Talk: Latest Zelda’s making process & “Ocarina of Time” proposal disclosed[Nintendo Eiji Aonuma x SQEX Jin Fujisawa]

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It was February in Kyoto. We, the reporters, got off the taxi, looked up at the sky, and saw softly falling snow above the white, rectangular building.

We walked into the building rubbing our cold hands and we were shown into a warm room. The first thing we noticed in the lobby was a big monitor. A game console that looked like a remote control was sitting neatly in front of the monitor. With no doubt, we could tell that it was the Nintendo Switch, the game console set to be released to the public on March 3. And the game running on the Switch was the hottest and the latest game, “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (LOZBOW)”.

Yes, we are in the Nintendo headquarters located in Kyoto. Originally, we were scheduled to conduct an interview about “The Legend of Zelda” series. However, we were given a chance to play the game, which would be released to the public a month later. It was a total surprise.

The interviewee, who is going to answer questions about the “Zelda” series, including this new game, is Mr. Eiji Aonuma. He is the producer of the recent series, succeeding Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto, known to be “the Father of the Zelda Series” who had played a big role in developing the Zelda series since “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (LOZOOT).” The interviewer is Mr. Jin Fujisawa of Square Enix. He has overseen the “Dragon Quest (DQ)” series after Mr. Yuji Horii, and has been the director since “VIII” and has recently developed “Fortune Tellers Academy,” the popular smartphone game. As a creator, Mr. Fujisawa said he had some questions for Mr. Aonuma for a long time.

Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto vs. Mr. Yuji Horii. The Legend of Zelda vs. the Dragon Quest. The unforgettable moment between two people who inherited popular series from the geniuses in gaming history. What will they talk about? While snowing in Kyoto, there is still excitement for anew game. The interview started out discussing the agony of successors who succeeded the series and moved onto behind-the-scenes stories about game development, and talking about the essence of developing games at Nintendo.

 

Interviewer/TAITAIHotate InabaDaichi Saito
Writer/Hotate Inaba
Photographed by Junpei Tainaka
Translated by TELEPASEE

日本語版はこちら:まず2Dゲームで開発、社員300人で1週間遊ぶ!? 新作ゼルダ、任天堂の驚愕の開発手法に迫る。「時オカ」企画書も公開! 【ゲームの企画書:任天堂・青沼英二×スクエニ・藤澤仁】(2017年3月2日公開)


Mr. Jin Fujisawa(left) and Mr. Eiji Aonuma(right)

The meaning of succeeding a big title

――For today’s interview, I think that it would probably be better if Mr. Fujisawa leads the conversation instead of us explaining the purpose of the interview.

Mr. Jin Fujisawa (shortened to Fujisawa onwards) :
I see (laughs). Well, I guess I could go first, by introducing myself.

Mr. Eiji Aonuma (shortened to Aonuma onwards):
Okay (laughs).

Fujisawa:
I’m 46-years-old and I’ve been involved in the production of “Dragon Quest (DQ)” for years. I saw the advertisement for the assistant position for Mr. Yuji Horii [*] in Famitsu and applied for it in 1998. Since then, I participated in production of “DQ” under the supervision of Mr. Horii for 15 years and have been participating in the production as the director for the last 10 years. Specifically, I have participated in the production since the last part of the production of “DQ VIII” and the proposal stage of “9” and “10”.

*Yuji Horii
CEO of Armor Project. Game designer, well known to be the father of the “Dragon Quest” series. Started working as a freelance writer when he was a student. Afterwards, he wrote for the “Reader’s Bulletin Board” of “OUT,” the animation culture magazine. He was in charge of introducing new games for the weekly magazine, “Young Jump” while producing “Serial Killer of Boat Pier.” Currently working as a game designer after developing the “Fortune Street” series and “Dragon Quest” series.

Mr. Aonuma:
Okay, I see.

Fujisawa:
At first, I participated in the production as a scenario staff member under the supervision of Mr. Horii. But as the size of hardware and software became massive, it became too much for Mr. Horii to handle everything. Physically, it was impossible for him to control everything. So I was working on the scenario part, then gradually moved onto other parts, such as battle parts or world design part.

Mr. Fujisawa was the director of “9.” This game was the first numbered “DQ” title for a portable game console, which also received good reviews. It made headlines because the “Masayuki map” produced massive metal enemies in the additional DLC map, which shows up after completing the game. “I can tell you that I did my very best for ‘9.’” (Mr. Fujisawa)
(Image : Clip from Portal site of 30th anniversary of Dragon Quest)

Since then, I got to work on jobs such as battle balancing and I’m telling you that I could become a director because I went through that stage. So, it was not like Mr. Horii appointed me to that position. But rather, I should say that I naturally became who I am because I wanted to help Mr. Horii by sharing his workload in different parts because he was so busy.

