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Zelda: Majora's Mask time mechanic originally rewound a week

And what's new in the 3D remake.

The three-day time-rewind mechanic found in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was originally meant to last a full week.

Zelda series boss Eiji Aonuma revealed the titbit in a new Iwata Asks interview, published today to coincide with the launch of Majora's Mask 3D on 3DS.

"At first, it was one week," Aonuma recalled. "But when you returned to the first day it was like 'Do I have to go through an entire week again...'

"The townspeople do different things each day and many different things happen, but when the timespan becomes a week, that's just too much to remember. You can't simply remember who's where doing what on which day.

"We felt it would be best to make it a three-step process, and we compressed all sorts of things we had planned for over a week into three days."

Aonuma also discussed his famous promise of being able to develop Majora's Mask in just one year, after having spent three years on the series' previous entry, Ocarina of Time.

The Zelda team turned around the title in time thanks to development continuing directly on from Ocarina, using some of the same 3D models and many of the same staff.

Ideas from Ocarina bled into Majora, too. The game's mask system, which sees hero Link change when donning different headgear, was born out of ideas for Zelda's first N64 outing.

"The development of Ocarina of Time was so long, we were able to put in a whole lot of different elements into that game," Aonuma explained. "Out of those, there were ideas that weren't fully utilised, and ones that weren't used to their full potential. One of those was the mask salesman."

Aonuma became so adamant that he could finish the project, as promised, within 12 months that he actually talked Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto out of delaying the game.

"I got mad. I said to him, pretty loudly, 'There's no way we can do that now!'," Aonuma recalled. But development was not easy, and at one point Aonuma remembers identifying with one of Majora's creepier cut-scenes after he "woke up screaming" due to stress.

Nintendo has focused on updating Majora for the game's new 3DS version, including the addition of new boss battle animations to make it easier for players to tell when they have worked out an enemy's weak spot.

"All of the boss battles are weird [in the original]," Aonuma commented. "All of them. When you first face a boss, it is natural to start looking for its weakness so you can figure out where to attack it. However, in the Nintendo 64 version of this game, you couldn't see the weaknesses at all."

This lead to some players attacking bosses randomly and winning without understanding why - something which has now been adjusted.

The new version also includes C-button controls for use with the New Nintendo 3DS and New 3DS XL, also available today.

The lengthy interview marks a return for Nintendo's Iwata Asks format, after a hiatus of more than a year.

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