Wind Waker HD Faced Internal "Pushback" at Nintendo

Wind Waker HD Faced Internal "Pushback" at Nintendo

Wind Waker HD

Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma says Nintendo feared a repeat of "negative reactions" to Wind Waker HD.

Earlier this year Nintendo revealed that it was in the process of creating an HD remake of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. The remake, which will release on the Wii U, stirred excitement in the ranks of Nintendo's fanbase, many of whom hold Wind Waker in high regard. That being the case, it's now been revealed that some in Nintendo weren't altogether keen on investing in Wind Waker HD.

"When we looked at creating a Zelda for Wii U, there were so many possibilities given the HD graphics. But rather than starting from zero, we actually ran a few tests," said Eiji Aonuma, producer of the Zelda franchise for the last decade. According to Aonuma, Nintendo first experimented with high definition versions of Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, but wasn't impressed with the results. "Those are semi-realistic representations of the Zelda world so we weren't really surprised with what we got. But with Wind Waker, when we converted that to HD we were really surprised at how great it looked."

Despite the clearer improvements presented by the HD test of Wind Waker, many at Nintendo rejected the idea out of hand. "Internally there was actually a lot of pushback," said Aonuma. "People were saying, 'Oh, that Link. People didn't like that Link.' But in talking to our counterparts in the U.S., that wasn't actually the case, people didn't have that negative reaction maybe anymore to that younger Link." Ultimately, this information helped Aonuma sell Wind Waker HD. That said, he's not surprised that his colleagues at Nintendo had apprehensions. While fans appreciate Wind Waker now, at the time of its release it had no lack for detractors who disliked its less "mature" art style. According to Aonuma, it just took time for people to realize the game's artistic value. "When we introduced Wind Waker in that graphic style, people resisted it because it was so new, but over time, we may have created this environment that 10 years later is ready to embrace that graphic style."

Source: Wired

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I don't know about others but I thought Wind Waker was the most charming and best looking game in the series by far. Although it is true that the first Zelda game I played was Phantom Hourglass so I might be biased.

anyway, what concerns me a bit is that they used SSAO in that one picture. Not a good idea with cell-shading. Hope they get rid of it soon.

I think WindWaker is the last console Zelda game where Link doesnīt look freakish. He looks so weird in Skyward Sword and Twillight Princess. Itīs also the best of the three games by far, and the one with the least amount of padding (except for the sucky final part of the game).

I wasn't a Nintendo kid growing up, my first Nintendo console was the Gamecube. I got the special addition version of Wind Waker, the one that came with OOT on a disc, so I played both around the same time.

I played the crap out of Wind Waker, never actually completed OOT.

I know, I know, shoot me now.

This makes me sad.

Do the staff at Nintendo REALLY hate toon Link that much?

I think he is the most absolutely adorable Link in the entire series!

And the style choice really lasted. Windwaker today can still hold a candle to other games in terms of aesthetics.

*sigh* I guess just like my favorite Pokemon generation is Black and White, me liking Toon Link will be another thing on the list of opinions only 30% of the fanbase gives a crap about.

Daystar Clarion:
I wasn't a Nintendo kid growing up, my first Nintendo console was the Gamecube. I got the special addition version of Wind Waker, the one that came with OOT on a disc, so I played both around the same time.

I played the crap out of Wind Waker, never actually completed OOT.

I know, I know, shoot me now.

I got the same version, and I only played at best 10 minutes of OoT before thinking this looked and played like ass, and went back to Wind Waker.

Dragonbums:
Do the staff at Nintendo REALLY hate toon Link that much?

I don't think it's that they hate him per se, but that they've been living under a rock since Wind Waker was released. See, when the cel shaded graphics (and thus "Toon Link") were first revealed, there was a MASSIVE negative response to the whole thing. Massive to the point where Miyamoto and Nintendo basically put the kibosh on releasing any new information or trailers on it until it was released. After it came out, yeah, everyone was all "hey these graphics aren't so bad after-all, and the game itself is pretty good, too". Ever since then, Wind Waker has generally been regarded as one of the better Zelda titles; with only the occasional detractor, usually objecting to the amount of time spent sailing in the game (which is apparently being addressed in WWHD).

So yeah, to repeat, my guess is that whoever it was calling the shots stopped paying attention at some point between Wind Waker's initial announcement and before it was actually released. Though I guess for what it's worth, at least they had SOME reason to feel that "Toon Link" (I never cared for that moniker, myself) is hated in the US.

Daystar Clarion:
I wasn't a Nintendo kid growing up, my first Nintendo console was the Gamecube. I got the special addition version of Wind Waker, the one that came with OOT on a disc, so I played both around the same time.

You mean "edition". "Addition" is when you combine two or more things to create a bigger sum, "edition" is a particular version of a series of prints.

