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Interview: Zelda Producer Eiji Aonuma Talks DLC, Missing Dungeons And Majora's Mask

Posted by Nintendo Life Staff

Exclusive access to Link's protector

Eiji Aonuma has presided over the The Legend of Zelda series for the past 15 years and has overseen some of the franchise's most iconic entries. We got the chance to sit down and speak with him during this year's E3 event, where he was promoting the two forthcoming instalments: The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.

Nintendo Life: It was known at the time that some dungeons were removed from the original version of Wind Waker because the game wouldn't have been completed in time. Will any of those removed dungeons be reinstated?

Aonuma: I've received many questions about additional content beyond what was in the GameCube version of the game, but our desire is to stay true of the story that was in the original. If we add dungeons then that will affect other parts of the GameCube version, which we really want to stay true to.

If it felt like there were maybe too few dungeons then I feel that what was wrong with the GameCube version was the pacing. It was thrown off because it took longer to get to certain dungeons. There was a waiting period, and then when you arrived there the experience maybe didn't feel as big as you'd waited so long to get there. We're tuning the game to alleviate all that. The pacing should feel appropriate to the overall experience this time.

And, quite honestly, those dungeons we removed we used in other games so we can't use them in this version!

NL: Can you tell me which dungeons they were?

Aonuma: I can't! [laughs]

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NL: Moving on to A Link Between Worlds - there haven't been very many direct Zelda sequels. What made you want to revisit A Link to the Past?

Aonuma: The thought was that we wanted to make a top-view Zelda with the concept that every once in a while Link would enter the wall, and only at that time would it become a 3D experience.

We figured that if we used this Link to the Past world, this architecture and structure in place, we could create it even more quickly. There's also a lot more to explore in that environment, so we felt that world would be a great starting point. So if we say it’s a sequel to Link to the Past it’s easier for players to understand where we're coming from and our starting point for this story. It also felt like that story was really well suited for a sequel.

NL: During that Nintendo Direct you hinted that we may no longer play Zelda alone on Wii U. Do you think local or online multiplayer would be better for the series?

Aonuma: In saying it’s not a single-player or lone experience, I didn't necessarily mean multiplayer. There has actually been multiplayer in Zelda games, in Four Swords for example. But for example in Wind Waker, with the Tingle Bottle - it's not a traditional multiplayer experience but you certainly have the feeling that other people are exploring the same world and sharing information.

So that's one way that I meant that it's not a single-player experience. We'll continue to explore different ways of opening up this world beyond a single-player experience, but that's not necessarily to say that there will be typical multiplayer.

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NL: Regarding the control scheme for the untitled Wii U Zelda, will the focus be on the GamePad or the immersive motion controls that we saw in Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess?

Aonuma: I can't answer that. [Laughs]

NL: Would you ever consider DLC or add-on content for the Zelda series, or do you prefer games to be delivered whole?

Aonuma: We're certainly looking at different ways to add on content that would enhance the experience for the user - maybe more places to explore or just to enrich the experience beyond what is on the disc. But we also have to take into consideration that if we charge for this content then it needs to be worth it for the user.

So it's certainly a balancing an act, but I can't say that it is something we're not considering.

NL: The Zelda series tells the story of a male hero rescuing a female princess. Would you ever consider giving Zelda her own game?

Aonuma: This is the second time I've received this question during this E3! I guess if people have strong feelings about it then it's something to consider. I'll keep that in mind! [laughs]

NL: Handheld Zelda games are traditionally top-down, with the exception of the 3DS version of Ocarina of Time. Is that a stylistic choice or about the limitations of the handheld platform?

Aonuma: The answer is actually very simple. In home console games you are usually looking up, and looking at things from this perspective. From handhelds you usually look top down, so that's the way that worlds are represented. But, now you mention it, maybe I'm looking at things too simply!

NL: Has the Virtual Console and its ability to introduce older titles to younger players influenced your decision to make a Link to the Past sequel?

Aonuma: Thankfully, Link to the Past is doing very well on Virtual Console, but that did not influence my decision to make a sequel. The reasons why we did this are the ones we explained earlier.

NL: Fans have often said that they'd like to see a 3D remake of Majora's Mask, just as there was one of Ocarina of Time. There were rumours that it was a possibility - is that still the case, or are you focusing on new games from now on?

