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N.O.M Ocarina of Time interview with Shigeru Miyamoto - November 1998

Translated by Zethar-II

Comments by Zethar-II:
To set this up, this is Nintendo (Japan) interviewing Miyamoto, the producer of OoT, and the creator of the Zelda series. The interviewer is a guy named Kushida or Kushita who works for the Nintendo Online Magazine (N.O.M.) branch of the company I’m guessing

Kushida: In my understanding, “Ocarina of Time” depicts the first adventure that Link has. Is that true?

Miyamoto: That is true. This is about the time that Child Link makes his debut. He is set to be about 7~8 years old.

Kushida: What is particularly impressive is the setting sun, the rising moon, the forests engulfed in green, and just the general representation of nature. The mountain ranges and the open field is scenery that I feel we’ve seen before. Is there anyplace you used as a base environment?

Miyamoto: Of course, but from the depths of our imagination (grin)! The designers kept this in mind, and tried to create scenery that looked like it really existed. There is no particular model used. However, we did use data material from all around the world, such as a photo collection of German castles. There may be parts that reflect the real world.

Kushida: So the creation of the Hyrule area involved a lot of concentration passion and enthusiasm?

Miyamoto: Instead of thinking of it as making a game, think of it as nurturing a miniature garden called Hyrule. And if you wonder about the game inside of Hyrule, you get things like the above mentioned. If you think about it from a gaming perspective, we could have made it more of a detective game.... Perhaps in the next game we will have a game where Link does detective work on some event in a stage called Hyrule, where peace has been restored for the time.

Kushida: Now then, what changes this from previous Zelda games is the change to 3D from the traditional top view.

Miyamoto: And let me tell you that it was hard work. Now, if you think about how easy it is to play the game, then the traditional top view is still number one. But our priority was to give the gamer the feeling that he was actually there in the game. Like just being able to see the horizon. For example: going into a cave. From a top view you can already see well into the cave. You just wont get the same presence. Players want the experience of gradually exploring their way inside, and using their own feet to traverse new ground. Enemy positions are obvious from a single glance in top view, while in reality you couldn’t see enemies that are above or behind you. We wanted to emphasize this.

Kushida: Even with the change in perspective, the game seems to flow into the World of Zelda without a hitch? Is this the power of Miyamoto?

Miyamoto: But there are those who do say “it isn’t very Zelda-like”. And in that sense, we adopted the method where in mini-games, or in dwellings or streets the camera, perspective would change. What do you think?

Kushida: On par with the graphics, Sound plays an important role in “ Ocarina of Time”. With the Ocarina making it as the subtitle of the game, is it safe to assume that music is linked to the story?

Miyamoto: I guess it’s time to set the stage for the Ocarina. Yes, the key to this game is the music. It is the key to start events, or solve problems. We basically made the music take on the role of what you would expect magic to do in the traditional games.
It would turn out that the sound team director is Kouji Kondou, who has been working with us since “Super Mario Brothers”. Our idea was to merge legend and music together.

Kushida: Even aside from the Ocarina, the sounds seem to match perfectly with the ambiance of Hyrule.

Miyamoto: This time we wanted to really capture the nature of Hyrule, and that is reflected in its sound as well. So with Kondou’s help we made an environment CD, for things like the sound of the ocean, or the flowing of a river. We were very eager to listen to it for the first time.
To further emphasize the mystery of Hyrule, we even made songs that were almost religious sounding, or songs without a melody line, and incorporated them.

Kushida: Is there anything else you would like to tell us for our N.O.M. readers?

Miyamoto: “Ocarina of Time” is set to have a simultaneous release in Japan and America, with a slightly delayed European release. This is a worldwide release work. Oh yeah, did you know that a European video software can’t be played back on a Japanese or American video deck?
This is because the methods are different. In truth, this does have some effect on games too. For example, 60 frame per seconds becomes 50 frames per second, or the screen’s brightness changes.
So for Zelda, we added a “Brightness Check Sample” in the Options. Using this you can change the screen to a reasonable brightness wherever in the world you want to enjoy Zelda.

Kushida: Thank you for this very interesting conversation. Would you like to leave a final message to the N.O.M. readers?

Miyamoto: This Zelda was like losing my virginity, in the sense that we were making something completely new and never done before. But with practice we can make it so that playing will be a much more pleasurable experience as we get the hang of it.*
Ah yes, even though one may call it an Adventure RPG, there are many games now days that seem to be, “polite” to the gamers. But with “Ocarina of Time” it all depends on the player’s will and how far he wants to go. This is a game that will take a while, and when you do beat it, you;ll be saying “Ha! So I didn’t just waste life!”
Oh yeah, there are Guide Books, or magazines out there that may preview hints of the game, but I feel looking at those before starting a game can cause more problems. For example, you may find out that you can ride a horse, but when you find a horse you think “Hey, why can’t I get on?” Basically, this game is built so that you your interest is built upon as you advance. So enjoy the World of Zelda without cheating, and enjoying all that the game has to offer.

Kushida: Producer Miyamoto, again I really thank you for your time.

Shigeru Miyamoto hard at work.

Shigeru Miyamoto is a gaming god.