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Eiji Aonuma's GDC 2007 Presentation

E3 2005 and 120% Zelda

by Aaron Kaluszka - March 11, 2007, 3:48 am EDT

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Having released Minish Cap without a hitch, I started to think about what content to include on the E3 2005 playable version of the realistic Zelda. However, development on the project that I hadn’t been able to support was struggling. Although there were various small sections of gameplay that would create the framework for the game, there wasn’t one single distinctive model of play or a timeline that would connect each of the events. I really didn’t think that at that rate, we would create that would generate positive buzz on the E3 show floor. What concerned me most was at this stage of development, as a result of having put priority on the idea of the two worlds and the wolf, there was still nothing special about the most important aspect of the game; there was nothing special about the movement of the realistic Link.

In addition to this, after the 2004 E3 announcement, Miyamoto heard the response from end-users about the realistic Zelda. Miyamoto gave us a mission: our goal must be that if we were going to do it, it had to be 120% Zelda, and that meant making a Zelda that exceeded the Ocarina of Time. But where we were at the time did not exceed Ocarina, and regardless of the result, I knew that we had to focus on a new play feeling and also on creating alluring Link actions in preparation for E3. Once we got past E3, only then could we really work toward Miyamoto’s mission. From that point on, I worked not as a producer, but as the game’s director.

At E3 2005, though the presentation might have had something to do with it, response was huge. Some attendees waited up to three hours in a long line to play the playable version of the realistic Zelda called Twilight Princess. Ultimately, we were able to deliver something that lived up to their expectations. However, I knew that what we had at that point, thought the art style was new and its own appeal, still didn’t have the innovation in gameplay that DS Zelda had, and that was something we had to overcome. Could we provide Twilight Princess with a feeling of something that DS Zelda had? As though he could see through my concerns upon returning from E3, Miyamoto approached me and said, “It’s as though the Revolution pointer was designed specifically for the arrow control in Zelda. Why don’t you consider making a Zelda that uses this?"

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