Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Iwata Asks: Zelda Handheld History

There's a new Iwata Asks interview and this time it's about the history of handheld Zeldas. He was sitting together with Aonuma, Nakago and Tezuka and it's definitely worth a read.

They were chatting mostly about the development of Link's Awakening. Since this game is one of my absolute favorite Zelda games and games in general, it was really interesting. The project started as a port of A Link to the Past for the GameBoy, but since it was on the GameBoy they thought that they had more creative freedom, which is why there are Mario characters and enemies and Kirby appearing in the game. Also, they illustrated how with the handheld Zelda games made by Capcom there were many Zelda games in parallel development.

As a bonus they were looking at old documents from the development of The Legend of Zelda, the first Zelda game.

One of my favorite parts here was the one about the dungeon maps. You probably know, that you can puzzle the dungeons together, so they would fit into a rectangle. This was because of the size limitations, multiple dungeons were stored on one map. However, Tezuka screwed up and used only half of the size available to draw the dungeons. This is how the 2nd quest was born, since they had another half left, they could do nine more (difficult) dungeons. So, Zelda I would have never had its infamous 2nd Quest, if Tezuka wouldn't have made this mistake. Quite the story.

I hope that they don't just look at these documents for fun, but that studying the successful roots of Zelda is an important part of the development of Zelda Wii. Watch and learn, Aonuma.

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