Mike Salbato
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is Nearly Done
Producer Eiji Aonuma talks about wrapping up development and how Skyward Sword's setting is not typical Zelda fare.
07.01.11 - 12:44 AM

Good news! The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is technically complete, save for fine-tuning and localization into several languages. As we wait for its "holiday" release, the game's producer, Eiji Aonuma shared a decent amount of information on the game with Famitsu in a recent interview.

Fair warning: Minor early-game spoilers will follow.

Still reading? Okay, good. Skyward Sword looks to be changing some of the series' tried-and-true devices. For starters, Aonuma describes the plot as being told similar to a school drama. Link, Zelda, and their friends all attend the same boarding school in the city of Skyloft. While there is a mainland below this floating city, nobody in Skyloft is aware of it. At least, not until Zelda goes missing (okay, maybe some things never change) and Link has to venture beneath the clouds to find her on his trusty avian companion. Oddly similar to Avatar, Skyloft people each have their own bird mount, with Link being unique in having the only crimson-hued one, which seems to draw more attention to him than maybe he'd like.

Speaking of Zelda, she's attending school now? With Link? That's right: for once Zelda is not a princess, but a childhood friend of our hero. So you can be forgiven if - like me - you looked right at Zelda and didn't realize it. In keeping with the school drama, one of Link and Zelda's less-than-heroic classmates is interested in the not-princess, so we can no doubt expect a rivalry there.

Interestingly enough, Aonuma compares Skyward Sword's Skyloft to The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask's Clock Town, in that you'll be revisiting the city as the game progresses, with the townsfolk being active players in the events of the game.

One thing that is changing this time is the kind of items you'll acquire when playing. There will be classic Zelda items to be sure, but this time around, both Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto felt that players shouldn't have to wait until late in the game to enjoy the newer stuff, as was often the case in past titles. Because of this, we can expect to see new items earlier in the adventure than we might expect.

Shifting focus to the bad guys of the world, Aonuma sheds a little bit of light on a major character we saw at E3, who must be seen, not simply described: Ghiraham. Aonuma compares Ghiraham in a way to Ocarina of Time's Dark Link, in that he can easily predict Link's moves in battle, meaning flailing about and hoping to land a killing blow isn't advisable. Indeed, having witnessed several people play this battle incorrectly at E3 2011, it's safe to say there will certainly be a degree of strategy involved in taking down Ghiraham, and the game's other bosses.

The last question posed about villains was that of Ganon, and if we'll see Zelda's most important villain in the game. While Aonuma deftly avoided a direct answer, he does explain that Skyward Sword details the birth of the legendary Master Sword, and how Ganondorf came to be. It seems there will be some clear connections to Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which is quite good timing, given the recent release of Ocarina of Time 3D.

Despite the game being complete - save for Aonuma and Miyamoto's fine-tuning - it's the lengthy process of multiple localizations that will eat up the next several months, since the goal is to release in as many languages/territories as possible simultaneously. As Aonuma specifically mentioned the non-English localizations are proceeding, some of us might be wondering what Nintendo of America's localization teams are indeed up to - but then, it's not like there's any major RPGs that we're hoping to see leave Japan, right?

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is due for release this holiday season for the Wii.


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