Full Version: Famitsu Majora's Mask 3DS Eiji Aonuma Interview - Translated by Kewl0210
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Famitsu Majora's Mask 3DS Eiji Aonuma Interview - Translated by Kewl0210

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Majora's Mask - The Reasons for the Creation and Rebirth

It's been 14 years since the original release in 2000. After 14 years, under what sort of circumstances did development on the remake begin? We asked the Legend of Zelda series producer Mr. Aonuma Eiji about it as well as the original and the Wii U game announced at E3 2014.

Famitsu: First, would you tell us how you came to remake Majora's Mask?

Aonuma: We released The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D for the Nintendo 3DS and after that, when thinking about what to develop next, Miyamoto (Mr. Miyamoto Shigeru, the father of Mario, and The Legend of Zelda) brought up the point 'If we ported Majora's Mask to a mobile system where you could put it into sleep mode at any time, it would make for an even smoother experience than with the original, wouldn't it?'. But for me, I remembered developing Majora's Mask as a really difficult experience, so I thought that if we were going to do a remake, there would probably be some major changes so I said no at first (bitter laugh). 

Famitsu: So you didn't want to touch it? (Laugh).

Aonuma: However, when I started seriously thinking about giving the original a replay, I started to see what shape things could take to make Majora's Mask an easier game to play. So I talked with Grezzo, the makers of Ocarina of Time 3D, and then things officially got underway. When we were doing Ocarina of Time 3D, we had the goal of releasing it not long after the 3DS itself was first released, so the development was done in a considerable hurry, but this time, the development staff took their time to create what they intended to be 'A proper rebirth of Majoras Mask.' 

Famitsu: Were there many requests for a Majora's Mask remake?

Aonuma: I started hearing lots of requests for a remake of Majora's Mask as soon as development on it started. But even though we were making it, we couldn't announce it for a while, so I told myself to 'Just hang on' in my head over and over. But I also had a desire for everyone not to forget Majora's Mask, so I did things like put a Majora's Mask in A Link Between Worlds and in a summer greeting card I put a pattern of Link wearing Majora's Mask. I gave everyone a hidden message containing the idea 'I can't talk about it, but the truth is we're making it!' (Laughs).

Famitsu: Could you please tell us about the points you changed and points you thought about changing in this remake?

Aonuma: When we were developing the original version, we were making it only 1 year after developing Ocarina of Time, so it was a fairly rigorous state of affairs (Bitter laugh). Because of those conditions, while we had made Ocarina of Time with a spirit of hospitality, with Majora's mask we balanced it with the idea of hitting the players with the challenge of 'Will the people that played Ocarina of Time be able to handle this?'. We ended up making it with the pretense of the player having already played Ocarina of time, but for the 3DS version we wanted players who were playing a Legend of Zelda game for the first time to be able to enjoy it. On a fundamental level, we changed the places that didn't have any sort of explanation, we made puzzles that would take players repeating them a few times to understand a bit more comprehensible, and for deeper play we we changed the structure it was introduced with.

Famitsu: The fundamentals like the three-day system and the being able to follow the actions of one person while you're also able to see the actions of another person haven't been changed, right? 

Aonuma: No, those are unchanged. We haven't made the game simpler. In order to prevent players from being thrown into 'I don't know what I should do' situations, we haven't given hints, but rather put in a system to make more mechanisms more noticeable. I can't be too concrete about it yet, though... Also, the boss battles have changed. In the remake, when you see those bosses again after so long, I expect players to say 'How do I beat this?!' (Laughs).

Famitsu: I had a lot of fun with those back then (Laughs).

Aonuma: I think they were enjoyable, but if you attacked the bosses recklessly without knowing exactly where their weak points are, you would find yourself defeated before you knew it... That sort of thing (Laughs). So while we haven't changed what the bosses weak-points are, we've given visual indicators so the player knows 'It looks like I need to aim here' so they're more focused on how they attack that weak point. 

Famitsu: So for example, what about making the graphics look nicer and adding gyro functionality? 

Aonuma: Well the graphics are a given, and we were using Ocarina of Time 3D as a base, so it would also be following Ocarina of Time 3D's gyro functions. We also gained some know-how from developing A Link Between Worlds, and made touch management and such more pleasant. 

Famitsu: What about support for the New Nintendo 3DS that launched a few days ago? 

Aonuma: There won't be any graphical differences for the people playing on the 3DS or the New Nintendo 3DS. Regarding how play will change on the New Nintendo 3DS, I'll be discussing that at another time, so please wait for it.

