How sad. 🙁

    • bastian

      Aonuma said that rather than a 5 year turn around he intends for the next Zelda game to only take 2-3 years. Not too far, if they can keep to that schedule.

  • GuildedBlood

    ah, disappointing, but just because its the "prequel of all prequels" doesn't mean it doesn't have to have a sequel. That's what OoT and MM did since it was a prequel to ALttP.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Eiji Aonuma and Nintendo change their mind about this one.

  • scyen

    Just make the 'Link to the Past' remake with the same engine. Tidy it up, use a bit of the WiiU's horsepower, and there you go. Seems like an easy way to kill two – or three – birds with one stone: get ALttP remade (Miyamoto is happy) with a smaller budget (Aonuma's happy) in time for the launch window (Iwata's happy).

    • GuildedBlood

      I do remember Miyamoto or Aonuma mentioning something about ALttP remake…

      • bastian

        Both, separately, actually. But I suspect we'll see that on the 3DS.

    • BlackOwlDog

      I've always wanted ALttP to FINALLY get it's long-promised remake, but from what I've heared in recent interviews that idea was shifted to the new Zelda3DS. "A 2D game that uses 3D dept and borrows a lot from previous console titles"…. Hmm, intelesutingu….

      • GuildedBlood

        sounds like Super Mario 3D Land in the form of a zelda game…

        and what better 2D game to remake in the same way as ALttP?

  • Link and Cuccos

    I like how they change art styles. WW was more tooney, TP was realistic and gritty, and SS was impressionistic. Alternating art styles among each major Zelda console title keeps things fresh and interesting, and the art styles they used fit each game's story and environment so well. I love TP, but I wouldn't have wanted SS to use the same style as TP. That's two realistic styles in a row. I was happy that they did something different by going impressionistic, and SS's art style was beautiful! My guess is that given the Wii U's capabilities and recent Zelda HD demo, they're going to switch to realistic BUT a different type of realism from TP.

    Nintendo seems to always put a new spin on art styles. 😀

  • jaruiz946

    I loved Skyward Sword's style, but I rather to have a realistic style a la Twilight Princess, or the Tech Demo presented in E3. I would die of hapyness.

  • Sanity's_Theif

    I'm glad, I want them to do something new, I'm not a fan of the impressionist art style

    • Sanity's_Theif

      I like what I saw with the tech demo for the Wii U, I hope we get that! It would be amazing

  • HyruleWeirdo

    I, personally thought that Skyward Sword's visual style was the best in the series, representing the game brilliantly. I don't really want photorealistic graphics, due to the fact that i play games to excape reality. And the Legend of Zelda (even the newer one, which, in Australia have received M ratings) are more light-hearted than other games. They aren't completetly serious and the visual style should represent that.

  • Sam

    That's a shame, I really thought Skyward Sword was an amazing fusion of realism and cel-shaded styles. And the impressionist oil painting effect was really breathtaking.

  • ChainofTermina

    TP's art style was never used again, and neither as wind waker's as far as I'm concerned. those hand held "sequels" didn't look anything like the real WW graphics style, mostly because the DS is a hand held and can't have the engine power that the Gamecube can. I wanna see Tetra on a console again, but yeah, like that's ever gonna happen….

    • bastian

      Well, the character models were simplified a bit, but it's the same basic art design.

  • While I can't deny that the art style is beautiful, I'm glad they won't be sticking on a sequel for the sake of it. The game wraps up perfectly well, it'd be a shame to undo that for the sake of another game.

  • Craig

    They could make a sequel… In between Skyward Sword and The Minish Cap – Hyrule is established and the Picori come from the sky with the Four Sword. It could be a merger of the establishment of Hyrule, it's kingdom-ship and the true beginning of the Four Sword saga – Seeing as it intertwines between the Ganondorf/Master Sword events. It really wouldn't surprise me if there was a third special sword (Triforce/Patterns of 3) brought into the series and in the end they somehow have connections (kind of like how Ganon and Vaati are in Four Swords Adventures, bringing the stories together in one of the timeline splits). I'd love to have the new 3DS game be in the vein of Skyward Sword's art style but with child Link and perhaps tweak it to make it suit the handheld better.

