Zelda: The Wind Waker HD Remake Was Developed In Six Months Says Producer

By Ishaan . October 7, 2013 . 9:30am

In a recent 4Gamer interview, Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma discussed his work on the various upcoming Zelda games from Nintendo. While we translated part of the interview regarding the future of Zelda last week, Aonuma also discussed The Wind Waker HD and its development.


The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, the Wii U remake of the GameCube game, was developed in just about six months, Aonuma shared. “Development was still difficult,” he added. “You had to consider the difference in hardware at the time.”


“Additionally there is a technique known as toon shading, which gives the game a very animated look. At that time, the technique was established, but had not be used before by our staff, everyone had to do everything by hand.”


Aonuma adds that, due to hardware limitations, there were certain things that Nintendo wanted to do on the GameCube with The Wind Waker, and found that they had “just enough room” to do them. Meanwhile, the Wii U version takes the presentation of the game a step further by adding widescreen support, which actually resulted in certain scenes having to be changed.


“For dramatic purposes, we would have characters we didn’t want in the frame, out of sight, but on the 16:9 ratio, you could still see those characters,” Aonuma shares. These characters, he adds, had to be edited out of the frame manually for the game’s final release.

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  • Rafael Monteiro

    Six months doesn’t look like enough time for everything they did

    • AzureRyuujin

      Agreed. Probably the best HD Remake I played.

  • yellowmage

    As I recall, the widescreen thing was also a problem for FFX HD.

    To get work as impressive as this done in just six months… I guess they didn’t have to almost start over from scratch like Kingdom Hearts, huh?

    • GH56734

      Of course not. They have all the original assets handy.
      The area used in the pre-rendered ending was still in the disc in the original GameCube release.
      It was a straight port with all the glitches of the original, minus Storage (and that’s because people used it in E3’s WWHD build to crash the game, thus Nintendo noticed), and another one where the game can crash when you get on some islands not loaded properly with a speed trick (that one was fixed because WWHD loads the entire ocean now).
      The level geometry is the same (there’s even the Tower of Gods top area where you can escape to the sea and find a beta island they didn’t even take out in the HD release).
      And they took out Tingle Tuner, and alongside it a set of sidequests associated to it.

      Of course, the artistic direction sure delivered on the graphical effect, and in a beautiful way. They didn’t alter the models at all, but that was because they did a good job on it already in 2002. The new music is good too.

      However, besides balancing additions to make the New Game+ much more worthwhile (and accessible), and the Miiverse integration (not that it’s the most important thing, but whatever), and adding an item and relocating some treasure chests to make the game much less tedious in some parts, this isn’t exactly a groundbreaking experience. It goes beyond most HD re-releases for sure, but as a Zelda re-release, something’s off.

      In fact, it’s more of a missed opportunity, given the fact that most Zelda re-releases so far had significant additions (BS Zelda had all-new dungeons in both quests, Alttp GBA had a new dungeon and new quests, LA:DX had a new dungeon, OoT 3D had the Master Quest part integrated as a bonus mode and then improved and supplemented with a Boss Rush).
      Wind Waker 2002 during its early development stages was said to be “set to be the longest Zelda up to date”, Old Hyrule had its own gauntlet of dungeons (the concept was recycled in Spirit Tracks), Fire and Ice dungeons were bigger (the rooms are even still in the disc!), the bottom of the water surfaces was to be explorable with Water Boots…
      They could even throw that unreleased English E3 build of Tetra Trackers as part of the package (like with OoT’s Master Quest), or at least keep Tingle Tuner, add an island, a cameo, something…

  • Tom_Phoenix

    Out of curiosity, is this actually a remake or is this another example of people mistakenly calling an HD remaster a remake? Somehow, I’m not convinced you can make a game like this from scratch in just six months…

    • Rafael Monteiro

      It would be an HD remaster, they just upped everything a level. But they also fixed some major gameplay problems, like boring quests and boring sailing

      • TheExile285

        how did they fix those problems?

        • Karysonson

          hmmm…..They made them more faster to complete?
          I’m not sure I can explain it too well…

          • TheExile285

            ah ok.

          • British_Otaku

            There is a very good list here: http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/701110-the-legend-of-zelda-the-wind-waker-hd/67398948
            A few things unfortunately aren’t for the better, but it is far from the point where OG WindWaker would be better for you.

          • Rafael Monteiro

            The boat was too slow so they got a sail that makes it go faster. The Triforce Hunt forced you to pay ridiculous amounts to Tingle so he would “translate” the maps for you, it was horrible

          • British_Otaku

            My post was me lazily briefing the changes, I already know most of them, especially those two which are the most discussed ones…

            I was fine with the boat speed (being faster is always nice still) AND how much I needed to pay Tingle on my first run… Of course, I can’t disagree that the game is better how it’s designed now.

  • Kaijumaster

    but a FF7 HD remake would take 15 years by S.E. last excuse.

  • British_Otaku

    F-Zero GX HD Remake in the next 6 months anyone?
    I wouldn’t mind clever additions like being able to share vehicles online or have a lot more decals stored and saved.

    Even for 6 months, WWHD had a lot of improvements from the original game. Most HD compilations do much less with the visuals, have issues which make me want to play the originals instead or intrusive trophies.

  • Minos

    What difference when competent people are the ones on charge.

  • Teepo 64

    Mario Sunshine next please!

    • ofedenhall

      Impossible. None of the Wii U controllers have analog triggers. No pressure sensitivity means no Mario Sunshine HD. And I doubt they will release a controller with analog triggers as it would alienate those without.

  • Göran Isacson

    Six months seem like comparatively little time for a remaster, but then again they didn’t seem to have done anything extensive with the games code, like adding a new dungeon or what have you. Just minor adjustments here and there and polishing up the textures… though maybe they added some new shaders or somesuch other graphical technical detail?

  • Kolibri

    This is… not really a good way to pomote their title imo.

  • grevlinghore

    Whatever happened to the price drop @ september 20th? My country still has the nerve to sell Wii U Premium for 400 USD, and that`s not even a bundle, that`s just the console.
    I`m itching to buy one so that I can play this and Sonic Lost World, but this pricing is bullshit – excuse the language.

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