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Wednesday 26 October 2011

Iwata Asks About Skyward Sword *UPDATED…AGAIN*

In Zelda news

Proving once again that he is a very curious chappie, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata is once again interviewing Nintendo employees about the games wot they made. And this time, it’s Skyward Sword.

The five-page interview with the creators of the game, including producer Eiji Aonuma, is full of insight into the creative process behind the game, and of course, features Iwata finding things very amusing (laughs).

Read it here: http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/wii/zelda-skyward-sword/0/0

*UPDATE* The second part is now out: http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/wii/zelda-skyward-sword/1/0

*UPDATE 2.0* Report from the Sponge: Volume 3 is out: http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/wii/zelda-skyward-sword/2/0.  Hmmm…I previously hi-jacked the news job and now a whole story.  What’s next?!?!?!

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Sunday 03 July 2011

Aonuma: Don’t Expect Zelda Wii U To Look Like the Tech Demo

In Zelda news

Remember the Zelda Wii U tech demo on display at E3? It looked stunning, and showed off a taster of how Zelda might look and play on the system. Can we expect a Zelda game on that console to look similar, whenever it happens to be released? Well, Wired talked to series director Eiji Aonuma about the demo, and he had this to say:

“You probably remember that when we introduced the GameCube, we showed a somewhat realistic Zelda demo (...) And what we actually created was the cel-shaded Wind Waker. So when we show a graphic demo, people think, ‘Oh, this is what the next Zelda will look like,’ but that’s not necessarily the case.”

So he seems to be hinting that we shouldn’t be confident that the first Zelda game on Wii U will have a realistic art style, as the tech demo does. Some fans did that before, and things certainly got ugly when The Wind Waker turned up on their doorstep…

Aonuma talks a bit more about the game in the full article (also featuring an interview with Mario producer Yoshiaki Koizumi), which you can read here: http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2011/07/wii-u-mario-zelda/all/1

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Tuesday 28 June 2011

Iwata Asks About Ocarina of Time 3D #3 Available Now

In Zelda news

You know the drill about Iwata Asks. You also know that the interview series is currently hosting a collection of Ocarina of Time 3D interviews (if you don’t, look at the post below!) And thanks to this article, you now know that the third interview is now up!

This interview is with members of Grezzo, the team responsible for updating Ocarina of Time for the 3DS. It includes lots of interesting tidbits. For example, in order to keep the experience as similar to the original as possible, they actually strived to recreate some of the game’s original bugs! Now that’s dedication, albeit in a strange way.

You can read the interview here: http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/3ds/zelda-ocarina-of-time/3/0

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Monday 20 June 2011

Iwata Asks About Ocarina of Time 3D

In Zelda news

Nintendo fans may be familiar with the “Iwata Asks” interview series,m a long-running staple of the Nintendo website. The concept is simple: Nintendo head Satoru Iwata asks questions to Nintendo developers. You see where they get the name from? Clever!

It’s common for an interview to be put up for each big Nintendo game, and the release of Ocarina of Time 3D is no exception, having two separate interviews so far. Lots of interesting nuggets are revealed, including the fact that Ocarina of Time was originally going to be a first person game!

The first volume, concentrating on the music of the game, features an interview with long-time Zelda composer Koji Kondo, and Mahito Yokota. It can be viewed here: http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/3ds/zelda-ocarina-of-time/0/0

The second volume is focussed more on the development of the original Ocarina of Time, and features a roundtable of many of the original game staff, including, of course, Zelda director Eiji Aonuma. It can be viewed here: http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/3ds/zelda-ocarina-of-time/1/0

We’ll let you know when more are published!

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Wednesday 08 June 2011

Eiji Aonuma’s Skyward Sword Demo Shows Dousing Mode, Mirror World

In Zelda news

So, Skyward Sword may have been playable at the E3 show floor, but would you believe that it doesn’t end there? At Nintendo’s E3 roundtable, Eiji Aonuma showed off some exclusive gameplay, demonstrating some of the new features in this new incarnation of Zelda.

