Old visitors of our forum probably remember that some time ago i posted an old scan that had an interview with Tezuka and Miyamoto, where they talked about the development of Ocarina Of Time. The most interesting part of the chat was the acknowledgement of the Ocarina of Time original fps project:
Today we have some more infos about it: in the new “Iwata Ask” on the official Wii website, today they talked about the development of “Link’s Crossbow Training”, with a couple of beta-confessions. Here are the best parts:
Iwata: (laughs) For now, rather than hearing too much about the details of the game, I’d like to ask you what sort of image you had in mind when creating Link’s Crossbow Training.
Miyamoto: I see. Well, where should I start? I’ve always been into first person shooter3 (FPS) style games, 3D games in which you can walk around freely and see things from your own point of view.
Iwata: And why do you like those games?
Miyamoto: […] At first when we were developing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I even proposed using a first-person perspective.
Iwata: Ocarina of Time from a first-person perspective!?
Miyamoto: I thought that might surprise you! (laughs) I thought that the FPS system would be the best way of enabling players to take in the vast terrain of the Hyrule Field. Besides, by not having the player’s character on the screen, we can spend more time and machine power on creating enemies and the environments.
Iwata: During the Nintendo 64 era you had to keep hardware limitations in mind, didn’t you?
Miyamoto: Well, although I had originally planned to make a game with a first-person perspective, the idea of having a child Link in the game was born, and then it became necessary for the hero to be seen on the screen.
Iwata: I see. So, if the hero isn’t visible on screen, it’s really hard to tell the difference between adult Link and the child Link, right?
Miyamoto: That, and also the fact that it’s a total waste not to have Link visible on screen when he is so cool looking! (laughs) So, we decided to have the hero visible in Ocarina of Time, but I had always thought that FPS games which you could operate from your own perspective were really interesting, so I was proactively supporting such projects like the 007 GoldenEye game.
Iwata: So what made you decide to use Zelda in the creation of an FPS bridge-building game?
Miyamoto: Well, once we finished the Ocarina of Time, we decided to make Majora’s Mask4 as a kind of side story.
Iwata: Oh right, I remember that. When I first heard of the idea for Link’s Crossbow Training it really reminded me of Majora’s Mask. I remember thinking that it was aiming to make use of the game world and game system of Twilight Princess in a different setting.
Miyamoto: Yeah, that’s true. The terrain created for Twilight Princess was vast. And honestly, I really thought there was more we could do with it. Those sort of sentiments always cross our minds in video game development though…(smiles).
Miyamoto: So, after we finished with the development of Twilight Princess, I talked to the staff about whether or not we could do a side story. With a big series like Zelda, we usually only release a new version every 3-5 years, but we thought it would be great to make something for those people that really enjoyed Twilight Princess where they’d be able to keep playing in the same world. I think it’s important for players to be able to play new games at a fairly fast pace.
Iwata: well, at the beginning of the project, even I sensed an air of disagreement, or at least a lack of understanding, amongst some of the staff.
Miyamoto: which is why I proposed to them that we make a working prototype and ask our test players to play and let us know their impressions. If they told us that it wasn’t fun, we’d stop development right there.
Iwata: And what was the reaction of the test players?
Miyamoto: It was great. Nintendo of America got together a group including a number of die-hard Zelda fans, but none of them said; ‘What? This isn’t Zelda!?’, and they started really enjoying the game, and we knew that it was a go. After that, we received daily reports on the product that allowed us to tweak aspects of it as we continued working on it.
Miyamoto: so we figured that Link was the logical choice. Then we argued that it would’ve been kind of strange for us to give Link a gun, so I proposed a sort of Terminator style story about a time warp from the future, but…
Miyamoto: Yeah, they vetoed that idea immediately (laughs). You remember the Hidden Village in Twilight Princess? Well, I personally love that spaghetti western-like setting, and we re-created the scene because we wanted people to be able to find joy in FPS games. I also thought that if you were able to use the Wii Zapper with it, it would be even more fun. So we finally decided to give Link a crossbow, but the problem then became what to do about rapid-fire capabilities (smiling). Shooting a gun in machine gun style rapid-fire is really satisfying, but having a crossbow that was able to shoot rapid-fire seemed a little unrealistic. But in the end we kind of decided, well, it’s really just for fun, so whatever, and we gave it rapid-fire capabilities. (laughs)
You can read the complete interview in here.
At least this Zelda FPS concept was not completely unseen: they used it to make the “first person view” in Zelda: OoT, when Link uses the bow / slingshot / etc. Anyway, an interesting chat from them, it always warms our heart when Miyamoto talks about beta Zelda.
There are even some images from prototypes of the Wii Zapper.. exciting, if you are in this kinda fetish stuff.