Iwata Asks: Vague Instructions Make For Excellent Boss Battles in Skyward Sword

on October 26, 2011 7:50 PM

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi admits he doesn’t give the most explicit instructions to his staff when they’re working on a big project. Sometimes, it’s as simple as a theme, maybe some concepts and few basic guidelines. But Fujibayashi’s boss, series veteran Eiji Aonuma, takes vagueness to another level.

“A giant enemy attacks and you have to do something about it” is all Fujibayashi and the rest of the Skyward Sword team had to go on for one of the game’s sequences. After the jump, we’ll be looking at some video of the boss in question and talking about some spoiler-ish subjects, so venture no further if you want to remain pure for the game’s Nov. 20 release.
The giant enemy Fujibayashi refers to is a giant brown Totoro Colossus and hairy bipedal creature called The Sealed One that, at first, Link must hold back as it tries to make its way up a spiral column. The video below is an untranslated clip from the interview. The Sealed One appears at 2:14.

The development team started with The Sealed One itself. From there, they built the idea of the environment — what it would look like, how it would play a role in the battle and which of Link’s abilities would be put to the test in this particular challenge. It was in designing this creature that the Skyward Sword team decided to have it take place in a semi-tight, claustrophobic space.

“It’s a spiral landform, so you can clearly see from the top where the giant beast is climbing,” Shigeyuki Asuke said. “It creeps up, so it’s really tense. Link climbs to the top of this spiral stage, and goes down, and tries to halt the movement of this giant boss.”

Like many of Link’s Twilight Princess foes, The Sealed One requires a strategy that asks our hero to test his climbing skills. The sailcloth — a Deku Leaf-like item used to drop gently to the ground — is integral during the confrontation with this beast. Link must find patches of air to whisk him up into the air so he can land in front of The Sealed One, slash at its feet and climb onto its shaggy body.

Once the boss is defeated, Link is free to explore the rest of The Sealed Grounds, the temple this creature calls home. The development team mentioned that The Sealed One can never be defeated and that it pops up occasionally to impede the player’s progress. But details of future encounters were kept secret.

Twilight Princess had some of the best set-piece battles the series has ever seen, from the Stalord fight in the Arbiters’ Grounds — who else squealed with glee when the “Dinosaur Boss Battle” music from Ocarina of Time sprang up? — to the Blizetta encounter in the Snowpeak Ruins, and Skyward Sword seems to continue that trend.

You can catch the full Iwata Asks interview on 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.