The Mario series has inspired ideas during development of the Zelda series on numerous occasions. Aonuma once explained how Super Mario 3D Land‘s inspired A Link Between Worlds‘ shifting perspectives, and Miyamoto noted that Super Mario 64 acted as the building blocks of Ocarina of Time‘s creation. This time, a recent Famitsu article (reported by Siliconera) with ALBW director Hiromasa Shikata likens the Merge mechanic to his first experience playing SM64.
“The thought of having link become a drawing on a flat surface seemed interesting to me; an idea that came out of nowhere. However, I thought that simply having him be part of a flat surface would’ve made it no different than a side-scrolling game, so we thought it would be better to have him turn along the corners of the walls, after further consulting with the [other members of staff].
Back when I first played Super Mario 64, I was jumping around the bridge by the castle, and was really surprised when I fell down into the moat. If it were a 2D Mario game with a side-view, you wouldn’t be able to fall down as deep. Just like the sense of amusement the 3D feeling gave me from jumping off the bridge, this time I felt something similar when I was able to slide through the barred window.”
Lead programmer Shiro Mouri makes a small mention of some ideas in the game that were introduced later in development:
“This may be a spoiler to those who’ve yet to play the game, so I’ll just say that certain items you can find inside walls and becoming a drawing on the wall to dodge enemy attacks, are ideas that came afterwards.”
The designers also went through several designs before settling on Link’s final hieroglyph form. Lead designer Koji Takahashi mysteriously adds:
“We got several designers and tried out different things. The first drawing we did actually had a very avant-garde look to it, and it was strongly opposed by our staff.”
I wonder what Merge Link looked like before?