Three generations of Nintendo home console, one game. The story of Zelda: Twilight Princess' development is now a fabled one, starting as a flirting snippet in a GameCube demo showreel, and finally appearing fully-formed at an electric E3 2004 reveal. However, the game that eventually arrived came much too late for its intended format, forcing a hybrid release on GameCube and Wii. Ten years later, a far more ambitious HD remaster now arrives on Wii U - a machine that shares a core IBM-based architecture with its two predecessors, but uses improved CPU speeds and superior GPU power to achieve full 1080p resolution and a host of other visual upgrades.
If you're going to start working in games development, you might as well begin on one of the greatest games of all-time. That was the rather serendipitous position Eiji Aonuma found himself in, hired by Nintendo to work on the momentous first 3D instalment of the Zelda series.
No one sitting in the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles was particularly surprised when the lovable Reggie Fils-Aimes, in his traditionally charming style, told us Nintendo would release The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on GameCube and Wii simultaneously, and on the Wii launch date. I guess, at best, we could say we were a bit surprised when he used the slightly technical term "separate SKUs" to describe the two different versions, but naturally that's only to establish that there are quite distinct differences between the two versions. For example, one's a giant badger.
In a year when Sony and Microsoft were too busy obsessing over next-generation at their pre-E3 conferences to pay anything other than passing lip-service to the current generation of consoles - you know, the ones you and I have underneath our televisions right now - Nintendo, typically, bucked the trend. The company's idea of saving the best for the final moments of its event in Hollywood was not a startling revelation regarding the power of a console that doesn't yet exist, a tech demo or a vacuous American celebrity hired to elicit some whooping from the crowd (although god knows the Nintendo conference attendees don't need help with that - where on earth do they find these people? Is there a special talent agency which exists to supply incredibly loud and embarrassingly over-excitable young men for these events?). Instead, it was a rolling video of a current-gen game, pushing no more polygons and calculated using no more teraflops than we're already used to, and set to be in our grubby mitts before Christmas.