It was series director Eiji Aonuma himself who wrote the dialogue spoken by The King of Red Lions in The Wind Waker, the talking boat which carries Link across the Great Sea. In a recent interview with 4Gamer (translated by the folks at Zelda Informer), he reveals how becoming a father at the time of development affected his approach to the character.
Read on and you’ll find that he also touches on a number of other interesting topics, such as the changes made in Wind Waker‘s story; why he chose to exclude Skyward Sword-style controls in WWHD; and where the name “Tingle” may have originated.
Aonuma’s venture into fatherhood translated into his writing role for The King of Red Lions, giving the character a “self-important manner”. This would explain the way he takes care of Link and protects Princess Zelda.
“4Gamer: Based on what you have said, Wind Waker seems to be a major work in your life.
Eiji Aonuma: Isn’t it? We created it just as my son was born. At that time, I thought that I would like for my son to play this. The lines spoken by the Red Lion King boat that Link rides were written by me. Since I had just become a father, I had him speaking in a self-important manner that children would understand. (laughs).”
Now though, he admits that he believes he exaggerated the father figure elements he inserted into the character, and therefore toned this aspect down slightly in The Wind Waker HD.
“4Gamer: So at that time, those lines were messages directly from you?
Eiji Aonuma: When you read it again 10 years later, you wonder “What’s this guy trying to say?” (laughs). When I think back to my perceived image of a father figure back then, I’m a little embarrassed. As a result, the dialogue of the Red Lion King became a little more “mild” for the remake. When my son first played it, he felt that he was “too preachy.””
He greatly admires the game’s art style, stating that it reminds him of the film “Animal Treasure Island”.
“4Gamer: I can’t believe those are the memories you have of those lines. (laughs).
Eiji Aonuma: Also I love the worlds drawn by Miyazaki, Hayao, they excite me in the way that memories of the film “Animal Treasure Island” do. Those images really bring me back to life. Bearing that in mind, Wind Waker captures the essence of an exciting adventure.
4Gamer: Ah, I think I get it.
Eiji Aonuma: In other words, Wind Waker is not your typical Zelda game, it is a story set in the sea. Incidentally even Link feels the same way, that’s because it has a different taste from the rest of the series.”
Aonuma then discusses the topic of Wind Waker‘s story, and how he changed the format from previous titles. He aimed to make Miyamoto question “Is that Zelda?”
“4Gamer: Is Princess Zelda’s form the result of that?
Eiji Aonuma: I believe so. From the beginning, the story has always always been about rescuing Zelda numerous times. So I wanted to have a different spin this time where you rescue your sister in the beginning which overlaps the feeling of rescuing Zelda in the end. At that time, whenever I would present any story to Shigeru Miyamoto, I would do so with my head down. (laughs)
4Gamer: What? Really? (laughs)
Eiji Aonuma: From the get go, whenever I spoke to Miyamoto, “Is that Zelda?” is the kind of response from him I was aiming for. As a result, the art, story, and characters became completely different. Additionally, many people who played it at that time were saying “It’s completely different from what I expected.””
He explains why he did not implement Skyward Sword-style controls into WWHD.
“4Gamer: So for Wind Waker, the Wii Remote + Nunchuck control scheme found in Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword was not considered?
Eiji Aonuma: Using the Gyro-scope to slice with the sword in Skyward Sword had a purpose and created immersion, for a younger Link though I don’t believe it would work the same way. Also on the Wii U GamePad, one can more pay attention to the map a little more easily for ocean travel, which has always been one of the central themes.
4Gamer: It’s certain that even with young Link you were able to do many actions on the Gamecube controller than expected.
Eiji Aonuma: That is true right? I feel that if you were to replace the button controls with the gyroscope the finishing moves wouldn’t come out properly. We decided that Link’s finishing moves shouldn’t be too complex to operate, so we left that part the same in Wind Waker.”
He then provides his opinion on the character Tingle, describing him as someone you “love or hate”–and Aonuma doesn’t hate him. He also reveals that a friend of a designer on the development team was called Tingle, which may possibly be where the name originated.
“4Gamer: In order to use the Tingle Bottle feature you need to have encountered Tingle in an event sequence.
Eiji Aonuma: That’s right. Tingle is one of the those characters you either love or hate. You do have reason to be thankful for him due to the map deciphering and the Tingle Bottle, but meeting him proves to be valuable.
4Gamer: So do you like Tingle?
Eiji Aonuma: I don’t hate him (laughs). The Zelda series has many assertive characters as well as some difficult ones.
4Gamer: Tingle really fits the art style of Wind Waker.
Eiji Aonuma: That is even the case in the manga. In Twilight Princess there is a character like Tingle. I wonder what everyone thought about him? (laughs).
4Gamer: He had his ups and downs. Speaking of which, who is Tingle based on?
Eiji Aonuma: Basically, there is no model for him, but I have heard that our designer once had a friend named Tingle long ago. (laughs).”
You can read the full translation right here.