Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom devs on Ganondorf’s depiction, design, more
In a recent issue of Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream, key developers behind The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom discussed Ganondorf, including his depiction in the game and design. Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi and series producer Eiji Aonuma participated in the discussion.
We have our full interview translation about Ganondorf in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom below. Keep in mind that some of the comments touch on what he does in the story, so keep that in mind for spoilers.
That reminds me, this is the first Zelda game Fujibayashi-san is involved with that depicts Ganondorf, isn’t it?
Fujibayashi: To me, Ganondorf is untouchable, or something that is very hard to touch upon. He’s an important character in the long history of the Zelda series. I’ve even thought that Ganondorf is like another protagonist. That’s why I think a certain level of resolve and skill is needed to handle him, so maybe a part of me avoided him. This time, since one of the themes was Princess Zelda thinking about how the Kingdom should be, I wanted to depict various countries’ lifestyles, and the ways of their monarchs. Ganondorf is evil personified to the people of Hyrule, but he is also a “king” with his own dignity and way of thinking, as the Demon King and also King of Gerudo. So I felt like he might be the most convincing foil to Princess Zelda, and wanted him to appear. But there are a lot of fans of previous Ganondorfs, so I needed the determination to satisfy his fans in his depiction.
Did Aonuma-san, who has depicted Ganondorf many times, have anything to say?
Aonuma: No, not at all (laughs).
Aonuma: This is the first time Ganondorf is shown killing on screen, which shocked me. That being said, enemies should be evil, otherwise you wouldn’t think “Ugh, this guy” when you see him. Up until now, Ganondorf has been softly depicted as evil, but for this world, I think he needed to be this much of a villain, or else the story wouldn’t work. While I’ve been depicting Ganondorf for a long time, I think this game really solidified his character.
He looks really cool too.
Fujibayashi: Thank you. I think we managed to represent this visually as well. The designer didn’t simply make him look violent; they managed to fulfill my wish of making him look overwhelmingly evil while also being handsome enough that both men and women would fall for him. We put a lot of thought into choosing his clothes and accessories, keeping in mind that Ganondorf himself should have a strong sense of beauty and good taste. We thought he would probably be a character who paid a lot of attention to his appearance, demonstrating his dignity and intelligence as a king, and designing him with that in mind, we were meticulous with his face, body, all the way down to his fingertips, making him come off as robust and sexy at the same time.
Aonuma: Ganondorf enjoys the Japanese aesthetic.
Fujibayashi: We incorporated something like the coolness, or essence, of Japanese military generals. Take a look at his stance with his sword, and how he unsheathes it among other movements.
On the other hand, the irredeemable cruelty in his expressions was also memorable.
Fujibayashi: I wanted to show “humanity” through Ganondorf as well. His expressions when killing was also something we were meticulous about. Actually, we wondered if we should show that at all, but we thought it was a meaningful shot to include, so we did.
Fujibayashi also commented on Zelda’s appearance in Tears of the Kingdom. We translated that as well, which you can read about here.
Translation provided by SatsumaFS, Philip Proctor, and Simon Griffin on behalf of Nintendo Everything.