With the recent release of Wind Waker HD, many fans and critics have praised the game not only for its gameplay, but for its unique and colorful art style as well. However, the game wasn’t always praised for its graphics; in fact, there was a huge backlash to them when the game was first announced for the GameCube. In an interview with Shacknews, Aonuma discussed both Wind Waker’s turn around in reception in recent years, and how the visuals of Twilight Princess were affected by the fans’ backlash; he also revealed that the graphics of Twilight Princess were actually tested in HD. Hit the jump for the full interview!
Aonuma took the time to discuss why he believed the reception for Wind Waker’s art style has changed over time, as well as stating his belief that the art style of the game is special because of its uniqueness:
“I think one big thing would be that we continued to use that art style in DS titles. They got to a kind of expanded userbase–a lot of people that didn’t play Zelda games before. I think after seeing that, when you see Wind Waker’s art style again, it becomes easier to approach because you’re more used to it.”
“I think also at the time time, that kind of toon art style was something you were starting to see in a lot of CG. But, it was used a little a bit but after that, it wasn’t used that much. Now, looking back at it, it seems like a very special thing.”
Aonuma then discussed how the negative reception of Wind Waker’s art style by many fans influenced the direction of Twilight Princess’ visuals:
“We had that negative reaction to that art style and then we did a 180, thinking ‘maybe this is what the fans want.’ It wasn’t just that in terms of the direction of the art style for Twilight Princess, but I think that was a big influence.”
Nintendo also experimented with bringing the graphics of Twilight Princess to HD. In the end, Aonuma rejected making a remake of the game, believing that the graphical update didn’t turn the game into a new thing; however, he believed that updating the graphics to Wind Waker completely transformed the game:
“Certainly, we tried. We did a test of Twilight Princess in HD. But it didn’t turn into a new thing. It looked better, it looked cleaner, and it looked like a master version of the game.”
“But with Wind Waker, it really changed into something different–it changed into that really-looking-like-a-cartoon style we were aiming for, but we couldn’t because of the Gamecube’s power. I think now, the reason why people are enjoying it so much, that’s a part of it.”
Aonuma didn’t just want an HD remaster of a Zelda game; he wanted the graphical update to have a meaningful impact on the game itself, making it something that he felt was worth pursuing and fine tuning. Over time Wind Waker seems to have received more and more positive reception, with the HD remake of the game cementing its legacy.