The Main Characters

Posted By at 10:31 PM on Monday February 4, 2013

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The text and design sketches on this page are taken from pages 18 to 21 of the Zelda Box guidebook, released in Japan in 2002. The sketches are preserved for posterity in a gallery of official Wind Waker art maintained by History of Hyrule.

The Developers Discuss Link

Aonuma: You could say that one of the features of Wind Waker Link is his facial expressions. Their inclusion stemmed from our decision to use cel-shading, but that doesn’t mean it was just a matter of technology. We put them in intentionally.

Ever since the first Zelda game, you see, Link has been portrayed as a hero. You could almost say he resembled an honors student. When it came to the Wind Waker, however, I wanted a sense of liveliness to be at the heart of the character. This Link’s supposed to be about 12 years old, and instead of imbuing him with the wisdom you might expect to find in an honors student, I wanted to create a Link that put a lot of energy into solving problems and getting out of the sticky situations he found himself in.

Having his sister get kidnapped and forcing him to rescue her is just another way to express the character’s perseverance. When the person he’s closest to runs into trouble, his only thoughts are “I have to do something!” I was thinking of using an event like that to trigger the start of the story, so it was really Link himself that fueled the creation of Aryll.

In past games, the curtain has opened on a variety of mysterious events, such as Link awakening to a strange voice, or suddenly discovering a crest on the back of his hand. This time, I decided to put an end to these strange circumstances and start off with a regular little boy doing his best to save his sister. I wanted to express the power of Link running reckless in order to achieve his goals.

The Developers Discuss Tetra & Zelda

Aonuma: We knew from the very beginning that Tetra and Zelda were going to be the same person. This time around, the princess doesn’t appear at the start of the game. I wanted to build up to it, with experienced Zelda players going through the story wondering where the princess had gone, only to realize “Oh, it was her all along.”

The origin of the name Tetra is the Greek word for “four”. The “tri” in “Triforce” means “three”, so we picked the name because it signified one more than that. Perhaps that’s why her mother chose that name for her.

Tetra’s mother died when she was little, so Tetra herself has no idea that she’s actually Zelda. But her mother told her a number of things. You can visit Tetra’s room in the game, and inside you find a picture of the Master Sword. Tetra’s mother told her to find it, but not even Tetra knows what it will mean for her. She just thinks it’s a treasure to be sought by pirates. That’s why she’s continuing to lead her pirate horde, searching for treasures such as the Master Sword and the Triforce, as well as the legendary hero. The picture of the green-clad boy that can be found in her room hints at her destiny.

Takano: I had people complain to me that when Tetra becomes Princess Zelda, her tone suddenly changes, but it’s not any different. I think they get that impression because her appearance and facial expressions are totally different.

Aonuma: Hearing about her destiny leaves her bewildered, so it’s only natural for people’s impression of her tone to change. I bet every player has their own “voice” for Tetra inside their heads.

Takano: You might be right. [Laughs] That’s the interesting thing about games.

The Developers Discuss Ganondorf

Takizawa: Ganondorf, to me, is the embodiment of villainy. I really enjoy the idea of the villain being the antithesis of the protagonist. While the baddie is a persona whose brutality must be overcome by the player, he also has an admirable sort of charm. That’s what I was aiming to capture as I designed him.

The Wind Waker takes place in an era far removed from Ocarina of Time, so the character has lost the air of youthfulness he had in those days. At the same time, and in contrast to his ambition then, he’s also imbued with a certain sense of resignation… He’s known for a long time that he can’t escape from his destiny of pursuing the Triforce, but even so, he hasn’t given up on his pursuit of the Hyrule of old.

The world of the Wind Waker consists of a lot of small islands floating atop the Great Sea, but Ganondorf has no desire for them. That’s why I gave Ganondorf a strong figure, with no room for whimsy or excess.

To tell you the truth, during the development of Ocarina of Time, I was conflicted about whether Ganondorf should turn into a pig at the end of the game. I talked to Miyamoto about it, and he told me not to worry too much about whether Ganon was a pig. [Laughs] It would’ve felt off if the character in Ocarina of Time had undergone a sudden, drastic departure from his appearance in previous games of the series, so we came to a compromise, and ended up with what we have today.

Aonuma: For the record, I have no idea what the history behind Ganondorf’s name is. [Laughs] It might’ve been Miyamoto’s handiwork, though.

Haruhana: I’ve heard it was based on the sound alone. [Laughs]

The Developers Discuss The King of Red Lions & The King of Hyrule

Aonuma: The appearance of a talking boat in The Wind Waker was intended to serve a role similar to Navi’s in Ocarina of Time. I figured that the easiest way to give the players hints about where to go next would be if the boat itself could tell them. [Laughs] When it first appears in the game, it acts as Link’s guide, helping him out on his adventure. When we decided that we would use it to inform the players of the very purpose of their travels at the climax of the story, someone suggested making it so that the King of Red Lions was actually the King of Hyrule. It was determined that in order to prevent the events of Hyrule’s distant past reoccurring, the King of Hyrule appeared above the ocean. That was something we decided on before we designed the boat.

Haruhana: The design of his head has been around for a long time.

Aonuma: His image incorporated the majesty and mystique that a king would have, so he ended up looking pretty grim. [Laughs]

Haruhana: In contrast, the King of Hyrule’s design is based on the King of Red Lions. His hairstyle and the shape of his nose resemble a carving, and I put in a lot of effort to make it so that if you really look closely, they share similarities, despite being totally different.

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Cool Custom Drawing

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  1. [...] where she regularly updates with material that she’s translated into English. Her latest work delves into the creation of the characters of The Wind Waker, and with the recent announcement of Wind Waker Wii U, we thought it’d be worth [...]

  2. [...] GlitterBerri’s Game Translations » The Main Characters. Category: Blog | Tags: Eiji Aonuma, Nintendo, The Legend of Zelda, The Wind [...]

  3. Melora says:

    :D :D :D ! thank you so much for choosing to do the Zelda Box stuff, I have been so curious for so long!

  4. GlitterBerri says:

    Thanks to you for preserving the art!

  5. [...] translate the Hylian Language found in the game, were all included in the booklet. Now, thanks to GlitterBerri and the people over at History of Hyrule, we’ve got some scans showing us what we missed all [...]

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