Original ZeldaPower article here. (Tuesday, 15 July 2008)
Ocarina of Time Staff Interview 1-14: Looks Like This Zelda Was Half Done by Mario
Original Interview Link (1101)
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time news, direct from the production area! The Zelda team chosen by Shigeru Miyamoto created Zelda 64 with surprising stubbornness!
One part of that stubbornness was to do a stubborn interview.
We'll pass on a small part of that interview from the top of Hobonichi's nearby tree.
Looks Like This Zelda Was Half Done by Mario
Toru Osawa (Script Director):
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to expand the direction of the 3D N64 games that sprung from Mario. You can see that the other games are similar to Mario, but their internal workings are more advanced.
We were thinking about making this Zelda a basic model of operation for all future 3D games, so we tried to boil it down to that level as we developed it. I think we were able to achieve the standards we set.
Because Ocarina of Time was being released after Mario, we wanted to try doing the things we weren't able to put in Super Mario 64. That was the development team's chief motivation. If what we did in Mario used about 60% of the N64's capabilities, I think we were able to get Zelda to reach 80 or even 90.
We got children to test the game during its development, but children can enjoy games just by playing around with them. We didn't know if it was actually interesting or not.
However, we were able to accomplish a variety of things. Everybody enjoys something different, so we can use that to defend ourselves.
Zelda was about half finished when we were making Mario.
Makoto Miyanaga (Field Designer):
How would we be able to create a rich presentation cheaply and easily? It was necessary to think about these things in new ways. In order to make the things we wanted to try possible, we had to find a way to create them on the hardware. The designers were also groping for ways to present the content on a television screen. The scope was huge and we put in all the technological expertise we could muster. Still, it was difficult.
Yoshiaki Koizumi (3D Systems Director):
I often get asked about what sort of work I do. My answer is that I'm making a netscape using the N64. In short, I intend to make a 3D browser. In the case of games, there are many people who have information. You have to go to this part of the world to find out.
You have to use this, you have to walk there, you have to jump, you have to go back, etc. My job is to make those plans at the very beginning. Making 3D environments and system tools is my work. First I make a tool, then make a system to the point that I can insert story elements. That's my job.
Eiji Onozuka (Dungeon Design):
While we're basically making the same type of game as the old 2D Zeldas, we have to struggle with an increased depth. Attempting to deal with it just gets slower and slower, so it's hard to keep working on it continually. It's always been a battle. The terrain changed as well. For example, now that you can fight on more than one level, the methods of fighting and the way enemies appear has changed. We never had to deal with these issues in the 2D era.
When the program checked the terrain's topography to determine how enemies with feet should walk, it slowed down. When we were trying to figure out how to make enemies appear on the map, we were mostly forced to stick with floating monsters. However, ghosts are really the only characters that float. That made it a little bit odd. Even when considering problems like when the enemy should appear, sorting out the enemy's relationship with the terrain was extremely difficult. Because of the type of terrain, we were slow in figuring out how to do it, and it tortured us to the very end.
Designers created a variety of effects, and decided what sound should come at what time. This process also went very slowly. Designers often wanted to give up in the middle. Consequentially, I wonder if the number of enemies in Ocarina of Time is good where it stands. I think that any more than this would be impossible to sort.
The 3D world has a camera, so it's important that the player be able to see what routes to follow and not overlook something important. By changing the camera viewpoint just a little you might not be able to see something you ought. For this reason we put in Navi, your little follower. She'll help you notice something that you'd previously be able to see using a fixed-point camera. We couldn't do everything we wanted due to memory constraints.
Toshio Iwawaki (Program Director):
For this Zelda, we wanted to really develop the items available to the player. If you have the right weapon, you'll be able to easily defeat enemies. That's what we were aiming for. We had begun the process with Mario, but we had to deal with problems like not having enough function available for what we wanted to do.
Naoki Mori (Cinema Scene Director):
In the beginning, there was nothing. When we started this Zelda from scratch, we begun by building the programming tools we'd need. We thought about what was necessary, what operations we'd be using, and what we would have to deal with. It was necessary to figure out what we couldn't do as well as what we wanted to try.
Eiji Onozuka (Dungeon Design):
We had to decide how many objects to use. We can't differ from traditional dungeon enemies and events, but anyone can change things using programming tools. The staff came up with ideas for about 50 objects, arranging and fixing them using the tools.
"(1-14) Looks Like This Zelda Was Half Done by Mario" has ended.
The interview continues from here, so please check back for updates!