In an interview with the game’s developers, this week’s Famitsu discussed how Hyrule Warriors came to be. In the same interview, The Legend of Zelda series producer and Tecmo Koei producers Hisashi Koinuma and Yosuke Hayashi also talked about working together, from teams to ideas, for the upcoming game.
During the interview Hayashi explains that the staff of Team Ninja, known for their work on the Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden games, are working on Hyrule Warriors, but that certain members have been specially selected to be part of the development team.
According to Koinuma, both the game and the development team constitute a collaboration of sorts. For example, the main programmer on Hyrule Warriors is a staff member from Team Ninja, while the main planner served the same role in Omega Force’s development of One Piece: Pirate Warriors. Meanwhile, the director has a background in the Dynasty Warriors series.
When Famitsu asks if this makes it the first time that Team Ninja and Omega Force have worked together on the development of a game, Hayashi explains that it is, and it’s something they’ve wanted to do for a while, but never had the chance to.
“When it comes to getting a good feeling out of beating down enemies, Omega Force, who develop the Dynasty Warriors games, would surely have an edge in that department,” says Koinuma. “However, as far as one-to-one combat goes, I felt that that Team Ninja, who worked on the Dead or Alive series, could also come up with something good. So, we just decided ‘let’s just mix them together!’”
Famitsu asks if Tecmo Koei had any trouble working with an IP such as The Legend of Zelda, in terms of what they could and couldn’t do.
“When we first began working on the plans [for the game], there were many things that we couldn’t decide on from within our company alone, so we often went to Nintendo and also consulted with Aonuma for the more detailed parts,” explains Hayashi. “As this process went on, we were able to see a fine line between what we could and couldn’t do with Hyrule Warriors.”
“It got to the point where we and Aonuma reached a common understanding of what we could do with Hyrule Warriors, and from there, development really really sped up.”
Aonuma also mentions that this ties in with his earlier words, when he expressed his desire to change the mindset of having The Legend of Zelda stick to its traditional roots. For this reason, he felt that Hyrule Warriors would make things interesting.
“The Legend of Zelda has a history of 27 years, and the way it is played has already been well-established,” says Hayashi. “So at first, we went in the direction of wanting to make something that could follow the way The Legend of Zelda is played.”
“However, that is something you could experience by playing any game of The Legend of Zelda series, and even if we could imitate the surface of it, it’s not something we could actually make. In the end, we realized that it would be best to make a Warriors title that has elements from The Legend of Zelda series.”
Aonuma adds, “There wouldn’t be a reason for making it a Warriors [game] otherwise, right? I wanted Tecmo Koei to make a Zelda game that I can’t make. And for this reason, I asked them to ‘give it more of a Warriors approach’.”
Hyrule Warriors will be released on August 14, 2014 for Wii U in Japan and later on in the West. Note that this game isn’t the next mainline title in the Legend of Zelda series, so Aonuma’s comment about breaking away from Zelda tradition isn’t limited to this game.