How Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Reminded Its Director Of Super Mario 64

By Sato . January 24, 2014 . 1:03pm

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds has been out for some time already, but a few of the game’s key developers shared their thoughts on how they were inspired to create some of its more prominent features in an interview with Famitsu magazine.


Famitsu suggests that A Link Between Worlds’ most unique feature is, without a doubt, Link’s ability to become a painting and part of a wall. They ask how this idea came to be.


“The thought of having link become a drawing on a flat surface seemed interesting to me; an idea that came out of nowhere,” says director Hiromasa Shikata. “However, I thought that simply having him be part of a flat surface would’ve made it no different than a side-scrolling game, so we thought it would be better to have him turn along the corners of the walls, after further consulting with the [other members of staff].”


Shikata goes on to mention that ideas for the game’s puzzles came to him after slipping through the barred windows in A Link Between Worlds. This was actually reminiscent of an experience Shikata felt while playing Super Mario 64 years ago.


“Back when I first played Super Mario 64, I was jumping around the bridge by the castle, and was really surprised when I fell down into the moat,” he shares. “If it were a 2D Mario game with a side-view, you wouldn’t be able to fall down as deep.”


“Just like the sense of amusement the 3D feeling gave me from jumping off the bridge, this time I felt something similar when I was able to slide through the barred window.”


“This may be a spoiler to those who’ve yet to play the game, so I’ll just say that certain items you can find inside walls and becoming a drawing on the wall to dodge enemy attacks, are ideas that came afterwards,” adds lead programmer Shiro Mouri.


Famitsu asks if it was difficult to come up with the unique designs for Link when he becomes a drawing on the wall.


“We got several designers and tried out different things,” says lead designer Koji Takahashi. “The first drawing we did actually had a very avant-garde look to it, and it was strongly opposed by our staff.”


According to the designers, they went through several designs, but ended up settling with what they felt would go best with the players and fans of The Legend of Zelda.

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  • Shippoyasha

    Bah. Now I wished they tried out the avant garde style.

    • neocatzon

      Wish they could show us some examples.

    • Armane

      I feel like anything would have been better than the style they went with.

  • DrakeClawfang

    I just finished this game and was surprised by the creative new puzzles they came up with. Not just the wall merge mechanic, like, the Palace of Darkness was incredible, and Turtle Rock was pretty cool too. Not to mention the puzzles they made with, of all things, Wallmasters. Proof that when they really try the Zelda guys don’t need gimmicky new game mechanics to make great games, they just have to really push the creativity in the dungeon making so players have to think on their toes more.

    • Gideon de Groodt

      I don’t mean to bash on your experience in this game, but some people might Not have finished it yet.

      And thus you are giving away information some people might not know yet.

      I love the game too, it’s an amazing play.
      And I love how close they got it to “A Link to the Past” for the SNES.

      If I ever get a Street Pass with any of you people on the site, prepare to meet a 999 Rupee Bounty Shadow Link~

      • DrakeClawfang

        I named two dungeons and noted the game has Wallmasters. I doubt I spoiled the game for anyone. Now, if I wanted to spoil the game, I’d tell them that Yuga is the Lorule incarnation of Demise and he’s….shit

    • Engi3Piece

      I would agree with you, but the new Zelda is extremely gimmicky. The wall mechanics and the item renting system are the gimmicks. People need to stop associating gimmicky with bad. Gimmicks are good if implemented right and it doesn’t feel like an after thought.

      • Tarkovsky

        Game mechanic/design does not equal gimmick. People seriously need to stop using that term. Not only is the term used wrongly, it’s way overused.

        ALBW’s wall mechanic is extremely integral to the entire game(traversal, puzzle solving and boss battles) and is so well designed that it feels extremely natural after the first hour or so. Secondly, item rental is a choice by designers to make the game more open, aka a game design decision. If those 2 are your definition of gimmicks then ALL games are gimmicks.

        You know what a real gimmick is? Scratching something on the DS with the stylus to reveal/uncover stuff. Or waggling/shaking the wii mote to power up and etc.

        • DrakeClawfang

          This. What really bugged me with the last two handheld Zeldas is how much they shoehorned the touch-screen in when it wasn’t needed, and it felt like the touchscreen was being used for the sake of having it rather than to enhance the gameplay. This Zelda had much more natural gameplay, the dungeon gimmicks (which are nothing new and I welcome) are new and inventive, and the simple decision to have the item menu on the lower screen so we can quickly change between gear was effective

          If I had a criticism for the game, it’s that item renting was a no-brainer. The game throws money at you even early on and I easily rented every item and went out into the world with nothing to stand in my way. You only get penalized if you die, and I didn’t. I think it would have been more interesting if they made it so only so many items can be rented at a time, thus you actually have to pick and choose your gear for each segment of the game until you can work up to the point you can have them all.

