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Aonuma says he kept Wind Waker’s style hidden from Miyamoto

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With the newly remastered Wind Waker HD headed our way on October 4th, there’s been a lot of interest in talking to series producer Eiji Aonuma about the development of the original series. In a recent interview with MTV Multiplayer, Aonuma says he kept the art style hidden from creator Shigeru Miyamoto for as long as possible since the art style was such a drastic change from what the series had previously looked like.

“When we were first working on the toon shaded Link, and that graphic representation of the Hyrule world, because it was such a drastic change, we actually kept it a secret from Mr. Miyamoto in the beginning. We had actually recently shown an example of what the next Zelda might look like, based on the ‘Ocarina of Time’ graphic style, and because this direction was so different, we knew that Mr. Miyamoto wouldn’t approve it as it.

So, I worked with my team to at least get it to a point where a battle sequence between Link and a Moblin would actually work in this world, and then that was the first time that we brought it to Mr. Miyamoto. That was only time we felt comfortable bringing it to Mr. Miyamoto.

“It’s not as though we were consciously keeping it a secret, but when Mr. Miyamoto would say, ‘Hey, you got anything to show me?’ I would kind of just push him off, and buy time as much as I could. But, at the same time, I think Mr. Miyamoto also understood that we were working on creating something, and just weren’t ready to show it to him yet. Honestly, I don’t know how well we kept it a secret anyway.”

It’s interesting to see that the development of Wind Waker was such that even Aonuma’s team felt like it wouldn’t be well received by the series’ own creator. For many people, the cel-shaded graphics are often cited as the reason they didn’t play the game, because it diverged so much from the series as a whole. Did you play Wind Waker when it was a Gamecube title? How do you feel about the cel-shaded graphics? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Magnus Eriksson

    No, never played it on GCN. But Ive seen it on LetsPlay. I think it looked great on GCN, kind of timeless style. But it looks to me like they kept that part and improved upon it. Im looking forward to get this in October. Will maybe take some days off only to sink into this world.

  • Austin Troth

    I hope I’m never the type of gamer who skips out on one of the best games of a console generation because I dislike the art style

  • Miguel Angel Barrueta Hernánde

    ITS A SECRET TO EVERYBODY! (EVEN MIYAMOTO)

  • Toadlord

    My girlfriend and I bought the gamecube version just a few weeks before WWHD was announced, and we both thought the art style held up extremely well. I was confused at first why they decided to remake the game, but it really is a good entry-level Zelda game. It’s possible that the Wii U Zelda game being made might have even more fans because of this remake.

  • http://nintendopapercraftvideos.wordpress.com/ Sam

    You don’t say…
    Psstt! It’s a secret to everybody.

  • http://about.me/overlordror Ashley King

    I never played it on GameCube because I didn’t own one, but the cel-shaded art style wouldn’t put me off of playing it. I can see why Aonuma felt like he had to keep it a secret from Miyamoto though, as the series is one of his babies.

    • BIG Franky

      yes….i agree, i cant imagine anyone not playing it because of how it looked…..if you’re a Zelda fan, then you like Zelda games. period.
      but 100% can understand why Aonuma handled it the way he did…. it was a departure at the very least…

      • rp17

        I don’t generally like Zelda games but I sort of want to play WWHD just for how it looks.

    • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

      yeah.. I can’t imagine the stress on Aonuma to do something like this with miyamoto’s “child” and hope he likes it. That’s like playing a song cover in front of the original artist with a completely different genre of music in mind. You may think it sounds great, but the intimidation is mind boggling

    • YogiGRB

      Loved it on the gamecube, sure you will enjoy it if you’re gonna pick this one up. Bought the DS versions (follow ups) after that because it has such a nice story also

    • Christopher Acuna

      Never played it on the Gamecube!??? Why are you here then!!!!??? lol

    • jay

      It’s strange seeing all this positivity around the game in 2013.

      When the game was revealed it received so much hate from xbox/ps2 fans calling it “kiddie”, this was after the Space World demo. I remember even Zelda fans refusing to play Wind Waker. It was a mess. You couldn’t walk into a game store without hearing a new gripe about the “kiddie” WW art style.

      Many Nintendo fans threatened to abandon Nintendo if the next Zelda had the same art style. So the “Wind Waker 2″ ended development and re-emerged as Twilight Princess.

      • Kriffix

        True, but in the past 10 years Western audiences are getting used to things that look “toony” not necessarily being restricted to kids. A lot has changed in the minds of Westerners I think. Well, still not in people who only play FPS which rely heavily on detailed, realistic graphics as a means to differentiate it from the last instalment.

