The lights are on
At E3 2014 this year, I had the chance to chat with the creative force behind the upcoming Hyrule Warriors. I spoke with general producer Hisashi Koinuma and development producer Yosuke Hayashi from Tecmo Koei, and supervisor and producer on the Zelda series in general, Eiji Aonuma of Nintendo. We discussed how a game in the Dynasty Warrior series could overlap with Zelda, what the feedback from fans has been like, and what sort of characters we can expect to see in the game.
Note: responses without attribution come from Koinuma and Hayashi, as both of their responses were translated by a single translator. Another translator handled Aonuma’s responses, and they have been attributed as such.
How long has Hyrule Warriors been in development?
From the original concepts and the original discussions, the very start has probably been about two years and then it’s probably been about a year and a half of actual development and working on the game.
That seems like a short development cycle for an HD Wii U game.
Tecmo Koei has released several Wii U titles already. We’re used to development on Wii U, so it wasn’t that much of a hurdle for us. We were able to focus just on making this game what it is, focusing on the Zelda elements and bringing those into a Dynasty Warriors-style game. It really wasn’t that hard.
[Eiji Aonuma] From where I sit as a member of Nintendo on the outside looking in, I am really impressed with how quickly the development process happens at Tecmo Koei.
Who approached who in terms of offering up the idea?
It started with the Tecmo Koei side. We’ve done other collaborations with Dynasty Warriors games, and so we brought the idea up to Nintendo and asked if we could use Zelda in a Dynasty Warriors type of game.
[Eiji Aonuma] To be honest, I hadn’t had that much experience or exposure with Dynasty Warriors games, but it was very serendipitous because I had just happened to be playing a Dynasty Warriors collaboration title at the time this idea was proposed to me. It was almost like the stars aligned.
Note: this was not the setting of the interview. It looked more like this.
Is there an effort being made to inject Zelda mechanics into the gameplay? Or is it more focused towards the Dynasty Warriors side?
Of course we’re looking for Zelda fans. We definitely want Zelda fans to play the game and enjoy the game for what it is. In the main storyline you’re only playing as Link, but now fans will get a chance to play as some characters they have never been able to play as before. Dynasty Warriors, as a series, is known for having easy-to-do action. It’s easy for people who aren’t hardcore action gamers to get into and have fun with.
This being a collaboration title – a celebration of Zelda and the universe of Zelda – we want people who can just jump in and have fun with it for what it is and enjoy the aspects of Zelda that are in the game.
[Eiji Aonuma] Because the gameplay itself is more traditionally Dynasty Warriors with the look of Zelda sort of placed on top of it, I can understand someone assuming this is for Dynasty Warriors fans. But among the development team at Tecmo Koei that is working in this project, there are many Zelda fans. I certainly get the sense that they really love the Zelda universe and really appreciate what the experiences we have offered have been, and they have that insight to provide players with the experience and gameplay they want to experience with these characters they love.
For information on how Hyrule Warriors fits into the Zelda timeline, head here.
In my hands-on demo, I found bombs and sort of used them as a puzzle solving tool to break through walls and defeat the King Dodongo boss. Will we see more traditional Zelda tools and puzzle solving in Hyrule Warriors?
We are all Zelda fans making the game, and we’ve strived to put in elements and situations that Zelda fans will get and enjoy. We don’t think of it necessarily as puzzles. It’s a Zelda game. You want to throw bombs and you want to blow up walls and boulders, or throw bombs in the Dodongo’s mouth. You want to use the hookshot. We’re trying to find ways to use those elements in ways that work in this game. There will definitely be those situations and scenes from the Zelda series in this game, but we don’t necessarily consider them puzzles.
For more details on Hyrule Warriors, and some hints for the next core Zelda game, head to page two.
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