The upcoming 3DS Zelda adventure, A Link Between Worlds, is getting mass critical acclaim ahead of its Friday release, but behind the scenes it actually went through a troubled development with series creator Shigeru Miyamoto completely dismissing the game when its developers first showed the legendary designer their prototype.
"When we presented it, Miyamoto-san said, 'This sounds like an idea that's 20 years old,'" recalled the game's director Hiromasa Shikata in the latest Iwata Asks. Granted this was before the team came up with the idea of Link turning into a walking mural when laying against 2D surfaces.
"As soon as we started the presentation, I could clearly see Miyamoto-san's facial expression rapidly darkening. I thought, 'This is bad,' added assistant director and lead programmer Shiro Mouri. "At the end he said, 'This sounds like an idea that's 20 years old,' that was the killing blow. We were down on the floor."
"He had ripped it apart so badly that I was distraught," Shikata lamented. 'We decided to rethink it from the start, and one day when the three of us were having a meeting, I suddenly said, 'What about having Link enter into walls?'" He didn't know it at the time, but Shikata had rejuvenated the troubled project - enough that it got a thumbs up from Miyamoto anyway.
"When we showed this to Miyamoto-san, he said, 'Let's do it,'" Shikta continued. "We were stoked."
This idea didn't single-handedly make the project though, as Miyamoto's thoughts on it wavered from meeting to meeting. "The first presentation was no good, the second one was okay, the third was no good, and the fourth was okay," said assistant director Kentaro Tominaga. "So it went through a cycle of bad to good."
While relatively hands-off, Miyamoto did more than say "yay" or "nay" to things, as he gave the team very specific feedback that influenced the direction of the project. According to Tominaga, Miyamoto was the one who suggested making the game a sequel in the first place. " [Miyamoto] didn't just criticise, he also gave us a hint," Tominaga recalled. "He suggested basing it on The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past."
It all worked out for the best though as, according to Iwata, Miyamoto has been saying "This Zelda game is good!"
He's certainly not the only one. Our Chris Donlan may not have recaptured his childhood with Link's latest the way he was hoping to, but he still praised it highly in his The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds review. "If, heaven forbid, this was the last Zelda ever, I couldn't think of a more fitting tribute to the series' strange ritualistic preoccupations than this cheerful, slight, and ultimately rather strange game," he wrote.
Now why is it that three days in Majora's Mask seemed to pass in the blink of any eye, but the three days leading up to A Link Between Worlds' release is slowing to a crawl?