The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is finished, says its producer Eiji Aonuma.
Eiji Anouma recently told Famitsu Magazine some pretty interesting details about the upcoming entry to one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises and from what I can see there is reason for excitement.
– In this game, Zelda starts out as a childhood friend of Link’s — and not royalty. “She’s not a princess this time,” Aonuma said, “which is something I’ll pretty much have to put forth right now in order to talk about this title. She’s a childhood friend, but she goes away in the midst of the game and it’s Link’s job to search for her.”
– The starting plot unfolds quite a bit differently from other Zeldas. “This game’s plot is something like a school drama, you could say,” Aonuma noted with a laugh. “The flying sequence at the E3 demo is Link competing against his classmates. One of them looks kind of a like a bad guy, as you saw, and he shows up in other ways in the game too, since he has a major thing for Zelda.”
– Despite this, though, the game progresses in a somewhat similar fashion to a previous Zelda title. “The game starts in Skyloft, this city that’s floating in the air, and you’ll come back to this town multiple times,” Aonuma said. “Things are always proceeding along in town, and in that respect it’s very much like Majora’s Mask. Like with Majora, there are a lot of game events involving the townspeople that get intertwined with the main story. Link, Zelda and their other friends all go to the same boarding school, and you’ve got teachers and a principal as well. It’s a bit of a different setting from previous Zeldas.”
– Aonuma’s team is making a deliberate effort to give Link new items — like the boomerang-beetle in the E3 demo — early on in Skyward Sword. “With previous Zeldas,” he said, “the common pattern was that the really neat items wouldn’t show up until later on in the game. You need to have the basic item set or it wouldn’t be Zelda, so the new items tended to get shunted to the latter part of the game. [Shigeru] Miyamoto said that had to change, like ‘This is neat, let’s bring it out from the start.’ So a lot of neat new items will show up pretty early on.”
– Is Skyloft the entire ‘world’ in this game? “Yes, it’s only the people in Skyloft,” Aonuma responded. “Nobody on there thinks anything of it, though, because living in Skyloft and flying around on birds is normal to them. They don’t have any awareness of there being a mainland beneath the clouds and so forth — that gets expanded upon once Zelda goes missing, and you get access to the areas under the clouds.”
– Does everyone in Skyloft have their own personal avian transport? “It’s the custom for each person to have one bird. Link has a red one, and it’s actually a special and very rare breed of bird — which is something that makes him get picked on, like ‘Why do you get this fancy bird and we don’t?!’ But it turns out that you need that red bird in order to access the mainland. So the hand of fate gets involved here, like it always does in Zelda games sooner or later.”
– Ghiraham, the enemy Link fought in the E3 demo’s boss battle, is definitely going to be an important character in Skyward Sword. “The demo shows when you first meet him, and plainly he’s looking down at Link, stopping his sword with his fingers and so forth,” Aonuma noted. “In terms of story image he’s kind of like Dark Link [from Ocarina of Time]; he sees right through Link’s moves in battle. You can sort of swing your sword wildly and still hold your own against a lot of foes, but there’s no way you can beat Ghiraham like that. You need to keep your distance and watch his moves, and it’s something you’ll need to change your strategy for. I think he’s a pretty good change of pace as bosses go, and he’ll change gradually throughout the game.”
– Will Ganon show up? “This game talks about the birth of the Master Sword, and it touches on why Ganondorf showed up. If you play it, I think you’ll get some understanding on that. It connects to Ocarina, so if you play Ocarina of Time 3D and move on to this game, I think you’ll catch on to a lot of things.”
– How’s development going along? “The whole game is complete, and we’re fine-tuning the balance right now. We were going to have it wholly done by around E3, but there’s so much volume to it, neither I nor Miyamoto have gotten to fully play out every aspect. The non-English localizations are proceeding along now, and we’re trying to make this a simultaneous worldwide release. You have to put Zelda all out at once or else the story’s going to get spoiled — although, really, there’s a ton to enjoy here even if you know a little about the story beforehand.”
I like what I’m reading. This might just be the first time they’re officially touching on the whole timeline thing and finding out how Ganon and all that Zelda-business came to be fills me with excitement. And a simultaneous worldwide release just sounds golden to my Europe-seated ears.
For anyone that’s concerned about the “school drama”-bit: From what I understand this is going to be as much of a school drama as Twilight Princess was a farm simulator.