Aonuma: You've heard rumours? [laughs] Hmm, I wonder! [laughs again]

NL: I would be very excited myself, it's one of my favourites of the series.

Aonuma: Majora's Mask is a very special game - it's the real hardcore who like that one. If we were to make a remake of that one then we wouldn't want to let them down. We'd have to put our heart and soul into it. So, you say you’ve heard rumours, but I have to say it would be quite a commitment to do that.

NL: The Zelda series has mostly maintained cartoon-like visuals, and even slightly more realistic games still have a fantastical look. Will the next Wii U Zelda game maintain this, or go for a more realistic look?

Aonuma: The thing about Zelda is we want everything to be unique, whether it’s the graphical presentation or the gameplay. It has to be something you can't see anywhere else. We wouldn't want it to be ultra-realistic because you can see that elsewhere. But I can't say that it's going to be cartoony-realistic like you mentioned, the fantastic presentation that we've already done in the past. It will be something new.

NL: The storytelling tone changes from one Zelda game to another - some are quite playful, others are more emotive. What is the storytelling approach on the new 3DS and Wii U games?

Aonuma: This also is the unique thing we're always looking for. What we want to do is - you know you're going along and you think you know what's happening, then we turn everything on its head and everything goes nuts.

In Twilight Princess you have the dark world, in Majora's Mask you have that strange world - we're not hitting in any particular direction. It's whatever direction suits that particular story and what we're trying to achieve.

NL: Have you ever considered a sharply different theme for a Zelda world, such as setting it in a completely different era?

Aonuma: I don't know if we are joking when we do this or not, but there are times when I'll discuss with Mr. Miyamoto about putting Link and Zelda in the modern day world. What types of gameplay would there be? What changes would there be in the presentation of the story? But I honestly can't imagine them there.

It's not that we place them in any specific time period or in any specific culture. If you look at what happens in Zelda games there’s a mix of Japanese and what might be considered Western things. It also allows us a lot of flexibility if you don't define a specific time period or location for the story to take place in. I don't see us making any drastic changes, unless it really suits the story.

This interview was conducted on behalf of Nintendo Life by Eurogamer's Oli Welsh. Be sure to check out Eurogamer's interview with Aonuma, where you'll find lots of additional content.

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User Comments (82)



bezerker99 said:

Regarding Majora's Mask. "We'd have to put our heart and soul into it."

As if they just 'mail-in' every other Zelda title?

They found enough time to remake WW apparently.



antdickens said:

I'm pretty sure Majora's Mask will appear on 3DS sometime soon, they clearly have no reason not to do it.



Undead_terror said:

They could of put the extra dungeons in a menu for wind waker so you could load the inside of it and play/beat it, also want them to make MM3D.



DrSlump said:

Ok what i don't want to see in a Nintendo's game is a dlc. I hate dlc, i want a complete game, i want to play it all, and i want to see the end of it.



Varia01 said:

Hmm... Interesting interview. I wonder how A Link Between Worlds and the new Wii U Zelda game will fit into the story. I liked reading this. HYPE!!!



RedYoshi999 said:

Damn you Aonuma, stop messing with me already! I need Majora's Mask 3D. If you need to put your soul into it, just think of the Song of Healing and it will come naturally.



NintyMan said:

I still think Majora's Mask 3D will happen eventually, no matter how many times Aonuma tries to laugh it off. I haven't played it yet and I want to play it once it's in 3D!

I would like a true "Zelda" game with the princess as protagonist too.



AceSpadeS said:

Summary of interview:

Can't tell you anything for certain. [Laughs]

Sounds like it would have been fun to be there, lol.



ueI said:

"And, quite honestly, those dungeons we removed we used in other games so we can't use them in this version!"
But this is a remake. All the dungeons have been used before.



bezerker99 said:

Thanks for the hopeful positivity, guys! Majora's Mask is my favorite 3D Zelda game to date and I've been anxiously awaiting to hear something definitive on it for a while now.



ACK said:

Which dungeons were re-purposed from the original Wind Waker plans? That is an interesting question. Phantom Hourglass or Spirit Tracks are the obvious candidates. I suppose we can't rule out Skyward Sword, either...

