How did you begin making the first enemies, the Bokoblins?
Link can swing his sword in any direction in this game, so we began by coming up with as much variation in enemy movement as possible.
First, you appointed the Bokoblins to be Link’s opponent in sword battles.
Yes. Since you can swing your sword however you want, the movements and stances of the enemies take on new importance.
Until now, the Bokoblins stood guard with their swords upright, and sometimes with their swords sideways, but in battle, either way was fine.
You decided based on what looked good visually.
Yes. Until now, gameplay never focused on the direction you swung the sword, so the stances of enemies weren’t that important. But this time you have free control over how you swing the sword, so we needed to rethink everything from the bottom up, including enemy stances.
The Wii MotionPlus accessory allows Link to swing his sword freely, which has an effect on enemy stance and movement.
That’s right. For example, if the enemy is guarding as before, with the sword upright, but toward the left, you can swing from the unguarded right and deliver damage. You can attack your opponent’s opening. It’s easy to say that, but even that one thing was something we hadn’t been able to do so far in the series.
Yes, battles with enemies have completely changed compared to The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
You made enemies for that game as well.
Yes. I think the enemies this time have really evolved. At that time, it was important that they look good, but this time you can swing your sword at them from all kinds of angles, so not just how they guard, but how they take damage has taken on a rich variety.
With increased variation in the enemies’ movement, does the challenge when you face them grow?
Now you watch closely how the enemies move, thinking, “What kind of stance is this enemy in right now?”
That is sword-fighting. You fight with your eyes on your opponent.
In sword fights so far, as long as you mashed away at the button on the controller, you could usually manage to defeat your opponent somehow. This time it’s different.
Exactly. Instead of rushing to attack, it’s important to watch closely how your enemy is moving, think about it, and only then swing your sword . For example, if someone with a sword were really standing in front of you, even if you had a sword too, you wouldn’t be so quick to attack.
That’s true. When your life depends on it, you freeze up. (laughs)
It’s just like that. You keep a certain distance, watch your opponent’s movement closely, and then you think, “Is this it?!” That’s when you lunge. When that works, it’s rewarding and exhilarating.
It’s like the enemy’s movement contains hints.
That’s right. Of course, you can defeat some enemies by swinging wildly, but first you observe the enemy’s movement and form, and you seek an opening. Judging distance is also important. If you get too close, the enemy might strike first, but if you stay too far away, your sword won’t reach. And you have to stab some enemies, so this game is like a challenge from us to a sword duel using Wii MotionPlus. This may be saying a little too much, but you can enjoy so much new sword fighting in this game that I can’t help it, so I encourage anyone to strike down their enemies!
Speaking of fighting with your eyes on your opponent, Iwata Asks: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword about how challenging the enemy named Ghirahim is.
He can read Link’s movement, so Miyamoto-san got irked and said, “Is it even possible to beat this guy?!”
Yes. (laughs) Ghirahim also does this thing where he repeatedly lunges at you with something like a knife. Looking at his anticipatory movements and dodging, blocking with the Shield, and parrying with your sword is one of the strategies to defeat him.
I see. You watch his attack movements to predict his next attack.
Yes. Then one day, when Miyamoto-san was fighting during a test play session, that series of attacks came and he defended with his shield. That is, of course, one correct action, but the strength of the attack hadn’t been adjusted yet, so there was a smash and the Shield broke. Miyamoto-san was stunned and said, “My shield...” (laughs)
You’re supposed to fight with your eyes on your opponent, but while we were watching, something unexpected happened. A chill settled in the room.
I think I sort of wanted to see that reaction. (laughs) The Shield wasn’t originally something that breaks, but this time it does.
Why did you make the Shield breakable?
This time, we talked with Miyamoto-san about the Shield as much as Link’s sword and put in gameplay suited to swordfights. There’s an action called Shield Bash . For example, when it looks like an enemy is going to attack you, if you move your left hand, which holds the Nunchuk, you can attack with the Shield.
You control intuitively as if you really have a shield on your left arm, so it feels amazing when your Shield Bash is effective.
The onscreen movement matches how your body feels.
Exactly. Your two hands synchronise with Link holding his sword in his right and his shield with his left. And when you get attacked by an enemy and think “Uh-oh!” you can thrust with your shield and turn an ugly situation into a good opportunity.
But there’s a problem. If you could do a Shield Bash without any risk, Link would be too strong. For that reason, if you don’t do it right, the Shield’s gauge runs down .
When the gauge is completely depleted, the Shield shatters.
At that time, we had exaggerated the force of the attacks to test gameplay surrounding the Shield Bash.
Aha. That’s why Miyamoto-san’s shield broke. (laughs) But the first time we talked, we talked about how, in that fight against Ghirahim, it would be effective to stop the Sword and attack by tricking him.
That’s right. There are unique aspects of gameplay for when Link attacks as well as for when he defends. Either way, it is important to pay close attention to the way your opponent is moving. And if you just don’t know what to do, Fi will give you a hint.
Fi is like Link’s sidekick.
Yes. An informative - and cold - one! (laughs)
Yes, yes. She’s always cool and collected. Whether Link is in a tight spot or not, the way she talks never changes. (laughs)
She knows everything, so when you’re in a big pinch, no matter how excited everyone else is, Fi alone is calm. She’s a dependable aide!
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