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Skyward Sword’s Art Style: Straddling the Line or Walking a New Path?

Article by The Wolfess

There are millions of people watching with bated breath and high expectations. It seemed, to us, as if the fate of our beloved franchise was on the line—this new title would make or break us, and so far all we knew was a lot of juicy rumors and a single, sketchy, dark piece of artwork. Lights dim on the stage and a chill shivers up the spines of all watching. Those familiar Zelda notes caress our eardrums while famous symbols and sounds from each Zelda Console title since 1998 drift across an eerie, smoke-like world.

The camera zooms past them, paying the games that have worked their way into our hearts no mind, as if they are of no consequence compared to what lies on the other side of that bright beacon of light at the end of the tunnel. We’re on the edge of our seats, goose bumps on our arms, barely able to contain ourselves, and then….

Our beloved hero, Link, stands alone and typically heroic-looking in the middle of a strange field. The grass has all the textural definition of the old Nintendo 64 days, and the sky is no better. Link’s figure is also somehow familiar, and yet all wrong at the same time. He is Twilight Princess’s dark, Lord-of-the-Rings-esque Link with beautiful detail in every handsome, so-real-you-could-almost-touch-him face, but then all the detail that made him unique seems to be gone. His coloring mirrors Wind Waker’s cartoonish, wanna-be-Disney-star Link, but he is clearly much more real than that.

As we see more of this strange Hero’s world, everything seems so familiar and yet so… off. Different. Unexpected. Unusual. What is this place that is somehow both childish and sophisticated, fantasy and natural? Who is this contradictory Link breaking the carefully created lines we have formed between “Real” and “Cartoon”?

After the lights of this scene dimmed, the hearts of “real Link” fans had broken, and those of “cartoon Link” fans had jumped for joy. Of course, there are those saintly fans in between who love it no matter how it looks, and I pray there will always be more of you to straddle the lines between our fan-created categories and help us to communicate with one another.

As we have seen on our own ZU and across the gaming world, Miyamoto later told those at the evening round table conference that the new graphics are neither the grungy realism of Twilight Princess nor the childish cartoonism of The Wind Waker. What seems to be an odd bastard child of the two Gamecube Zelda titles is actually something completely different—an entire world inspired by the famous Impressionist artists themselves. Miyamoto even listed a few specific painters.

I may be a modestly accomplished painter, but I’m self taught and therefore know little about art criticism or “The Masters”, so this surprising information was unfamiliar to me yet intriguing. So far we have seen the extensive use of paper and scrapbooking in “Paper Mario” and as of E3 we are about to play a game entirely made out of yarn (kitting fans rejoice!), so Nintendo is known for taking its artistic inspirations a little far. It makes sense, then, that learning what Impressionism is might help us to predict the environments and visuals we have seen and will see in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

Impressionism

Developed in 1860 through 1890, Impressionism was an artistic movement in painting and music that better suited the major changes taking place in newly-industrialized Britain. The movement was called “New Realism” by the group later christened “Impressionists” by critics in the art industry.

This group rejected the widely accepted classical painters, who believed in painting an ideal of beauty—meaning what would be there if the world was perfect, rather than what was actually there, or what the artist saw with his own eye. Classical painting was beautiful and so real you thought you could step right in to it, but it was also formulaic and confining for the artist, who was forced to follow a strict set of rules, patterns, and styles rather than paint what he himself saw.

As I researched the more I learned about classical painting the more I thought of Zelda itself. What was a new, refreshing, celebrated style when it first debuted in Ocarina of Time—realistic, dark, muted colors, idealized forms, and more—was starting to become confining for developers. The same descriptors used above apply to how the Zelda Franchise began to feel 10 years+ after Ocarina of Time: Formulaic. Stagnant. Confining. Forcing players to follow set rules and patterns, rather than engage in the freedom of exploration that first inspired the series.

Nintendo tried to shake it up by going in the exact opposite direction—cartoon all the way—with little success in reviving the franchise. Perhaps going so far away wasn’t what core players really needed after all, but certainly it wasn’t classical realism either. Skyward Sword is Nintendo’s answer, and Impressionism was the answer of painters during the Impressionist Era.