Majora's Mask is really Aonuma's game, so it's no surprise that he wants to fully respect it's ambition. Makes me yearn for the day...

As for DLC, Nintendo's approach hasn't bothered me so far. I doubt they will ever ship anything less than a complete experience, considering their heritage. Though the pressures of the marketplace to release products faster and faster is undeniable.

Anyway you look at it, if you think about them adding DLC for Wind Waker, for instance, that allowed for expansive exploration under the ocean, well that sort of DLC is pretty enticing.



ScorpionMG said:

"I can't answer that. [Laughs]", "I'll keep that in mind! [laughs]", "You've heard rumours? [laughs] Hmm, I wonder! [laughs again]"
This Man Sure knows what he is doing



strongest_link said:

I don't think Nintendo wants to reveal a game when another game in the series is still yet to be released. They wouldn't want consumers looking past a game to the next one after it. That would adversely effect sales. We won't see what the untitled Zelda on the Wii U looks like until after Wind Waker HD has been released, nor will we get any confirmation for Majora's Mask 3D before we have A Link Between Worlds in our hands.



The-Chosen-one said:

lol, he is acting really suspicious, when asked about majoras mask, as if they already making that game in secret maybe one of the un-anounced wiiU titles lol.



C-Olimar said:

@Kodeen We should have the option to choose for ourselves!

They should add a Wii U island! Just put a ton of rupees there, nothing big.



fluggy said:

.... Extra dungeons would have been the only saving grace with regards to this pointless "remake" (its not a remake ... Its exactly the same experience with a spit polish!!! )of a perfectly fine looking GC game! Must've been too tricky to give the fans some extra, unseen content! Ninty taking the disappointing easy road again!



DerpSandwich said:

Currently considering DLC for Zelda, where it doesn't really fit, but not currently considering it for Smash Bros., where it would literally be perfect. Interesting.



RosstiferZ said:

"NL: Can you tell me which dungeons they were?
Aonuma: I can't! [laughs]" He could of used them in the new game. Why wouldn't he tell us?



Windy said:

Zelda Online! My reason to buy Wii-U right there! Dragon Quest X would be reason Number 2 and Majoras Mask for 3DS BOUGHT! if it ever comes out.




Macattack said:

At least they decided to reveal a truly new Zelda game this year, even if it's for the handheld. I'm stoked for the big Zelda reveal at E3 2014.

@bezerker99: Right you are. xD
It's a good thing they didn't add much if any new content though. Who wouldn't want this 'new' Wind Waker experience to feel exactly the same as it did on Gamecube? After all, it's really for people who never got the chance to play the original.



Morpheel said:

Majoras Mask is what happens when Nintendo wants to create extra content for Zelda games, so I wouldn't mind some DLC for their future games.



Megumi said:

Darn...I wonder if that included bosses with what he said about the dungeons showing up in other games.



Macattack said:

@Morphtorok: Oh wow. In that case, I hope they make sure never to have DLC. You could also say that Wind Waker HD is what happens when Nintendo runs out of ideas, but that could be insulting.



KAHN said:

Aonuma wrote:

Majora's Mask is a very special game - it's the real hardcore who like that one. If we were to make a remake of that one then we wouldn't want to let them down. We'd have to put our heart and soul into it. So, you say you’ve heard rumours, but I have to say it would be quite a commitment to do that.

so, what you're essentially telling me is... you're afraid of trying to please a new demographic? gasp >: O Aonuma, you act like you never pour heart and soul into games. dont talk like that. Zelda is the only reason i have a WiiU WiiU WiiU. dont you want my money<3 ?

also, what makes WWHD different from the original? if it's just those graphics and that stupid motorboat option thing, i'll opt out. it's at least reasonable for OoT3D to be remade because that was $40, and it came with master quest. THAT is a good deal, but i honestly dont give a sh*t about better graphics and a stupid tingle bottle. i have the tingle tuner, so that pretty much makes the HD version identical to the original, minus the stupid motorboat. and to be completely honest, i like the speed of the original boat. it's like a breath of fresh air because most games are so fast paced. if i buy this, i'll probably still play the original more.