Aonuma:
What a nice story to share.

Fujisawa:
Yes, I guess so (laughs).

At first, I was very pleased to become a ‘DQ’ staff member, because I was a huge fan. Then, I was fortunate to become a director. I enjoyed being part of it, but then one day I questioned myself, ‘how long do I want to continue with this?’

Aonuma:
Oh, I’ve been there, too.

Fujisawa:
“DQ” was Mr. Horii’s creation so I didn’t feel like it was mine. So when I hit the “limit of life expectancy that you can create something by yourself,” I started to think whether my decision to keep producing ‘DQ’ was the right one for me.

But at the same time, I was doing my best to produce “DQ” Mr. Horii had asked me to, so I was feeling guilty, selfish and disrespectful for Mr. Horii to even think about doing something else. So, I could not discuss that subject with anybody.

――Well, I guess not that many people can relate to that part. Even though it happened kind of naturally, it is hard for us to even imagine the weight of supporting such a huge titled production and you have to figure it out by yourself on some parts……

Fujisawa:
Even myself, I realized that this type of problem is very special [and] no one can relate.

And one day, I read an interview with Mr. Aonuma, the producer of “LOZ,” by the way, I am a huge fan of “LOZ,” saying that he doesn’t want to end his career just making the “LOZ” endlessly. When I read the interview, I realized that I am not the only one with that kind of worry….

Aonuma:
(laughs)

Fujisawa:
That interview was really impressive and it became the chance for me to move on. There were other things to consider; however, eventually, I left “DQ” to make creations of my own.

Then, I realized that Mr. Aonuma was still involved in “LOZ” while I have moved on to find my own way. As a creator, I really wanted to ask Mr. Aonuma what drives him to keep on making the “LOZ.” Coincidentally, Den-Fami has asked me to interview you so I decided to do it to ask you that question.

‘Agony’ for being the inheritor of “Genius”

Aonuma:
Thank you for being honest.  But, actually, I told Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto[*] that I didn’t want to be the director anymore.

This thought sprung up right after “LOZ:TWW” was finished and we were in Europe for its promotion; I was tired of the heavy workload, and I was not comfortable conducting promotional interviews with Mr. Miyamoto.

Mr. Miyamoto points out every mistake that I made in front of the reporters!

*Shigeru Miyamoto
CEO of Nintendo Ltd and the creative fellow. Joined Nintendo in 1977. Started with the arcade game, “Donkey Kong” in 1981, he has been the director and the producer of many Nintendo games such as the “Mario” series and “the Legend of Zelda” series. The most famous man in the gaming world, domestically and internationally.

Fujisawa:
Ah, I know about that, too.(laughs)

Aonuma:
For example, the most frequently asked question from the reporters is about that “Zelda-ness (What makes a game a Zelda game)” It’s a hard question to answer, even for us. Even Mr. Miyamoto is inconsistent with his answers; In one interview he answered, “Zelda games are unique”, and then in another he suggested, “Zelda games demonstrate growth.” I’m like, “which one is it?” (laughs)

―― It is also the theme of today’s interview but we can agree that there is no one single answer that can define that “Zelda-ness.” At first glance, Zelda games appear to have a fixed style, but each series has endless challenges.

Aonuma:
You are right. But in an interview, I must give an answer to every question. So I would talk about that “Zelda-ness” just as Mr. Miyamoto would describe, only to be interrupted by Mr. Miyamoto himself disagreeing with me saying, “No, that’s different,” in front of all the reporters!

Everybody:
(laughs)

――I can vividly picture that whole scene(laughs). I think it is also related to the new game that we are talking about today. The successor of the series is left contemplating and agonizing about that “Zelda-ness (What makes a game a Zelda game)”. It must have been hard for you to provide a clear definition for “DQ.”

Fujisawa:
We spent quite a long time trying to figure out what it meant to “DQ-ness.”

It was around when “DQ” shifted from “7” to “8,” and when 3D was introduced, impacting on the style of the game. But the conclusion is that there is no perfect answer to that question. Even if we made up an answer, we could only talk about how the players who played in the previous series reacted to the new game.

