Legend of Zelda Developers Discuss Their Inspiration And Process Behind Creating The First Zelda Game



To commemorate the recent release of the NES Classic Edition, Nintendo has shared a new interview over on their official site. This time, the topic featured was the original Legend of Zelda, which originally released simultaneously with Family Computer Disk System in Japan. In the interview, co-directors Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka as well as series composer Koji Kondo answered questions about the very first game in the series, ranging from the initial inspiration for the game to Kondo’s work with the soundtrack, and much more.


The following are just a few excerpts from the interview:


Congratulations on 30 years of The Legend of Zelda.


Everyone: Thank you.


Miyamoto: I feel like people say this every year! (laughs wryly)


Last year was the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. (laughs) To jump right in, why did you decide to make The Legend of Zelda, which came out 30 years ago for the Family Computer Disk System?


Miyamoto: The Indiana Jones movies were out around that time.


Adventure films were popular in the Eighties.


Miyamoto: Right, I wanted to bring that sense of adventure to a video game. And people playing computer RPGs back then were bragging about how strong their swordsmen had become and were calling each other at night to exchange information. When I noticed that, I thought it was an interesting milieu.


Since it was so absorbing, you wanted to make something similar yourself.


Miyamoto: Yes. So with a world of swords and sorcery as my theme, I decided to make an adventure game based on treasure-hunting, and that was the beginning of The Legend of Zelda.


Zelda was released five months after Super Mario Bros., but development of The Legend of Zelda began first.


Miyamoto: That’s right. First, we started making The Legend of Zelda, and then we started Super Mario Bros. The Legend of Zelda was for the Family Computer Disk System, so we decided to finish up Super Mario Bros. first. (to Tezuka-san) Isn’t that right?


Tezuka: Yes. We have documentation showing how we worked simultaneously on the two games. Kondo-san brought an official request for work.


Kondo: This request was for sound direction for The Legend of Zelda. It bears a seal with Tezuka-san’s name, and the date is September 27.


Super Mario Bros. came out on September 13, so this request is from two weeks later. (looking at the request) It has rough depictions of visual content, so development must have been well underway at this point.


Miyamoto: Yes. It’s a proper request for work.


Tezuka: But if you read it, it’s pretty rough.


It is? (laughs)


Tezuka: For cave music, it just says “short BGM.”


“Life Fountains” must mean the Fairy Fountains.


Tezuka: Yes.


It just says, “fanfare, sparkly.” (laughs) Kondo-san, when you received this request, I suppose you thought, “What kind of music am I supposed to make?!”


Kondo: Yeah. (laughs)


Tezuka: (looking at the request) Interesting… How could he make anything based on this?


But you’re the one who wrote it! (laughs)


Everyone: (laughs)


To read the entire interview with Miyamoto, Tezuka, and Kondo, you can visit Nintendo’s official website.