Moose_4 said:

@DrSlump i completely agree, i don't understand why people want DLC so much, when i get a game, i want it to be complete. Not release a game then 6 weeks later, here's loads more that we kept back but you have to pay.



Funbunz said:

No new dungeons? I don't see a $60 difference in the graphics. Why should I buy this? The boat goes faster, so what. I enjoyed the pace of the original. Certainly not enough here to convince me to shell out for a Wii U. But if they release it as a bundle with a golden Wii U...



Jamester0722 said:

I am happy with Nintendo's current DLC plans, like what they are doing with Super Luigi U for NSMBU. They use the assets already on the disc to create an entirely new 2nd play through. That way they keep it fresh and familiar at the same time!



Samus06 said:

I'm disappointed that there won't be extra dungeons. Oh well, I'm still going to buy this. Wind Waker is one of my favorite Zelda games.

I hope that the new Wii U Zelda has gamepad controls. I am not a huge fan of the motion controls in Skyward Sword.



euantor said:

Certainly sounds like a Majora's mask remake isn't out of the question at all. I'd absolutely love to see one.



KAHN said:

"Majoras Mask is what happens when Nintendo wants to create extra content for Zelda games, so I wouldn't mind some DLC for their future games."

this is actually true. MM is the spawn of a failed add-on to OoT called "Ura Zelda". see guys, nintendo's been thinking about it for a long time :3



SLiM said:

Best feature of a MM remake would be switching items on the fly. You spend half the game pausing to switch masks!



Zombie_Barioth said:

Except Ura zelda is what Master Quest would have been back then, what your refering to is Zelda Gaiden. Your right though, if thats how Nintendo handles dlc then I say have at it.

Also, I think you missed Aonuma's point. He was saying they'd want to treat it like any other game, not just throw it together and say here. Wind Waker HD is more for those that didn't get to play it before so I agree with you on OOT 3D being more worth while as a remake. Mainly because Master Quest was only released as a pre-order bonus for the original Wind Waker.



bizcuthammer said:

A modern day zelda game would be really cool, even though i dont really care for the realistic approach in games. I always thought a futuristic zelda game in space with a kind of star wars feel would be awesome.



J-Manix98 said:

I don't know about a "Zelda" Zelda game.
Call me sexist, but Link is far to cool of a character to not be the main protagonist. Not that Zelda isn't cool, but it just wouldn't be the same.



J-Manix98 said:

as for WWHD, I don't quite understand what the Tingle Bottle is, or how it is a replacement for the Tingle Tuner.



AVahne said:

Except Nintendo makes a complete game, and then add additional stuff that's optional for people to buy.



Miss_Dark said:

What are cartoony realistic graphics?! I hope for the love of god not skywards swords graphics (which was really colorful and all that but ugh I just didn't like the game because of the motion controls)



Zodiak13 said:

I see comments about this game being just a remake in HD and how that is stupid/lazy or that you got all that on the GC version. Fact is many people did not own a GC that now have a WiiU. Some of us fans (me) are excited to replay an amazing game w/ a fresh coat of paint. Also keep in mind Nintendo largely does not put out shovelware, and they need time with their actual new games they create. They need games and ones that make $$, and this will sell well and maybe even move a few more consoles. Maybe it's not for you, and thats cool, but it makes business sense to me.



Link-Hero said:

So Wind Waker HD is just getting the same treatment as Ocarina of Time 3d. Just upgrading the graphics, changing the controls, and improving the inventory interface? If that truely is the case, then I'm not getting it.

I've already played the original Gamecube version multiple times, so what's the point in buying a slightly upgraded version if they are not going to add anything new?



Melkaticox said:

"And, quite honestly, those dungeons we removed we used in other games so we can't use them in this version!"
Well, I guess that's a much better excuse.

@bezerker99 I guess he means that, instead of being a remake ala Ocarina of Time 3D, it would be more like ALBW (let's be honest, ALBW is pretty much a reimagining of ALttP)



Jumpman said:

One things for sure, I'm gonna need the Giant's wallet to afford all of this Zelda goodness.



Aqueous said:

my favourite part of this was his comment on Majora's Mask, one of my favourites, if not my favourite.



