Iwata Asks About Zelda Handheld History
Posted by Rebecca Gunn
Ancient documents unearthed, and the US drama that inspired Link's Awakening
A newly translated Iwata Asks has popped up on the Nintendo Europe site and this time the focus is on past releases rather than a current title. Inspired by the old stories that were recalled in the New Super Mario Bros. Wii edition, Mr Iwata asked Toshihiko Nakago, Takashi Tezuka and Eiji Aonuma about the history of the Zelda titles, starting with the release of Link's Awakening.
It includes interesting info on the old games, such as the revelation that Link's Awakening is inspired by US drama Twin Peaks. For those who don't remember or were not around when it aired, Twin Peaks was a drama about a small town thrown into turmoil when a homecoming queen is murdered and everyone's a suspect. Tezuka was inspired by the idea of a town full of suspicious people and adapted that to Link's Awakening. Originally it was visualised as a port of Link to the Past and initially wasn't even an official project, being described as akin to an "after school club" at first (if only all after school clubs were as productive!). The trio consider Awakening a turning point in the series in terms of story and characterisation, even saying that Ocarina of Time may not have been the game it was otherwise.
They also discuss the appearances of other Nintendo characters in Awakening, the experience of working with Capcom on the Game Boy Colour's Oracle series and even an in-depth look at the design documents for the original Zelda on the NES! The team discuss how Ganon was originally called "Hakkai" (a name inspired by the pig-like character "Chohakkai" from the story "Saiyuki", better known as Journey to the West), and how the team made the game fit the NES memory size almost too well, leading to the creation of the "Second Quest" unlocked after beating the game co-created by Tezuka and Miyamoto.
Fans of the Iwata Asks series will be pleased to know they also confirm that at no time for any handheld Zelda has Miyamoto upturned any tea-tables.