Impressionists decided to “paint what they see” rather than follow the constricting conventions of classical painting. They painted what was there according to how they saw it—sometimes beautiful, sometimes sketchy, and sometimes horribly distorted. To really capture the moment of the vision the paintings had to be quick, almost like a draft. Paintings were often done in one sitting in order to fully and truly capture the essence of that particular moment.

Impressionist paintings eventually took on certain common qualities, though the nature of Impressionism is so tailored to individualism and the individual artist’s vision that it’s hard to nail down a common set of conventions. These qualities included:

  • use of light tones
  • division of tones (an orange is represented by juxtaposition of two pure colors, red and yellow)
  • form and volume resulting from colored brushworks instead of drawing-contour
  • thickness of paint
  • “quick”, sketch-like feel

Impressionist Artists and Skyward Sword

Surprisingly (or maybe not), various textures and scenes in the trailers and official artwork we have received reflect several different Impressionist styles.

Humans and Humanoids

On the left we have our first glimpse of the main character, Linkina…I mean *cough* Link. Male. Right. First you’ll notice the smudge-like grass he is standing on. Next, look closely at his bright colors and smooth textures, as well as the soft-looking feminine face.

The lines and textures in Link are not clearly defined or exactly proportionate for that matter, but in order to look natural on that particular landscape he can’t look that detailed or real. The only other option is to have him be as sketchy as the grass, and that would be difficult on the player’s eyes.

Now look at this painting by Impressionist painter, Edgar Degas. The people in this picture have similar blank expressions and features that make their gender slightly indistinguishable if not for the clothing each is wearing. Other than the black on their clothing, their skin and aprons are brightly colored, along with the wall in the background, and there is very minimal blending.

Perhaps an even better example of cell-like coloring and distorted features is Gustave Caillebotte’s painting of people walking in Paris:

Clouds and Landscapes

Miyamoto specifically talked about the influence of Paul Cezzane’s work on the clouds in Skyward Sword. Since he did not mention any specific clouds, I am going to assume that he meant all clouds. First, I want to look at the title screen shown at the end of the longer trailer at E3. Here, we see the Skyward Sword logo (note that the gold behind the logo is cracked, not solid, as would be ideal) and a background of spiraling clouds behind it. Note the colors, textures, and kinds of brush strokes. They are short, quick little strokes similar to what we saw used to paint the grass.

Here is an in-game example of those same clouds. Note the texture of the rocks that Link is jumping off of as well. They are very painting-like, and not realistic OR cartoony.

Now let’s look at a painting by Cezanne. The clouds in this painting look great when viewed in a small resolution or from a distance, but when you look at a larger version of this painting the clouds are little more than watery white smudges in the sky. Likewise, the screenshots shown above depict clouds that look great from a distance or at a low resolution, but when viewed in greater detail they are little more than paint smudges that give the impression of clouds.

This screenshot of the forest area shown below is very important when discussing the use of Impressionism in Skyward Sword’s environment and art direction. The trees and grass throughout the game utilize the painting style shown here, and we can see more of the clouds discussed above.

Compare this to the wonderfully bright painting by Camille Pissaro below. Similar bright colors are used, along with a happy, sunny landscape, and similar paint strokes as we have seen before in the rocks, clouds, and grass. It seems that the natural world Link lives in is painted in this manner, with short, quick brush strokes. Characters, monsters, and buildings, however, seem to have a simpler, more cell-shaded-esque soft style also seen in the Impressionistic Era.

Official Art

Of course, I can’t stop without mention of Skyward Sword’s amazing official art. The style in the artwork to the right, just released at E3, is clearly reminiscent of the humans painted in Impressionist work. See the section on humans and humanoids for another look at those paintings. However, what about the famous “mystery girl” artwork?

This picture is probably, and perhaps surprisingly, one of the most impressionistic images we have seen thus far. A different kind of lighting and brush stroke is utilized here than previously seen, a harsher kind, but it is still seen in impressionistic work. Look at the painting below by Claude Monet.

Though Monet uses a lighter color pallet, the two paintings still use the same colors (in different hues), texture, and brush strokes. When you look closely at the two paintings, the similarities in the brush strokes and textures are a little amazing.