        • Mc Robins

          XIII, fantastic game, cel shaded

          • readypembroke

            i just got that game 3 months ago never played it!!

    • Agent721

      Yeah, it was hated at first…I was in the minority at the time, as I always loved the art style. I’m glad it’s stood the test of time! This is one of my top 5 games of all time. It’s a stunning visual piece of ART.

      • Madmagican

        Yeah, I guess I’m also in that minority too; the second I saw the cel-shaded graphics I was taken aback and instantly fell in love with the art style

    • Arthur Jarret

      In that case you missed out on A LOT of amazing nintendo titles.

      They’re in used stores and pawnshops for like… 15 bucks! Get one!
      If you do, at least get the following games for it:

      Animal crossing (the first included free NES games!)
      Batallion wars
      Chibi-Robo!
      Donkey konga
      Donkey kong jungle beat
      Eternal darkness
      F-zero GX
      Final fantasy chrystal chronicles
      Fire emblem: Path of Radiance
      Geist
      Ikaruga
      Killer 7
      Kirby air ride
      Legend of zelda: four swords adventures
      Luigi’s mansion
      Metal gear solid: the twin snakes (remake of MGS1)
      Odama
      Paper mario the thousand year door
      Pikmin 1 and 2
      Resident evil (the gamecube remake still looks great)
      SSX on tour – the gamecube version included mario, luigi and peach!
      Soulcalibur 2, with link
      Smash bros brawl, of course
      Mario sunshine
      Dinosau… erm, Star fox adventures – the last Rare/Nintendo game
      Star wars rogue leader
      Tales of symphonia
      1080 avalanche
      Warioware inc.
      Waverace bluestorm

      I actually own every exclusive (even timed ones) that ever appeared on gamecube and girl… you’ve missed out!

      • The Clockwork Being

        Geist that game is dying for a sequel.

        • Arthur Jarret

          I know, right? The whole possession part could make some excellent, unique uses of the gamepad – and if they handled the shooting mechanics right, it could be Nintendo’s Halo+Killzone killer.

          I just loved that game… enemy throws a grenade… hop out of your body, possess the grenade, roll it back to them. I had so much fun simply messing around with it!

          • The Clockwork Being

            It would be awesome. Plus the possession could be expended upon. You know more possession of almost everything. Not only would that be a Halo+Killzone but it could also have Watch Dog elements too in terms of having the world at your disposal.*Sign* sometimes I think some of us here should just start a a company like Retro and work with Nintendo to revive some of their IPs

          • Arthur Jarret

            Great idea. I have some experience in 3D modelling and concept art – as well as some knowledge in writing screenplays (for theatre).

            My major achilles heel is programming (only know basic Java) and animation.

            It could actually be fun trying to create an e-shop game together using the wiiUdaily site as a development center – even if we cannot use Nintendo IPs

        • RyuNoHadouken

          yes!!

        • companyoflosers

          it had a sequel on the 3ds. phantom hourglass was its name. it seems though that there was enough controversy ovr the art style they went in the complete opposite direction with twilight princess. that had controversy as well so they mixed the two in skyward sword. that game was so lazy i REALLY want the next one to come out to get the bad taste it left in my mouth out plus i want to see what they can do with zelda in HD. honestly i think they may ave done more harm then good deviating the art style in the first place. if wind waker had never gone cel-shaded, zelda fans would not be so split and the game’s main focus would be gameplay and not which graphics will please the fans most. i personally LOVE how the wii u zelda tech demo looked and want it to go in that direction but thats because i believe that is where it would have naturally gone if it stayed along the same art style’s path.

          • Arthur Jarret

            Geist is dying for a sequel… not zelda, we all know about the zelda games (and by the way, the first sequel using the same style wasn’t phantom hourglass, but minish cap)

          • companyoflosers

            im speaking chronologically. yes minish cap used the same art style but phantom hourglass used the same link and tetra/zelda in addition to the art style. typically you dont call something a sequel when its events precede that of a game that came out before that, you call it a prequel so minish cap is a prequel to wind waker. as for geist, idk what that is but good luck with that.

          • Arthur Jarret

            Geist was a very original first person shooter – where you played as a ghost. You had to possess certain objects to scare people, so you could then take over their bodies.

            Then you shot everyone, but if a guy was at a corner, you could also leave your body – possess the wooden structure above him and make it collapse.

            It was a very nice concept and I loved playing it – although the controls and environments were outdated compared to big hits at the time – like halo.

