Now that Majora’s Mask 3D has been out for a week, a good portion of the title’s devoted fans have had a chance to experience the new gameplay and design for the 3DS. While certain changes may have been met with some resistance by some devotees, other changes have been welcomed with open arms. IGN had the amazing opportunity to interview Eiji Aonuma about the development of Majora’s Mask 3D and discuss some of the aforementioned changes to this beautiful game.
When asked about why the development of Majora’s Mask 3D took several years as opposed to the original development time of one year, Aonouma mentioned that he had been working on multiple projects such as A Link Between Worlds and other new Zelda projects. He did mention, however, that should he have had the opportunity to focus solely on Majora’s Mask 3D, it would have been finished a lot sooner. “It’s very rare that I have the opportunity now to work on one single project at a time,” he said. This time allowed him to “fix” elements in the game that he felt needed to be addressed.
“It’s very rare that I have the opportunity now to work on one single project at a time.”
An example of one of these changes is the Zora Link swimming mechanic. The player controls, animation, and overall experience of playing as a Zora is notably different between the N64 and 3DS versions of Majora’s Mask and has been met with some tension by seasoned players. I, for one, am not the biggest fan of this change and it has taken me a significant amount of time to get used to it. “… We were really keeping in mind… that we wanted to make the experience a comfortable one for players,” Aonuma explained. “The only thing that stands out to me is that I really should’ve come up with the solution earlier.” To be fair, he did mention that he understands that comparison between the games can be a bit of a shock to some of the fans who “have been playing [it] continuously for 15 years”.
Another major change that was addressed was the accessibility of the game to new players. When confronted with the idea that the game was now “easier”, Aonuma gracefully countered with these words: “I think one important distinction here is making something easy to understand is not necessarily the same thing as making it easy.” That is, the improved Bombers Notebook and weak spots on bosses only serve to clarify, not to suppress the satisfaction that gamers feel when they finally figure out a challenging puzzle, a complicated sidequest, or take out a temple’s boss.
“I think one important distinction here is making something easy to understand is not necessarily the same thing as making it easy.”
It actually appears that most of the changes to Majora’s Mask 3D have been appreciated by fans. The new Bomber’s Notebook makes sidequests more manageable and is actually enjoyable to go back and browse through. In the original, I never once opened the notebook, but now I’m constantly going through it just for fun. The added functionality of setting alarms within the notebook alongside the new “Song of Double Time” mechanic alleviates a lot of waiting around and opens up more opportunities to explore the world of Termina.
Overall, Majora’s Mask 3D has satisfied newcomers and veterans alike. Many of the changes add a breath of fresh air to the title and make it interesting to many of us who have played the game more times than we can count. It may have taken several years to finally get into our hands, but many Zelda fans will say that it was well worth the wait.