Iconic villain Ganondorf will not be in Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the series' head honcho has revealed.
Instead the game features a new enemy, the return of a familiar instrument and a plot placing the game as a prequel to all previous Zelda titles so far, series director Eiji Aonuma told Nintendo Power (via Nintendo Charged).
The game's new big bad is pale-faced David Bowie lookalike Lord Ghirahim - the purple eyeshadowed wizard seen leering at Link in recent trailers.
Ghirahim was created to contrast with Ganon's "very masculine, powerful, evil" image. Aonuma wanted something different for Skyward Sword's anatagonist, "someone who is a little bit mysterious and kind of makes people think, 'well, I dont really know what to make of this somewhat terrifying character.'"
There are changes, too, for Skyward Sword's Zelda. This time around she's a "great childhood friend" of Link's, and "in no way a princess in the traditional sense". Later in the story things take a darker turn. As "the gravity of the situation increases" Zelda must face a "tremendous fate placed on her shoulders". Does her royal destiny catch up with her?
Skyward Sword is set before Ocarina of Time and will chronicle how the series' iconic Master Sword was made. "In most Zelda games, the Master Sword has been something that Link seeks out, finds, and uses to destroy Ganon," Aonuma comments. This time around players see Link forging the weapon throughout the game.
Players will wield the Master Sword via accurate movements with the Wii's MotionPlus controller. The past year has seen Aonuma's team honing "incredibly satisying sword combat".
MotionPlus will also be used to play Zelda's harp - the same one her alter ego Sheik wielded in Ocarina of Time. Aonuma previously teased a "key" musical instrument for Skyward Sword, similar to the ocarina in Ocarina of Time. MotionPlus strumming will be required.
The Wii Remote additionally controls the large birds Link rides - the game's main airborne method of transportation. There'll be more in-transit events as well, similar to the pirate platforms in seafaring adventure Wind Waker.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Nintendo's last planned title for the Wii, is finally due for launch this Christmas.