          • companyoflosers

            lol no wonder i never heard of it. it was overshadowed by halo. that and nintendo wasnt exactly known for brilliant shooters so it not the first place you would look for one. it sounds cool though.

          • Arthur Jarret

            It was! If you still have a gamecube or backwards compatible wii, I definitely recommend checking it out.

            It’s very underrated too, so despite being uncommon – it can be found for just a few bucks in most places that still sell used gamecube titles.

          • The Clockwork Being

            But how can Geist become a Zelda game. JK. Im talking about Geist.

      • Andrew Chambers

        Ah, Battalion Wars. That game would be so much better on the Wii U.

        I just hope that if they make one it’ll be a twin stick shooter vs lock cam.

        • Arthur Jarret

          I also loved the wii one…

          If one game had the potential to showcase the online capabilities of nintendo, it would be batallion wars – on the wii U it would be a perfect fusion between command & conquer and battlefield.

          They should make it – and push it for inclusion in e-game tournaments as a marketing effort.

      • DarkK

        Brawl is not for the Gamecube.

        • Arthur Jarret

          You’re right – I got confused: I meant Melee!

          I knew I should’ve just ran past my gamewall instead of listing them all by memory…

      • Lusunup

        super smash bros brawl was never released on the gamecube….

        • Arthur Jarret

          Good eye – I meant Melee!

    • Mc Robins

      Ive been hooked on Cel shading since Jet grind radio. It allows you to do SO much with limited hardware. I try to play every cel shaded game just for the art style that can come from it.

    • Sol Ridgeway

      I never played Wind Waker and the only reason was the art-style. There was something about it that left me uninterested. My favorite game to that point was LoZ: OoT (all games, not just LoZ series). I also haven’t made it threw a few hours of LoZ: TP, because of the art style, and I have tried playing the game 3 different times. BTW – My favorite game as of today is LoZ: SS (again all games).

    • http://www.gamesobscura.com/ themizarkshow

      The art styles was one of the big reasons I was excited to play WindWaker. I loved Majora’s Mask a lot more than OoT… so seeing them continue to experiment again (both in visual style and the water rather than land travel) got me insanely stoked to play it.

  • CEObrainz

    I think the art style helped to capture the essence of Zelda games being part of an series of legends so to speak.

  • Daniel Gonzalez

    • Magnus Eriksson

      9 downvotes. Well those are kind the same as upvotes. :)

      • Daniel Gonzalez

        I just see the downvotes as those with no sense of humor or didn’t get it. :P

    • howling_wolf1334:[

      Hahaha!!! This is the one!!!

  • Wayne Beck

    I actually hated this game the first time I played through it. The sole reason being that the cell shading was so much of a distraction, I couldn’t enjoy myself while I played. To date I still don’t think cell shading looks good. But, and only because it’s a Zelda game, I gave The Wind Waker a second chance. The actual gameplay and story really do make up for the art style. Thanks to what I now recognize as one of the best Zelda games I can now happily play through incredible games like Boarderlands without being so annoyed I have to quit.

  • https://twitter.com/Onyzora Ony

    Back then, the ONLY thing that was important was: IT’S A F^pùNG ZELDA. Never in my childhood I said “meh, X game sux because graphics are lame”. Never. Since when that shit rule the industry now? @_@

    I enjoyed that damn Zelda as it was (and still is, and will newly become): AN AWESOME GAME.

    • YogiGRB

      Yes it is an awesome game. I was already in my early 20`s and working when it came out, but still loved the style hahaha. A day one buy @ that time, and also this time again (now in HD woehoo)

  • skyloft87

    I didn’t mind the art style. I played it on the GC and thought it was great. I think the Art style made the game really, water visuals were nothing great back then, and this helped I think.

  • Vinicius

    I played it on Gamecube, and to be honest before I begin to play I thought that Link had came from a PowerPuff Girls cartoon! But seriously, the game is amazing.

  • Big-B

    It amazes me how much the people at Nintendo care about their games. This guy was willing to put alot at stake solely for the purpose of making a better game. Good Stuff.

    • NintendoNoob

      I wonder what was Miyamotos reaction…
      Aonuma: Here Mr.Miyamoto… Look at our Wind Waker for the GameCube
      Miyamoto: :O
      What is this? WHAT!? I THOUGHT WE WERE AGREEING WITH THE OCARINA OF TIME ART STYLE! D:<
      Aonuma: My apologies, Mr.Miyamoto. It was for the games own sake…. *tear*

  • BIG Franky

    i played it as a gamecube title and to this day it is one of my personal favorite games and a game i personally think is one of the best ever created…… in fairness though, i was of the opinion (at first) that it looked silly when i first saw pics of it. but even then, i never would’ve considered not buying the game though…. to think that there were people that refused to play it based on its presentation to me is just silly.
    shortly after playing through WW on gamecube i was unfortunately forced to sell my gamecube and all of my games, so i literally havent played this game in 10 years. cant wait to pick it up….