  • grrtg

    I dont want a wii u sequel but i thought this gamers style would be great for a 3ds game sequel

  • Bobby

    I liked Skyward Sword's art style, but I prefered the more gritty style of Twilight Princess. As for an immediate sequel "in the world of Skyward Sword", there have only been a few immediate sequels and those haven't even taken place in the same "world" as their predecessors (Majora's Mask and Phantom Hourglass come to mind).

  • 20th century zelda > 21st

    It's not that hard, nintendo.

  • TheMaverickk

    Nintendo always switches up their graphical styles from title to title, and I love that. I would get bored if it was always the same thing.

    It wouldn't surprise me if they take a more realistic graphical approach for the next title. They've gone and created a master piece with the visual styles of Skyward Sword. So they will want to mix things up again.

    I don't care if they go for the realism look similar to the E3 WiiU tech demo…. but if they rehash the Twilight Princess character models and enemy designs I'll be left very un-impressed. It should be all original designs. So here's hoping.

  • Skyward Sword was beautiful with its artstyle, but I'm hoping the new Zelda will be completely HD.

  • I'm not too concerned about the art style returning, I loved it but I trust Nintendo to deliver when it comes to Zelda anyway (they haven't let me down yet after all).

    What I am disappointed about is the lack of a sequel. I realize that what would logically come after the end of Skyward Sword is the founding of Hyrule, and that's something I'd really like to see in a game. It would be an age of exploration and pioneering, I think it would make for an awesome setting.

  • Nanbara

    I don't think it's "surprising" that the world from Skyward Sword probably won't be appearing in any immediate sequels. The game was brilliant…but there weren't many place to go, overall. Just saying.

  • Scott

    Well it's okay. I really want a Wind Waker Like game again for the 3DS this time in full 3D(Unlike the Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks engine), with Hyrule fully explorable on foot instead of boat or Train or something (rather it'll take place in Hyrule or not.), and maybe use Orchestra music.

  • DragonChi

    I very much enjoyed the art style for Skyward Sword. It is unfortunate though, that because of the SD graphics limit, there were some parts that…didn't look very good. But that was a hardware problem, not an art style problem.

    I do agree that they should change it up for each game to keep it fresh. I have no idea what we will get for the Wii U Zelda. I would like to see something akin to the E3 demo we saw. However, we know Nintendo all to well. They are likely to try something different. We shall see. Either way, I'm sure it will be awesome.

  • Agentbarto

    It'll probably be very similar at the very least because the reason given for the art style of SS was the sword mechanics, and given that they've said they're keeping the sword mechanic changes the art style will actually be somewhat similar.

  • Oh well, as much as I really like SS style. I know that Nintendo won't disappoint with the next art style.

  • Valgaldr

    I really hope Nintendo are going for something else, although I liked the graphic style more and more after playing it. Liked it even more when I used one of the older tv's for the game. It looked more right on them than on a HD flat-screen.

    On the Wii U, they have so much more potential on creating something special. I bet they have something really good up next.

  • Jeff

    GOOD, hopefully they'll keep the art style of the wii U demo! hopefully a sequel to AoL!

  • genjgenj

    I hope Nintendo goes back to the Toon Link art style for the next console Zelda.

    It delights and trolls at the same time.

  • Zettobi

    In Skyward Sword though, Zelda states that the goddess Hylia gave a sailcloth to her chosen hero, which meant that there was a hero before Skyward Sword's Link. (Even in the prequel Skyward Sword manga it shows a hero before Skyloft.)

  • nfdsbdshkbgalb

    it sucks that they can't make a direct sequel because of the timeline…..

    • genjgenj

      Huh? There's plenty of room for games between SS and MC.

      Just because the official timeline maps out events we _already_ know, that doesn't mean Nintendo can't stick in "new" events we don't know.

  • Gerudude