Wii MotionPlus sword swinging controls are new for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, but the game’s defining feature wasn’t always part of producer Eiji Aonuma’s plan. Aonuma began planning the next Zelda game after completing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Hidemaro Fujibayashi, director on Skyward Sword and a number of Zelda games for Game Boy, suggested to use Wii MotionPlus.
Fujibayashi was experimenting with the new hardware, but Aonuma was skeptical and stored the idea in the back of his mind. That is until Wii Sports Resort came out. After trying swordplay and archery, Aonuma felt that those mini-games had a similar feel to the Zelda series. Aonuma then told design leader Ryuji Kobayashi the game’s direction is going to change to support Wii MotionPlus. Kobayashi, unaware of Aonuma’s plan, was finalizing the basic battle controls with buttons.
That’s not the only change detailed in the Iwata Asks roundtable interview. Tanaka, the UI designer, was thinking about the game’s inventory system. Fujibayashi wanted an innovative system and Tanaka came up with the idea of twisting your wrist to change items. Iwata said that’s like changing the channels on an old TV. This idea was scrapped though since the wrist has a limited turning radius.
Early in development, the boomerang was actually the beetle, one of the new weapons made just for Skyward Sword. The weapon then evolved into a Rocket Punch, Kobayashi explained, who played around with the idea of a flying hand grabbing things. Once the design of the beetle was complete, the team started planning levels with the item in mind.