The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess wasn’t always as we know it today. Originally, it was in development as a sequel to the GameCube title Wind Waker. Such a game was announced in 2004 shortly after Wind Waker’s release, but Nintendo was forced to go in another direction.
This news comes from an interview with art director Satoru Takizawa in The Legend of Zelda: Art & Artifacts, a new companion book to the 2013 Hyrule Historia. The book is out now in Japan as Hyrule Graphics but doesn’t release worldwide until February 2017.
In the interview, as translated by Nintendo Everything, Takizawa says Wind Waker 2 was going to be set on land, rather than the original’s more sea-based adventuring. Being on land, Link would have ridden his trusted mighty steed Epona to travel. However, Toon Link’s condensed proportions didn’t work on horseback, and an adult Link wouldn’t have worked with the style.
“So, while we were stuck on those problems,” Takizawa explains, “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.”
Hey, The Lord of the Rings movies affected us all, pal.
So with their more realistically proportioned Link in mind, Nintendo brought on Yusuke Nakano to design him. Thus, Twilight Princess was born. A contrast to Wind Waker, Twilight Princess ended up a much darker game, more in line with Ocarina of Time as Takizawa suggested. It was received well at the time but simply didn’t meet that classic status like Ocarina, Majora’s Mask, or Wind Waker.
I, for one, could have done with a Wind Waker sequel. While I liked Twilight Princess, I really enjoy lighter Zelda games. Plus, Wind Waker has such a sophisticated, likeable Link.
I rest my case.