During The Wind Waker’s original release, the concept of cel shaded graphics was just emerging and received heavy criticism from fans who were hoping to see a title with improved graphics from the Nintendo 64 era. As we know now, the complete opposite was held to be true: Nintendo released a Zelda game that many viewed as “cartoony” and “childish”; however, over a decade later The Wind Waker is one of the most beloved and heartwarming entries to the series.

Similar to the initial judgement fans placed on the game, Eiji Aonuma had his own apprehensions of proposing a game to Miyamoto that used cel shaded graphics.

In an interview with MTV, Aonuma elaborated on what he kept hidden from Miyamoto:

“When we were first working on the toon shaded Link, and that graphic representation of the Hyrule world, because it was such a drastic change, we actually kept it a secret from Mr. Miyamoto in the beginning. We had actually recently shown an example of what the next Zelda might look like, based on the ‘Ocarina of Time’ graphic style, and because this direction was so different, we knew that Mr. Miyamoto wouldn’t approve it as it. So, I worked with my team to at least get it to a point where a battle sequence between Link and a Moblin would actually work in this world, and then that was the first time that we brought it to Mr. Miyamoto. That was only time we felt comfortable bringing it to Mr. Miyamoto.”

Aonuma went on to say that whenever Miyamoto asked him to show him progress of the upcoming game, he would avoid a proper presentation and try to buy more time.

Footage from the Game Cube Zelda tech demo

Footage from the Game Cube Zelda tech demo

Retrospectively, if Miyamoto had not agreed to Aonuma’s decision, today the Zelda universe would be lacking a vital member from its roster. Secrets may not make friends, but they did produce an experience that will forever be held in the hearts of Zelda fans.

MTV also talked with Aonuma regarding other aspects of The Wind Waker, including the origin of cel shading and Aunoma’s opinion of rereleasing games. You can read the full article here to find out more!

Source: MTV (via GoNintendo)
  • Russ

    Wind Waker is full of movement and style, I'm glad that the developers had the instinct and bravery to follow through with Wind Waker.

  • xxx

    I've learned to accept (or at least tolerate) WW's art style. Don't get me wrong, the game is amazing, but I think this cartoony look doesn't suit Zelda at all.

  • CEObrainz

    The cel shaded look emphasis more that the game is to be treated as part of the lore of Zelda, rather than something that is part of a series.

  • MikeL

    Great decision, the WW look has aged extremely well. It still appears just as beautiful today as it did ten years ago whereas the look in the tech demo looks mostly old and silly today.

  • Nonelse

    I still think it is “cartoony” and “childish.”

    • MikeL

      That attitude is very immature

    • Kresh

      I think it's cartoony and childish too but in a good way. All the Zelda titles have been childish and cartoony in one way or another, even the more "mature" Zelda games. Aside from the main cast (Link, Zelda, Ganondorf) most of the supporting characters have been presented as childish and cartoony in every game. It's all still The Legend of Zelda no matter how they choose to present it.

  • V-v

    To all those who think it is childish and cartoony, the gamecube tech demo looks a lot more childish and cartoony then the cel shaded WW.

    • xxx

      No, it doesn't.

  • Ryan

    The series was cartoony from the start, so…

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