          • I think making me grind for money was brilliant. I spent hours catching bees instead of playing dungeons. I only maxed out on rupees at about the second to last dungeon. I get that losing your items wasn’t much consequence as the game just wasn’t hard (plus you can close the program to reload a save).

            Compare to the Oracle games where you’re flush with rupees once you get the shovel and walk around a bit. There’s no shortage of rupees so nothing in the shops is important, and there may as well not be shops or money.

          • DrakeClawfang

            On my end though, I never had to grind for money, I just explored every area of the map for Maiamais and heart pieces and kept finding purple, silver, gold rupees. My wallet was bursting up until I started buying the items for good, and even then I didn’t need to grind because I just bought the ones I could afford and decided to come back for the others later, and eventually did.

        • Engi3Piece

          words synonymous to the word gimmick: Device, Method.


          Its a new/different way to play the game (a new method to play the game as) so it is a gimmick a very well done, well placed gimmick. is that a bad thing no it’s not, it means a gimmick that wasn’t an after thought. Gimmick does not have to always mean bad game mechanics, because that scratching or remote waggling is a game mechanic for that particular game. the Wii remote (to some) is a bad game mechanic and a bad gimmick. the wall merging in ALBW is a good game mechanic and a fun enjoyable gimmick.

      • Fen Y

        By that definition, anything is gimmicky. FPS mechanic? GIMMICKY. Jumping in a Mario game? GIMMICKY. Shooting in metroid? GIMMICKY.

        If a word means everything, and isn’t everything, then it has no use.

        The word should be reserved to something like scratching stuff open with the touch pad, or drawing the runes in a certain castlevania game on the DS. THOSE were gimmicks, because they were rarely ever used and were a disconnect to the actual game. Not so with this Zelda.

        • Engi3Piece

          yes, jumping, fps mechanics, and shooting in Metroid were gimmicks in the beginning.

          1gim·mick noun ˈgi-mik

          : a method or trick that is used to get people’s attention or to sell something

          a : an important feature that is not immediately apparent : : an ingenious and usually new scheme or angle : a trick or device used to attract business or attention


          The original mario 64 was a gimmick. the 3D world was a new mechanic that got attention and sold the game. Analogs were new devices that was different from the standard. you just don’t think of them as gimmicks anymore become they became a standard for everyday gammig

          • ebolaworld

            Those weren’t tricks, those are new game-play mechanics (that became standard btw). A gimmick is a trick that has nothing to do with the purpose of the product to get attention. The new 3D graphics in Mario 64 had EVERYTHING to do with he product. They were a result of inevitably more powerful hardware. They way you (and many others) use the word, everything is a gimmick. You’ve lost all meaning of the word. I would agree that maybe the Wiimotes were a gimmick as they really didn’t add much to the product, and were used to gain attention, but then faded away.

          • Symbol de Au

            “Those weren’t tricks”. It says “a method or trick” not “a trick” and a gimmick is exactly what that definition says not what you say. One of the main methods used to sell the game was the Wall dive mechanic that they went on and on about. It was a very big part of the game therefore the game was full of that mechanic therefore the game was gimmicky. That’s not a bad thing but it is a fact. Not an opinion a fact. I can even directly go and site the evidence that they used the wall dive mechanic as a method to sell the game.

          • Guest

            Lol. A wall dive is not a gimmick. The way you define it, you might as well say video games are a gimmick! A gimmick for the wall dive game would be if they made the box art 3d or something stupid like that.

          • ebolaworld

            So what video game doesn’t use a gimmick? Or are all video games gimmicks?

          • Symbol de Au

            By definition there are no games that don’t use gimmicks. Video games themselves are not gimmicks. A gimmick is the same as a hook. An attention grabber. Video games themselves are not tools to draw attention to anything unless you’re talking about launch games like Killzone and Nintendoland that are used to try and sell consoles. I honestly don’t understand…what’s so hard to understand. The gimmick isn’t the product it’s the thing used to draw attention to the product.

          • ebolaworld

            So video games aren’t gimmicks, but they all use gimmicks. Got it! Thanks!

          • Nah, I think gimmicks are generally superficial. Zero suit Samus, that’s a gimmick.

          • Symbol de Au

            People really need to learn that definitions are not opinions.

    • Fen Y

      Yep, it really was amazing. It was a callback to ALTTP, yet was the first Zelda game that also felt really fresh. Stuff like this made me remember why I love the series as much as I do.

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