The first demo he showed demonstrated “dousing mode”. In this demo, Link must search for five pieces of a key buried by mole-like enemies (named “Mogmas”). To find the pieces, Link must use “Dousing Mode”. In this mode, a first-person view is taken with Link’s sword in the middle of the screen. Link can then move the sword to identify where the pieces are - identified by increasing beeping. Kind of like a metal detector! When Link finds the pieces, he can dig them up using a special pair of gloves.

The second demo Aonuma showed off demonstrated something more interesting. It seems that there is some kind of alternative world in the game, similar to the dark world of A Link to the Past. The demo took place in the Mushroom Hill-like area from the E3 demo last year, but with a twist. Striking Link’s sword into the ground morphed the surroundings into a bleaker, more abstract world, littered with living statues named Guardians. Link can’t use his sword in this mode - it’s stuck in the ground, so he’s helpless against the Guardians. The aim in this mode is to collect a number of green orbs, and there are also tear-shaped items which freeze the guardians for a certain amount of time. It sounds fairly similar to gameplay from the two DS titles, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, which also has you avoiding scary statues to collect items.

Well, we certainly know a lot about this new game now! What do you think? Excited? I think I am.

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Tuesday 07 June 2011

Zelda at E3 - TONNES of News

In Zelda news

Well, Nintendo’s press conference has just finished, and while there has been lots of excitement about the announcement of the new Wii U console, and the 3DS games coming our way, there was another big player at the show: Zelda. The whole first segment of the event was dedicated to the franchise’s 25th anniversary, with the show opening with a montage of earlier Zelda games, leading up to some new Ocarina of Time 3D and Skyward Sword footage (the latter of which hints that Link will be able to ride a bird, and has some kind of lady-friend who gets swallowed by a giant fish), backed by a live orchestra!

Shigeru Miyamoto took to the stage, and fooled around with the orchestra as they played familiar jingles and melodies from the series. He then went on to make many, many announcements about Link’s anniversary year, all of which are bound to excite Zelda fans. Here they are:

Firstly, Skyward Sword will be released this holiday season. This will surprise very few, though some may have been hoping for an earlier release. Shigeru promised that the game is packed with content, and thinks it will be the most satisfying Zelda title yet. As Skyward Sword requires a Wii Remote Plus, and many players will be buying one just for Zelda, a special edition golden Zelda remote will be released alongside the game. Whether this is a pre-order bonus, or will be sold packaged with the game, or separately, we don’t know. I’m guessing it will probably be packaged with the game.

You may have noticed that Game Boy Color classic Link’s Awakening DX was missing from today’s Nintendo eShop launch, despite previous info hinting it would launch with the service. Well, you only have a matter of hours to wait before getting your hands on everyone’s favourite handheld Zelda, as it will be available by the end of the day. Nintendo obviously wanted to incite warm fuzzy feelings of nostalgia to all who watched the conference before making many people’s first experience with Zelda available once more. Marketing!

Nintendo also announced that, as a free download, multiplayer Zelda title Four Swords will be available on the DSi (and assumably 3DS, too). They didn’t specify whether this was a port of the original GBA game, or an entirely new adventure. Whatever it is, it will be available for free download in September. Pretty generous!

Now this is where things get really interesting. Nintendo have announced that there will be actual Zelda 25th Anniversary events, that you can actually physically go to! To start things off, there will be a series of Zelda symphony concerts throughout the world this year. Assuming they stick to the standard format for these events, you can expect a live orchestra playing classic Zelda melodies, with footage from the games on a big screen above the orchestra. No specific dates or locations were announced, but they were confirmed to take place in Japan, America and Europe during the fall (that’s “Autumn” for people like me in the UK). I’d guess that the concerts will take place in select big cities (i.e. Tokyo, London, L.A. etc.) rather than a full world tour, but I could be wrong. Nintendo will also release two Zelda CDs this year, something which is rarely done outside of Japan. The Ocarina of Time 3D Official Soundtrack will be available for those who are first to register their copy of the game with Club Nintendo, and there will also be a CD based on the anniversary concerts (assumably a recording of the show) which will be released in conjunction with Skyward Sword.

