Twilight Princess Mech
Written by: Sage Raziel
Alas, one great epic to another the Zelda series has always been there. Providing it's loyal fans with quality gaming, and generally providing the “jump” Nintendo needs to launch a new gaming system. Well, if you thought the story was gonna change here you were wrong. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was a huge step forward in the gaming world. It was the thirteenth Zelda game to be released in the series, and was only released for the Nintendo GameCube, and the Nintendo Wii. Here is the story behind the genus creation of this wonderful addition to the Zelda world.
In fall of 2003, Nintendo proudly announced that a new Zelda game was currently in development for the GameCube. The same team that worked on the unique cel-shaded game, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, was working on this new project. A presentation was constructed by director of the new game, Eiji Aonuma in which he referred to the mystery game as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker 2, and revealed it was the direct sequel to The Wind Waker. Not only that, but this game supported the same cel-shading seen in The Wind Waker.
Game development was just over eleven months into progress when Nintendo of America told Eiji Aonuma that North Amercan sales of The Wind Waker were sluggish mainly because of the cartoon-like appearance, which suggested that the game was designed for a younger audience. After a lengthy meeting with the Zelda: Wind Waker 2 Crew, Nintendo of North America, Nintendo Central of Japan, and Shigeru Miyamoto, and Eiji Aonuma the decision was made for the game graphics to be switched over to a realistic style. This was an attempt to appeal to the American sales market, and bring back the attention the Zelda series got when The Wind Waker was originally done in realistic graphics.
Instead of coming up with new game play ideas, the creator of the Zelda series (Shigeru Miyamoto) decided to just change the game presentation. He told the director that he should start be doing what couldn't be done in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, particularity horse back combat. In roughly four months Aonuma's team had created the hose back mechanic with a realistic presentation. Miyamoto was pleased and approved a demo copy of the progress to be used by Nintendo. They wasted no time, Nintendo showed the new look with a trailer at E3 in 2004. Along with a trailer the game now had a release date, set for November 2005.
Still under the title The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker 2, the game seemed as if it were quickly closing off any connections it had with it's prequel The Wind Waker. Finally the two games become so different it was impossible to the new Zelda game was a sequel to Wind Waker so the game was renamed to Zelda 128. (Zelda 128 was just a temporary code name while game development continued.) Then it was announced that this new game would not be a sequel to Wind Waker. Next the graphics theme was yet again changed to an even more realistic version. Miyamoto explained in an interview that the new graphics style not only looked much better, but also better fit the theme of an older Link.
Most of the Zelda games in the past used a theme of two seperate, still connected, worlds. In Ocarina of Time the player traveled through two time periods, in A Link to the Past the player traveled between the Light World, and the Dark World. The Zelda crew set out to use this same concept. IT was suggested that Link transform into a wolf, similar to how he turned into a rabbit in the Dark World of A Link to the Past. Feeling that his team could handle things, Eiji Aonuma left the Zelda 128 Crew to direct The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap for the GameBoy Advance. He later returned to find his crew struggling to continue introducing new ideas in the game.
Under closer observation Aonuma saw that the game lacked the innovation found in Phantom Hourglass, which was being created at the same time with a new touch-controlled interface for the Nintendo DS. Nintendo had been working on a new gaming system for the past two years known as the Nintendo Revolution. Miyamoto thought the new pointing interface was well suited for arrow aiming and sword slashing in Zelda and suggested the Aonuma consider using it.
Eiji Aonuma had anticipated creating a Zelda game for the Nintendo Revolution, but had assumed that he would need to complete Zelda 128 before Nintendo would allow him to start work with the Revolution. The Zelda Crew immediately began work on creating Zelda 128 with a pointing interface system that supported the games engine. As Zelda 128 moved from the GameCube to the Revolution it was given an official name for the second time. The new game would be called The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Nintendo saw that the new game style, pointing interface, and technology used in the game gave it a new feel. Much like that of Phantom Hourglass. Miyamoto felt confident that this new system was the only way to precede, but worried about consumers who were anticipating the GameCube release.
In order to satisfy all of the fans, the team decided to release two versions of the game; One for GameCube and the other for the Revolution. Because both games would be worked in parallel by the same team this meant that the release date had to be pushed back from November 2005 to November 2006. At E3 in 2005 Nintendo announced that Zelda would be appearing on the Revolution, though it was unclear if this meant Twilight Princess or a different game.
It was released by Nintendo that the Revolution was a code name for the new system the Nintendo Wii. The crew worked on a Wii control scheme, adapting camera control and the fighting mechanics to the new interface. In both the GameCube and the Wii versions the view was switched from 3rd person to a 1st person view. This was attempted once before in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time but never lasted. Unfortunately the new view failed to show the variety of Links movements so the camera angle was restored to 3rd person. Next a new problem arose. Testing showed that most people, regardless of if they were right or left handed, preferred to play the Wii with their right hand. In all previous Zelda games Link has always been left handed. Though for Twilight Princess it seemed strange for the player to swing their right hand and Link swing the sword in his left hand. So the ability to control Links sword with a swing of the Wii Remote was removed. Instead the sword actions were assigned to a button.
After the game was on it's last leg of development, Nintendo staff members reported that demo players complained about the difficulty of the controls for the Wii. Eiji Aonuma realized that he had in a way forced the players to “adapt” to the new controls, rather than making them easy and intuitive to use. The team began rethinking the controls, focusing of comfort. The camera was reworked and the button scheme was edited to avoid accidental item use. The new item system was easier to use, but posed yet another problem. The button that was previously used for the sword action was now asigned to something else. To solve this, sword controls were transferred back to gestures. (Something E3 attendees had commented they would like to see.) This brought back the problem of swinging the Wii Remote with the right hand and Link swinging with his left hand. The team didn't have enough time to rework Links character model so the instead flipped the entire game. East was now West in the Wii version, left was now right. (North and South stayed the same.) This fixed the problem with ease.
Finally Twilight Princess was released with the launch of the Wii in Fall of 2006. The game has received critical acclaim for its art direction and game play. On Top Ten Reviews, it has received a score of 3.86 out of 4, the highest among all the games in the Zelda series. On Game Rankings, it is ranked number 6 on the voting poll. This is the second highest rank among all the Nintendo games, behind Super Mario World. Twilight Princess graphics were praised for their art style, animation, and advanced look, although the game was designed for GameCube, which is lacking compared to the next generation of gaming systems (Such as the Xbox360 , and the PlayStation3). Both IGN and GameSpy were quick to point out the blurry textures and low-resolution characters. Despite these rough areas, CVG felt the game's atmosphere was superior to that of any previous Zelda game, and regarded Twilight Princess's Hyrule Field as the best version yet. Many gaming groups including IGN, EGM, 1UP.com, Game Informer, GamesRadar, and The Washington Post have hailed this wonderful game the best in the series so far.
When it was all said The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was a dying light of an old system and the ray of hope for a new one. It was the last Nintendo title to be released on the GameCube and the first to be released of the Nintendo Wii. During the first week, the game was sold with three of every four Wii systems. The game has sold 4.25 million copies on the Wii as of March 1, 2008. It has sold 1.32 million copies on the GameCube as of March 31, 2007. It has won the Game of the Year award from X-Play, IGN, IEAA, Spacey Awards, Nintendo Power Awards of 2006, and many more. This is truly another timeless classic that deserves its place among the stars with Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask.