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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

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Majora's Mask Artwork
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
The Legend of Zelda - Twilight Princess (logo)
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Designer(s) Eiji Aonuma (director)
Shigeru Miyamoto (producer)
Engine Modified version of The Wind Waker's engine
Release date(s) Wii
Flag of the United States November 19, 2006
Flag of Japan December 2, 2006
Flag of Australia December 7, 2006
European flag December 8, 2006
GameCube
Flag of Japan December 2, 2006
Flag of the United States December 11, 2006
European flag December 15, 2006
Flag of Australia December 19, 2006
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Ratings CERO: B
ESRB: T
OFLC: M
PEGI: 12+
USK: 12+
Platform(s) Wii, Nintendo GameCube
Media 1 GameCube optical disc
1 Wii optical disc
System requirements 4 Memory Card blocks (GameCube)
1 Save Data block (Wii)
Input methods Wii Remote and Nunchuk, GameCube controller
"Tell me... Do you ever feel a strange sadness as dusk falls? They say it's the only time when our world intersects with theirs... The only time we can feel the lingering regrets of spirits who have left our world. That is why loneliness always pervades the hour of twilight...."
Rusl

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (ゼルダの伝説 トワイライトプリンセス Zeruda no Densetsu: Towairaito Purinsesu?) is the thirteenth installment in The Legend of Zelda series, developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo for the Wii and Nintendo GameCube.

Originally planned for release in November 2005, Twilight Princess was delayed by Nintendo so the developers could add more content and refine the game. The Wii version was released on the same day the Wii was launched, making Twilight Princess the first Zelda game to debut at the launch of a Nintendo console. The GameCube version was released in December 2006, and was the last Nintendo-published game for the console.

Twilight Princess is as of yet the only game in The Legend of Zelda series to be rated T by the ESRB, for fantasy violence and animated blood, though there are a few bloody situations in older 3D Zelda games. The story focuses on Link trying to prevent Hyrule from being engulfed by a corrupted parallel dimension, the Twilight Realm. To do this, he takes the forms of both a human and a wolf. He is also assisted by a mysterious creature named Midna. It is supposedly set after the events of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, following the timeline created after the events of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and is parallel to the events of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker.

The gameplay used by the game is similar to the other 3D Zeldas in the series in terms of control and structure, while refining and expanding upon them. The game was very well received by most critics and fans alike, with major publications such as 1UP.com, CVG, EGM, Game Informer, GamesRadar, IGN, The Washington Post, and many other websites hailing the game as the greatest Zelda game ever made and has won numerous "Game of the Year" awards.

Gameplay

Official Trailer
Bonus Video Twilight Princess Demo Movie (GameCube)02:07

Bonus Video Twilight Princess Demo Movie (GameCube)

Twilight Princess is an action-adventure game that focuses on exploration and item collection. It uses the basic control scheme introduced in Ocarina of Time, including buttons whose functions change depending on game context, Z-targeting for the Wii and L-targeting on the GameCube, a system which allows the player to keep Link's view focused on an enemy or important object. Link can walk, run, and attack, and will automatically jump when running off of or reaching for a ledge. Link uses a sword and shield in combat complemented with secondary weapons and items, including a bow and arrows, boomerang, bombs, and clawshot. Z-targeting allows Link to lock on to an enemy and automatically defend. During Z-Targeting, projectile-based weapons can be fired at a target without the need for manual aiming. The context-sensitive button mechanic allows one button to serve a variety of functions, such as talking, opening doors, and pushing, pulling, and throwing objects. The on-screen display shows what action, if any, the context-sensitive button will trigger, determined by the situation. For example, if Link is holding a rock, the context-sensitive button will cause Link to throw the rock if he is moving, or place the rock on the ground if he is standing still.

The Wii and GameCube versions feature several minor differences in their controls. The Wii version of the game makes use of the motion sensors and built-in speaker of the Wii Remote. The speaker emits the sounds of a bowstring when shooting an arrow, Midna's laugh when she helps Link jump, and the series's trademark "chime" when discovering secrets. The player controls Link's sword by swinging the Wii Remote, while aiming projectiles is done by pointing the Wii Remote at the screen. Aiming in the Wii version has a new feature that allows Link to move while aiming. The GameCube version, more or less, uses the same control scheme introduced in The Wind Waker. Unique to the GameCube version is the ability for the player to control the camera freely; however, in this version, only two of Link's secondary weapons can be equipped at a time.