Finally, Shigeru announced there will be “other activities”, but didn’t specify further. There’s more? After all that? Us Zelda fans sure are in for a busy year!

Shigeru ended the Zelda segment by bringing some key figures from Zelda’s history, purely so they could be applauded. Takashi Tezuka, Yoshiaki Koizumi and Zelda director Eiji Aonuma were called up front for a round of applause. But then Shigsy pulled the “it’s all about the fans”, and thanked us for their support throughout the 25 years, giving us all a wee round of applause. Charming!

But wait! There was even more Zelda! In the announcement trailer for Nintendo’s new home console, the Wii U (featuring the much-rumoured touch-screen controller), a very short clip of a gorgeous looking HD Zelda game was shown. It featured Link fighting a huge spider in a huge temple. The user could swap their equipped weapons using the touch screen on the controller. As the footage wasn’t given a name, it may just be a concept and not a game in itself, but it shows quite nicely what the system is capable of, and what future Zelda games on the title could look like.

And that’s all the Zelda we got at this year’s Nintendo presser! LOADS. I actually had to watch the thing through again to make sure I didn’t miss anything. It will certainly be a big year for Zelda, and a big year for the fans. Thank you Nintendo for making my job hard. And thank you for giving us plenty to look forward to.

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Saturday 14 August 2010

Skyward Sword Details in Nintendo Power

In Zelda news

Okay, I have a confession to make. I just spent half an hour summarising an interview with Zelda director Eiji Aonuma about Skyward Sword in Nintendo Power. It was witty and insightful and wonderful. Then I clicked submit, and my connection died. The article was lost. I do not have another half hour to spare. So, will you forgive me just this once if I just link you to another site’s summary? Honestly, the effort was all there, but it was wasted thanks to a terrible connection. So… here’s the link.

http://gonintendo.com/viewstory.php?id=132259

*bows humbly*

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Thursday 22 July 2010

Aonuma Talks the Dreaded Timeline, Skyward Sword is Set Before Ocarina

In Zelda news

The timeline. Mention it in any Zelda forum, and no matter what you’ve all been talking about, the subject will change into a heated debate about which game comes where, or whether there even is one. Try it and see for yourself! Luckily, series director Eiji Aonuma has come to set us right. Sort of.

In an interview with Official Nintendo Magazine, he had the following to say:

“Yes there is a master timeline but its confidential document! The only people to have access to that document are myself, Mr. Miyamoto and the director of the title. We cant share it with anyone else! I have already talked to Mr. Miyamoto about this so I am comfortable in releasing this information – this title [Skyward Sword] takes place before Ocarina of Time. if I said that a certain title was ‘the first Zelda game’, then that means that we cant ever make a title that takes place before that! So for us to add titles to the series, we have to have a way of putting the titles before or after each other.”

So, there you have it. There is a timeline, but we’re never going to see it. That’s not exactly going to stall any arguments. But still, he does state that Skyward Sword will be set before Ocarina of Time, which a lot of people see as the first in the series. That should be interesting, if only to see it affects people’s vastly-varying theories. Thanks, Aonuma!

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Friday 18 June 2010

Gamespot Interview with Aonuma, Narrows Release Date

In Zelda news

Gamespot have uploaded a video interview with Eiji Aonuma, director of Skyward Sword, in which he talks about the inspiration behind the title, the plot and just how Wii MotionPlus is used in the title. He also mentions a little nugget right at the end of the video, which is probably the most important point made - the team really want us to experience the game as soon as possible, so he’s hoping for an early 2011 release. That’s a lot more specific than the previous “2011” we were given at the press conference, and pretty much the best 2011 date we could wish for!

