The Wind Waker's missing dungeons were reused in other Zelda games

Eiji Aonuma owns up.

The mystery of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker's missing dungeons can now be solved - almost. It's been known for years that more than one dungeon was cut from the GameCube game, giving its latter half some rather awkward pacing. With the HD Wii U version due for release in October this year, it's natural to wonder: will they be reinstated?

I asked Eiji Aonuma - the producer who oversees the Zelda series at Nintendo - this question when I met him yesterday in a quiet suite on Nintendo's E3 stand.

"Quite honestly, those dungeons we removed we used in other games, so we can't use them in this version!" he told me, with an apologetic laugh.

Could he tell me which ones? "I can't!" he said, laughing more. We'll likely never know, although it would be fun to speculate.

Even if the work hadn't already been recycled, though, Aonuma would have been reluctant to add it to the new version. It would have been too dramatic a change to a game which had a mixed reception at the time, but is now widely regarded as a classic. What his team is doing is tuning the pacing - presumably the distances you need to cover between islands - of the game so it's more satisfying.

"I've received many questions about additional content beyond what was in the GameCube version of the game, but our desire is to stay true of the story that was in the original," he said. "If we add dungeons then that will affect other parts of the GameCube version, which we really want to stay true to.

"If it felt like there were maybe too few dungeons then I feel that what was wrong with the GameCube version was the pacing. It was thrown off because it took longer to get to certain dungeons. There was a waiting period, and then when you arrived there the experience maybe didn't feel as big, as you'd waited so long to get there. We're tuning the game to alleviate all that. The pacing should feel appropriate to the overall experience this time... We need to tighten those [gaps] and make the overall experience and story feel tighter."

Eiji Aonuma has been synonymous with The Legend of Zelda since the Nintendo 64 days. He was a lead designer on Ocarina of Time, directed Majora's Mask, The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, and has produced every game in the series since then.

We had a long, relaxed and illuminating chat covering Wind Waker HD, the new 3DS game A Link Between Worlds, the daring next Wii U instalment, and why Nintendo has been struggling to launch original games in recent years. You can read our interview on Eurogamer tomorrow morning, with additional material being published soon by our friends and partners at Nintendo Life.

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