The game features nine dungeons. Link navigates the dungeons and fights a boss at the end of each in order to obtain an item or otherwise advance the plot. The dungeons are connected by a large overworld, which Link can travel on foot, on his horse Epona, or by teleporting to one of several unlockable warp points. The controls for riding Epona remain mostly the same as in Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask. However, in this game, Link's sword and several items can be used while on horseback. Unlike the other games, Link can also take damage and be killed while riding Epona. There are a few missions and battles in the game that take place entirely on horseback.

When entering the Twilight Realm, a void which corrupts parts of Hyrule, Link transforms into a wolf. As a wolf, Link moves quickly, attacks by biting, and digs holes to create new passages and uncover buried items. He also carries Midna, a small, imp-like creature who gives hints, uses an energy field to attack enemies, helps Link jump long distances, and eventually allows Link to "warp" to any of several preset locations throughout the overworld. As a wolf, Link has improved senses and can follow scent trails. Link's wolf sense is the only way players can see wandering spirits and hunt for Poes.

The enemy's artificial intelligence in Twilight Princess is more advanced than in The Wind Waker. Enemies react to defeated companions and to arrows or slingshot pellets that pass by. The AI can also detect Link from further distance than in Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, and The Wind Waker.

Plot

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Setting

Characters (Twilight Princess)

Characters and motifs from Twilight Princess

The game's storyline takes place hundreds of years after Ocarina of Time. However, it is not in the same timeline as The Wind Waker which is also set after Ocarina of Time. In a timeline released for the 25th anniversary, it is revealed that there are three separate universes that split during The Ocarina of Time. Twilight Princess and The Wind Waker are in parallel universes to each other, but it remains to be seen whether this means they happen at the same time or not in their respective timelines.

The split in the timeline occurs during Ocarina of Time, when, at the end of the game, Link is sent back in time by Zelda. Once returned to his original time, Link goes to see her again, and the result of this meeting is Link warning her (and presumably the rest of Hyrule) of Ganondorf's true intentions. As a result of this, their relationship with Ganondorf changes. Due to this, Ganondorf was hunted down and arrested. It was decided he be executed by the Ancient Sages, but the execution failed. It is strongly implied that Ganondorf somehow possessed the Triforce of Power, despite the altered events of the timeline, and that this is what allowed him to survive.

Ganondorf broke free and killed the Sage of Water. The remaining sages quickly activated the Mirror of Twilight and banished him to the Twilight Realm. Twilight Princess then occurs several hundred years after the Ocarina of Time child Link's era. This would also mean that the game is set chronologically after Majora’s Mask. Meanwhile, The Wind Waker occurs in the 'adult' timeline, hundreds of years after the adventure of adult Link in Ocarina of Time, where Ganon escapes the Sacred Realm he was sealed in at the climax of Ocarina of Time. The games on the NES and SNES take place in a timeline where Ganon defeats Link in The Ocarina of Time.[1][2]

Outset

Twilight Princess starts out in Ordon Village, a small town located on the outskirts of Hyrule proper. Here, a young boy named Link lives a simple life, working as a ranch hand. One day, he is asked by Rusl to deliver the Ordon Sword and Ordon Shield as gifts for the Royal Family of Hyrule for the Hyrule Festival. However, on the very day he is supposed to make the delivery, hostiles appear in the Spirit's Spring, where Ilia, Epona, and Colin are. These monsters kidnap the children of the village; Ilia, Colin, Malo, Talo, and Beth. These monsters also take the horse Epona. Link is knocked out, and soon almost the entirety of Hyrule is covered in Twilight. When he regains consciousness and runs to the bridge, he finds a large, dark wall. A Shadow Beast's arm bursts through and pulls him through the wall. However, the power of the Triforce symbol on Link's hand makes the creature drop Link. Link turns into a wolf, passes out, and is taken to the dungeons of Hyrule Castle by another monster.

Inside the dungeons of Hyrule Castle, he meets the strange Midna, a member of the Twili race. After helping him out of captivity, the two team up to make their way out of the Castle through the Underground Waterway. After a dangerous ascent up the Castle's towers, they meet Hyrule's Princess Zelda. She tells Wolf Link that, unbeknown to the rest of the world, the monarchy of Hyrule has been overthrown by Zant, a powerful Twili who calls himself the "King of Twilight". His plan is to cover the whole expanse of Hyrule in Twilight, merging Hyrule and his kingdom, the Twilight Realm, into one land under his rule. Link and Midna are then transported back to the Ordona Province. Here, after taking a sword and shield from the residents of Ordon Village, a strange voice from the Spirit's Spring beckons him and Midna to it. The spirit of Ordona, one of the Light Spirits, tells him that Zant has covered the provinces of Hyrule in Twilight and cursed the other Light Spirits. In order for Link to disband the Twilight, he must retrieve the Tears of Light to restore all of the Light Spirits of Hyrule. Midna also tells Link that in order to stop Zant, the Fused Shadows, ancient artifacts of great power, must be recovered.

