Skyward Sword Devs Almost Gave Up

Skyward Sword Devs Almost Gave Up


Twilight Princess was the first motion-controlled Zelda, but its impotent waggling drew flak from gamers who would have preferred the greater precision of button-based controls (offered in the Gamecube version) rather than this mere shade of what motion controls were expected to be. It’s taken almost the entire life cycle of the Wii, but we’re finally getting a title that promises us, with the aid of the MotionPlus, a game that will fulfill our sword-swinging, Hyrulian fantasies. Amazing, then, that it almost didn’t happen.

In an Iwata Asks interview on Nintendo’s website, Skyward Sword lead Eiji Aonuma speaks of their difficulties in taming the MotionPlus, and that at one point they had actually begun development with a basic set of nunchuck and Wiimote controls in place, sans MotionPlus. The issue, according to Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi, was related to the difficulty of quickly switching between motions for different abilities:

“That’s right. You may be fighting with your sword and the next instant use the Clawshot or shoot an arrow or throw a bomb, so it was really difficult to make the game so you could use Wii MotionPlus to do those things smoothly all on the same field.”

Aonuma compares this to Wii Sports Resort, in which each game was an isolated experience, allowing for the controls to be completely dedicated to that one experience. Obviously, there was a change of heart very soon into development (largely from pressure on Aonuma by other producers to not be afraid of the MotionPlus) and development flipped around to focus on the device.

So, on November 20, when you pick up your shiny new copy of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, a little appreciation for the hard work of its development team might not be unwarranted.

By Shelby Reiches

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