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Twilight Princess During Development -Beta

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#1 Goron Merchant

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Posted 15 June 2008 - 05:42 PM

For the past few days I've been digging through old Nintendo Power -remember those Inside Zelda articles?- and Electronic Gaming Monthly magazines from Twilight Princess's development about Twilight Princess's development. I've found a fair share of interesting content that was either cut from the game, never finished, or was in the game and I just didn't notice. This isn't quite beta -Makoto Miyanaga even admits that the team was only just getting close to nailing down the game's outline and he was one of the last interviewed- but its very similar and just as interesting. Now, I couldn't keep all of this interesting information to myself, so here it is. . .


-May contain spoilers-

To start off, I looked through Nintendo Power's E3 2005 issue -this is the E3 where TP's story and name were first revealed to the public along with a demo of Link's hometown, the first dungeon, and the horseback fight with King Bulbin. According to the article Toaru Village -the tentative name for Ordon Village- mostly consisted of herding goats, helping villagers and collecting animals, "a cat named Link, a hawk and a dog." In the screenshot, Link rescues the dog via row-boat. These boats made it into the game, just not in Ordon. They're the same boats found in the fishing hole (see screenshot). The mayor tells us that "The human Link has been invited to a summit in Hyrule" later articles state that Link is headed to a festival in Hyrule. Though this may have just been plot filler until they had a more concrete storyline, its still pretty interesting; a lot like Minish Cap, actually. I'll get back to the rest of the demo later.

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The first Inside Zelda I looked through was by an illustrator by the name of Yusuke Nakano, who is responsible for a large amount of the game's concept art. At one point in his interview, Yusuke says "it is entirely up to Aonuma whether Sheik will show up in the new game or not." This means that they were still considering adding the mysterious alter ego for Zelda long after the game's first demo at E3. Yusuke goes on to say that Link will be more expressionistic than he was in Wind Waker.

Next up was Yoshiyuki Oyama. Mr. Oyama -who Japan's version of Professor E. Gadd from Luigi's mansion was named after- who brought most of TP's monsters to life. When discussing how monsters in Twilight Princess will evolve as the player evolves, he states "For Example, let's say you've just beaten a small enemy. Later on, you should possibly meet with the same kind of foe but larger. If you continue to beat those, you should eventually meet up with a massive version of the creatures. This kind of progression helps create a story-like feeling, even when simply battling through levels." I can't imagine why they'd scrap such a great idea. In my opinion, this would have been a great addition to Twilight Princess.

Designer Keisuke Nishimori brought Link and Wolf Link to life. "We're also thinking about using motion capture with real dogs and a horse -animals are such an essential part of the game." This is one of countless places that the developers emphasize the importance of animals; unfortunately I don't think the animals played as important of a part in the final game as originally intended. "Though I've also become interested in snowboarding, don't think that I have a secret plan to have Link use some kind of snowboarding moves in the game!" Sort of funny since snowboarding did indeed make it into Snowpeak. I wonder if Keisuke designed it. The captions for the photos in Keisuke's article actually reveal a lot as well; sort of. "Swords, yes. Snowboarding, no. Not all of Nishimori's hobbies will get in the game." This was, in the end, untrue as stated above."Twilight Princess's wolf will bring new styles of control never before seen in the Zelda series -with or without the mysterious hitchhiker Midna giving assistance from the wolf's back. " The only times that Midna wasn't riding Wolf Link was when he was in Hyrule Castle's prison and in Ordon. The caption accompanies a screenshot of Wolf Link in what looks like Snowpeak without any sign of Midna.

Takumi Kawagoe discusses his role in the game's many cinematic sequences. "Personally, I hope that Zelda will liven up and regain her cheer by the end of the game, but I suspect that it may not be in Hyrule's destiny this time around." I imagine this means the team was still debating whether or not to end Twilight Princess with the flooding of Hyrule; seeing as how this would flow into Wind Waker's storyline much more smoothly, I really can't imagine why they didn't end it this way.

Makoto Miyanaga -Eiji Aonuma's sidekick- wrote "Just a little fine-tuning, and the wolf will be ready for playable prime time at E3" This unfortunately didn't happen. Instead gamers were treated to the Wii version of Twilight Princess at that year's E3. I wonder what segment of TP's wolf story the player would have explored.

