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Majora's Mask E3 Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma Interview

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At the 2000 Electronics Entertainment Expo, was fortunate enough to conduct an exclusive interview with legendary Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto (SM). Also, we were able to speak with Eiji Aonuma (EA), the director of Majora's Mask, and Takashi Tezuka (TT), the supervisor of the game. Originally presented in two parts, the interview is presented here in its entirety. Considering that it took over two years to develop Ocarina of Time, it seems like it's taken no time at all to produce Majora's Mask. How were you able to develop this game so quickly?

EA: Well, since Majora's Mask uses the same game engine as Ocarina, this eliminated a lot of development time. Actually, fewer people were assigned to the Majora's Mask project than Ocarina of Time. The key project people from Ocarina were assigned to work on Majora's Mask.

TT: In addition, five new developers straight out of college were hired to work on this new Zelda adventure.

N: Tell us a bit about the parallel universe found in Majora's Mask

EA: In this game, we wanted to give more insight into some of the minor characters found in Ocarina of Time. We're able to give gamers a better look at old characters, and develop new characters at the same time.

N: This question is for Mr. Miyamoto. Since you've given the Director's role to Mr. Aonuma, do you find it hard to be away from the development process?

SM: Well, I've been making games this way for years. It's really just a matter of to what extent I am involved in the day-to-day development. In this case, I worked with Mr. Aonuma to establish the basic principles of the game, then I left it to him to execute them. In a sense, we built a table together, and I've given him the freedom to put his own ideas on that table. As long as the table is still there when the game is finished, I'm happy.

EA: We've learned so much from Mr. Miyamoto already that we don't need much guidance.

N: Let's talk about Skull Kid. Why the heck has he decided to cause all this trouble?

EA: Actually, Majora's Mask is in control of Skull Kid. It's really not his fault.

N: This game seems to be more dark and scary than previous Zelda games. Is that intentional?

SM: Our primary goal is to present something which is very mysterious, rather than scary.

N: Is there anything you weren't able to accomplish in Ocarina of Time which you have included in Majora's Mask?

SM: Yes. In fact, that is why we've decided to base the game on three-day intervals. This allows gamers to see characters as they go through their daily routines in more detail. Depending on which time of day you visit a particular character, he or she will be doing different things. To conquer the game, players must learn about the characters and discover new masks.

N: Do you plan to create other sequels like Majora's Mask with Nintendo's other star characters like Mario or Star Fox?

SM: I'm a little concerned that the company might ask us to do that to increase the bottom line! [laughs] We thought that Ocarina of Time was a great game, but we truly believed that we could do more amazing things with the game engine. In Star Fox 64, for example, I believe that we accomplished all that we could in that game. Because of that, we would not consider creating a sequel until the release of Project Dolphin.

EA: We will be able to use a lot of what we've learned in creating Majora's Mask while working on Dolphin projects.

SM: Who knows, on Dolphin, we might make it a requirement to make at least one sequel.

N: How do you feel about Nintendo's line-up at E3 2000, particularly Rare's great offerings?

SM: We are very thankful that Rare is creating such great games. Rare has done a lot for the gaming industry. All of Rare's games are 3D, but they all have very different gameplay. They are encouraging us to create a different genre of games that departs from 3D adventure gaming.

N: Rare is generating a lot of buzz with Conker's Bad Fur Day. Do you plan on developing any games which are designed for a mature audience?

SM: We might make some games like that, but they will be different than Conker. Perhaps if we get a new game director with slightly different tastes, it could happen.

N: Thank you very much, and congratulations on creating Majora's Mask. Have a great show!

SM: Thank you.

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