Before the likes of Midna and Wolf Link were even ideas, Nintendo had planned on following The Wind Waker up with a direct sequel. Even as late as GDC 2004 — just a few months before Twilight Princess’s famous E3 2004 reveal trailer — Wind Waker 2 was still planned as the next major Zelda installment.
Although the Legend of Zelda: Arts and Artifacts art book won’t release stateside until Feb. 21, it’s been available in Japan as Hyrule Graphics for several months. Thanks to the folks over at Nintendo Everything, the section regarding Wind Waker 2’s short-lived development has been translated. Head past the jump to read the full details from artist Satoru Takizawa.
Realistic Link came back four years after Wind Waker in Twilight Princess, which was released on GameCube and Wii. The pendulum returned again to the realistic direction, but what kind of circumstances resulted in it?
Takizawa: To tell you the truth, we had begun the initial steps towards creating Wind Waker 2 around that time. However, demand for a more Ocarina-like game was growing by the day. We did our very best with Wind Waker, and put everything we had into it…
Takizawa: However, Wind Waker 2 would have taken place in a more land-based setting, rather than on the sea, so that we could have Link gallop across the land on a horse. But Link’s proportions in Wind Waker weren’t very well suited for riding on horseback, he was too short, and an adult version of Toon Link did not seem appropriate either. So, while we were stuck on those problems, we became aware of the greater demand for a more realistic, taller Link. High-budget live-action fantasy movies were also huge at the time, so with all things considered, we decided to have at it. I was on board with the project as art director, and started off by bringing [Yusuke] Nakano on to do the design for Link.
So the project began with Mr. Nakano’s Link as the basis?
Takizawa: He had joined after the graphics testing process, when we were trying to figure out the game’s “product-level visual identity”. I think that was the first time we had ever brought him on during that part of development.
Nakano: Yes. That was the first time for an internally developed Zelda game.