  • mojack411

    I didn’t mind the cel-shaded graphics at all and still don’t see why they would be off putting to anyone. HOWEVER, I did play the game for the first time when I was like 8 years old and it was my first Zelda game ever. I didn’t really have anything to compare it too. All I know is that I loved the game then and I love the game now. To miss out on such a fantastic experience just because of the art style is a real shame.

  • Jack5221

    Ya know? I’ve always wondered what Miyamoto is like when he’s mad. He always has a huge smile in every picture / video I’ve seen of him.

    • http://www.linux-guides.com/ Je Saist

      He flips tables.

      • Pikachief

        Like Jesus! He always looks sad in pictures but He cracked whips and flipped tables when He was angry! I imagine Miyamoto having a similar experience :p

  • http://www.linux-guides.com/ Je Saist

    Oh, I played it. I thought that Wind Waker had some of the best dungeon design in a Zelda game to date; but the overworld left a lot to be desired. Back then GNiE still had a functioning forum and I already guessed that the disc streaming speed was a factor for the slow overworld exploration; largely based on similar open-world games from the Playstation 2 also running into streaming limitations (Jak II).

    As far as the style… well… I like games that focus on actually having an art style rather than just how many polygons they can pack into any single model. So I wasn’t ever put off by Wind Waker’s art shift.

  • only god can judge me

    In all honesty I will pass on playing windwaker this time around being that I already played it previously on the gamecube however I will be buying the windwaker deluxe bundle on sep 20 and hopefully they will have enough games to keep me occupied until the zelda u comes out.

    • https://www.facebook.com/BlueLightningTechnicalServices Bob Wilkerson

      Well the game comes with that bundle so I hope you plan at least on downloading it. Then I am sure you will have the urge to play it again.

      • only god can judge me

        Yea you are absolutely right guess I just was being a lil stubborn because I can’t wait to play the official wii u zelda I heard windwaker digital takes some good memory to download.

        • https://www.facebook.com/BlueLightningTechnicalServices Bob Wilkerson

          About 2GB from what I read.

        • Elem187

          Its pittance amount of space. less than 2gb… You heard wrong.

  • http://www.mpt-online.eu/ Sylux

    I played it on the GC and I really hated the artstyle at the time the only thing that kept me going was the story but before that I bought the game player it a few hours and considered selling it again even, so much I hated it after 4-5 months I picked it up again and finished it the story is great and the music is perfect.
    Yet I won’t play the HD remake on wiiU and won’t get it either there hasn’t been enough changes for me to justify it. If you didn’t play it I say get it.

  • TCar

    Played it, beat it, loved it and still have it!

  • Nintendo4life

    I did own it when it came out and loved it and beat it and now with it’s return i am very happy to play it again

  • https://www.facebook.com/BlueLightningTechnicalServices Bob Wilkerson

    I know many that were turned off from Wind Waker when it was originally released because of the graphics/art style. I have never really judged a game by it’s graphics but have to admit pretty visuals will often get me intrigued enough to look into the game more. I have purchased, played and completed every Legend of Zelda game for consoles because I am a fan of the series. The only one I have to complete is Skyward Sword which I have been slacking on completing. I just don’t have the time to game like I did when I was younger and Zelda games are the type I can get immersed into for many hours.

  • Kriffix

    As a creator myself (though not games) I see why Aonuma did this. Sometimes how something looks isn’t enough to sell an idea or get across it’s essence, if you show it too soon then people get it wrong. Once they’ve decided something it’s hard to make them change their mind. Hence Aonuma needed to show it in motion at its best in order for Miyamoto to ‘get it’.

  • old_skool

    In my opinion, Wind Waker had, and still has the most stunning art style of any video game ever made.

    • Daniel Gonzalez

      I would say one of the most the way I see it. Nonetheless, it has a unique art style that stands out.

  • howling_wolf1334:[

    Really??? Dont f***ing s#!tting me!!! Hahaha!!!

    • howling_wolf1334:[

      & I really love this game and its design, graphics, songs…. Sigh…

  • Negatron99

    Twilight Princess was my first Zelda ever. But I came to Wind Waker and the style and visuals, the music. As an on-off fan of Anime it just sung to me and I was in love in seconds, especially when Link started looking at things with his massive eyes. So I really can’t understand why people use the graphics as an excuse, because when you play it the story itself is awesome, and the graphics mean nothing. And tbh, I think in comparison, the GC OOT graphics pale in comparison.

