An excerpt from the latest Nintendo Power…
“Everyone has probably experienced how hard it can be to go where you want to go when moving your character around in 3-D space. When an opponent is approaching, in order to attack with your sword, you’ve got to position yourself in such a way as to hit it, and that can be quite difficult.
Another problem in games with a third-person perspective is that the camera must follow around the player character. Opponents with a large range of movement soon fall outside the frame. Losing track of your opponent’s location happens much too often.
That was one obvious problem with Super Mario 64, so when it came to Zelda, which features a lot of swordfights, we introduced ‘Z-targeting,’ by which the player could lock on to an opponent. The opponent would stay in front of the player, all the player’s attacks would converge on the opponent, and the camera would always capture both the opponent and the player onscreen.
This lock-on system was developed by Miyamoto and Yoshiaki Koizumi, our 3-D system director. Together with the programmers, they worked directly on adjusting game operability, camera-rotation speed, and even sound effects.” - Eiji Aonuma
It’s funny…yesterday when I was playing Sonic Unleashed, I really wished the werehog sections had Z-targeting!