Koji Kondo, one of the video gaming industry's most well-known composer had quite a few interesting dreams for Twilight Princess that never came to be. "Recording the trailer has really encouraged me to explore the challenges of orchestra music for the game [...] I'd love to use a full 50-player orchestra to capture the big action scenes and an intimate string quartet for the more lyrical moments in gameplay." Many fans were disappointed to see that Twilight Princess's soundtrack was made up completely of midi. Games like Super Mario Galaxy give testament to how much a full orchestra can add to a game -example. "We're also exploring some music-oriented gameplay ideas for Twilight Princess. In the E3 demo, people saw and heard that Link plays a reed pulled from the grass to call a hawk; reed music was in the initial development concept for Ocarina [of Time], but we ultimately didn't use it. What instrument might Link play in Twilight Princess? For now, it's going to remain a secret." So they were planning or developing an instrument for Link in TP besides grass whistling. This may be referring to the wolf's howling, but he did say "instrument." Koji also writes that he hopes to use music by or similar to that of Sarah Brightman for Princess Zelda's theme.

Atsushi Miyagi, Twilight Princess's environment designer wrote one of the most interesting things in my opinion. "[...]if the overall game plan says that wood can burn, then we need to keep wood in mind when we design landscapes, since everything that we design as wood-based -including houses- has to be burnable. So then we're asked to provide some wooden fences that can be burned by the fiery arrows; that it, the fence can't be destroyed until the player finds the fire bow." Wow. I wanna burn trees and houses! "bombs can obliterate trees." I'm not sure if this is in the final version, but I've never blown a tree up in Twilight Princess.

Toru Minegishi, who was also responsible for the music in Twilight Princess, writes "Through Link's efforts, the mood will eventually become more relaxed as the game progresses -at least, that's my plan." He hoped to slowly fade the melancholy atmosphere while Link slowly brings Hyrule to its old splendor through music. I wonder if that meant changes in Hyrule Field's theme as the game progressed.

There were others, like Shinko Takeshita, Kazuaki Morita, Satomi Asakawa, Makoto Sasaki, and Satoru Takizawa who didn't really proclaim much worth noting for this article that I could find. Most everyone promised that Twilight Princess would go beyond the player's imaginations and be much better than they'd ever hope or wish for- and it seemed that no one doubted TP would surpass Ocarina of Time. "Oh, it pains me to tell you nothing more specific! But, believe me, what you'll see will be unlike anything you've ever tasted in gaming." -Kazuaki Morita.

---Now Electronic Gaming Monthly also had a very interesting interview with Eiji Aunoma that revealed quite a bit of what never came to be. At one point, Eiji Aunoma reveals that because Wolf Link is an animal, he will be able to talk to other animals; he highlights that Link may even be able to talk to Epona. After reading this I couldn't wait to hear what Epona had to say, I imagined her sharing her past with Ocarina Link or something along the lines of that, however, to my disappointment all Epona ever said was "Even though you change shape, I still understand you. Link... Hurry up and return to your true self..." Boo. :cry: I wonder if she was initially planned to say more or even possibly have an important role in the story through her communications with Wolf Link.

In the interview mentioned above, Eiji also says that there will be ways to power-up and change Midna's attacks. To the extent of my memory, this didn't end up happening. He also makes a point to tell the interviewer that because not too much time has passed since Ocarina, its more than possible that some of its characters may still be alive in TP's world.

Concerning day and night Eiji Aunoma has a lot to say. "[...]there will be a day/night system, both in the Twilight world and in the [normal world]." I don't remember any day/night system in the Twilight Realm. I wonder how that would have been with the Twilight Realm's original black and white appearance. "[...]we also don't want to have a system where the player can't do anything until a particular time of day arrives and the player has to wait around -that's not very good game [design]. So in that sense, you have to have some mechanism for control. And we have been looking at different ways to do that, and we have a plan for how we're going to do that in the game." Alas, there was no way to change day to night in Twilight Princess (making the poe quest very annoying as Aunoma predicted.); I wonder what happened to their plan and what it was. "You might have seen scenes of Link holding a lantern at night, walking through areas of a village. In Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask the night was fairly well-lit, enough for you to see, but in Twilight Princess we want to have the night be very, very dark, to the point that, without a lantern, you can't see as you're walking around. Really give it the idea that it's not safe to go out alone at night, especially if you don't have a lantern to guide yourself." I really wish that they kept this idea. . .

- More from the demo at E3 2005 -

-"The chief taps Link to go to a festival in Hyrule-" Yep. Festival.

-"...as Link heads toward the Hyrule festival, he stumbles into a twilight realm." Its interesting that in the same demo you can see the cutscene where Ordon Link is pulled into the Twilight Realm -it is a sheet of black with no symbols like the first version, and actually looks quite a bit more ominous- while going after Ilia but this version of the story sounds quite different. But again, maybe this was just filler story while they developed the plot more.

-"When you run the wolf outside the boundaries of the twilight realm, he changes back into Link (with no Midna in sight); if you cross back over, he turns back into the wolf, with the imp back on his back." As far as I know, you can't do this in the game. Next to this part of the article is a picture of Midna with her old hair in the black & white Twilight Realm; the hair actually looks like one of the arms/legs of the monster she morphs into when the Fused Shadow combine. (See image below) I wonder if they were already planning her transformation.