Famitsu: Are there any other newly added elements you can talk about right now?

Aonuma: You can go fishing! I'm not sure if you'll have time to fish in the world of Majora's Mask... one might say (Laughs). But we've added a fishing hole. Two of them, in fact. You might be able to fish up some pretty incredible things, so I hope you look forward to it.

Famitsu: So with the moon slowly falling down on you, you go fishing (Laughs)?

Aonuma: That's right. I wanted to give the players a feeling like 'I know the world is about to end and I'm going fishing! I'm a badass!' (Laughs).

Famitsu: While we have you here, would you tell us some stories about what happened during the development of the Nintendo 64 version?

Aonuma: Majora's Mask was originally planned for the 64DD, which was going to go the way of being a "Master Quest" version of Ocarina of Time. We were actually going to leave the Ocarina of Time dungeons structures as they were and just change the puzzles around but I thought 'Making new dungeons would be faster and more interesting' so it ended up as something completely different (Bitter laugh).

Famitsu: Huh? So you decided that on your own?

Aonuma: Yes. All on my own (Laughs). Once I had gotten the idea somewhat formed, I showed it to Miyamoto and told him that that's what I wanted to do, and we had planned for the "Zelda Master Quest" to be done in about one year, so he said 'Okay, I'm only giving you one year, so if you think you can make a new Zelda in that time, you're free to give it a try'. 

Famitsu: A new Zelda in one year?!

Aonuma: Crazy, right? (Laughs) Even if we used elements from Ocarina of Time, it took over 3 years to make Ocarina of Time, so no matter what we did the game was going to have a smaller volume. But we knew the users wouldn't be satisfied with it being smaller, so when we started talking about how we needed 'some clever idea', Koizumi (Mr. Koizumi Yoshiaki, the director of Super Mario Galaxy among others. As well as co-director on Majora's Mask with Mr. Aonuma) came along and talked about the movie "Run Lola Run" that was popular at the time. 

Famitsu: That's a movie were a girl named Lola has to repeat the same time over and over again and the story would develop a little at a time, right?

Aonuma: Yes, that's right. Then Koizumi suggested 'What if we made something like this into a game?'. Using the concept of "time", if you played in the same places and enjoyed the same events over and over, we thought you might be able to create an entertaining game by giving it depth, rather than breadth. The three-day system came out of that. Though in the original plan we had a system where you would repeat an entire week.

Famitsu: A week! That's really long!

Aonuma: I know, right (Laughs). Also, we eventually realized that going with that plan we wouldn't be able to finish development in the 1-year time-frame (Bitter laugh). So we decided on the three-day system which would have a beginning, middle, and end.

Famitsu: I'd like to ask a little about the new Legend of Zelda game for Wii U you announced at E3 this year. There was quite a reaction, wouldn't you say?

Aonuma: Everyone did this (Snaps fingers) (Bitter laugh). Many people said it was 'beautiful'. When we were pondering over what kind of art style to use for this new vast Zelda world, we discussed quite a lot before we settled on what we have... Rather than stressing realism and trying to make it look like the real world, we created something never before seen, yet seen in the past. That art style inspired by Japanese animation. Now it's becoming something even more incredible than what we showed at E3!

Famitsu: There was a giant enemy in the video you showed.

Aonuma: That's an enemy that will run towards you while firing a laser, but I'll bet you've never played a game with an enemy that chases you so fast that you have to take down while fleeing on a horse before. In the Wii U game, we are trying to get people to ask 'What would I do to defeat an enemy like this?'. And at E3, we gave everyone a tiny glimpse of that. We also have the theme of "revising the things that are a given in Zelda games", so we'll be trying to change a lot of standards. We're really at the trial and error stage right now, but we're already seeing the sort of characteristic things that can make this huge seamless world feel like "Zelda". I think we'll be able to show you some new things at next year's E3.

Famitsu: I'll be looking forward to it! Majora's Mask had a system that was never seen before at the time, so before the Wii U version comes out we're already getting a taste of that sort of novelty, huh?

Aonuma: Yes. In Majora's Mask 3D, with idea of how to use your three days, we've added touches so you have a lot of different materials given to you. There's something new to discover every time you play the three days, it's easier to play that sort of repetition than in the original version, to the point where you could call the contents of this game the "Director's Cut". I'm a bit nervous about whether people will still have an interest in this kind of unique difficult-to-understand game, but we've created it with the intention of it being a game unlike any you an experience elsewhere. So I'd be delighted if you took this chance to experience it. Also, I think there are some connections to the play-taste of the upcoming Wii U Zelda, so please play this first!
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