Mind you, Twilight Princess was notorious for its delays, and Aonuma said he was “hoping” for an early 2011 release, not “aiming” - a subtle, but important difference. So don’t be surprised if Skyward Sword floats back a few months, or even a year! It’s all for the good of the title, though - odds are, we can rest assured that no matter how long we’ll be left waiting for this game, the end result will be fantastic.

Watch the interview here: http://e3.gamespot.com/video/6266421/

In similar news, in a Kotaku interview with Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aime (http://kotaku.com/5566671/nintendo-testing-healthiness-of-3ds-advising-young-children-to-avoid-3d), he confirmed that the 3DS will be released by the end of March 2011. That’s another “early 2011”, then! And if the 3D Ocarina of Time remake is a launch title, we Zelda fans can expect a very busy year start. It’s going to be an exciting quarter.

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Wednesday 16 June 2010

Nintendo’s E3 Roundtable - Loads of New Info Announced *UPDATED*

In Zelda news

It’s tradition every year for Nintendo to host a roundtable conference at E3, where developers of the recently-announced titles discuss and expand on them. This year, among others, Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s famed game designer, and Eiji Aonuma, who having directed pretty much every Zelda title since Majora’s Mask, is the most important man in Zelda today, were attending to discuss, you guessed it, Zelda.

So what was revealed? Lots. So here’s a quick recap about went on.

First, some plot details were revealed. In previous titles, Link has been everything from a ranch worker, to an island dweller, to a forest lurker. This Link comes from the sky. He’s an inhabitant of the floating island Skyloft. When we meet him in the game, he discovers that there is a whole new land below his feet, and finds it rife with evil. During the game you’ll travel between Skyloft and this land below (Hyrule?). This adds some meaning to the game’s title, and also the skydiving Link in the trailer. It also may have something to do with Aonuma’s hint from a few months ago that the game will feature flight.

The new art style, and its inspiration, were discussed. Miyamoto revealed that he found inspiration in nineteenth-century impressionism - the likes of Monet, as he claimed to be a fan of the art from that era. He said it not only affects the backgrounds, but the enemies, who have exaggerated dimensions and movements. The lush sky is a tribute to Cézanne. You’ll have to excuse my ignorance, as I have no idea who Cézanne is.

They also discussed the soundtrack, which you’ll be glad to hear is going to be fully orchestrated for the first time in the series. Miyamoto said that after Mario Galaxy 2, it wouldn’t be right not to do the same for Zelda.

Some gameplay aspects were expanded upon, too. The screen-consuming Wiimote HUD which was permanently attached to the side of the screen in the demo can be turned off, so hooray for that. They also said that maps will be easier to follow, as they felt previous games used maps which were difficult to read. Finally, they mentioned that the game will use MotionPlus and the sensor bar to track the player’s actions, even if you’re pointing away from the screen.

They also shed some light on the mysterious Ocarina of Time screenshots that appeared out of the blue yesterday. Miyamoto acknowledged them, and said that they were having a look through their back catalogue for titles that could use a 3DS version, by adding new features or simply giving them an extra dimension. Referring to Ocarina of Time, he said he enjoys the openness of Hyrule Field, and wanted to see how it looked in 3D. He confirmed that the game, and Star Fox 64 3D aren’t just tech demos, but they are being “actively developed”. Whether that development will result in a game on store shelves remains to be seen, but after revealing so much, I don’t think the fans will let them get away with not doing it!

And lastly, in reference to the remake, Aonuma revealed possibly the best news of all. He admitted that the game’s Water Temple stage was tremendously difficult (if you found it easy, you’re lying), and said that the new game could be improved by making it easier. He mentioned the touch screen could make the ability to change boots quicker and easier. Hear that? The Water Temple is going to be easier. Playing Ocarina of Time won’t make you bald.

*UPDATE* The existence of Ocarina of Time 3D has now pretty much been officially confirmed, thanks to this handy tweet from the official Nintendo twitter account: http://twitter.com/NintendoAmerica/status/16268409393
So you can look forward to your 3D classic!

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