Banishing the Twilight

Link and Zelda (Twilight Princess)

Artwork of Link and Princess Zelda

Link enters the Twilight where strange monsters appear and the humans of the Light World appear as spirits, glowing orbs, unable to see Link, who is now in the form of a sacred wolf. After restoring Faron, the Light Spirit of the Faron Province, Link receives the very garments once worn by the Hero of Time himself. He then enters and defeats the enemies inside the Forest Temple, recovering the first Fused Shadow. He travels out of the Faron Province into the Eldin Province and enters the Twilight. He then finds the kidnapped children of Ordon Village in Kakariko Village. However, due to the fact that he is in the Twilight Realm, they cannot see him. After restoring the Light Spirit Eldin, Link reunites with the lost children. However, he discovers that Ilia is not among the children in the Village. From out of nowhere, Link's horse Epona dashes into the Village, with two Bulblins riding her back. Scared and wild, Epona throws off the Bulblins but does not stop running.

After Link successfully tames the distraught horse, Renado, the shaman of Kakariko Village, tells Link that the Gorons of Death Mountain have recently been warding off outsiders, and that there has only been one human that could defeat a Goron with brute strength, Mayor Bo. Link then sets out for Ordon Village and, after informing the residents that the children are okay, talks to the Mayor. The Mayor is distraught to find that Ilia is not with them, but helps Link by teaching him how to sumo wrestle, then gives him the Iron Boots, his secret to defeating the Gorons. Link then returns to Kakariko Village and walks up the trail to Death Mountain, fighting off Gorons and Bulblin. After winning the respect of the proud Goron people by defeating Gor Coron in a sumo match thanks to the Iron Boots Mayor Bo gave him, the elder tells Link that the reason for the Goron's sudden distrust of people outside their race stems from an incident involving their patriarch, Darbus. Darbus and other Goron Elders had entered the Goron Mines to investigate the sudden change in the otherwise calm volcanic mountain. However, Darbus had touched the treasure the Gorons had vowed to keep safe, the Fused Shadow, and had become a shadow monster. Link enters the Goron Mines, breaks the curse on their patriarch, and retrieves the second Fused Shadow.

Link and Midna enter the Lanayru Province, the last of the provinces covered in Twilight. With the help of Wolf Link's keen senses, they track Ilia's smell to Hyrule Castle Town. Here, they find Ilia in the care of Telma, a barmaid. The two have found the young prince of the Zora, who has fallen ill. Link eventually learns of troubles in Zora's Domain, and finds that Lake Hylia is nearly empty, and the cave where the Light Spirit Lanayru dwells is inaccessible. He travels north, to the source of Hyrule's rivers, and he discovers that the source has been frozen solid. Midna and Link go back to Death Mountain to find a large fiery rock that they had previously encountered, and Midna uses her powers to teleport the rock to the frozen water, effectively melting the ice. When this happens, the spirit of the recently killed Zora Queen, Rutela, appears and tells Link of a treasure of the Zora that will allow him to enter the Lakebed Temple at the bottom of Lake Hylia. However, first, she requires that Link heal her son. Link approaches the Light Spirit and gathers all of the Tears of Light, disbanding the last of the Twilight.

The Light Spirit Lanayru tells Link about the Interlopers, ancestors of the Twili. They had, with their powerful magic, tried to conquer the Sacred Realm and establish dominance over it. A war broke out, and, fearing their destructive power, the gods commanded three of the Light Spirits to seal away the Interlopers. They also created the Mirror of Twilight, an instrument with which to banish the wicked to the Twilight Realm, this Mirror could be used as an entrance to the Twilight Realm as well. The two travel back to Hyrule Castle Town, but find that Ilia has lost her memory. Telma tells the pair that in order for the Zora Prince to be healed, he must be taken to Renado, the shaman of Kakariko Village. They decide to transport him on a carriage through the dangerous route of Lake Hylia through southern Hyrule Field to Kakariko Village. Link, on his faithful mare, defends them and makes sure they make it safely back to Kakariko Village. After the Prince is brought safely to the closed-down hotel, Rutela appears before Link once more and thanks him for his heroic deed. She shows Link a secret tomb in Kakariko Graveyard where the Zora Armor, which allows Link to breathe underwater, is stored. She gives him this and, knowing her son is safe, passes on. Link travels to the Lakebed Temple and retrieves the final Fused Shadow and is ready to battle Zant.