I played the crap out of Wind Waker, never actually completed OOT.

I know, I know, shoot me now.

Eh, don't feel too bad. Ocarina was just a lot of people's first Zelda game. It has a legendary status, but it's honestly kinda bland when compared to a lot of Zelda titles; even some that came before it. Don't get me wrong, it isn't terrible by any means (there are worse Zelda titles), it's just not as great as it's legendary status would imply.

That might have been a good idea from the start seeing how people from what I'm seeing, aren't interested in the damn thing anymore when they ended up finding out that they didn't put any of the dungeons that was suppose to be in the game. I swear people where more hyped by the fact that the new Windwaker might have all the content and them some for it seeing how they said it was built from the ground up.

WhiteTigerShiro:

So yeah, to repeat, my guess is that whoever it was calling the shots stopped paying attention at some point between Wind Waker's initial announcement and before it was actually released.

I don't think you can pin this on Nintendo's ignorance. Say what you will about how Wind Waker was eventually accepted for the great game it is, and the beautiful style it has, at the time Nintendo was at a low, saleswise. The Gamecube, though it was packed with many of the most critically acclaimed games of all time, did not sell terribly well and was the object of constant gamer vitriol. The whole "toon Link" hate was another blow at them financially as it prevented the game from reaching as wide of a market as it might've otherwise, or so many believe.

I'm honestly very glad to see a HD Wind Waker remake, and I'll be buying it. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little surprised to see them doing this when the WiiU was struggling.

Forget the art style, the game itself was one of the best Zelda games to come out in the last decade. It actually beat Ocarina of Time for me, and that isn't a small feat. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the spin off games that came out for the DS. Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Train were okay, but they didn't have the same feel.

Colt47:
Forget the art style, the game itself was one of the best Zelda games to come out in the last decade. It actually beat Ocarina of Time for me, and that isn't a small feat. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the spin off games that came out for the DS. Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Train were okay, but they didn't have the same feel.

I saw those two as more of an expansion on the world more than anything.
Phantom Hourglass was to finally tell you the mystery behind the Ghost Ship and Spirit Tracks was more or less explaining the fate of the Windwaker world much years later.

Wind Waker is my favorite game of all time. I absolutely love the art style, and being able to play it in HD is a dream come true.

I really wish they had created more content for it, but here's hoping that they learn a good deal from developing Wind Waker HD and put those ideas towards the next Wii U Zelda game.

Johny_X2:
I don't know about others but I thought Wind Waker was the most charming and best looking game in the series by far. Although it is true that the first Zelda game I played was Phantom Hourglass so I might be biased.

anyway, what concerns me a bit is that they used SSAO in that one picture. Not a good idea with cell-shading. Hope they get rid of it soon.

I dunno why the Escapist is using that picture, as Nintendo have put out actual footage now which looks much, much better in terms of visuals. It's got the same feel as the original game, but with greater depth and softness added to things like plants and vegetation.

OT: from the sounds of it, the Zelda team are using this game as a sort of practise run for the next Zelda, learning how to program in HD and all that. Given that WWHD is running in 1080p, that makes me very excited for how they'll be able to push the console with the new game.

Wind Waker was the best LoZ in the franchise because it didn't try to be a copy clone of Ocarina of Time.

It also didn't follow the usual LoZ snoozefest formula of:
Get 3 jewels
Get Master Sword
Get 6 Medallions
Kill Ganon

It also was mechanically better as a game than Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. That's mostly due to not jamming in a not so accurate motion control scheme into it.

Yeah, I remember when Wind Waker was first announced. People were not happy with the "cartoony" graphics. People came around, though. I can understand what they were thinking, but things have changed since then, thankfully.

Wind Waker is one of my favorite Zelda's next to Majora's Mask (I like them equally). The remake looks beautiful, if the Wii U ever gets more games that peak my interests I'll have to get the new Wind Waker

I do like Waker Link a lot, but I think I understand how the staff at Nintendo may be tired of working with the "Toon Link" art style for the games. In the span of about six years(2003-2009) they made five games that had the cel shaded aesthetic, even if the in-game sprites weren't cel shaded, the art emulated Wind Waker and the original Four Swords in some way.

Either way, I'm excited to play this, even if the only thing it's missing for me personally is a higher difficulty setting for the combat.

Dragonbums:
This makes me sad.

Do the staff at Nintendo REALLY hate toon Link that much?

I think he is the most absolutely adorable Link in the entire series!

And the style choice really lasted. Windwaker today can still hold a candle to other games in terms of aesthetics.

*sigh* I guess just like my favorite Pokemon generation is Black and White, me liking Toon Link will be another thing on the list of opinions only 30% of the fanbase gives a crap about.

