One of Nintendo’s most anticipated games of the year may be getting a release date very soon. Eiji Aonuma, a Manager/Producer of software at Nintendo, told 1UP that development on The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword is complete.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was originally announced at E3 2009 with a release date of 2010 but was pushed back due to difficulties in the development cycle. It seems as though Nintendo is hoping to take a different approach to the game without making sacrifices to core gameplay mechanics.
“The whole game is complete, and we’re fine-tuning the balance right now,” Aonuma said. “We were going to have it wholly done by around E3, but there’s so much volume to it, neither I nor [Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto] have gotten to fully play out every aspect.”
In fact they are so far along that they have already begun localization and are pulling for a worldwide release.
“The non-English localizations are proceeding along now, and we’re trying to make this a simultaneous worldwide release. You have to put Zelda all out at once or else the story’s going to get spoiled — although, really, there’s a ton to enjoy here even if you know a little about the story beforehand,” explained Aonuma.
And while news of an impending release date is exciting in its own right, Aonuma also hinted at some of the story’s finer points in an issue of Famitsu magazine last week. Check it out below.
This time around Zelda is not a Princess. Instead she is Link’s childhood friend. “She’s not a princess this time,” Aonuma said, “which is something I’ll pretty much have to put forth right now in order to talk about this title. She’s a childhood friend, but she goes away in the midst of the game and it’s Link’s job to search for her.”
Although Zelda not being a Princess is very different from every other Legend of Zelda title, the game still follows the same path. “The game starts in Skyloft, this city that’s floating in the air, and you’ll come back to this town multiple times,” Aonuma said. “Things are always proceeding along in town, and in that respect it’s very much like Majora’s Mask. Like with Majora, there are a lot of game events involving the townspeople that get intertwined with the main story. Link, Zelda and their other friends all go to the same boarding school, and you’ve got teachers and a principal as well. It’s a bit of a different setting from previous Zeldas.”
Aonuma and his team wanted to make it a point to give the player awesome items from the get-go. So instead of waiting until much later in the game to get that amazing item, you may actually get it earlier this time around. “With previous Zeldas,” he said, “the common pattern was that the really neat items wouldn’t show up until later on in the game. You need to have the basic item set or it wouldn’t be Zelda, so the new items tended to get shunted to the latter part of the game. [Shigeru] Miyamoto said that had to change, like ‘This is neat, let’s bring it out from the start.’ So a lot of neat new items will show up pretty early on.”
Instead of a horse, which has become the norm in the Legend of Zelda games, you will now have a bird. Every person who inhabits Skyloft has a bird as a means for transportation. But, Link has a very special bird: “It’s the custom for each person to have one bird. Link has a red one, and it’s actually a special and very rare breed of bird — which is something that makes him get picked on, like ‘Why do you get this fancy bird and we don’t?!’ But it turns out that you need that red bird in order to access the mainland. So the hand of fate gets involved here, like it always does in Zelda games sooner or later,” Aonuma explained.
Lastly it seems as though Ganon, or Ganadorf, will not be the main antagonist this time around. Skyward Sword is the earliest title in the Legend of Zelda time line and explains the history of the Master Sword. Aonuma explained that Ganon had not risen to power at this point in the time line, just as Zelda has not become a Princess yet. Aonuma goes on to explain: “This game talks about the birth of the Master Sword, and it touches on why Ganondorf showed up. If you play it, I think you’ll get some understanding on that. It connects to Ocarina, so if you play Ocarina of Time 3D and move on to this game, I think you’ll catch on to a lot of things.”
This is all pretty exciting for Zelda fans and hopefully it won’t be too long now before we see an official release date. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more.