Restoration of the Mirror of Twilight

Link vs. Stalfos (Twilight Princess)

Artwork of Link battling Stalfos

However, when Link and Midna are transported back to Lanayru's cave, Zant, the Usurper King, appears and mocks their pathetic attempts at foiling his plans. After taking the Fused Shadows, he curses Link to remain as Wolf Link and exposes Midna to Lanayru's light, mortally injuring the Twili. Link, carrying the dying Midna on his back, desperately makes his way back to Hyrule Castle to meet Princess Zelda, who is the only one with the healing powers to save Midna. Princess Zelda tells them that the only way to break the curse on Link is to travel to the Sacred Grove, deep within Faron Woods, and cleave the curse with the legendary Blade of Evil's Bane, the Master Sword, which lays sleeping there. Then, out of knowledge that Midna has the power to save Hyrule, she essentially sacrifices her own life to save Midna, bestowing her spirit upon the dying Twili, healing her in the process.

Master Sword in the Sacred Grove

The Master Sword

They journey back to Faron Woods and after withstanding the trials of the Woods, finally discover the Sacred Grove. Link touches the Sword and is restored to his human form when the small stone Zant used to place the curse flies out of his body. Midna decides to keep the stone, as it can be used to turn Link into a wolf whenever they want. She then explains that the only way to defeat Zant, is with the Master Sword and the fabled Mirror of Twilight. They travel to the distant Gerudo Desert and ascend the Arbiter's Grounds. At the top of the desert structure, they discover the Mirror of Twilight; however, it has been broken into four pieces by Zant. The Ancient Sages, guardians of the Mirror, appear and show Link what had happened in the past. After committing a horrible crime, Ganondorf, the evil king of the Gerudo, had been captured and brought to the Arbiter's Grounds to be tried. He was put on trial and found guilty, and was to be executed. However, due to the powers he received from being a chosen one of the gods, he survived the executioner's blade, rose to his feet, and killed the Water Sage. The remaining Sages then sealed Ganondorf inside the Twilight Realm. The Sages then tell Link that Zant had failed to destroy the Mirror, which could only be destroyed by the true ruler of the Twilight. Distressed, Zant sent the three missing Mirror Shards to different corners of Hyrule, to be protected by his evil followers.

In Snowpeak Ruins, Link and Midna realize the true power of the Mirror Shards, when Yeto's wife, Yeta, is transformed into an ice monster by looking into the Mirror, creating the dungeon's boss. Midna decides they need to find the remaining two shards more quickly, so more people don't fall to them.

Battle for Hyrule

Link vs. Darknuts (Twilight Princess)

Artwork of Link battling Darknuts

Even after Link and Midna retrieve the other two Mirror Shards from the Snowpeak Ruins, and the Temple of Time, Ilia still has not regained her memory. Link, with the help of Darbus, discovers an abandoned village, which had been hidden for quite some time. Link has to fight some Bulblins and once all of them are defeated, Link discovers a woman still in the village. She is an elderly lady, named Impaz, and the last remaining Sheikah in Hyrule. With Impaz's help, Ilia's memory is restored, as she had spent some time with her. Impaz helps Link get to the City in the Sky, where the final Mirror Shard is. After recovering it from the City in the Sky, Link and Midna travel back to the Arbiter's Grounds and reassemble the Mirror. They travel to the Twilight Realm and infuse the Master Sword with Sols, the Twilight Realm's equivalent of the Sun. Armed with this new power, they invade Zant's Palace of Twilight. Here, it is revealed that Midna is the Twilight Princess; the destined ruler of the Twili. She admits to originally attempting to use Link as a means of getting her kingdom back, but grew to care for him. This only strengthens their resolve, and they confront the wicked Usurper King, Zant. Zant reveals that he had tried to become the true Twilight King, but was passed over, with Midna being chosen as ruler instead. This decision made Zant go into a crazed rage, and it was then that he met Ganondorf -- he told Zant that he was a god and could give Zant all the power he could ever want. However, this was a ploy of Ganondorf to help him regain his power and escape the Twilight realm. With his newly found strength, Zant transformed Midna into an imp form and overthrew the banner of King of Twilight. After this revelation, a fierce battle between Link and Zant ensues. After a long and hard battle, Zant is defeated. However, he reveals to the pair that as long as his apparent god, Ganondorf, exists, Zant can be resurrected. Midna then uses her own power to kill him.