Aonuma:
That’s what I mean! People in the field love the expression “that’s so Zelda (Zelda-ness),” but I think the answer to that question is about the past reaction of the players.

Fujisawa:
I agree. What really matters is that the players accept the new game and participate in “making it a DQ game.” It is hard to put your finger on “what makes a game a DQ game”, but at the same time, you can just tell right away when you see the game. So, if you ask me whether I was obsessed with something during the production, I can tell you that I made sure that there was no useless information in the screen when you played the game. But that’s the most I ask of the team. If I let my obsession go further, I’d cause a commotion among the staff members.

Aonuma:
I think so, too. I have people ask me, “Mr. Aonuma, please share exactly what it means when people say “that’s so Zelda (Zelda-ness.” I guess it’s easier said than done.

Fujisawa:
I’ve heard about it. There was a time when staff members were making slow progress and asked me, “Mr. Fujisawa, which one do you think is ‘more like a DQ-ness game?’ and I said, “Well, I don’t know……”

――This is something that the director of a long-running series may face.

Aonuma:
But still, hearing Mr. Miyamoto’s comments, I started thinking about the meaning and came up with vague ideas about “what it takes to be Zelda.” Of course, we should not get caught up in Mr. Miyamoto’s comments because it changes depending on time and place, as he said.

Fujisawa:
I think I know what you mean. Same goes for me, I learned a lot as Mr. Horii pointed out my mistakes. Mr. Horii reviews the players’ opinions very attentively, so his explanation on that part was very convincing.

――So Mr. Horii also had many things to point out.

Fujisawa:
Well, I guess so. Further, he would tell me that something is wrong, but wouldn’t tell me what is right or how to fix it. But now, when I think about it as a director’s perspective, there isn’t always a good reason to support why someone doesn’t like something. So now I think I can understand what Mr. Horii must have felt at that time.

Aonuma:
Hmm…I don’t know what to say about that. I think I had been in the same situation, so I can totally relate to your story. I think we share the same experience.

Fujisawa:
Do we? I guess so. (bitter smile).

――I’d like to hear more about your stories, but the article has to be published before the release day of the Nintendo Switch. Since we already played the game, why don’t we talk about the new “LOZ.”

Faster “ball” than Shohei Ohtani. The new “Zelda”

――Well, we played “Breath of the Wild (LOZBOW)” for a bit. It feels like you are throwing the best of Nintendo production as a fast ball. To be honest with you, I’ve never seen a game that throws a fast, straight ball like this one recently.

Aonuma:
Oh, I really like your review. Does it look fast enough?

――I think it is faster than Ohtani[*]. At least 170km/h(laughs).

*Shohei Ohtani…A Japanese baseball player playing for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Nippon Professional Baseball. As a pitcher, he officially recorded the fastest pitch by a Japanese pitcher at 102.5 mph(165 km/h). He also plays as an outfielder and DH. It is said that he will move to Major League Baseball in a few years.

Aonuma:
(laughs)

Fujisawa:
I think you throw a really fast ball at a time when everybody avoids doing so. This is the time when everybody else throws a breaking ball.

In this game of “LOZ,” you can see a wide meadow when you escape from the cave in the beginning.

――Somehow, I felt like the game genre evolved in the right direction for the first time in a long time. As a part of the series, it is a big achievement as the “LOZ” in 3D was evolved for “Ocarina of Time (LOZOOT).

Aonuma:
Thank you for the good review.

This product was made after announcing that we would fix the cliche in the “LOZ” and with the encouragement from Mr. Satoru Iwata[*] before he passed away. But still, it was hard to find the right answer for the problem. We questioned everything we saw and spent days undergoing trial and error. Well, you can’t tell what works and what doesn’t until you try it. So we had a situation that was a repeat of “Why don’t we try a system that recovers a heart as time goes by. It’s the trend!” “Well, it doesn’t work. I knew it.”

*Mr. Satoru Iwata
The former CEO of Nintendo Ltd. Deceased. Appointed as the CEO of Nintendo in 2002 at the age of 42. Released a lot of software as well as hardware, such as Nintendo DS, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, etc. Suddenly passed away in 2015 while the Nintendo Switch was being developed.

――Did you try out that kind of FPS[*] as well?

*FPS
Abbreviation for First Person Shooting (FPS). A shooting game in the genre characterized by a three-dimensional view from the player’s perspective. Only parts of the character’s hands and feet are shown on the screen.

Aonuma:
Yes. To be honest, it is hard to say that we aimed for the fast ball thrown straight to the character from the beginning.

