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Tantalus Media on bringing Twilight Princess to Wii U, says Sonic Mania on-track, talks ease of Switch development

A portion of a Miketendo64 interview with Tom Crago of Tantalus...

Miketendo64: As great as it was though, Mass Effect 3 wasn’t your only biggest port to the Wii U, because you also ported and remastered Twilight Princess HD. I know you have talked about this a few times now in the past, but for our readers who never read the story of how it came to be, would you please tell us how the port happened in the first place? When did development for it begin and what was your most favourite moment from the whole process?

Tom Crago: Definitely it was a huge title, and one of our proudest achievements as a company. We had worked with Nintendo before on Top Gear Rally on GBA, and had remained in close contact in the intervening period. I guess they were impressed by the work we’d done on Mass Effect 3, which was a launch title on Wii U, and so they approached us to talk about Twilight Princess. It’s not every day someone from Nintendo asks you if you’d be interested in making a Zelda game, so definitely it was happy moment. By that stage Tantalus had shipped around thirty games on Nintendo platforms, and so certainly it felt like a natural fit. A huge thrill, but a natural fit. We worked with Nintendo very closely. A dedicated team in Kyoto worked with us throughout the duration of the project, and senior members of our team made several trips to Japan. My favourite moments were definitely those visits to Kyoto, especially spending time with Aonuma-san, and having the opportunity to present our ideas for the game.

Miketendo64: Also because I’ve brought up Sonic Mania, how did you first get involved with the project and how is yourselves and your team finding working on the game? Are you still all set for a Summer release?

Tom Crago: Here again SEGA initiated the conversation. We made a couple of games with them back in the 1990’s (maybe before some of your readers were born) and had maintained a close relationship. It was an easy negotiation and we started working with SEGA and Christian Whitehead last year. The game is really Christian’s baby, but we’re loving bringing it to Switch. Yes it’s on track for a summer release.

Miketendo64: Since everyone else has talked about it, we may as well let you have your chance to do the same. Given all the platforms you have brought games to, how has Tantalus Media found working with and developing for the Nintendo Switch?

Tom Crago: Nintendo made a lot of smart decisions with the Switch. It’s easy to write code for, and from an architecture standpoint it’s straightforward. I like the form factor too, it’s a great piece of hardware.

Tantalus discusses their work on Zelda: Twilight Princess HD - convincing Nintendo, Nintendo involvement, dev time

The following info comes from a Fragments of Silicon interview with Tantalus CEO Tom Crago...

On how long it took to convince Nintendo that they could do it…

Several months. I mean they are obviously an incredibly meticulous company, and we’re talking about a beloved property – one of the most beloved properties in the whole house of Nintendo, so we approached it very diligently and carefully, and we went to Kyoto a couple of times to meet with Aonuma-san and his team, and to talk to them about the work that we’d done and what we proposed to do on Twilight Princess, and then there are a series of experiments and tests and trials and so on before you have the opportunity to actually go into full development, and we are fortunate that we got that opportunity.

On how involved Nintendo was with the oversight of the project…

Very, very involved. Aonuma-san himself, obviously, he signs off on everything – it’s his game. At all levels he was omnipresent. And then a team of people there in Kyoto dedicated to the game, so daily conversations, very regular calls, a bit of back and forth between us here in Melbourne and Nintendo in Kyoto, and regular builds and reporting, and all those things. So yeah, absolutely, they were extremely hands on.

On development length…

It must have been 18 months plus, and the team… up to maybe like 40 people at various points. I mean, a big game even in its adaptation in terms of time frame and team size.

Nintendo considered making an older Link for Zelda: Twilight Princess

The following conversation can be found in Zelda: Arts & Artifacts, with includes Nintendo artists Yusuke Nakano and Satoru Takizawa...

AA: So at that point, the story hadn’t been set yet, but you needed to design the face for the new Link. What things did you keep in mind as you worked?

Nakano: For the face, I talked at length with Takizawa-san as I started to sketch. I wanted him to be a little bit older. The Link up till now had been in his teens, but for this one we were talking about making him around twenty-five… maybe even thirty.

Takizawa: Meaning it was an adventure that an adult Link was taking on.

Nakano: He would be well built… A skinny man with a pretty face wouldn’t stand a chance against a large enemy, so we thought about making him quite sturdy. So the first illustrations were, in a way, pretty amazing.

Takizawa: They certainly were. There was even a square-jawed, burly-looking Link too. [laughs]

Nakano: When I showed the sketches to the overseas staff, the response I got back was, “What the fans want is the Link they saw in Ocarina of Time.” So in the end, his face and body type were made similar to that of the adult Link from that game.

AA: One of the most notable aspects of Twilight Princess is that Link can transform into a wolf.

Nakano: Yeah, so I made sure that the look of his eyes matched the eyes of Link as a wolf.

Takizawa: But the detail about him changing into a wolf came after the initial designs. So the sketches of Link later on had him looking much more wolf-like and wilder. At one point, there was talking about giving him a Japanese haircut style called a wolf cut, which would have given him a more wolfish look.

Nakano: I remember that. But the sketches I made for the front, back, and side views didn’t make him look very wild…

Eurogamer cooks Yeto's Superb Soup from Zelda: Twilight Princess

Thanks to NicoDarunia for the heads up!

Nintendo gets a handful of awards at the New York Game Awards

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - Last night, the New York Game Awards were watched by the tens of thousands on Twitch. Legend Award winner Richard Garriott wrote on Twitter, "What a great event you put on tonight. Great celebration of diverse creations." Congratulations from the New York Videogame Critics Circle to all of nominees and winners at last night's 6th Annual New York Game Awards! Here's a full list of winners.

Big Apple Award for Game of the Year
Uncharted 4

Herman Melville Award for Best Writing in a Game
Mafia III

Andrew Yoon Legend Award
Richard Garriott

Knickerbocker Award for Best Games Journalism
David Wolinsky

Coney Island Dreamland Award for Best VR Game
Superhot

A-Train Award for Best Mobile Game
Pokemon Go

Great White Way Award for Best Acting in a Game
Rich Sommer, Firewatch

Off Broadway Award for Best Indie Game
Inside

Tin Pan Alley Award for Best Music in a Game
Thumper

Central Park Zoo Award for Best Kids Game
Pokemon Go

Statue of Liberty Award for Best World
Hitman

Freedom Tower Award for Best Remake
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

Battery Park Award for Best Handheld Game
Severed

Fan Vote: The Ebbetts Field Award for Best eSports Team
Cloud9

First 4 Figures working on Zelda Majora's Mask & Midna True Form, Okami figures



Just to point one thing out, that Majora's Mask figure is going to be life-sized! Now that's going to be something awesome to see!