Using the power of the Fused Shadow, Midna tears away the barrier that blocked Hyrule Castle. After battling through a horde of enemies, they find Ganondorf, in the flesh, sitting on the throne of Hyrule Castle with the lifeless body of Princess Zelda suspended in mid-air above him. The ever-confident Dark Lord possesses Zelda's body and attacks Link. Link eventually defeats the possessed Princess Zelda and Midna uses the power of the Fused Shadow to destroy the control Ganondorf has over the Princess, at the same time restoring Zelda's life. Enraged, Ganondorf turns into his beast form of Ganon. After his defeat in this form, Ganondorf transforms into a large ball of dark magic smoke with his face on it. Midna chooses to fight him alone, and teleports Link and Zelda to the safety of Hyrule Field. From the field, Link and Zelda witness a huge explosion from the direction of Hyrule Castle; the Castle had been destroyed. Suddenly, Ganondorf appears on his dark horse, holding Midna's helmet - indicating her defeat. He crushes the helmet, possibly implying that the powers of the Fused Shadow have been undone, and charges at Link and Zelda together with his phantom riders. However, before Ganondorf manages to slay them, Zelda uses her divine power to summon the Light Spirits. The Spirits bestow upon her the holy Arrows of Light. Link and Ganondorf then battle each other on horseback. Ultimately, Ganondorf falls in battle, only to rise once more and challenge Link to a battle of swordplay. At the end of their duel, Link stabs Ganondorf with the Master Sword using the ending blow. He rises to his feet, the sword still protruding from him, and says that "the history of light and shadow will be written in blood". Before he dies, Ganondorf has a vision of Zant's neck snapping, symbolizing that with his death, Zant is now forever dead as well.

Midna's True Form (Twilight Princess)

Midna, restored to her true form

With Zant's death, his curse on Midna, through Ganondorf's power, is broken, and she regains her true form. After their reunion, Link, Zelda, and Midna travel to the Arbiter's Grounds in order for Midna to return to the Twilight Realm by way of the Mirror of Twilight. She promises that they will meet again. However, with a tear, she shatters the Mirror of Twilight in order to prevent similar tragic events from happening again. By doing so, she effectively seals off the only known road between the two worlds. Its purpose in the war against Zant fulfilled, Link returns the Master Sword to the Pedestal of Time, and returns to Ordon Village, but later he rides away with Epona from there, equipped with just his shield. At the very end, the Throne Room of the Hyrule Castle is seen, revealing that the Castle was rebuilt. This may indicate Link is going there, but this is unconfirmed.

Spoiler warning: Spoilers end here.

In-game Universe

Taking place in Hyrule, several familiar areas first appearing in other games such as Death Mountain, Lake Hylia, Hyrule Castle, and other such locations can be visited. The geography of these places, however, has been changed to add a sense of newness to them. New areas added to the game include Ordon Village, a rural town outside of Hyrule where Link starts the game, and Snowpeak, an icy mountain on the edge of the kingdom. One of the most notable areas to make a first appearance is the Twilight, which has begun to cover Hyrule. In this surreal world of orange and yellow, Link is transformed into a Wolf, while other people become monsters and spirits.

Several classic races return to the series, including the Zoras, the Gorons, the Humans, and the Hylians. A new race, the Oocca, are chicken-like in appearance but with human faces. They make their home in the technologically advanced City in the Sky, which doubles as a temple. Finally, there are the mysterious Twili, who originate from the Twilight Realm and play a large role in the story.

In his Wolf form, Link can speak to most animals in the game, including cats, dogs, frogs, and chickens, as well as his horse. Some even play into part of the game's story in some dungeons and towns. The Hylian Language has also been used in the game to add a sense of culture and information that cannot be uncovered without the translation key. Such examples are the "Welcome to Old Kakariko" sign in the Hidden Village and the repeating of the words "Stone Statue, Sanctuary, Master Sword, Copy Rod" at the entrance of the Master Sword Room in the Temple of Time (the complete temple, not the ruins). Finally, the game has a broad array of enemies, items, and characters both old and new.

