The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword director Hidemaro Fujibayashi thinks the latest game gives the player more reason to care about saving the day.
“Something that always gives me trouble when I’m working on Zelda is the fact that, although the point of his adventure is always to save Princess Zelda, that seems more and more contrived the further away Zelda is from Link in terms of relationship,” Fujibayashi said in a post-mortem interview with Famitsu, as translated by 1UP.
“It’s like you see this girl for just a moment and you’re supposed to want to rescue her because she’s probably a princess or something.
“One of the themes here was to figure out how to really make the player think ‘I want to save her!’ instead of just making him do so as part of the story progression.”
The director said the story would “drag” if Nintendo had devoted time to building a relationship, so took the comparatively quick and easy childhood friend route.
Once this central relationship is established, Nintendo uses Zelda to pull the player along more intimately than in previous games.
“In previous games once you were separated from Zelda, you really didn’t see her again until the very end of the game. That makes it harder to keep the player motivated through the whole adventure,” Fujibayashi explained.
“We’ve tried to make it easier to care for Zelda in this game, but that won’t be enough to keep the player going to the end, so you also have several near-misses with Zelda throughout the game. We tried to have it so you miss Zelda only by the slimmest of margins – you have enemies like Ghirahim saying things like ‘Zelda’s right on the other side of this door.'”
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is out now, exclusively for Wii.