3Daniel said:

Why the two month delay if they arent adding anything other then hd visuals, which arent as smooth and refined as the initial screenshots suggested and a speed up button for sailing? Total missed opportunity but that seems to be a running theme with nintendo.



Hetsumani said:

@Moose_4 6 weeks? How about day one DLC and season passes, they already have those damn things in mind before the completion of the "full" game. I hate it.



nomeacuerdo said:

A Modern-day Zelda sounds fantastic, something like Link being lured to a trap by Ganon, or a misfired spell, so Link ends up in the Modern day and has to find its way back to Hyrule. Or something like the two dimensions fusing (but that sounds pretty similar to Twilight Princess).

Anyway, sounds nice.



Epicnessofme99 said:

I would love to see Majora's Mask given the same treatment as Ocarina of Time with the updated textures and whatnot on 3DS. It's my favorite Legend of Zelda game.



DarkNinja9 said:

see its interviews like these that make you look at the developers different and how they think well least after there whole reveals and what we are shown on videos and stuff here we get to see the creative side which i like

only thing i didnt like was when you guys asked about zelda being playable <.< it should stay with link and link only jeez

as for majoras mask wow kinda gamers fault how we dont have one seems like we have set high hopes that they are kinda edgy/scared to remake it and if they add something new or extra that it might ruin it and ppl will hate it but i still think they should make one come on



krunchykhaos said:

@bezerker99 with a game like WW it has a different graphics scheme and it was easier to upgrade. MM can't be cell shaded and it is one of the classics so they would take extra care not to mess anything up. I would love a console remake of MM. The game pad would be so convenient



bbliksteen8 said:

I never had WW and seeing how its $45 used on amazon right now the HD remake is perfect for me. Those of you dissing DLC, if big N put out a "master quest" (remix the dungeons, mirror the world, move around overworld collectibles (I know that last one isn't actually in OoT MC but could be done easily)) as DLC for every Zelda game would you not buy it? As for controls I absolutely expect all control options to be used (motionPlus, Gamepad, and Pro Controller)



CowLaunch said:

I'd like a Shiek game, that explores what she was doing all that time in Ocarina.



JJtheTexan said:

HOLY BUCKETS a modern-day Zelda setting would be AWESOME. But with Final Fantasy XV taking that approach, it would just look derivative. That, and Hyrule seems permanently stuck in the same era, so most of the elements wouldn't really fit. But it might be nice to give Hyrule some sort of technological advances, like cars and planes or something.



Kirk said:

Please go with an advanced version of the Wind Waker toon-shading for the next Zelda game!

If you simply tweak the technique ever so slightly, so it really nails that toon-shaded look and style fully, make Link and the other characters the adult versions (like in Skyward Sword for example) and just add fully dynamic lighting and shadows to absolutely everything (still in that toon-shaded style of course), well...I think you'd have the most stunningly beautiful and timeless looking Zelda game ever made. One that in 50 years time would still hold up and look as beautiful as the day it was made.

No other 3D Zelda game has held up anywhere near as well as Wind Waker in terms of the artstyle and visuals, certainly not any of the more "realistic" Zelda games that actually now look quite fugly in places imo, so that's the general style and look I'd go for I were a smart designer.

Ignore anyone who thinks the more "realistic" visual approach is the way to go. They clearly don't understand great art at all and mistakenly think that using the latest graphics techniques and technologies of the day, things like bump mapping, specular highlights and bloom lighting etc, is what beautiful graphics are all about. Just ignore those people and go for it.

Once people see how stunning this artstyle can be when it's been fully realized in next-gen HD and taken to it's full potential, assuming you do it right and commit to nailing the look and style 100%, I know they will all be utterly blown away.

Trust me...



Yasume said:

Why is this game considered a remake if there aren't any differences in comparison with the original game? Seems like a straight up port to me. A must have for people who haven't played the GC version, but no reason for GC owners to blow €60,- on it again.



TimoteiWest said:

Reading up, I'd buy a remade Majora's Mask, a ported Skyward sword without motion controls ( the diagonal slashes would have to go I guess... most other puzzles could be amended to flicks of the stick left and right ) along with this Wind Waker port (it's not strictly speaking a remake is it ).

With all that said, I'm happy for Nintendo to 'plug the leak' for the moment, but I'd better have something to really keep my interest in late 2014 beyond online Smash Bros.

