Iwata Asks: Play Tag in Hyrule’s Silent Realm

on October 26, 2011 8:20 PM

Remember how The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess’ fetch-quests in the Twilight Realm were fun only when you were doing battle with a dark, overgrown beetle? The Skyward Sword development team hopes to make a similar mechanic in the next Zelda game a bit more engaging.

During the latest round of Iwata Asks interviews, during which Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata speaks to interior dev teams and scrounges up tidbits and reflections of the game creation process, Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi spoke about his first console Zelda gig (He previously helped out with Phantom Hourglass.)

Once again, if your goal is to remain as pure as possible for Link’s Nov. 20 adventure, stay away from that jump.

The Silent Realm shares many similarities with its Twilight Princess counterpart. It’s an eerie reflection of the game world wherein Link loses the ability to wield his sword and shield. His goal is to collect Sacred Tears, which fill up a gauge resembling the Light Vessel, and return to Hyrule.

Link discovers the existence of these Sacred Tears — in what we’ll call the Light World for now — using items he finds in dungeons and other areas. Players will also use the new dowsing mechanic to reveal their hiding places. Members of the game’s development team say they decided to include this game mechanic in order to give the game map outside of temples and dungeons a greater sense of purpose.

“In the Legend of Zelda series up till now, the fields were the scene of more easygoing play, but once you went into a dungeon, you would get a new item and act strategically and solve puzzles,” Designer Yutaka Hiramuki said. “There was a clear division. But this time, you may get a new item in the game field and the search expands from there.”

Because Link doesn’t have his sword or shield in the Silent Realm, once he’s got hold of a Sacred Tear, it’s a mad dash to safety before he’s caught. In the footage below — Silent Realm comes in at 2:35 — you can see Poe-like enemies scanning the area for any disruption and eagerly chasing our helpless hero as he makes a dash for it.

This is where Iwata and the developers brought the classic schoolyard game tag into play.

“The goal of this game is to collect Sacred Tears here and there around the game field,” Fujibayashi said. “But if enemies find you, the world changes and Link has to run for his life. Link is unarmed, so he can’t fight enemies. If he gets hit, that’s the end.”

Sounds like equal mixture of pre-Moon Pearl Link to the Past gameplay concepts brought to the Wii to me. The wolf gameplay in Twilight Princess would have been fun had it not been so monotonous. Let’s hope the Silent Realm doesn’t suffer the same difficulties.

The full Iwata Asks interview can be found at Nintendo’s official site.

 /  Staff Writer
Eder is a journalism major at the University of Oregon and copy chief of Flux, the School of Journalism and Communication's flagship magazine. When he's not playing video games or writing about them, Eder enjoys going to concerts, walking the UO campus with his trusty iPod, James McCloud, and climbing steep hills in running shoes. His favorite games include Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong Country 2, Bioshock and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
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