The Dark Side of Impressionism

As hinted at by the last comparison and the painting by Monet, Impressionism has a dark side. Look at the two examples below from Van Gogh and another one from Caillebotte.

These three paintings are very different from the ‘happy-go-lucky” Impressionism that Nintendo has revealed this far in its art direction, with the notable exception of the first official artwork. These paintings feature people distorted to almost “humanoid” forms, dead trees, and run down towns. The color pallet is dark, with yellows, browns, blacks, and a lot of gray. Judging by the brush strokes and blurry realism we see in these and in the previous examples, however, they do clearly fit in the Impressionist category.

Zelda titles tend to have at least one dead, “scary” area that you go through in the game. In Ocarina of Time it was the Shadow Temple. In Majora’s Mask it was Stone Tower Temple and Ikana Castle. In Twilight Princess it was the Arbiture’s Grounds. I believe that The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will feature a similar area, and if Nintendo sticks with the thorough Impressionistic style then it will probably have some characteristics similar to these three artworks.

“A Link to the Future”

SS Fact Sheet

As we continue to receive new information and media concerning Skyward Sword, we should keep in mind the Impressionist movement and its famous painters. Doing this will, I believe, help us to see the game’s art direction in a unique light, separate from anything that has come before. This graphical style has the potential to satisfy both the “realism” and “cartoon” camps in one way or another, and there is room for some grungy, dark areas in Impressionism that would not have been in Cell-Shading.

Only time will tell what the rest of the world will look like, but I believe that with the Fine Art, painting focus taken by Nintendo on the graphical style of the game and its specific relationship to Impressionism specifically, Skyward Sword has the potential to bring back some of the vivid, impressive art that we saw in the beginning of the Zelda Franchise. Who knows? Perhaps Skyward Sword’s artwork and screenshots will carry the same beauty and quality as these from the first three titles, just in a different medium and style:

All Impressionism information and images from: http://www.impressionniste.net/impre…sm_history.htm
  • Thareous33

    Wow… Thank you, Wolfess, for that spectacular article. At first, I did believe SS would be like Wind Waker, Four Swords, Minish Cap, etc. Now I know the difference between the styles, and thank you for showing them.

    This article could sate the wrath some might still have toward the new direction of artwork. I hope so, because we do not need surly fans dousing our fire for the newest Zelda installment.

  • Mr. Dent

    I am one of the few who instantly recognized the style of this game influenced by paintings. The way the colors blended reminded me too much of what I see in my mom's studio to not realize the game's connection.

    • Xenithar

      That's cool ^^ I didn't even connect it to Impressionism until one of the posts on here mentioned that Miyamato was inspired by Impressionism.

      • lolknight

        I always thought it might have something to do with a painting come to life! Just have a look at the original artwork. If you look closer at high resolution, you can see the brush strokes! 8D

  • http://ocdmuch.blogspot.com/ Hannah

    Great article. This makes the game so unique, I can't wait to see the final result! (still hoping for a Christmas release, even though they said 2011…)

    • Aleksandar

      Who knows?

      Spirit Tracks has been antedated and it wasn´t bad, at least better than PH!

      Doesent always need to be DELAYED, though let´s hope it really comes out in 2011 and that they don´t delay it even further!

      • lolknight

        I know, but A christmas release would be perfect! I would pair SS with SMG2 and monster hunter tri, and there you would have the perfect christmas!!

  • Erica Hasselbach

    This is a very well written article, and it makes me look forward to the game (not that I wasn’t before….). I hope you don’t mind if I point out a typo, though…. Early in the article, it says “every”, when I believe it’s supposed to say “very handsome” Sorry for being picky :p

  • Karadom

    People fail to realize that Wind Waker's graphics were beautiful,

    • skyward sword

      I know,right?Didnt they boo it when it was first shown at E3 01?

    • zELDA faN #1

      True, and TP were not only beautiful but ALSO Badass

      TP FTW

    • ABUGABUGBUGA

      THOSE PEOPLE WERE IGNORANT (insert veeeeery mean word here)! They were just scared of something new!

