The Zelda franchise is no stranger to unique visuals. The series has dabbled with all sorts of art styles over the years, and Link's Awakening takes Link into yet another new direction visually. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Eiji Aonuma opens up about how Nintendo settled on the interesting look.
The art style came about as a result of making 3D re-creations of the original characters, buildings and their exaggerated proportions as faithfully as possible. That said, we were aiming for the feel of a “diorama,” so we may have been thinking about some actual miniature dioramas.
We felt like a “miniature diorama” style fits the concept of the small but deep setting of the original game, as well as the comical characters and brisk action. We decided to apply the tilt-shift aspect to further emphasize that.