We think about what would work every day and the engineer plays the game without losing his composure and checks out the fun point of the game. Looking back, I think it could be an anachronism, but I think it was the best way to show our appreciation for being given four years of development time, if you calculate from the announcement of production.

――So the answer in the presentation that you gave to Mr. Iwata will be released to the people who play the Nintendo Switch the day after this article is published.

Fujisawa:
I can’t wait to see it.

――First, I would like to ask you about the details. The significance of this game is that it challenges the “Open World”[*]. First, I must tell you I was surprised by the quality. I think this is the point of evolution that should be called the “fast ball hitting the center”.

*Open World
A game or game concept where a player explores and challenges freely in a vast world. The “Elder Scrolls” and “Grand Theft Auto” series are the most popular ones. It’s popular gameplay style in Western titles, but there are only few development Open World titles in Japan. Only a few titles, such as “Metal Gear Solid V,” made a big hit internationally.

Fujisawa:
I was surprised that it blended the elements of “Sand Box”[*] into it while presenting an outstanding quality. When we were playing it before this interview, I could see that we could burn the grass so quickly by putting the burning torch on the grass. The fire spread so quickly with the blowing winds. I was thinking, ”Wow, how big is the fire going to get?”

*Sand Box
Literally, it means “Sand Box.” The player manipulates the elements in the game as he wishes (up to certain level). The most popular one is “Minecraft”.

Aonuma:
Yes, the fire will keep spreading. (laughs).

After finding out that torches could burn grass, TAITAI, the editor of Den-Fami nico gamer, kept setting fire everywhere excitedly.

――Even in the North America version of “Open World game”, we had never seen a game that allowed players to set fire on a meadow by putting a torch on the grass(laughs). Rather, while playing “LOZ,” we realized that the “Open World” that we knew was not really free.Even in the North America version of “Open World game”, we had never seen a game that allowed players to set fire on a meadow by putting a torch on the grass(laughs). Rather, while playing “LOZ,” we realized that the “Open World” that we knew was not really free.

*Footnote from the Editorial Dept.:
There are foreign games that adopted the element of setting a fire to meadows, such as the “Far Cry” series.

Aonuma:
Nintendo named this style of “LOZ” “Open Air”[*], but we are going to use the general name of “Open World”. Anyways, it is nice to hear good reviews on the game.

*Open Air……Since the new “LOZ” game takes place in a vast world, we named the hand-painted of style and the music “Open Air”. From the game genre point, it defines a concept that has a wider meaning than the existing Open World. “This style allows [us] to have two elements: realistic touch and an easy way to find things in the vast world. This style is also known to be the specialty style of a designer, such as myself.(laughs)”(Mr. Aonuma)

Actually, we made it possible to attack the obstacles with many methods in this product. In the existing “LOZ,” if the player clears the stage by going up to the wall or the foot of a mountain without solving the puzzle, then it becomes a bug. Of course, there were no stage that the player could go through without solving the puzzle in the existing “LOZ” and [any such instances were] eliminated in the debugging stage.

However, we decided that “we need[ed] no puzzles for this LOZ.” So it is okay that the player clears the stage by just climbing up the wall or the foot of the mountain.

――Wow, isn’t it demolishing the whole image of the “LOZ”? (laughs). So now you can solve the puzzle through many different routes.
 
Aonuma:
Yes, if there are 100 players, there are 100 ways to play the game.
But I’m sure the LOZ fans have tried to climb up the mountain without solving the puzzle. It is exciting to find out that something you have only imagined actually works. It could feel like cheating, but it is a fun situation for the player.

Fujisawa:
I know what you mean. Mr. Horii says that we should allow the players to cheat from time to time. It’s true that when Mr. Horii found out about the “cheating” using the lotto in “DQ2”, he didn’t fix it on purpose.

Aonuma:
I guess this product fulfills the player’s desire to cheat. However, you could say we didn’t give up on showing what was behind the mountain to the players. Until now, “LOZ” has tried to show the enormousness of the world by putting a scene where the player comes down from the wide open sky or by hiding the gaps between various places. It was all we could do at that time, but it was still a “lie.”

So, this time we really decided to make a big world and we did. Now, the player can decide, “I’m going to take this route in this vast world!” And when it really happens, they can say, “Yay, I did it!” That’s what I like about this game.

The Manual for Physics Engine that shocked Havok

――Hmm, I want to ask this question after hearing what you have had to say. Was there any problem with having the “frequent” bug problem in the Open World?

