Hyrule Warriors is now just weeks away from release in the West, a title that stunned fans upon its reveal in December 2013 and is eagerly anticipated as a rare spin-off to The Legend of Zelda. Its shock factor when revealed was down to its key feature — it's a crossover of the Dynasty Warriors and Zelda franchises, with the former driving much of the core gameplay. Koei Tecmo has been in the privileged position of taking one of Nintendo's most beloved franchises in a new direction.
While it's tempting to conclude that this balance between the two franchises was always the plan once the project was agreed, that was evidently not the case. In an interview with Legend of Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma and Koei Tecmo's Yosuke Hayashi to be published on Nintendo Life later today, the key role of Shigeru Miyamoto in that fundamental design decision is made clear. Aonuma-san said the following.
At first, when Hayashi-san approached me, he wanted to make this title closer to a Zelda game than a Dynasty Warriors game — that extended to having boss battles in the dungeons and [having] certain characters in the game. However, Mr. Miyamoto came along and up-ended the tea table, saying, “No, that should not be the case. What we’re doing here is grafting Zelda onto the Dynasty Warriors experience.” It was a reversal of the original proposal from Hayashi-san, which was adding elements of Dynasty Warriors onto the Zelda franchise. It ended up being the other way around based on Miyamoto’s direction.
When asked further regarding the challenge of blending the two franchises together, Hayashi-san explained that including enough Zelda content to remain faithful to the series was a key task, while also ensuring the experience felt new and unique.
This relates a bit to when Mr. Miyamoto stepped in to overturn the tea table. It was really trying to strike that balance of making a game that Zelda fans will enjoy that is different from a typical Zelda game, that has enough elements that people will enjoy but also not losing Zelda fans. We ourselves are Zelda fans as well, so we had to ask ourselves the question of what is it that makes a Zelda game, and how many of those elements do we need to include. Up until the very end, we kept adding different elements to the game until we struck a balance that we were happy with.
With a sizeable cast that boasts a range of unique move-sets, along with locations and scenarios instantly recognisable to Zelda fans, Hyrule Warriors certainly achieves a degree of that fusion that Koei Tecmo targeted. The balance of utilising Dynasty Warriors gameplay and mechanics as the core aspect, it seems, is courtesy of a high-level decision by Shigeru Miyamoto.
Let us know what you think of this in the comments below, and be sure to check out the full interview in which we discuss Hyrule Warriors in detail.