A portion of a Game Informer interview with Eiji Aonuma...
GI: Did you guys look at any other games to see what they were doing? For example, Skyrim or Witcher feel reminiscent of what you guys are doing with the open world.
EA: First of all I think that many of the staff members do play many different kinds of games, open-world games like you mentioned, but I don't think there was one game that we really looked at and said we want to make a game like this. Instead like I mentioned earlier we wanted to really expand on the world of Skyward Sword and we kind of tried to think about what kind of cycle can we create in the game that really encourages continuous exploration so that what came up was things like needing to cook and gather ingredients to eat, needing to procure weapons from enemies because they break, things that like there's a cycle of expending something and then procuring something, that's like a main important part of this game and it was kind of drawn more from that than any singular inspiration.
GI: Why did you guys decided to make weapons so they could break? Can you repair them at some point? And with the master sword how might fit in there, if that's something players might get at some point, do they have to worry about that breaking?
EA: So initially when we thought about this idea of something breaking and having to get it again, we thought about it with different items instead of weapons and we tried it out and it was a lot of fun and we wanted to expand on it and we tried different things and we found the idea of having to go out and collect things and search for things was very fun and we thought what about what would be the most fun and what can we apply this concept to and we could get the most out of this and we realized that weapons is where it is, because in a world filled with enemies losing your weapon is such a crucial mistake and you lose your way of fighting and encourages the player to carefully use their weapons and not swing it every which way however they want. We also believe that by leading the player to go grab weapons from enemies and increases the amount of battles they have to go to and gives the battles a lot more intent, and it worked out really great. So that's why its in there. And as for your latter two questions, I hope that's something you look forward to in the release version.
GI: I think I see it in the logo..
EA: (laughter) So this actually has a slightly different meaning... There's actually a lot of meaning to the way the sword looks. So when you do see it in the release version I hope you'll be surprised.