Nintendo Discusses Inspiration Behind Midna’s Design

With The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC Pack 1: The Master Trials a mere three days away, Nintendo has begun a series of blog posts highlighting the latest additions to Link’s equipment. Today’s entry should be of particular interest to anyone visiting this site, as it’s all about you-know-who.

Art Director Satoru Takizawa not only discusses the function of Midna’s helmet in Breath of the Wild, but he also sheds more light on the process of designing the Twilight Princess herself. Seriously, it’s brief, but fascinating stuff. Give it a read after the jump!

Hello. I’m Takizawa, Art Director of The Legend of Zelda™: Breath of the Wild.

In DLC Pack 1: The Master Trials, players can find Midna’s Helmet in one of the chests hidden in the world (this DLC is only available through the purchase of the Expansion Pass).

Midna appeared in the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess game for Wii™ and Nintendo GameCube™, and she played an important role as Link’s partner. On the Wolf Link amiibo™ figure (which was released alongside the Wii U remake of the game, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD), she’s perching on Wolf Link.

Creating a “buddy” character who would stay next to Link at all times and battle in tandem with him was a first for a Legend of Zelda game. The challenge started with brainstorming among designers for ideas, and we eventually finalized this character through a trial-and-error process for her shape, facial expressions, actions, etc.

In early prototypes, as a placeholder for Midna, Tetra from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was riding on Wolf Link as he ran around Hyrule.


How does Midna show emotion? We fine-tuned her facial expressions over and over

There was a secret project we were considering working on before The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for Wii, and Midna inherited the character profile for the “goblin/devilkin” character that would have been featured in that project. Looking back at the development notes from that time, there are some descriptions left on the notes clearly reminiscent of Midna, including “the appearance looks like a monster or a child,” “can’t tell if she’s enemy or ally,” “can’t really tell what she’s thinking,” “sometimes selfish, but sometimes cute and naïve.” That’s why initial design sketches for Midna looked a lot like this “goblin” character.


Initial design still a lot of that “goblin” feel.

The actual Midna’s Helmet was the physical manifestation of extremely powerful shadow magic passed onto the royal family of an alternate world, but when Link equips it in the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game, it will add “Guardian Resist Up” to Link’s defense. This will give Link more armor options when facing Guardians, so I hope you will utilize it well. My recommendation is to use this Helmet while exploring the world with Wolf Link!

Tomorrow, Ms. Shirakawa who worked on the game design will passionately talk about the outfit of 35-year-old man who wanted to be a fairy.

The most meaningful revelation among this is something I’d wondered about for years — the fact that Midna’s earliest designs were carried over from a secret, non-Zelda game. Given how alien she looks compared to the rest of the series’ inhabitants — not to mention how she took top billing from Link — you’ve got to wonder: was she originally intended to have her own solo game? You know, it’s not too late, Nintendo!

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One thought on “Nintendo Discusses Inspiration Behind Midna’s Design

  1. Both her helmet and the Guardians are based on Jomon pottery, so it symbolically makes sense to have an effect that’s related.

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