Development

Creation

In 2003, Nintendo announced that a new Zelda game was underway for the GameCube, developed by the same team that created The Wind Waker. A presentation by director Eiji Aonuma contained a reference to the working title The Wind Waker 2, and it was said to use a similar graphical style. Nintendo of America told Aonuma that North American sales of The Wind Waker were sluggish because the cartoon appearance created the image that the game was designed for a young audience. Concerned that the sequel would have the same problem, Aonuma told Miyamoto he wanted to create a realistic Zelda game that would appeal to the North American market. Miyamoto was concerned about merely changing the presentation instead of coming up with new gameplay ideas. He told Aonuma that he should start by doing what could not be done in Ocarina of Time, particularly horseback combat. In four months, Aonuma's team had created the horseback mechanic with a realistic presentation; Nintendo showed the new look with a trailer at the 2004 Electronic Entertainment Expo. The trailer caught many viewers off guard, and generated much excitement and hype among fans of the series and others in the gaming media. The game was scheduled to be released in November 2005 and was no longer a sequel to The Wind Waker. Miyamoto explained in interviews that the graphical style was chosen to satisfy demand, and because it better fit the theme of an older Link.

Past Zelda games have used a theme of two separate, yet connected worlds. In A Link to the Past, Link travels between a "Light World" and a "Dark World"; in Ocarina of Time and Oracle of Ages, Link travels between two different time periods. The Zelda team sought to use this same concept. It was suggested that Link turn into a wolf, much like he turned into a rabbit in the Dark World of A Link to the Past. Aonuma left his team to continue work on the new idea while he directed The Minish Cap for the Game Boy Advance. When he returned, he found his team struggling. By emphasizing the two worlds and wolf transformation, the realistic Link was lacking. Aonuma also felt that the gameplay lacked the innovation of Phantom Hourglass, which was being developed with a touch-controlled interface for the Nintendo DS. At that time, the Wii was under development with the code name Revolution. Miyamoto thought that the Revolution's pointing interface was well suited for arrow aiming in Zelda and suggested that Aonuma consider using it.

At the 2005 Game Developers Conference, a second trailer was shown of the game showing Link exploring several areas and dungeons, while confronting a vast area of different enemies and bosses. At the end of the trailer, a clip was shown of a wolf howling at the moon. While Link becoming a wolf was not known to the public to be part of the game at the time, many correctly speculated from the trailer that the wolf was Link, and rumors of this began circulating around the gaming community. At the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo, the game was again shown with a new trailer and playable demo. It revealed and confirmed a lot of information about the game for the first time, such as the Twilight Realm, Link becoming a wolf, and the village at the beginning of the game. Nintendo released a small number of Nintendo DS game cards containing a preview trailer for Twilight Princess.

Wii transition

Aonuma had anticipated creating a Zelda game for what would later be called the Wii, but had assumed that he would need to complete Twilight Princess first. His team began work developing a pointing-based interface for the bow and arrow, and Aonuma found that aiming directly at the screen gave the game a new feel, just like the DS control scheme for Phantom Hourglass. Aonuma felt confident this was the only way to proceed, but worried about consumers who had been anticipating a GameCube release. Developing two versions would mean delaying the previously announced 2005 release, still disappointing the consumer. Satoru Iwata, president and CEO of Nintendo, felt that having both versions would satisfy users in the end, even though they would have to wait for the finished product; Aonuma started working on both versions in parallel. Transferring GameCube development to the Wii was relatively simple since the Wii is compatible with the GameCube.

The team worked on a Wii control scheme, adapting camera control and the fighting mechanics to the new interface. A prototype was created that used a swinging gesture to control the sword from a first-person viewpoint, but was unable to show the variety of Link's movements. When the third-person view was restored, Aonuma thought it felt strange to swing the Wii Remote with the right hand to control the sword in Link's left hand, so the sword control was relegated to a button. Details about Wii controls began to surface in December 2005, when British publication NGC Magazine claimed that, when a GameCube copy of Twilight Princess, when played on the Revolution, would give the player the option of using the Revolution controller. Miyamoto confirmed the Revolution controller-functionality in an interview with Nintendo of Europe and Time reported this soon after. At the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo, Nintendo announced that both versions would be available at the Wii launch and had a playable version of Twilight Princess for the Wii. Later, the GameCube release was pushed back to a month after the launch of the Wii.