I agree that WW Link is one of the best Links because of his emotion and adorableness, but I think the developers want to step away from toon Link for awhile just cause they used him so much in a series that seems to pride itself on changing its art style constantly.

If it helps, I believe Pokemon Black and White are not only the best Pokemon games, but some of the best games ever made.

when Wind Waker first came out, i was around 12 and i hated the "Toon Link" concept. i commented the style by saying as a youth "its like Ganondork caught him, ripped Link apart and slapped it back together again without a care. though, by playing Minish Cap i have slowly grown fond of the Toon Link, but only for handheld, not consoles. i do want to play Windwaker though but its incredibly hard to find now a days.

i personally like realistic graphics better for human characters at least. i love cell shading in Okami and Sly Cooper.
Okami did have humans in the game of course but the style fit perfectly around everything and everyone in the game.
Zelda game "humans" are starting to get strange though, with the random people are not proportioned comically or some with a giant orange noses for example. it doesn't make sense while Link and Zelda look like completely normal humans.

AzrealMaximillion:
Wind Waker was the best LoZ in the franchise because it didn't try to be a copy clone of Ocarina of Time.

It also didn't follow the usual LoZ snoozefest formula of:
Get 3 jewels
Get Master Sword
Get 6 Medallions
Kill Ganon

It also was mechanically better as a game than Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. That's mostly due to not jamming in a not so accurate motion control scheme into it.

So yeah:

Get 3 pearls
Get Master Sword
Get 8 Triforce pieces
Kill Ganon

Much better formula.

Daystar Clarion:
I wasn't a Nintendo kid growing up, my first Nintendo console was the Gamecube. I got the special addition version of Wind Waker, the one that came with OOT on a disc, so I played both around the same time.

I played the crap out of Wind Waker, never actually completed OOT.

I know, I know, shoot me now.

*raises hand*
Hi-five, as I was exactly the same when it came to this. Wind Waker was my first ever console LoZ, my first LoZ game was Oracle of Seasons, and I love WW to death. Honestly the cel-shaded graphics have stood the test of time, the world felt huge and expansive, and it is great to replay. For me, OoT is good but it's not the best out of the entire series, heck I love MM and TP way more. But hearing this news makes me sad because if WW HD were to never be released then my chances of getting a Wii U would diminish.

Now if only Nintendo would remake Majoras Mask because MM deserves a remake for how awesome it was! >.<

I'm going to be the odd man out I guess and say I still don't like the style of Wind Waker - or pretty much all Zelda games after it. I played through the game three times, yeah, and found it quite good - on par with Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask in terms of quality (the over-world made the whole deal worth it), but I'm still really unsatisfied with how it looks.
I'm a bit of a horror and depression junkie, and for me as a kid, Ocarina of Time actually made me tear up in fear for the first time - and, older, Majora's Mask gave me a first good taste of what dread and dissonance can feel like in a game.
There is no fear in a game that looks like Wind Waker, and there is certainly no dread in it. There is no way you can present it as dark, serious, meaningful, or even very heroic when everyone walking around is a chibi caricature (which, I still find hard to believe anyone thought was in need of HD - or... sharper lines and bloom...?).
Sure I thought Twilight Princess was great, but I'm pretty sure that was just Nintendo's last response to get people like me to shut up.

I*t seems even with the series I love the most I'm in the minority.

WindWaker is the weakest console 3D Zelda of all. Oot contrary to what someone above says is de facto an excelent game and deserves every praise it gets. Majora's Mask was darker and had the best character interaction of all Zelda's.
I played WW to late, I jumped it, because at the time I didn't like the graphics. (I Played a little bit, but not much).
Twilight Princess was nothing very new, but since I didn't play a Zelda since MM (and even MM I have not finished it yet, I'm waiting for a 3DS remake) I liked it. And Skyward Sword was fantastic and brang the best combat system of any Zelda.

After playing those, coming back to WW felt weird, first, despite the combos, the combat is worse than SS, you cannot give the final kill like in TP when the enemies are down for example. I gave up after the first temple, because the first temple wasn't very good. I liked the soundtrack and now I like the graphics, but I still prefer Oot and MM graphics with SS right after. It's not even Nostalgia, I think Oot/MM graphics are better than many games right now, the expression in the characters faces are really well done.

I might pick up this Zelda to replay and finally reach the end, but I still think it's the weakest of the 5.

Baldr:

AzrealMaximillion:
Wind Waker was the best LoZ in the franchise because it didn't try to be a copy clone of Ocarina of Time.

It also didn't follow the usual LoZ snoozefest formula of:
Get 3 jewels
Get Master Sword
Get 6 Medallions
Kill Ganon

It also was mechanically better as a game than Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. That's mostly due to not jamming in a not so accurate motion control scheme into it.

