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Tri Force Heroes devs – communication origins, cut item ideas, amiibo in future Zeldas, more

Posted on October 26, 2015 by (@NE_Brian) in 3DS, General Nintendo, News

GameSpot has posted an interview with Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma and Tri Force Heroes director Hiromasa Shikata. Between the two, they commented on the inspiration behind the game’s communication features, item ideas that were scrapped, consideration for two-player support, interest in using amiibo in future Zelda games, and more.

We’ve rounded up the various comments below. You can also read up on a few extra comments from GameSpot here.

On what drove the decision to make this kind of Zelda game…

Shikata: We first wanted to focus on multiplayer, and if we did the traditional Zelda-type dungeons, it would’ve been a little difficult. So we thought about how we could make multiplayer easier to play.

Aonuma: We made games in the past like Four Swords, which was focused on multiplayer as well. So honestly, we believe that Triforce Heroes is almost like an evolution or a step up from Four Swords. We’re a bit surprised that a lot of people are saying that it’s a little unique or deviates from the traditional Zelda frame, because we built something that has been done in the past. So it doesn’t detour too much from the Zelda series.

On whether the idea behind the game’s button communications came from…

Shikata: When we started, we considered using voice chat. However, the idea came up when I was playing Four Swords with someone on the development team, someone who knew the game very well. What happened was, there was a difference between someone that knew the game and someone that didn’t — the person who knew the game was pretty much just telling the person who didn’t, “Just do this. Do that.” And the other person would just follow.

I didn’t think that was a very fun gameplay experience. So I thought, “Perhaps there’s another way to communicate that would be fun for both parties.” Instead of voice chat, I came up with communication icons to convey the messages among the players.

Aonuma: It’s almost like the “Like” button on Facebook. When someone presses “Like,” no one really knows what that “Like” implies. Going off that idea, with these icons, it’s not just a direct meaning–it hides another meaning behind it. Figuring that out ended up being pretty interesting and a good feature, so we went with that idea.

Shikata: And we have a [messaging] app in Japan called Line where you can communicate with stickers. We got some inspiration from there for the communication icons.

On whether two-player multiplayer was considered…

Shikata: We tried it with two, but switching between the characters was complicated, and deciding whom to make the priority in certain situations just didn’t work out. We also considered if, when somebody drops out, making the extra person a Dopple [game term for an extra player-controlled character], but even doing that made things more complicated than they needed to be. So we decided to not go in that direction.

For example, maybe the red Dopple was being moved by the green player, and he wanted to put it in the perfect spot. Then the other player comes in to try and move the red Dopple or become the Red Link. Then things just started becoming more complicated than they needed to be. That’s why we took it in a different direction.

As for why we decided to have three players instead of just four, first, when you totem with four people, the two in the middle would get bored. And second, when you totem with four people, the camera angle gets very far from the ground and makes the players looks smaller. So we came to conclusion that three players were best, especially because when you have two people working together and there’s one person going off on his own, the group of two will worry about the lone player. And vice versa, the player that’s traveling alone will look around for the other two. It keeps everyone close together and worrying about one another.

On whether amiibo support was considered…

Aonuma: That was just a case where the development schedule kind of got in the way. We wanted our focus to be on getting out this multiplayer experience more than considering Amiibo. But we really wanted to, and we’re hoping that, maybe in the future we can try to incorporate that in our Zelda games.

On the items in the game and ones that didn’t make it in…

Shikata: We primarily focused on how three-player co-op would work best with the items that we chose. For example, with the boomerang, we thought it could be used to grab other players. And Gust Jars could be used to blow other players over edges that you wouldn’t be able to make on your own. So when selecting and creating these items, we put an emphasis on three-person multiplayer.

We have the traditional bow and bomb items, but in this game, when you totem you can shoot higher enemies. Or when you stack up with the bomb, you can take on enemies that are higher up.

As for items that didn’t make it into the game, we had a lot of different ideas. I thought about maybe using the Lantern, but that got absorbed into clothing that emits a glow. And I thought about using hover boots that would let you jump higher. And there was an item in A Link Between Worlds that shot up a gust of air to let you hover a little higher, but if we let players totem, what’s the point of having that item? So there were a lot of things we considered that didn’t make it into the game.

On the lighthearted story and no connection to Ganon…

Shikata: Correct, Ganon does not appear in this game. So far, in making Zelda games on the 3DS, it’s been more on the light-hearted side. Nothing too heavy. So in this game, we wanted to focus on three-player. And especially since it’s on a handheld system, we wanted it to be easy for anyone to pick up, understand, and just have fun with it. That’s why it became the story that it is.

Aonuma: Mr. [Shigeru] Miyamoto and I actually really like creating jokey, lighthearted games. And everyone’s always looking for that punch line at the end. When we make the more serious games in the series, it’s a lot harder to incorporate those gags and jokes. With this game, it’s very unique–the princess having an ugly outfit put on her turned into this lighthearted and fun story.

On whether the team making handheld titles are separate from the team working on other current Zelda projects…

Aonuma: We actually have different teams. Sometimes people on the handheld team do work on the consoles, but for this it was a separate team. I want to assure you that the Wii U Zelda was not delayed in any way because of Triforce Heroes.

And we’ve had multiplayer Zelda games before, like Four Swords, but they’re definitely few and far between. Did the experience of trying this three-player version and getting to experiment some more, did that make you feel like you’d like to try multiplayer again in the Zelda series, whether that’s on console or handheld? Or does this kind of experience stay as more of a one-off thing?

Aonuma: Putting this game together, I was assured that multiplayer Zelda can be fun. And in the future, it would be great to implement this again and maybe think of new ways to try it.

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