  • yugatsuj

    I bought the game day one… i have the special holographic case that walmart was promoting

  • discuss

    I think the art-style is great.

  • Mark

    Cel-shading is cool in my opinion. Jet Set Radio and Windwaker are two of the best cel-shaded games.

  • sdmac200600

    Sneaky Sneaky Eiji

  • The Clockwork Being

    Eiji made freakin Majora’s Mask in a year when Miyamoto challenged him to do it or else they would be doing an expansion pack of Ocarina of Time. He managed to create my favorite 3D Zelda game. And now he hides WW to Miyamoto in hopes of him liking it. Damn Eiji loves to take risks.

  • Merrfn

    The Wind Waker hype train is almost at it’s final stop… then everybody will hop on the Wind Waker gameplay train…

  • David Horowitz

    I like them. It’s unique.

  • CaesarGood

    My opinion and the reason I usually turned the other cheek when I saw this was the childish cartoon look of it. The real feel of Zelda was lost, after playing Majora Mask and Ocarina. I’m sittin here like wtf is this? It’s beautiful artistically but just a bit too colorful for me. All that aside it probably is a good game, just not on the level of Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. I wish Nintendo would give a demo for this game, so I can see if I really like it or not.

    • Nothing5555

      IMO, Wind Walker seemed more polished than Twilight Princess. One thing which stood out in Wind Walker were the expressions Link would give during his interactions with other characters.

      • CaesarGood

        So, what u are telling me is that the expressions link gave in Wind Walker during interactions, stand out more than anything that was in Twilight Princess? How could this be a more polished? I want to know where your opinion is coming from…

        • Nothing5555

          Well the dungeons in WW seem to flow better than TP as did the overall story of the game. Also, now this could be due to the version I am playing (TP on the Wii), the combat controls are better in WW than using the motion control on the Wii. As for the “feel” of it, my first Zelda game was the original Zelda on the NES and WW does capture that feeling of not being too serious and just enjoying the adventure.

          In any case if you have a friend that owned WW I suggest giving it a try.

  • http://www.w-o-n.org/ GoldDreams

    I loved the celshading and the living cartoon feel it gave to the gave. Wind Waker is my 2nd favorite Zelda game of all time.

  • felony211662

    I admit was skeptical of the cel shading at first, but I’m a die hard Zelda fan so I did pick it up for my game cube and I was so glad I did. Only nintendo can make me say that’s ridiculous one minute and that’s genius the next

  • Jonathan George Anaya

    I never played Skyward Sword because of the cel-shaded graphics. Wind Waker came out when I was 19; I was a little more tolerable of the cartoon style. But, I steered clear of the Wii Zelda after playing an instore demo. The Wiimote and Graphics combined into a perfect storm of cruddiness. Maybe that’s why it sold so poorly?

  • Leo

    I hated at first. I couldn’t believe what they were doing. But as soon as i experienced the game on my hands i knew they did the unthinkable and created a timeless masterpiece. 10 years later and i can’t wait to play it again in its remastered HD version.

  • Donaald

    I loved the feel cell-shaded gave to this back in 2003, I think It represented a better narrative of the whole sea overworld, I was thankful they didn’t use the OOT because that seemed to fit better in a more Tolkien-esque adventure.

  • WhataShame

    I try to pretend that people aren’t ridiculous enough to pass on playing a great game simply because of it’s visual style or the complexity of it’s graphics… I try, but then I’m always reminded that these silly people actually do exist.

  • Eric

    The graphical style always sat well with me. When I first saw it, I thought it looked like A Link to the Past in 3D, and was blown away. It’s still a gorgeous game today!

    There’s actually an article or something floating around somewhere about what a technical marvel the game was when it first came out.

  • Ryan House

    I own and Love THE WIND WAKER on Gamecube. When I seen the first Trailer at E3 I was really pissed off. I didn’t like it but I still bought it and once I played it I loved it. it became my favorite Zelda to date. Then we were all suprised they were working on an Realistic Zelda game as well. Twilight Princess is right up there with The wind Waker for Me

  • Saul Strange

    I bought it when it first came out, but I wasn’t a fan of the graphical style and it did put me off a little. I’m still not that keen on it, to be honest. The graphical style combined with the monotonous sailing (thank God for that teleport tune!) make it my least favourite main cannon Zelda – Zelda II aside. But it’s still great, just personal taste I guess.