    • ashmic

      it doesn't matter about the graphics, the game itself is beautiful

  • Mike

    You have a slight error in this article: The specific style they are going for is Paul Cezanne who is a post impressionist. Impressionists took steps away from traditional academic painting but still kept themselves restrained. The Post-Impressionists like Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin painted with the thick brush strokes and vived colors. Just thought I would point that out.

    • http://www.zeldauniverse.net The Wolfess

      Cezzane and Van Gogh were late in the impressionist movement, toward the begining of their careers. As such, they are both impressionist and post-impressionist painters, depending on whent the particular painting was done in their careers. See the website cited at the end of the article for more information. :)

      Thanks for pointing out that they are primarily post-impressionists however! It's true–but since Miyamoto specficially said "impressionism" I am assuming that he is refering to their impressionist work, not their post-impressionist work, and carefully chose artwork from that category. :)

  • skyward sword

    LOOK,I KNOW IT LOOKS GOOD,ALL RIGHT!?god,its like everything by nintendo has to be all insperatinal.you cant just say the graphics look good and leave it!?

    • skyward sowrd

      …nothing aginst you.

      • KenKazaki2

        Well, at least you apologized. xD
        Some of us like to look into things a bit more than we need to, but I think that it's pretty fun to learn about things I didn't notice before, like how all the graphics look almost like paintings!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/paintthisred sugar

      It's not about the graphics "looking good". The interesting point here is that they were inspired by a specific art style that is regarded as historically significant.

      Perhaps we would be more inclined to "say the graphics look good and leave it" if it hadn't been explicitly stated that Skyward Sword's art style was inspired by Impressionistic paintings.

      Or if we had no desire to think deeply about things that interest us.

      • Aleksandar

        HMM VERY GOOD AND DEEPLY TOUCHING ANSWER!

  • Advodei

    The thing is, I'm happy with the new graphics. Wind Waker was all well and good, but my biggest issue with it is that the people didn't really look like people. With this new style, sure, the colours are bright and cheery, but it's still realistic.

    • lolknight

      I know it is not important, but the only issues I had with Wind Waker were the way Link ran (what the HELL!!!???) and how short people's legs were (not that it really matters)…
      Please fans, do not kill me! Just like you I loved the game wholeheartedly!

  • David

    First, i was a bit disappointed with the graphics, I had hoped for a realistic approach after PH and ST, and I was in shock after i saw that "ugly" foliage on the trees and the "horrible" grass.
    But I now realize that these are complete misconceptions. After seeing some of the impressionist artwork and looking back at that huge screenshot of the forest and the big (Deku?(i hope so!)) tree i realized just how beautiful that image really is!
    In fact, I began to wonder if it might actually be a painting! Thanks, this article is a real eye-opener!

    • zELDA faN #1

      I'd rather go see impressionism in a boring paris museum, not in a Zelda Video-game. T_T

  • David

    Oh, and for the darker side of impressionism which you expected somewhere along the game, I hope that there are lots of them because I really think that would work. How about Kakariko Village, Death Mountain and Gerudo to adopt this position. Maybe even Castle Town too…..

  • TnzSki

    I like this idea of using an art style to inspire the graphics of a video game, opposed to just trying to make it look as realistic as possible. The graphics of "Okami" and now "Okamiden" are made using a traditional Japanese art style and they're some of the most beautiful games I've ever seen.

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  • apex

    good article.

    im glad atleast someone around here has the guts to point out that link looks like a female.

    • ALEX23

      YEAH YOUR RIGHT, BUT THEYLL PROBABLT TOUGHEN HIM UP A BIT, JUST TO NOT DISAPPOINT THE REALISTIC LINK FANS, LIKE ME

    • Hálvðanarson

      Yes, I hope they will tweak Link a little bit, make him a little less childish and feminime.

      But perhaps Link will get older in the game and look more like he does in the very first picture that Miyamoto showed us a year ago.

      Maybe in the end when the "Skyward Sword" has become the "Master Sword" he puts it to rest in the Temple of Time and travels 7 years back in time and his mind is put in to slumber so that he won't remember and also for the protection from evil forces (whetever that will be Ganon, we still don't know) he gets transformed into a kid.