Aonuma:
Well, the staff members had to adjust it, but it was so amazing. We finished it without any major problem.

For example, usually, the player cannot stop if he is climbing up the mountain from the bottom. But the lay of the land was that the player could stop using resistance force if he is coming down from the top. Also, it allowed the player to recover the “stamina gauge.” There were a number of land spots spread out in the game. So we were discussing whether we should get rid of safety zones in the middle of the mountain.

In this game, the player can use up the “stamina gauge.” With these elements, all the different types of activities executed on the vast map give the game its characteristics at once.

In “LOZ,” there was a gimmick that only the players knew, which made them proud of themselves for being the LOZ player. I think the density of the gimmick is pretty high in the new game. If you try, I think there are many elements that you can find easily.

――That’s exactly what we want from the Open World, but at the same time, we don’t get to experience it that much.

Fujisawa:
Actually, most of the Open World games were said to be “free,” but only in talks. This product, “Breath of the Wild (LOZBOW)”, is made to embrace the player’s action as much as possible.

――Regarding that aspect, I’m sorry to use technical terms, but it was the first time to witness a game with such a high delicacy in terms of using a Physics Engine[*]. I imagine the players who play foreign games may know about it. There are some rough moves in a game that uses Physics Engine and you can tell that the game is foreign-made.

*Physics Engine
A type of middleware that is used as a tool to calculate the physicals, including weight, speed, etc. Physics engine makes up a big part of the 3D game world in the new millennium. There are physics engines like Havok, and Bullet, with the specialty of PhysX open source processing.

Fujisawa:
You can tell that the use of a Physics Engine is very limited, even in the foreign games. It’s like it just falls apart when there are any impacts. But you would not get that kind of rough feeling at all from this “LOZ.”

――This cannot be a Physics Engine that is independently developed solely by Nintendo. Is it?

Aonuma:
No. As we said in the production presentation, it is Havok[*].

*Havok
A middleware software developed by an Irish software firm (currently, merged with Microsoft). It detects and calculates objects’ movement and offers physical simulation; For example, a free-fall motion or being blown off by an explosion, or joint movements. At times, it offers strange gestures called “God Havok” that makes the headlines.

Everybody:
What?!

Fujisawa:
Hmm. To be honest, you can tell whether a game employed Havok or not. But with this game, you can’t really tell. I don’t think that many players could tell, even though they play the game.

――That’s amazing. For the readers, I want to add that Havok is a widely-provided Physics Engine, but it still surprises many Japanese users with unexpected moves. To be extreme, the characters fly up into the sky. (laughs). Users of niconico, run by Dwango, the parent company of den-fami, calls them [god havok].

Aonuma:
Actually, we could achieve it because we were able to build a solid and reliable relationship with the engineers and the staff members at Havok. It is the result that we achieve because we adjusted it thoroughly after going through a number of discussions and meetings with the engineers in the workplace. Even the members of Havok were surprised and were saying, “We can do this with Havok?”

――So what you mean is that you could control the algorithm of the Physics Engine more precisely?

Aonuma:
No. Actually, we did not believe the Physics Engine in the process of making the puzzle for “LOZ.”

What we found out is that no matter how good the Physics Engine was, you couldn’t make a puzzle that kept filing up like you do in this “LOZ,” if you are obsessed with Physics Engine. In order to make a “LOZ” puzzle, you need to control the Physics Engine, instead of letting it control things.

――In other words, in order to realize the world of “LOZ,” we examined thoroughly the laws of physics. The details of the one phenomenon leading on to the next were superb. In other “Sand Box type” games, it is hard to make moves that are as sophisticated as this.

Aonuma:
Regarding that part, I think it made the difference because we made this product in 2D and went through a simulation before developing the game in 3D.

Fujisawa:
I think this is very interesting.

Actually, a 2D game was made first.

Aonuma:
At first, the lead engineer suggested that we should try a simulation in 2D by applying the laws of physics, in order to organize the laws of physics in general.

――That’s a new suggestion that others never think of. (laughs)

Aonuma:
At that time, I was confused as to what he meant(laughs). But after coming through with it, I agreed that it was a good decision. In a 2D setting, we set a fire, the fire gets spread by wind, and the player burns down the object that he intended to burn down. These activities can be achieved by changing character frames of a 2D game.

――In other words, it was the same as making a prototype by using the method that was used to make a horror game with RPG Maker, which is popular online among the students. (laughs) However, for the ideas like “Pythagoras Switch”, it would be easier to make a small model in two dimensions.

