At their E3 2011 unveiling of their newfangled console, the Wii U, Nintendo showcased an impressive tech demo for a mysterious Zelda title, showing a meticulously rendered Link entering a beautiful cathedral, awash in light-shafts, crisp textures and a particularly large arachnid. It was jaw-dropping stuff, the true-to-life art style a stark difference from the painterly Skyward Sword. However, according to Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma, whether they decide to make a Wii U Zelda title or not, it's not certain it'll look like that.
"You probably remember that when we introduced the GameCube, we showed a somewhat realistic Zelda demo," remarks Aonuma in an interview with Wired. Back in 2000, Nintendo showed off a remarkable - at the time - next-gen demonstration of an upcoming Zelda title running on the Gamecube. Then, three years later, Nintendo released Wind Waker, its cel-shaded, fanciful visuals a far cry from the 2000 demo. "So when we show a graphic demo, people think, ‘Oh, this is what the next Zelda will look like,’ but that’s not necessarily the case," Aonuma adds.
Aonuma and his team are hard at work finalizing Skyward Sword, the Wii's second Zelda title which has been in development for over five years now. Knee-deep in production, the Zelda team had no part in the Wii U demo shown off last month, but Aonuma reveals Twilight Princess art director, Satoru Takizawa, was involved. Which makes sense; the Wii U demo resembled a next-gen Twilight Princess boosted up to 1080p.
While he wasn't involved in that particular showing, Aonuma played a big part in the making of the Wii U console itself. He reveals he assisted in the "general steering and direction" of the console, especially the new HD visuals it offers, with Aonuma providing Zelda assets to the graphics team for analysis.
I think it's pretty obvious once Skyward Sword is in the bag and the Zelda team have taken a well-deserved break, they'll settle in at their desks and begin work on another epic Zelda production; this time for the Wii U. The console's newfangled controller offers the team a wealth of new opportunities to innovate and expand the Zelda brand, with the tech demo showing a player consulting the controller's screen for map and inventory cues. Might we see this feature in the next Zelda game? "I’d like to do things that are more surprising than that," joked Aonuma. [Wired]