Nintendo staff members reported that demo users complained about the difficulty of the control scheme. Aonuma realized that his team had implemented Wii controls under the mindset of "forcing" users to adapt instead of making the system intuitive and easy to use. He began rethinking the controls with Miyamoto to focus on comfort and ease. The camera movement was reworked and item controls were changed to avoid accidental button presses; however, the new item system required use of the button that had previously been used for the sword. To solve this, sword controls were transferred back to gestures—something Electronic Entertainment Expo attendees had commented they would like to see. This reintroduced the problem of using a right-handed swing to control a left-handed sword attack. The team did not have enough time before release to rework Link's character model, so they instead flipped the entire game — everything was made a mirror image so that Link was now right-handed, and references to "east" and "west" were changed. The GameCube version was left with the original orientation. The official Twilight Princess player's guide focuses on the Wii version, but has a section in the back with mirror-image maps for GameCube users.

Changes during development

Twilight (beta)

The original design for the Twilight world. Note Midna's oddly colored hand and the monochrome background

The final version of Twilight Princess contained several notable changes from what was seen in the early versions of the game. While never seen, the game was originally done in cel-shading, but this was changed early on for reasons mentioned above. The majority of areas seen in the first two trailers were removed or largely edited in the final product. Most notably was a large open ended forest with no boundaries that contained individual trees. Another large concept that was removed fairly early in development (before E3 2005), was when exploring the dungeons, players would see it in a top-down perspective similar to the ones in 2D Zeldas. When enemies came into contact, however, the camera would pan back into 3D view for combat.

Probably the most visible change in the game's development was that of the game’s "twilight" which was originally a colorless world shaded in black and white. Only the characters themselves had any color to them. Link's voice was also the same as Adult Link's from Ocarina of Time. Another change made near the game's release, was the exclusion of a magic meter seen in other games. This feature can in fact still be seen on the back of the Wii version's box art. Several of the games enemies and bosses (such as Moblins or Beta Gohma) were either removed from the final product, or heavily edited from their original look and function. The game's placement in the Zelda timeline seems to have changed a few times. In an original interview, the game's director, Eiji Aonuma, said the game came after The Wind Waker. In a later interview at E3 2005 he said the game fell "decades after Ocarina of Time", but before The Wind Waker. Finally, he changed the game to be in its current position in the timeline when the game came out.

Audio

The Legend of Zelda - Twilight Princess Official Soundtrack

The cover of the soundtrack

The score of Twilight Princess was composed by Toru Minegishi, Asuka Ohta, and Kōji Kondō. Minegishi headed music composition and sound design in Twilight Princess, providing all field and dungeon music under the supervision of Kondo. The official soundtrack, published by Nintendo Power in 2006, contains seven tracks. Other than this, no other soundtrack has been released, resulting in many fans distributing un-official soundtracks containing music ripped directly from the game disc.

For the E3 trailer, Michiru Ōshima created orchestral arrangements of three pieces written by different composers, although only the piece by Mahito Yokota was used. Working on the trailer prompted Kondo to consider using orchestral music for the game as well—he envisioned a full orchestra for action sequences and a string quartet for "lyrical moments". Kondo always waits until he can observe the gameplay of a title before composing the score, to ensure that they mesh well. When the trailer was created, gameplay development had not progressed enough for Kondo to decide if an orchestra would be feasible. The final product uses sequenced music instead; Kondo cited the lack of interactivity that comes with orchestral music as one of the main reasons for the decision. Minegishi followed Kondo's example of matching the score to the gameplay and created music to elicit the feeling of melancholy he observed. As Link begins to save Hyrule from the effects of the Twilight Realm, the music takes on a more relaxed mood.

There is little voice acting in the game. Link remains silent in conversation, but makes grunts when attacking and being hit, gasps when surprised and screams when falling from high places. His responses are largely indicated by nods and facial expressions. Other characters' voices are much the same as Link, where only laughing, grunting, and other emotional sounds are heard. The rest of the conversation is simply done by text. Midna also has the most extensive voice acting of any character in not only the game, but the series, as all of her dialogue is represented by audible (though unintelligible) vocalization.

