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'Zelda' games to focus on realistic sword fighting

Mark Milian, CNN
"The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword" sold the most of any previous game in the series on its first day, the NPD Group says.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nintendo execs say precise sword controls will be in future "Zelda" games
  • "Skyward Sword" was the first to have such controls
  • Series creator Shigeru Miyamoto wants gamers to practice swordplay

Redwood City, California (CNN) -- Video gamers who want to train for the next "Legend of Zelda" may want to enroll in fencing classes.

The realistic swordplay in "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword" for the Wii console will become central to the series, according to Nintendo executives who produce the games.

"In some games, the people or developers are looking into more photorealistic games," Shigeru Miyamoto, the famed game designer who created the "Zelda" series, told CNN in a recent interview. "We make it so that you can feel as if you have actually shot the arrow with your bow."

"Skyward Sword" is not the first "Zelda" game for the Wii. In its predecessor, "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess," players could swing their sword by shaking the Wii controller, but the sword would not respond directly to the way it was being held.

Adding realistic sword movement to "Skyward Sword" appears to be a winning formula. The game, which came out on November 20, sold the most of any previous "Zelda" game on its first day and reached 600,000 U.S. sales in its first week, according to the NPD Group.

Earlier "Zelda" games used some unusual hardware functions for controlling the characters, including rubbing a stylus on touchscreens, blowing into a microphone and using five screens in one room to navigate.

Some of those ideas haven't stuck around, but the precise movement translated from swinging the Wii Motion+ remote to the character's sword onscreen will return, the Nintendo execs said.

Many gamers see the "Zelda" series as one based around quirky adventures and puzzles. However, since the beginning, the games were supposed to have an emphasis on battling. Nintendo wasn't able to begin realizing this vision until 1998 when the available technology allowed for more realistic environments in "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" for the Nintendo 64 system.

"When we started this project many, many years ago with the original NES, it was from the beginning about the sword fighting," Miyamoto said in an interview from Nintendo's office in Silicon Valley. "Starting actually from the 'Ocarina of Time,' the developers were more eager to make more sophisticated movements of the sword competition."

Eiji Aonuma, who directed his first "Zelda" a decade ago and produced the most recent game, has said he expects future games in the series to use the type of precise sword controls from "Skyward Sword." "I honestly think we cannot go back to button controls now," Aonuma told Game Informer magazine.

In CNN's interview, Miyamoto discussed the difficulty of balancing realism with keeping the experience fun.

"When we look at today's fighting games and many other games, sometimes we have to feel it's rather difficult for us to realize the perfect balance between what you are actually doing with your hand against what you can see and realize or reproduce on your TV set," Miyamoto said. "In other words, I really want people to feel, 'OK, I'm doing better and better by practicing, for example, my sword fighting.' "

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