Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto is notorious for “up-ending the tea table”; or in other words, demanding a drastic change in a game’s development cycle if it doesn’t meet his standards. An Iwata Asks interview last year revealed his sharp refusal of the initial presentation of A Link Between Worlds, and more recently, he insisted that Hyrule Warriors needed a complete reversal when shown its initial concept.
Yosuke Hayashi, developer of Hyrule Warriors and head of Team Ninja, offers his own side of this story in an interview with Eurogamer. He says that “To start with, when the idea kicked off, the image we had of Zelda was actually implemented in the game – the puzzle solving, RPG approach of a Zelda title.”
He continued, “At that point Miyamoto-san and Nintendo came to us and said ‘this doesn’t feel like cross-IP game, this is more just like a Zelda game’ and that if it was just going to feel like a Zelda game there was no point in doing a cross-collaboration.” He mentioned that Miyamoto instead directed the team to make “something more in line with [Koei Tecmo’s] skillset, and in terms of how we could bring to the franchise something we’re strong with.”
“Hopefully in the long run […] we can provide or deliver something Nintendo can’t in a sense with their own IP.”
While this may sound like Miyamoto was harsh in his actions, Hayashi reassures us that everything else in his collaboration with Nintendo went very well. “It was only once during the entire production – the rest of the time he was pretty positive about what we showed, and what we were able to present.” He also added that Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma “was really encouraging us to explore more.” Amusingly, Hayashi also confirms that no actual tables were flipped.
Hayashi also went on to discuss some of his dream development projects. “One of my ultimate dreams would be using that character with the red hat on top,” he says, hinting at the Mario franchise. He then shares his thoughts on working with other Nintendo IPs. “There is a Smash Bros. coming out, we do see a lot of different characters coming together in an all-star roster, so hopefully in the long run we can work with Nintendo on something with a similar line, where we can provide or deliver something Nintendo can’t in a sense with their own IP.”
This isn’t the first time that Koei Tecmo have expressed interest in working on a Mario title, after Vice President Hibashi Kinuma revealed that he would “like to work with” Mario, Disney or Star Wars. Given the reasonably warm reception Hyrule Warriors has received and decent sales in Japan and the UK, perhaps Nintendo will one day consider lending another of their illustrious franchises to Koei Tecmo for another spectacular spin-off.