Critical reception

Reviews and awards
Compilations of multiple reviews
Game Rankings Wii: 94.6% (based on 76 reviews)

GCN: 96% (based on 17 reviews)

Metacritic Wii: 95% (based on 69 reviews)

GCN: 96% (based on 16 reviews)

Publication Response Award
1UP Wii: 10 of 10 Best Adventure Game of 2006

Game of the Year 2006

Electronic Gaming Monthly Wii: 10/10/10 Game of the Year 2006
Best Level Design 2006
Best Battle System 2006
Famitsu Wii: 38 of 40 N/A
GameSpot Wii: 8.8 of 10

GCN: 8.9 of 10

Best Wii Game of 2006

Best GameCube Game for 2006

GameSpy Wii: 5 of 5 Editor's Choice
2006 Game of the Year
Game Informer Both: 10 of 10 Game of the Year
Game of the Month: January 2007
IGN Wii: 9.5 of 10

GCN: 9.5 of 10

Both versions: Editors Choice

Best Wii Game of 2006
Best GameCube Game of 2006
Reader's Choice Game of 2006

Nintendo Power Wii: 9.5 of 10

GCN: 9.5 of 10

Best Wii Game of 2006

Best GameCube Game of 2006
Best Adventure Game of 2006
Game of the Year 2006
Best Story/Writing of 2006
Best Music (Reader's choice)
Best Graphics
Best New Character (Midna)

Official
Nintendo
Magazine
Wii: 97%

GCN: 96%

Gold Award
X-Play Wii: 5 of 5 Game of the Year

Best Action/Adventure Game

Twilight Princess was released to universal critical acclaim and commercial success. It received perfect scores from major publications such as 1UP, CVG, EGM, Game Informer, GamesRadar, and GameSpy. On TopTenReviews, it has received an average score of 3.86 out of 4, the highest among all games in the Zelda franchise. On Game Rankings, it is ranked number 6 on the voting average list, the second highest among all Nintendo games, behind Super Mario World. On Japanese website mk2, it is one of the two games that got the highest score of "S" on the Wii, along with Super Mario Galaxy. In the PAL region, Twilight Princess is the best-selling Zelda game ever. On Metacritic, the Wii version has a metascore of 95 and is the third highest-rated Wii game on the site, after Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2, while the GameCube version has a metascore of 96 and is also the third highest-rated GameCube game on the site, behind Resident Evil 4 and Metroid Prime.

Many publications including 1UP, CVG, EGM, Game Informer, GamesRadar, IGN, and The Washington Post have hailed it as the greatest Zelda game ever made. Game Informer called it "so creative that it rivals the best that Hollywood has to offer". GamesRadar praised Twilight Princess as "a game that deserves nothing but the absolute highest recommendation". Cubed³ hailed Twilight Princess as "the single greatest videogame experience".

The game's graphics were praised for the art style and animation, although the game was designed for the GameCube, which is technically lacking compared to the next generation consoles. Both IGN and GameSpy pointed out the existence of blurry textures and low-resolution characters. Despite these complaints, CVG felt the game's atmosphere was superior to that of any previous Zelda game, and regarded Twilight Princess's Hyrule as the best version ever created. PALGN praised the game's cinematics, noting that "the cutscenes are the best ever in Zelda games".

Some reviews have mentioned drawbacks about the game, however. The most commonly mentioned is that the game, having been designed for the GameCube, is not up to scratch with the cutting-edge graphics of its competitors, and that much of the game feels familiar to devoted Zelda fans, as though it is a compilation of Zelda's "greatest hits". Some aspects of the game's design have been more firmly criticized by a number of reviewers, such as the director of Ōkami speaking of his disappointment in the feel of the game's visuals. Regarding the Wii version, GameSpot's Jeff Gerstmann said the Wii controls felt "tacked-on", although 1UP said the remote-swinging sword attacks were "the most impressive in the entire series".

Gaming Nexus considered Twilight Princess's soundtrack to be the best of this generation, though IGN criticized its MIDI-formatted songs for lacking "the punch and crispness" of their orchestrated counterparts.

During its first week, the game was sold with three of every four Wii purchases. The game had sold 4.52 million copies on the Wii as of March 1, 2008, and 1.32 million on the GameCube as of March 31, 2007.

Awards

Gallery

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ "Interview with Eiji Aonuma" (Japanese) [Partial translation: "ND – About when is the Twilight Princess timeline set? Aonuma – In a world several hundred years after 'Ocarina of Time.' ND – And 'Wind Waker'? Aonuma – 'Wind Waker' is parallel. In 'Ocarina of Time,' Link jumps to a world seven years ahead, defeats Ganon, and returns to the time of his childhood, right? 'Twilight Princess' is a world several hundred years after that pacified childhood time."]
  2. ^ Nintendo Dream (2007). Interview with Eiji Aonuma (English translation). Retrieved on 2007-03-12.

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