      But he also gets one side-effect from the master sword; nightmares, so that he can see the future when he comes of age. And there you have it, this is the way "Skyward Sword" and Ocarina of Time gets linked to getter in the Zelda Timeline. ;)

      • Hálvðanarson

        did*

      • lolknight

        I wish it was this way! But think for a moment: Wouldn't this event further screw up the timline by creating another alternative timeline in which link never put the mastersword back!? :O

  • DigificWriter

    I really don't see how Skyward Sword's graphical style is all that different from TP, OoT, or MM, other than that the colors aren't quite as dark texturally. It feels, to me, like Skyward Sword strikes an unique balance graphically in that it sort of 'blends' the two disparate graphical styles of the franchise together, but still remains recognizably 'real'.

    • TheMaverickk

      I agree with you on OoT and MM… they could easily be seen as cartoony and realistic all at the same time. I don't know why people continually reference them as being "realistic" when in reality a lot of the character models and areas show lots of cartoony quality's while still feeling believable enough.

  • TheMaverickk

    At least someone was able to educate the globs of fans who actually know nothing about art. People are so quick to judge without actually understanding where anything comes from.

    Not to mention that they think the game will be "happy go-lucky" based on the first area showcased which takes place early in the game. In either case I hope this helps to other what the Skyward Sword is attempting to do. Also that there is a good chance you will still very dark moments in the game akin to Ocarina of Time's destroyed Kakoriko (you know Bongo Bongo's attack) yet will still have completely mesmerizing environments.

    • lolknight

      Well said, sir!

  • Xenithar

    Awesome article. I find the Impressionism in this new game absolutely stunning and unique in the franchise. I have to admit, I'm glad this game wasn't "cel-shaded" like WW, and although there's nothing wrong with the cel-shaded games (I want to play WW someday XD), I think it was time Nintendo took a different direction with art style after 3 cel-shaded games. I look forward to this game!

  • TheyCallMeTim

    I was highly dissappointed with ninendos press conference. (microsoft surprised the most out of me, and sony had some nice things with that Sorcery game and all) But im a Nintendo fan….I eagerly awaited the countdown to the final minute of live feed over my laptop..when i saw the flashbacks of zelda i was getting chills….and then…WTF!? a mix between WW and TP? really nintendo? Bite the F*cking bullet and dish out to us hardcore fans for once, you've won in the console war, now you can do whatever the heck you want lol….im still gonna buy it though..dont get me wrong..i will judge fairly when i buy it. Super excited for Goldeneye though :D

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/marceloafb marceloafb

    thanks man that was precisely the article we needed to read after E3

  • The Fuzz

    I think the one thing that bugs me the most is the jagged edges of the tree… I think I would appreciate it better if it wasn't so…blocky… Since they are using this style, I hope they fix the blockyness and make it just a bit more round…

    • LizMara

      Actually, even in impressionism the environments look like that. I think the trees are SUPPOSED to look "blocky". I wasn't in favor of them at first but after comparing them to the paintings it looks like a nice idea.

  • Jin

    I just don`t like it =/

    I loved Wind Waker graphics but this is just bleh, not a fan at all of this artstyle. I especially hate how those moblins look like. I hope it`ll grow on me, but for the first time in15 years I`m dissapointed

    • ALEX23

      your FREAKING RIGHT MAN i do hate those moblins they look like crap , cuz they're fat and ugly from the face. now that is what pissed me off, the monsters. i mean i know its supposed to be kind of childish , but they didnt have to make such faget ass monsters like them and the stalfos, cuz the stalfos look worse than the ones in ww…..,but the deku babas are still lookin great! also hated the scorpion sooo gay and lamely made…too childish! loved the bublins from TP, just didnt like the bokoblins…

  • Zant

    This graphical style is strange and many people are dissapointed with it but i… think i like it! given the new information about the "good" skyloft and the "evil" land below, i think we are going to see not one, but many dark areas in the game, it is even possible that the biggest part of the game will take place in a "dead, scary place" as it is described in the article.
    At first i was very disapointed, but i have learned to trust nintendo an i think they will do an awesome work

  • Alkunkunka

    I think I'm gonna love this. However, the cool thing about Zelda is that it has a variety of styles to it. You have realist balance, (what most people think about when the think of Zelda games) that sort of set what 3D Zelda should be with OoT and TP, then yo have a little darker thing going on with MM, but still very alike OoT. Then you have the cartoonish games, WW and the rest, and you also have classic Bird point of view 2D games, like LttP. Now we have what seems to be a combination with the real and cartoonish: Impressionist style. I know a lot of people don't want this, but how about making a very violent bloody Zelda game, topping MM a bit. Just then will the cycle of variations be completed, hehe.