So yeah:

Get 3 pearls
Get Master Sword
Get 8 Triforce pieces
Kill Ganon

Much better formula.

I still have to give Wind Waker credit for breaking up the monotony with actual exploration. Also, the items you find in every other Zelda only see use in the dungeon its found within and very few occasions outside the dungeons(if at all). Wind Waker didn't have those issues in such a repetitive manner.

MrBaskerville:
I think WindWaker is the last console Zelda game where Link doesnīt look freakish. He looks so weird in Skyward Sword and Twillight Princess. Itīs also the best of the three games by far, and the one with the least amount of padding (except for the sucky final part of the game).

Compared to those three games, it is the best recent Zelda. But compared to all the previous instalments, including the three juggernauts (A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask) it is certainly a weaker instalment. There is a lot of padding, there is a lot of monotony. The graphic style is unique and interesting, combat is greatly improved from its predecessors and the story is fairly mature (in contrast to its art style) albeit rather simple. But as far as the game is concerned, which is the most important part, The Wind Waker doesn't seem to value or respect the player's time. To its credit, it does seem to respect the player's intelligence which is far more than can be said for Twilight Princess and, especially, Skyward Sword.

I never hated toon link visually. I didn't like his vocalizations, which found their way into the port of Link to the Past and most of the future games. Swing your sword and you sound like you are "pushing a mess" to quote Venture Brothers.

I had no problem with Wind Waker's visuals, but I did have a problem with its lackluster gameplay, dungeon design, overworld with 80% wasted space, and the Tingle cash grab at the end.

The best part of the game was the final battle, and I kinda liked puppet Ganon too.

The HD version from the limited screens/vids I've seen makes it look...different. I wouldn't say better. Its like going from them looking like cartoons/woodblock prints to them looking like they are made out of fondant and aggressive bloom effects.

In the screen above, Link looks like an edible cake topper.

I know it will get polished up, but it just seems like a weird project to put a dev team on when they could literally be doing anything else.

AzrealMaximillion:
It also was mechanically better as a game than Twilight Princess. That's mostly due to not jamming in a not so accurate motion control scheme into it.

What about Twilight Princess on the GameCube? I haven't seen how the gameplay works with a controller but I was just curious if that critique holds up for it.

Baldr:

AzrealMaximillion:
Wind Waker was the best LoZ in the franchise because it didn't try to be a copy clone of Ocarina of Time.

It also didn't follow the usual LoZ snoozefest formula of:
Get 3 jewels
Get Master Sword
Get 6 Medallions
Kill Ganon

It also was mechanically better as a game than Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. That's mostly due to not jamming in a not so accurate motion control scheme into it.

So yeah:

Get 3 pearls
Get Master Sword
Get 8 Triforce pieces
Kill Ganon

Much better formula.

I honestly don't understand whats wrong with doing something again when it works. I don't play games for innovation, I play to have fun. "Fun" isn't something that necessarily has to be fresh, just like beauty is more or less defined for every individual's perception. At one point boys used to play with wooden guns and pretend to be coybows. Now they play with plastic guns that have lights and pretend to be space marines or whateves. A shiny new coat on something old is sometimes all we need. If it's fun, it's fun, so let it be.

If anything, it's all the new crap and absence of old things that has made recent Zelda's unbearable to play. I couldn't even get past the first 40 minutes of Skyward Sword, so I never even got to see all the other infamous horrors of that game.

maybe I'll give this one another chance, but I'm not optimistic. Not only did WW do the typical "dick around in you home village until shit hits the fan" padding, it launched straight from that into a horrible dungeon that mixed terrible forced stealth sections with combat where your only weapon was a stick, killing my interest in the game.

There are a lot of things I did not like about the look of Wind Waker, but still I think it is one of the best Zelda games. Even with an art style I didn't care for the level of detail of even the smallest things like eye movement, lighting/shadows, and just the general animation of characters was impressive. Plus the gameplay was amazing to boot.

The fan disappointment and outrage was less to do with people simply 'not being ready' for toon-shading or whatnot, but rather much more to do with Nintendo releasing this little tech demo during their Gamecube hype train, http://youtu.be/c7tlPCULkG0

For Zelda fans having just come out of the N64 golden age, this was about the most amazing thing and solidified the expectations that the eventual Gamecube Zelda title would be even better than our OoT golden-god. But then Wind Waker was announced with a more or less complete 180 in art style and tone, and many fans felt like they had been bait-and-switched.

The game eventually found it's own merit for most players of course, but the launch remained a colossal failure on Nintendo's part in recognition and guidance of fan expectations.

I wanted a HD remake of Majora's Mask :(

(I like Wind Waker too Ž.Ž)

 

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