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-The Monkey King, Ook, sported very different headgear in the E3 2005 demo. It was a cel-shaded black and red hat much more similar to the twilight realm than the mind-controlling bug that he wore in the final version.

-The outer rim of the twilight realm was pure black with no fancy symbols creating a more mysterious and unsettling effect while looking much more fitting for the game's black and white version of its twilight world, and the enemy's twilight portals were green and black like the ones Link uses instead of red and black.

- Barely related, but still interesting -

-Takumi Kawagoe revealed that "As the Ocarina [of Time] camera system became finalized, I began to devote my energy to making some of the cut-scenes and demo movies for the title -about half of those finally used- starting with story boards and then creating the final versions." I wonder if the same is true about Twilight Princess. I'd love to see these unused cutscenes.

- According to Koji Kondo, while Majora's Mask had exotic Chinese-opera sounding music and Wind Waker had more of an Irish influence, Twilight Princess uses more eastern Europe sounding music.

-In the E3 2006 demo the bow had a circle that provided more pinpoint accuracy, if the pointer moved outside of the circle then you'd have to reposition your bow for better aim. I'm not sure what this means, but its what the article says.

-I'm don't know if you know this or not, but the magic-meter actually appeared on the back of the first Wii editions of TP, but not in the actual game. Well according to pre-launch screenshots of the game, Link would have acquired the magic meter as early as the first Twilight Realm portion. Thats before even the first dungeon. I'm guessing that Midna's energy-field attack would have originally used magic. Another interesting thing to note is that in every single image where the magic meter is featured, it is exactly half full.

Well, that's all that I found. I hope you enjoyed what I've found, if you'd like to read the Inside Zelda articles for yourself, you can find them all here. If you'd like to further discuss or study Twilight Princess's beta version, then we have this topic on the forums. . .

- Also! -

Awhile back, Sahaqiel compiled a collection of all the beta creatures that made it into the trailers, screenshots, and game's memory, but not into the final version. Here it is:

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[url="http://img144.imageshack.us/img144/1730/betato4.png"%20target="_blank"]Enlarged pic[/url]
Left to right: Unknown creature obviously related to the Gohma family, beta Poe, which had a more puppet-like look, Skulltula with the ability to ensnare Link in a web, "Enigma", Unknown giant-creature, assumed friendly by Beta trailer videos, Slugula, Enigma again, Armos Titan, "Goron Golem", which was a giant made of Gorons, (Understandably taken out because it seemed to have difficulty hitting you...) the Unknown Giant again in better view, unknown armored creature.

Credits to the following videos:
Video 1
Video 2 (Ignore this person's awful spelling)
Video 3
Video 4
Video 5 (Most important)

WARNING: Last video may come as a shock. Possible future Zelda project.

#2 bellumslayer


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Posted 15 June 2008 - 05:52 PM

first post!... wow that must have took you a long time to write... i did not read it it was to long...

Edited by bellumslayer, 15 June 2008 - 05:52 PM.

#3 Goron Merchant

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Posted 15 June 2008 - 05:53 PM

It took me longer than I thought it would. Lol.

And I was afraid of that. Maybe I'll summarize it into a shorter read later. Right now, I need a break.

#4 Jared!


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Posted 15 June 2008 - 08:07 PM

Twilight Princess is already my favourite game...And to think it could have been so much better.

But I guess that If they did keep all that they would have to delay it SO much longer

#5 Javert

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Posted 15 June 2008 - 09:48 PM

Wow, Merch, very informative. Excellent post.
I would love to see every feature that they mentioned. Dx; Curse you, short development timelines. But it scares me a bit to know that they had all that planned, but instead they did what they did, knowing full well that everyone would enjoy it just because it's Zelda. Really, they pretty much have free reign to release the same game again and again.

#6 Dusty


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Posted 16 June 2008 - 01:12 AM

wow thats thourough

#7 Otis McNutt

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 07:35 AM

I saw a change in Midna's attacks, That attack when you create a circle of energy and slashed through enemies as the game progresses the circle gets bigger.

#8 Knuckle

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 07:35 AM

Excelllent job! I'm surprised so many articles are still around for TP beta, not to mention how different everything was back then.

#9 Psy

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Posted 16 June 2008 - 07:56 AM

Magic was also apparently used to transform back into a wolf once you were able to voluntarily do so. From the text dump:

You don't have any magic power...
You know you can't turn into a
beast without it!

#10 Adr990


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Posted 16 June 2008 - 12:24 PM

Great info :)
Like it, I should deep in Action Replay coding more... (thanks to arcentral I can do already a VERY little but I think I should look in TP to find more beta things... since there are more beta things ;) and so see in pictures even models in the game... if you extract the models from the game than you'll see beta models (characters) )