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  • Alkunkunka

    I also think that in trying to accomplish this style, we see Link and the background kind of out of focus. With all the HD that exists today this style isn't too pleasing to the eye, which is why many people dislike this new style. And it is completely understandable. TP looks AWESOME and so real. But I'm in the ""Buy no matter what" category.
    But I think I'm gonna really love this game.

  • Lrak

    i dont see what the big deal is, the artwork graphics looks fine to me, reminds me of games like the naruto or windwaker

    • ridra

      same here

    • zELDA faN #1

      That's the point! Zelda is none of those, why would Nintendo kill the saga making some "so called art" adjustments? they got TP already, it would be easier to work directly on 'em instead of becoming a Louvre Museum Zelda game

    • Devaki

      Looks like WW mixed with TP!

  • LizMara

    When hearing people talk about having Wind Waker graphics to another console Zelda title, as an artist myself, I was hoping Nintendo would try something like this for the new Zelda, if ever coming back to simplistic graphics. The ironic thing is that I didn't see it at first with Skyward Sword. LOL Maybe because I am still a little too attached to the realistic look.

    As much as I hate to admit it, when I first saw the trailer for Skyward Sword I was hoping deep down that maybe Nintendo will upgrade the graphics at least a little.

    However, after reading this article, SCREW realistic graphics! xD

    I like this idea and I don't care what other people say about the art style. I wonder how Nintendo will make the CGI cutscenes for this game…You think they will choose a sketchy like animation but with paint? There was actually an animated movie with that kind of style that looked beautifully. I can't remember the name, unfortunately.
    I would really love to see what they can come up with. ^__^

  • wayofthesheikah

    Wow, wish I had actually paid attention more in my grade school art class now, haha! Thanks for this fantastic article Wolfess, not only was it informative but it's really helped me accept the new graphic style of Skyward Sword a bit more. And I agree with the others concerning the potential this style might hold for darker, Shadow Temple-like areas. Makes me even more excited to get my hands on a copy when it comes out next year! =)

    • TheMaverickk

      Most grade schools wouldn't give you a lesson in art history… I know that most of this stuff I learned about very vaguely at the end of high school. Then I relearned it in University art history classes. So it's been engraved into my memory to notice these things.

      • wayofthesheikah

        You know, it's funny you bring high school up, because I just remembered now where I first heard of impressionist art. Oddly enough, it was in my AP Literature class near the end of my senior year. My teacher was really into art as well so she incorporated it into some of our exercises. One of the styles she covered was impressionist, and now that I look back on it, I can clearly see the style's impact on Skyward Sword's visuals.

  • http://twitter.com/Over9000Gingers @Over9000Gingers

    I have been telling people on these websites to look up impressionist art, but only one person did. lol
    Yes, we do have hope of a good art style, and not PlayHouse Disney.

  • Aleksandar

    I shoud´ve seen that coming when I saw the artwork of Zelda at last year´s E3.

    Really wonder what else they´re gonna come up with, perhaps "really dark areas", as seen in Impressionism, I can´t wait!!!
    But of course it´s gotta look better when the game comes out!

  • ALEX23

    i think the graphics are going to be good./ if your one of the people who were disappointed at first [like me] youll soon get used to it…and youll begin to like them and not want to go back to tp graphics[i mean they were awesome but i dont know, it just doesnt feel right to go back after you see the new link..besides it was just a demo and im sure they will get a lot better, just like what they are doing with metroid, they held it back to make it better i assume. REPLY if you have a comment on what i wrote.

  • Hálvðanarson

    It's good to understand the differences, but I just hope that they don't use the "blurry" effect in the game, it would ruin it. If they make the world more in the direction of the graphical style that Link and the enemies are made, maybe it will get better.

    I've actually become more sceptic now than I was before.