Aonuma:
Actually, it was really easy to picture it in my head. First, cut off trees, set them afloat in the river, and make a bridge. The development of idea was so natural in 2D. I thought to myself, “Wow, it is so easy to make in my head.”

While doing such work, you can see the whole picture of the game, even vaguely. So then, you start to think about how to make this 2D game as the 3D game.

――It’s really interesting. I’ve never heard of anything so new in terms of developing a game.

Fujisawa:
For that prototype, did you try to make it unnoticeable to others?

Aonuma:
No, the staff members of Nintendo had about a month to study it together. It was open to everybody involved. As a result, we simulated all the basic parts in a 2D game.

After that, we went to Mr. Miyamoto to give a presentation about the game. We were certain that a game like this has never existed before, and our hearts raced.

*”Breath of the Wild (LOZBOW)”2D prototype released at “GDC2017”

――So you say, “the next LOZ is the Open World” and show off the 2D game prototype(laughs). Mr. Miyamoto must have been surprised to see that.

Aonuma:
Well, not really. Mr. Miyamoto knew what our intention was as soon as he saw the product.

After our presentation, Mr. Miyamoto said, “So in the existing LOZ, the world had impacts on the object when the object was placed on the map, but this time, the object will have an impact on the world, right?”

After what hearing his comments, we realized that was what it was. And it was the truth. So when an object was placed in the vast world, the objects had impact on each other and cause various chain reactions. That was the key point of this LOZ. Mr. Miyamoto said, “Okay, I understand. So putting an object in the world has many meanings.” Then he just signed the papers.

――Hmm. It’s amazing how quickly Mr. Miyamoto understands things. He instantly understood the dramatic changes in LOZ, which was as big as the change of geocentric theory to heliocentric theory.

Aonuma:
“If this works, that will work, too.” This is the fun part that LOZ has cherished from the beginning. It all started when I started working on “LOZ” because I was appointed as a dungeon director for “the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (LOZOOT), the very first 3D game. At the time, I was working on the “Water Temple”[*], adjusting it in the final stage. Out of the blue, Mr. Miyamoto approached me and said enigmatically, “When you slash a signboard vertically, it cuts vertically; but wouldn’t it be a surprise if you slashed a signboard horizontally and it cut horizontally?”

*Water Temple
Dungeon in “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (LOZOOT)”. The player can get in from the lake in the field. It faces the grand plaza and is largely divided into three floors. The water level inside the dungeon is controlled by a switch. The player can get around using an item that doesn’t float above the water. The most complicated gimmick among the series was designed by Mr. Aonuma.

Fujisawa:
Actually, I was surprised too, when I sliced the signboard. I was surprised that we could actually do that.

――That gimmick was the one introduced in “CEO Asks”. It’s everywhere now, but it was such an advanced expression to use in 1998.

Aonuma:
Well, at that time, I thought, “What the heck is he saying? I’m so busy!” (laughs).

“I’m dying here to make a 3D dungeon, and now you want me to make a signboard when I’m almost done with it?” So I thought it had nothing to do with me and I didn’t know what it was. Then, I just focused on making the dungeon (laughs).

Then, I realized that the signboard was being cut diagonally, not horizontally. And then, the cut-off signboard was floating on the water.

Fujisawa:
It even floated on the water. (laughs)

Aonuma:
Here, I’m working my butt off to design the dungeon, and Mr. Miyamoto is like, “Isn’t it so cool or what?” with a smile on his face.

Fujisawa:
I know what it feels like. (laughs).

――Mr. Horii is like that, too. (laughs).

Aonuma:
But when I look back, that is the kind of thing that makes you feel that you are actually experiencing the world of Zelda.

After going through that, the player gets to think, “well, if I can do this, maybe I can do that, too.” And the player starts to think out of the box. After that, Mr. Miyamoto also gave me ideas such as a “time block” that reacts when the player plays the ocarina. I screamed, “I didn’t put that gimmick in the dungeon design!” But that become the most popular gimmick for that game.

Once you find out that you can create things, you want to create more things. The player who experiences such gimmick gets so absorbed in the world of Zelda that it is impossible to leave it. Symbolized by the signboard, LOZBOTW embraces Mr. Miyamoto’s ideas like no other 3D Zelda has done before.

――After listening to your comments, I can understand why they say this product “fixes the naturalness of existing Zeldas” and “returns back to the starting point with Zelda.” It returns to the essence of Zelda after 3D.”

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