It's been over twenty years now since the release of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but it's interesting to look back at the state of the Zelda series around the time of its release. In many ways, A Link to the Past was the first true sequel to the original Legend of Zelda, after Zelda II: The Adventure of Link went on a bit of a tangent with its gameplay structure. An old interview with Miyamoto from before the game's Western launch recently received a translation from Shmuplations, giving interesting insight into the game's development.
For one thing, it seems that the game was originally planned to be a launch title for the Super Famicom; Miyamoto mentioned how the game was originally in development alongside Super Mario World:
We started making the game at the same time as Super Mario World. Even back when we first unveiled the Super Nintendo at the company in July, 1989, our plan had always been to develop and release the game alongside Mario. We had wanted to make it a launch title for the SFC, too. We had been hoping to release it in March, but it got delayed to the summer vacation, and, in the end, it came out for the SFC's 1 year anniversary. (laugh)
Later on, a question was asked regarding the kinds of cut ideas that didn't make it into the final release, some of which eventually went on to appear in future Zelda games:
One idea was with the lantern: if you used it on a grassy area, it would cause a huge brushfire. If you cut a little circle of grass around you, you could safely stand there in the middle of it! In swamp areas, you could use a shovel to dig a ditch, and then it you bombed the swamp breakwater it would cause the water to rush into the hole you'd dug. That idea was actually half-complete… if we'd had another 6 months, we might have been able to make it a reality.
Interestingly enough, Miyamoto also talked about an original vision for an "open-ended" Zelda, but the SNES didn't have enough memory to meet their standards. It's fascinating, as what he talks about sounds a lot like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
We did include alternate paths/solutions for players that are easier, though. Originally, the system in Zelda we envisioned was more open-ended: for example, if there was a rock blocking your way, you could safely ignore it and keep playing: there was always another way around. I wanted something that players could get so lost in, it would take them a whole year to finish. The problem with making an "open-ended" version of Zelda like that was the messaging and plotline. If you ignore structure like that, then the plotline can quickly get screwy and NPC messages start to not make sense. Programming in enough logic to handle all the different possibilities probably would have required about 150% more memory than we had.
You can find the full interview here; it's a fascinating read, especially with the knowledge of the series that we have now.
What do you think? What was your favorite part of A Link to the Past? How would you compare it to other Zelda games? Drop us a comment in the section below.
What's Japanese for 'screwy'?
Don't worry, Shigs, it takes me a whole year to finish a Zelda game anyway.
Best game on the SNES.
Sounds like he wanted the game to be Breath of the Wild: SNES Edition.
I guess his dream is finally becoming a reality, 25 years later.
A Link to the Past featuring A Link To The Past.
@Kevlar44 Second best game on the SNES because Super Metroid holds that title.
Definitely in the top 2 or 3 Zelda games, and still enjoyable today - 25 years later. Huge game for it's time too. Still have childhood memories of playing this one.
De Javu ? XD
@Kevlar44 super metroid
Top 5 of all Zelda games
Ha!!! Zelda always being delayed even way back when,lol.
"If you ignore structure like that, then the plotline can quickly get screwy "
And that's still a problem in modern "open" games. "The fate of the ENTIRE WORLD LIES IN PERIL!" "Yeah, yeah, I'll get to it. Maybe. I've got to beat 35 masters of this random dice game around the world first though."
Loved this game. At the time, however, I even felt that it got a bit too long between story elements. 7 "Levels" before getting to the final felt like too much. I think they were all pretty awesome, but that I just wanted something else to do or see in between.
Anyway, it was amazing.
As far as the best game on SNES (by Nintendo), the thing about Super Metroid is that the length was perfect. The game never lost its urgency (except for one slow segment trudging through the water) or excitement and went out with a bang. Super Mario World bores me a bit now, but at the time I also thought it was perfectly balanced and super fun to find all the secret paths. Mario Kart was the other one but hard to compare.
So many new and fun ideas in Link to the Past, though. It was really quite incredible, especially after Link's Adventure was such a departure. It made Link to the Past feel like a huge leap because it was more directly related to the original NES Zelda which was obviously much more limited (also an almost perfect game, but I digress)
I love that Miyamoto-heika is able to see his dreams come to fruition on current hardware. Although, I can't imagine his frustration back then.
ALttP is still my first love. As such still my favorite in the series.
I bought A Link to the Past back in the day, brand new for £30 in Dunnes stores hardware. I remember having the map spread across my bed as I tried to get from place to place in the game.
Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the greatest memories and times I've had as a gamer.
Fave part? The whole game.
Never owned it, kid in the neighbourhood lent it to us.
...I even wrote the story at school to notebook on 2nd grade where we had to write stories (writing practise).. and when teacher asked if I had copied the story somewhere, I just bluntly lied that no (I guess names like Zelda, Ganon and Link gave it away.. not that she knew wwhere it was from but no Finnish 8-yr-old in the time with no internet comes up with such a names) XD
OH BUT THERE IS ONE OF THE WORST ZELDAENEMIES EVER!
I HATE YOU MOLDROM! YOU AND YOUR RANDOM PATTERNS!
:...otherwise I love, love, love, love that game and it is really sharing 1st place with OoT. And WW.
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