    • Hálvðanarson

      They're thinking to much with their japanese minds, the gaming world in the west might not be so found of this. I'm really sceptic.

  • Oath

    I've come to a conclusion, a hypothesis; since the style of SS is heavily influenced by the impressionist painting styles and we see the bright beautify and fun colors from the demo world and we notice the heavy dark but bold colors of the official art.
    i believe that the over world, being Skyloft will have a bright and colorfully fun style but the underworld(im guessing hyrule) will have a dark bold fiery fell to it, much liek the painting
    similar to the difference between the Twilight Realm in TP and Hyrule

  • Jack

    that's one of the reasons why i love nintendo, they are so original with their games, they always come up with surprises i'm really excited for this game, is a shame alot of people can't apreciate a good piece or art like this just because is not realistic, is very sad, by the way, realistic is not "hardcore" like many people say, that's just a visual gimmick, i would rather see this kind of beautifull and original graphics than some realistic detailed one that's just gonna impress me for some minutes, anyway i can't wait to play this game, i'm sure is gonna be an amazing game

  • Jack

    just to clarify, i'm not saying realistic graphics are bad, is just they are so common this days that is not that impressive anymore, however some games put some amazing realistic enviorment, i can't deny that

  • Ok Yong

    Graphics do not matter as much as people would think.

  • Michael

    I think it looks awesome graphics wise. My only problem is…Link looks like he has the legs of an obese man.

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  • Hazza

    This article i think over-analysed the subject. It's good but i feel it goes too deep. I enjoy the look of the new direction and that is almost all that matters to me when talking about aesthetic style.
    Besides gameplay is more important than graphics any day of the week!

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  • Fumio

    While I have a lot of respect for Miyamoto and have had the honor to meet him in person, if he makes an entire Zelda game in a tinted glass style, where there are ugly thick black lines dividing Link into blocks of bright colors, don't expect me to find solace in discovering that it's inspired by church windows. The article was insightful but failed to address exactly WHY so many people are decrying the new style.

    Art goes beyond how the game looks – it affect how it FEELS. A proportionate Link feels less courageous when you realize he's fighting disproportionate pokemon-looking monsters. Another example: a zelda game in a deformed world starring Link with 3 eyes would be interesting being inspired by picasso, and fun being that it's Zelda. It just wouldn't feel epic.

    You don't have to appreciate EVERy design decision to be a "true" Zelda fan. Everybody here including me, reading this from this website will probably buy the game whether they like the graphics or not.

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  • anon

    What? R u telling me u fanboys didn't figure this out right away after careful scrutiny of the in-game screenshots – BEFORE u read this article? Shame on u! Where's your enthusiasm? It was dead obvious that the art style was paint-esque the moment the 1st screens came in. Kudos to Wolfess for producing the much needed wake up call for u guys. And u call yourselves Zelda fans!

  • Bendi

    only thing that annoys me is the moblins, they are suposed to be scary, i love it and i would buy it if it was "cartoon" or "realistic" but this is awesome, hope they make link more masculine, but ya know whatever. :D

  • jacob

    that is kinda like what i thought when i saw the still its a painting thats what i thought. And what i also thought at first is oh no it wont be the dark game i wanted because its a painting… but then i was like wait its a painting… they can be dark , then i was happy again :)

  • Spaghetti

    At first, I was very disappointed. I really wanted improved TP graphics. But I’m growing into this idea. Its different and I like. But I’d still love something like TP graphics, but less dull.

  • mario_master

    this proves my point that i say in the all u need to know about ss article don’t be too quick to judge before the game even comes out who knows it might be the next ocarina of time (not literally i mean as in just as good or better game)

  • misterquin

    I was pleasantly surprised by the change in graphical style during the conference, and immediately preferred them to TP. To me, this unique, artistic approach is more appropriate to Zelda than an attempt at "realism" or whatever you call TP's style. That's not to say I didn't love the game, I did.

    And why are people still upset about Windwaker's style? It's damn beautiful!

  • TWE

    I'm so happy someone wrote an article about this before people went crazy!
    And as an artist myself I'm happy to see all of the techniques I use everyday in videogames, too. I love the light-hearted colors that represent the similar weightlessness up in the sky!

