Zelda Artists On Not Using The Realistic Graphics In The Spaceworld 2000 Tech Demo For A GameCube Title



Back at Spaceworld 2000, a videogame trade show hosted by Nintendo, the company revealed a tech demo of a confrontation between a realistic looking Link and Ganondorf. However, this ended up never becoming anything but a tech demo, and the next game Nintendo released a few years later in the Zelda series was Wind Waker which boasted a much more cartoonish style and cel-shaded graphics.


Now, with the release of the new Zelda: Art & Artifacts art book, an interview with artists Yoshiki Haruhana and Satoru Takizawa has shed a bit more light on wait became of that tech demo from Spaceworld 2000. [Thanks, NintendoEverything.]


Before we get into how Toon Link came to be, let’s talk about the promotional footage from the 2000 event. It featured a realistic Ganondorf and Link fighting with each other. The footage was created by Haruhana-san and Takizawa-san, correct?


Haruhana/Takizawa: Yes.


And everyone who saw that footage believed that the new Zelda title coming out for the GameCube would be realistic looking. So tell us: what happened?


Haruhana: Well, as we created that footage, we came to the realization that the realistic route wasn’t the way to go.


Takizawa: [nods deeply]


So it was creating that footage that made you realize the realistic route wasn’t the right course?


Haruhana: That’s right. We were asking ourselves, “If this the right direction to go? and “Does realistic equal a good game?” At the time, as the console’s hardware specs went up, many games were heading in a more photorealistic direction.


They were.


Haruhana: And, at that time, when I was flipping through a game mag, all I saw were really similar-looking games, and I began to worry we would be making one of them. So we thought about what we needed to do with our art to make it stand out. How could we make the readers of that magazine stop and look at our project? We decided that making a realistic Ganondorf and Link wasn’t it…


So you felt that a realistic-looking Zelda would be lost in the sea of many other games?


Haruana: Right. So we cleared our heads of everything and thought about all the other games in the Zelda series. Toon Link came out of process.