By Ishaan . November 10, 2011 . 8:30am
Unlike other Zelda games like Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword doesn’t have a vast open field connecting each of the game’s areas. Instead, Link’s hometown in the sky, Skyloft, serves as a central hub, and the sky as the game’s “overworld,” with sky islands scattered about and major areas of the game located beneath the clouds.
In order to reach a specific area, Link rides his bird out to a drop-off point and then skydives down. This idea came about as the result of the development team taking inspiration from the course selection in Super Mario Bros. games, where you choose what stage you want to play from a selection screen.
Development of Skyloft and the game’s sky sections in general was led by Daiki Iwamoto, the director of The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. The initial idea was for the central hub to be a tall tower in the sky, which Link would have to climb so he could jump off. The higher up he climbed, the farther he’d be able to freefall before landing on the ground.
Ultimately, this idea was scrapped because it seemed too plain and the team theorized that, since you visited the hub more often than any other area in the game, it needed to be packed with things to do. Since Iwamoto and his group were focused on adding features and characters to Skyloft, Zelda series producer, Eiji Aonuma, volunteered to create the plan for the opening hours of the game.
At Skyloft, Link attends the Knight Academy, and has classmates he can interact with. Aonuma says that, while Miyamoto eventually asked him to cut down on the amount of dialogue at the start of the game, he was able to create the school drama and interaction between the Knight Academy students that he wanted.