    The only reason why I'm still crossing my fingers is that Nintendo has to pull it off. I don't want to see things, like the grass or the leaves on the trees, with that sharp, papery feeling like it did in WW; it's a complete contrast to the softness of the game. Nintendo's still working on SS, so I'm not making any judgments on that yet…

    And when it's appropriate, they have to pull off the "dark" feeling of some of the previous games. Tunnels, temples, and dungeons shouldn't all be trippy and bright. If this is a true mixture of TP and WW, it should feel a little scarier in some places.

    In essence, when I say "pull it off," I mean that the entire game must have the impressionist glaze, and themes of dark and light must be clearly defined in order for people to catch this theme.

  • ZELDALUVER

    These graphics rock and i cannot wait till the release date THIS GAME WILL BE AWESOME NO MATTER WHAT YOU DISBELIEVERS SAY

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  • UpsetZeldaLover

    but u hav 2 admit, the realism look on TP made the game soo much better that if it had been cell shaded, and the enemies in SS look 2 cartoonish, i climb up death mountain and sumo a goron, not hug and oddly shaped teddy bear… plus TP lonk looks like he has actual Armour like chainmail n stuff, this 1 looks like hes going hiking………….but all in all i love zelda and im gunna buy this game no matter what ! lol

  • ???

    MY BREATH

  • archie

    The graphics really need to be worked on before release, is it just me- or does everyone seem to be ignoring how obvious the flat polygons of leaves thrown together on different angles to resemble an actual tree, is? They look horrid, I would expect more from Nintendo at this point. I must say, I don't mind the style change, but that was no excuse for the pathetic style of the goblin (forget actual name) enemies- some red pot-bellied idiots… what is the point in making Zelda look this stupid? Those enemies were not in any way, shape or form acceptable.

  • guest

    i think that i would like this style a lot

  • DekuDude

    At first I was against the look wind waker all over again, but after reading your artical I began to see the method in the madness. As they say don’t judge a book by its cover (or painting for that matter)

  • Alissa

    I don't really like how a lot of people are complainig about the game's art style. I mean, really people, we're all Zelda fans. But are you going to just judge a game by its art style? There's so much more to consider, like story and characters. So don't judge this game before you play it! :P

  • K of Red Lions

    i would be very scared and negative towards the graphics in this game, if i wouldn't have already been through this with windwaker. WW blew my mind away and it remains one of my favorite games. we're all sure that skyward sword will be the same.

  • i have nothing to say

  • Joshua

    I'm an art major and enjoyed your article. You may find this a bit technical, but I thought I'd point out though that some painters you reference are post-impressionist rather than impressionist.

    You list division of color as a trait of impressionism, but divisionism was actually a rebellion against impressionism. The most famous painter who used division of color is probably Seurat, the "dot" painter. Unlike older impressionists, whose work was loose, quick, and sketchy, the dot paintings were meticulous and labor intensive. In addition to Seurat, the three most important post-impressionists are Gaugin, Van Gogh, and Cezanne. Cezanne isn't considered an impressionist because he "added" geometry to his paintings, Van Gogh because of his color choices and distortion.

    I guess if you could state the distinction between an impressionist and a post impressionist simply, it would be that an impressionist painter is still trying to paint what he sees, even if the result is sketchy, where as the post-impressionists distorted reality in their work and began to explore how this distortion or different way of seeing could effect your mind.

  • Aml12996

    I was really hoping that this games' graphics and artwork would be that of Twilight Princess. Yet after reading this article i realize just how beautiful the artwork really is; i still with the graphics were more like Twilight Princess. I love the story and all but man oh man i so fell in love with the amazing art design with Twilight Princess' graphics.

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  • Jackie wolf

    I am a fan of the "real link" and it is kinda disappointing to see that SS its a lot more "cartoonish" than TP. but lets take a good look at the bright side. SS is more real looking than Ocarina of time,WW,ST,etc. to me its disappointing about the whole TP,SS graphic problem. only cause im a big TP fan. and sorry to all the ones that love the "real link" . and i feel happy for all the toon link fans…. and(this is to the in between fans.) keep liking both toon and "real link". (its better to do that than be on one side or the other…)