We brought you the first part of Spike TV’s interview with Aonuma here, and now we’re bringing you additional information on topics such as dungeon design, Aonuma’s thoughts on why he chose A Link Between Worlds as a project, and whether Link will have stealth abilities in the game. To keep reading, click the jump!
The best part of Aonuma’s interviews are his insightful answers to questions, and this interview was no exception. We’re happy to bring you the rest of Spike TV’s interview, as follows.
One of the most interesting things announced about ALBW was Link’s ability to transform into a sketch version of himself and attach to walls in the game, and also to travel between worlds. Aonuma was asked where that concept came from.
“First of all, we were trying to think of a new way that Link could interact with the world, and one of the things that I remembered was in The Ocarina of Time the Phantom Ganon boss. There’s a part there where he turned into a painting, and obviously there that’s Ganon doing that, but we thought it might be interesting to give Link that ability; to have him be able to turn into a painting and go in the walls, then move through the walls, and then use that ability to get around obstacles, and go to places that he hadn’t been able to go to before. So basically, that was where the idea started.”
He was also asked if there are stealth elements built into this ability.
“Yes, of course, there are definitely elements like that. There are scenes where you’ll have to use the wall merge ability to get by enemies, but also while you’re fighting with enemies, you can also merge into the wall and their attack will just bounce off the wall, and you won’t take damage. There are quite a few ways to play with it.”
From what has been shown of the game so far, the dungeons seem to be different than what players are used to from a Zelda game. For example, there is one where you can go from one level to another, while still being able to see down into the lower floors. Aonuma had the following to say on this dungeon design:
“I think the dungeon we had at E3 was the kind that keeps going up and up and up, but there’s also other dungeons where you start at one floor and keep going progressively down. There are others where you go down and do one thing, and go back up to activate something else, and keep moving around. There’s always this great sense of depth and height for the different levels of the dungeon, and that’s something that as you play the dungeons you’ll have to keep in mind. All of the dungeons are really made with that in mind. This isn’t a full dungeon, but there is one place where you have to drop down a really huge distance and it’s super scary.”
Aonuma was asked if there was any consideration to bring A Link Between Worlds out on the Wii U.
“It definitely started out with being able to include the 3D effects as being really key to our whole idea of the game, so we really never thought about it being a Wii U title. I think that kind of top view game, rather than having it on a big TV, it just feels better to have it in your hands, looking down on it.”
He was asked where the game falls in the Zelda timeline. (He was handed a Hyrule Historia for reference.)
“Right about here.” (Pointing to the Decline of Hyrule and the Last Hero branch, right between the Golden Era and Era of Decline, after Links Awakening and before The Legend of Zelda).
Since it’s very clear that this is a sequel to A Link To The Past, Aonuma was asked what his impressions were of that game when he played it.
“Playing this game was actually the start of not only my involvement with the Zelda series, but also just the first game that made me want to make games. Before I had just been working as a designer at Nintendo, but when I played this, this was what made me think, ‘Oh, I might want to make games.’ Something I actually thought was special about this game was that you could use your sword to cut grass, and cut shrubs up. Because it’s not really part of the game, necessarily, but it’s something that you can do in the game – it’s something that’s possible. It’s a way that you can affect the game world, because if you cut the grass, it stays cut, at least for a little while. That’s the first thing that made me realize that games can do that. You can have that sort of thing in a game, and that’s kind of when I felt like I really wanted to make a game. The game I made after that was called Marvelous which actually never came out in North America, but Mr. Miyamoto actually saw that game and he was like, ‘If you really want to make a Zelda game that bad, why don’t you just actually make a Zelda game.’ And that’s what led me to work on Ocarina of Time.”
Nintendo is a company that is notorious for retaining its employees for a long time. Aonuma was asked if there were any original staff that worked on A Link to the Past that worked on A Link Between Worlds?
“Yes, there is one person. He’s actually been with Zelda even longer than I have, and knows absolutely everything about Zelda. But, yeah there was one person there.”
He was asked if he prefers to make 2D or 3D Zelda games. He also discussed the 60 frame per second rate as it applies to 3D effects.
“I think there’s a lot of differences between the two. This one, where we are making a 2D, top down kind of game, now that we are making it in a modern era, we have to give it that same kind of fresh, fast-paced feeling. We have to keep the frame rate very high, so it has to be at 60 frames per second. So, A Link Between Worlds is 60 frames, which means there’s a lot more memory, a lot more data, all the animations – there’s just a lot more packed in. When you’re making it, that obviously makes it a lot more difficult. 3D games have their own challenges too. We’re usually able to keep those at about 30 frames, because it’s just not as necessary, but you have to have it on this big screen, and you’re showing this dynamic and wide open world. I think there are very different challenges for both, and I want to keep making both. 60 frames per second rate is really important for the 3D effects on the 3DS, and, to be honest, a lot of games so far on the 3DS have not be at 60 frames, with a lot of them at about 30. If you don’t have that 60 frames, the 3D effect becomes a lot less stable. I think with a lot of 3DS games we’ve had so far, a lot of people have tried the 3D, and it hasn’t felt quite as good to them. I think with this game especially, I’d like to see if people revisit that, because I think they’ll see it the way it’s meant to be. For example, the remake of Ocarina of Time had really good 3D, but that was only at 30 frames per second, so here what we’re doing, is beyond that now.”
Aonuma learned a lot from making Ocarina of Time, and had the following to say:
“Yeah, I think there was a lot of looking at the previous game and thinking we could have done this better, and that leads naturally to the next game, very similarly to the original Wind Waker, and now to Wind Waker HD. It’s the same kind of thing with that step up.”
In Hyrule Historia, there are design docs from the original A Link to the Past. Aonuma was asked: “Did you or your team go back and look any of the other original design docs while working on A Link Between Worlds, to see how A Link to the Past created its world and characters?”
“Yeah, we obviously spent a lot of time looking back at the artwork from the original game, and trying out a lot of things based on this artwork. But, if you look at the original game, the actual in game graphics don’t look anything like this, obviously, because they are pixelated images. So this time, we actually have dynamic cutscenes within the game, so we have to have that balance between the artwork and what’s in the game, and actually have them close together. Before it didn’t matter, but now we actually have to have them look the same.”
He was also asked why the choice was made to have a follow up to A Link to the Past instead of the original Legend of Zelda or Zelda II?
“I think the main thing is that if you look at the original A Link to the Past graphics, the idea was to build the game using those original graphics, since the original has a lot of detail in them. It’s kind of a fully realized world, so it made it a good candidate for upgrading. If you take a look at the original Legend of Zelda, if we tried to remaster those graphics, they don’t have a lot of color, and there isn’t a lot of detail in it, so it wouldn’t really have looked very good on the 3DS. I think what they were able to do in A Link Between Worlds, where they were able to create that A Link to the Past world with the same feeling, but it also still really looks good today. Another reason is that since the 3DS came out, Mr. Miyamoto has always been on me about making A Link To The Past for the 3DS. Just kind of constantly in my ear about that. When I would do it was up to me, but it’s kind of been something that has been on my plate.”
Finally, he was asked a rather funny question: How long have you been aware that you had to work on this project then? How long has Mr. Miyamoto been on you about it?
“Ever since the 3DS existed. He’s always saying, “Why haven’t you made it yet? Why haven’t you made it yet?”