Oh, DLC? Look at Skyrim. Once the main quest is finished, NPCs sent you elsewhere or reused the existing world. It wouldn't be such a stretch for a new Zelda game to use those ideas.



shinpichu said:

No new dungeons? Well, there goes one reason I was looking forward to getting this.



HeatBombastic said:

I get baffled that people beg for Majora's Mask 3D, but complain about Ocarina of Time 3D. Shows how many individuals are Zelda fans.

I personally don't like the idea of MM3D. Critics said that the content in OoT3D wasn't worth getting over the $10 dollar virtual console version, even with the smoother 3D graphics and mobility.

I agree with them. Although Zelda fans(boys?) will flock over this one even more so than OoT3D. As all of us will struggle to afford these upcoming releases, I'll give my two-cents on this maniacal financial problem of ours (which has been here since the dawn of time if my lack of calculations are correct).

Buy what you want to buy.



bassoongoon said:

I agree with HeatBombastic on the remake. As long as I have OoT on VC I'll be happy.

This was an interesting interview!



mikeyman64 said:

Like if you're "hardcore" enough to make Majora's Mask one of your favorites!...
Wait, no Like on NL.

Loved this interview.

And to all those who want a Zelda-as-lead game: "Zelda's Adventure." Look it up.



ted-k said:

I agree with what some others here have said. This confirms I won't be getting WWHD. I just can't justify spending 60$ on a slightly ugraded version of a game I already have, which makes me kind of sad. I was really looking forward to an expanded Wind Waker with new content



TheAdrock said:

re: having Zelda at the protagonist...
I've had the thought for some time now that N could really mix up the story telling by having us play Zelda and Ganon and Link through different stages. Perhaps a young Ganon (pre-evil) where we get a better understanding of him as a character, not so much a one-dimensional "evil bad guy". Changing protagonists throughout the game could be interesting and expand the characterization. You're welcome Nintendo.



BlackStar9000 said:

@DrSlump Why not have both? look at New Luigi U, a full standalone title that is also DLC for a full Mario 2d game, THATS the way you make DLC, plus who wants to wait 4-5 yrs for each version of zelda or big Mario title? No one, and its affecting Nintendo sales because of these long development cycles.



unrandomsam said:

I don't mind waiting any amount of time. (Been waiting since the release of Super Mario World for something better than it and 3). I would rather them not bother if they cannot make something better and make something else.

They are just trying to a watered down version of what they did originally with the original Super Mario Bros. (In Japan).

Copying what other people do is what makes Nintendo decent what makes other manufactures games suck is what Nintendo seems trying to embrace.



xevious said:

Ok, the part about WW Remake doesn't sound too good tbh. I was hoping for the Remake to be a proper remake, with a lot of new content, fine tuned gameplay etc. instead of just a cosmetic upgrade. The original WW still looks amazing, there's no need for a remake, that focuses on improved visuals. I'm not going to buy this, unless there's enough new content...I still have a fully functional GameCube and WW to boot...



B3ND3R said:

@pikasaiyan98 You basically write a note, put it in a bottle, throw it into the ocean, then the note goes onto miiverse and into other people's games for them to find.



B3ND3R said:

@Yasume re-texturing, upgrading the gameplay to use the gamepad (it's incredibly useful), making the most out of the console's power (the game looks BEAUTIFUL), making use of the right-stick (incredibly easy to look around while moving), and making it load the entire world at once (as opposed to the world loading while you ride on your boat..). I'd say it is a remake...



J-Manix98 said:

Tingle bottle is stupid, why not just post a miiverse message?
how is this a replacement for the tingle tuner?



Gregor said:

@bezerker99 yeah. Ya know, like they put their "heart and soul" into Ocarina of Time 3D. Seriously all that game is is a bunch of retextures (that still aren't even that good, and look rather lazy when you do a comparison with the N64 version) and a boss rush mode. They REALLY could have done better.



Bassman_Q said:

I dunno about everyone else, but I REALLY hope they make a new, 3D Zelda game on the 3DS. I'm not all that excited for ALBW honestly, probably because I started playing Zelda in 3D before 2D, and OoT3D was just a remake of a game I have already played almost 3 times now.

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