Gaming

Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Developer Says Transforming Motion Controls Was ‘The Most Difficult’

Image: Nintendo via YouTube

Announced in February 2021 and released just five months later, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD has been a welcome update to the often underrated Zelda game. One of the biggest changes to the HD port was the addition of a second control scheme, the ability to play the game without motion control, making the game more accessible to a lot of people.

Tom Crago, CEO of Tantalus – the developers who made this port possible – spoke about the difficulty of translating the Wii Remote’s motion controls to the Switch buttons in a recent episode. silicon fragments podcast.

During the episode, Crago clearly enjoyed the opportunity to work on Skyward Sword due to the original’s control scheme:

Being able to bring the gameplay of the Wii Remote to the Joy-Con, I mean, I’ve always wanted to do it, because for me it’s – dare I say – comparable and in some ways superior to the experience of playing it. Joy-Con rather than swinging the Wii Remote.

The original Skyward Sword on the Wii required Wii MotionPlus to play, and there was no button-only playability, so it meant adding a second, more accessible control scheme would be difficult. When asked if this was the “hardest” part of the process, Crago said that because the motion controls were “kind of a game” and a unique selling point, and that “operating with buttons only, joystick only, was probably the most big problem.” challenge for us

But it wasn’t a challenge the developer wanted to drop, as it would allow the game to be more accessible to people who struggled with the motion controls, or to people who may not have had a place to use them.

… the vast majority of people liked it, some didn’t, which is why we’re trying to replicate the joy of freedom from this experience on completely different hardware. We felt we could be criticized for this, but we also felt “this is a huge opportunity”, especially for people who may have found it difficult or a little tedious, waving the Wii Remote around to give them another option. with gamepad.

This updated control scheme also allows people who have a Switch Lite to play the game without having to worry about brandishing their consoles – a win in our books! But Crago says the process of transforming the original control scheme was a back-and-forth process. The studio wanted to keep the “feel” of Skyward Sword with this extra control scheme, so they wanted to make sure it worked for them. Tantalus did this by choosing the right stick for sword attacks, which means you still get a sense of direction while swinging your Master Sword.

Regarding how long the development of the game and controls took, Crago said it took about “a year and a half”, even though the controls themselves were ready prior to the game’s launch:

I don’t know what day we were actually able to announce that we were in control – it’s definitely not at the last minute, and we certainly sent a lot of different options and proposals to Kyoto for consideration, but yes. it was a big part of the process. But also with games like this, you know, if we didn’t sort it out, Nintendo just wouldn’t publish them, so they’re not going to release something that doesn’t resonate with The Legend of Zelda, the fan base, and the legacy, so we knew we needed to get it right.

With that in mind, Crago recalls that by the time Skyward Sword HD was announced, the game was “nearly done”. The motion controls are a key part of the game, but having an extra option that both old and new fans are likely to enjoy would also be an important focus.

And it worked too! Even the motion controls seemed better to us, which we noted in our 9/10 review of Skyward Sword HD last year, and we call the control buttons “surprisingly good”, so everyone wins!

In the same podcast, Tom Crago also talks about Twilight Princess HD and how the team learned a lot while working on the Wii U port of Zelda. He also mentions that Tantalus “would like” to release Twilight Princess HD on Switch, but the studio hasn’t reached out yet.

You can listen to the full episode below, where Crago talks about Tantalus’ many projects, as well as the studio’s upcoming game.

Share your thoughts on the new Skyward Sword HD control scheme in the comments!




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