Recently, a panel was held at WonderCon to promote and showcase Hyrule Warriors Legends. Producer Yosuke Hayashi and director Hiroya Usuda, both from Koei Tecmo, were on hand to discuss the development of the game as well as some aspects that did not make it to the final product.

They opened the panel with a procession of concept art, including the key visual that inspired the development of the game and that was shown to Shigeru Miyamoto. Various location-based concept art pieces were shown as well, providing a look at early ideas for areas, including what looked like an emulation of Link’s treehouse from Ocarina of Time. Most striking was a look at an armored Link, appearing more in line with the Dynasty Warriors aesthetic than his iconic outfit or even the knight uniform he dons at the game’s beginning.

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During the development of the Wii U version the team knew they wanted to include new, original characters which eventually became the likes of Lana and Cia. Various concepts were shown for both characters, including a point where they would have been fairies as opposed to sorceresses. They went in polar directions when it came to designing them, with it noted that Cia should be ‘sexy’ and Lana ‘cute’, even comparing her to an idol. Following this was a look at the prototype of the Legends cover art, which went through several revisions to better reflect its goal of reflecting an all star cast.

After a viewing of the game’s launch trailer, the panel went on to discuss the special 3DS additions. The second screen allowed the team to have the map and quick character change features added, and the extra development time allowed them to integrate Wind Waker and Linkle storylines into the game’s Legend Mode. The Wind Waker based concept art drew plenty of laughs, noting how sad it was to have Toon Link and Tetra waving good bye in one piece and how they could imagine the King of Red Lions laughing in another.

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In regards to character gameplay development, they noted they wanted Toon Link to reflect agility and technical ability, as well as fun reactions, like how he becomes dizzy after certain attacks. For King Daphnes, they made sure to keep his place as the King of Red Lions apparent in all of his combos, and how they wanted to maintain a kingly feel in the design of his sail weapons. Tetra was decided to remain as so throughout the game, keeping the focus on her unique gun and cutlass weapon style. Some edits that came up in respect to her were making the gun weapon more stylized and ‘regal’ in design in order to both hint at Zelda and to keep it from being too realistic a depiction of firearms. This is also why they decided to have her gun fire water pellets instead of bullets.

Skull Kid received a spotlight as well, and they made sure to note how badly they all wanted to include him in the game initially. He was originally considered for the Majora character pack but was ultimately rejected, though the staff persisted. With repeat promises of being able to make him interesting they finally got their wish with Legends. They rightfully highlighted both the mischievous and sinister sides to the character, keeping a devious quality in all of his actions. Following this a trailer highlighting newcomer Linkle was shown, exciting the crowd and moving on to a discussion of her development.

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The opened the Linkle discussion with a look at the original concept art from the Wii U version’s development, a piece that found its way into the Hyrule Warriors artbook and subsequently into the hands of fans. Due to the positive reaction this received they decided to revisit the concept, having plenty of design work already but left her out due to being unable to decide if she should be Link’s sister. Now given a second chance, the alterations to her design became a bit difficult. The team wanted to strike a balance and not have her appear too similarly to Link or Zelda. Likewise they wanted her to be cute, but not so cute as to be too similar to Lana. This led to multiple revisions, such as replacing her cap with a hood and altering her outfit from behind, the angle players would be seeing most in game. Due to the abundance of female characters in the game already, making her stand out apart from them ended up being particularly difficult from a design standpoint.

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It was decided early on that she would start the game asleep, a common trend in Zelda games. This lead to her pajama design being completed even before her personality was finalized. In regards to her personality, the team was having a tough time, as the qualities it set out to emphasize made her too positive a character. With a sense of justice, a drive to help others, and a cute demeanor already highlighted, the team decided to add the fact she had no sense of direction to make her both more flawed and endearing. This led to some trouble striking a balance to avoid her being too comical. Speaking of which, a sequence involving Tingle and a dance off as a dream (or nightmare…) sequence for Linkle was removed due to both time constraints and the overly humorous tone clashing with the game.

The team also gave a first look at Medli, a free character coming soon to both the Wii U and 3DS versions. Her design is true to form and shows a mastery of Rito-based flight and wind usage as well as her signature harp. Following this was the reveal of concept art of Marin from Link’s Awakening as the next, new character complete with the Sea Lily’s Bell as her weapon. The Q&A session then brought a understanding of what the game’s development was like, which is what wrapped up the panel for this year.

Here’s a look at the a recording of the panel if you’re interested in viewing it in its entirety!

Keep your eyes on Nintendo Inquirer as more Hyrule Warriors DLC is developed and released, and check out our review of Hyrule Warriors Legends as well.

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Written by Ricky Berg

When he isn’t writing for Nintendo Wire, Ricky’s anticipating the next Kirby, Fire Emblem, or if the stars ever align, Mother 3 to be released. Till then he’ll have the warm comfort of Super Smash Bros. to keep him going.

Ricky Berg