The history of The Wind Waker is a tale almost worthy of a game of its own! Since back in the year 2000 when the development of the game was first announced, the game and its fans have gone through many changes, and with all of these changes came the ups and downs. Here you will find the entire history of The Wind Waker!
At the SpaceWorld convention in Japan as a demo of the GameCube’s capabilities, Nintendo unveiled the first screenshots of what was believed to be the Zelda game for this console.
The demo featured Link, equipped with The Master Sword, fighting Ganondorf — People where thrilled and amazed with this demo, and especially the magnificent level of details, and the lightning effects. In spite that Nintedo emphasized that this was not actual game footage, and that it was unlikely that these character models would be used in the game, people instantly fell in love with the looks and feel of this demo, and looked forward with huge expectations to the next showing of the game.
First half of 2001
These months swiftly passed by without any official statements about the up-coming game, which was now labeled as “Zelda GC” among those who followed its development.
Most people believed that the looks and graphics for the game were already finished, and therefore speculations about the other elements in the future game were often to be found — most of them had absolutely nothing to do with the truth.
A few of the many rumours that were reported in this period was that Link would have to go to hell to rescue Zelda in the next game, and that it would be a multidisc title which would involve constant switching between discs.
The E3 convention also took place in this period without anything new on Zelda GC.
One year had passed, and it was time for another SpaceWorld, and another very memorable one as well. After using the past twelve months to love and cherish the looks of the upcoming Zelda for GameCube, the fans were expecting a glance at the storyline, and a release date for the game — What we got was something far bigger.
This was the very first time Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo announced that the next Zelda game would in fact use a cartoony style of animation, also known as Cel-Shading. To the right you can see one of the very first screenshots from the demo. This character model was the very first one seen from the actual game, and thankfully it was vastly improved later on.
The common reaction to this demo movie was anger and hatred. With the new turn the series had taken, Zelda fans became the laughing stock of the gaming world.
February to April 2002
Most Zelda fans used this time to state their hate and anger towards Nintendo for changing the style from the realistic one seen at SW 2000, to the new one which was introduced a year later. Optimistic fans were seldom to be seen.
As always in quiet periods, this time period held many new rumors, including that Nintendo would in fact change back to the realistic style, that the title of the game was going to be “Zelda Universe” (!), and that a collection of all the 2D Zelda games would be released along with this new game. All were fake, of course.
In this period, EB Games also started to accept pre-orders for the upcoming game, which was expected to be released in America sometime before Christmas, 2002.
This was a very eventful month for all Zelda fans, as it included E3 and more official statements on the upcoming Zelda GC. During this time, much new game footage was released from the actual game, and they looked very colorful and much more detailed that anything that had seen before. The character animations and the incredible light effects and facial-expressions which were revealed brought hope, optimism and enthusiasm back to many that had been dismayed by the new look. New details on the storyline were also announced, and it was now known that Link was living on an island, and that he would have to set out to rescue his sister, Aryll, who has been kidnapped by a huge, menacing bird!
A few new details from the game became common knowledge as well, including a new item called the Telescope — A handheld binocular that would work similar to the telescope you tried in the Majora’s Mask! As people were starting to look forward to this game again, Nintendo dropped that bomb that the American release had been delayed to February 2003.
April to September 2002
Another quiet period which presented us with very little information from the game. However, another item completely new to the Zelda series, the Grappling Hook, was seen for the first time.
While some people were still discussing the new looks, most people were now worrying about the storyline, and how the game would fit chronologically with the previous games. Rumors came from everywhere that the game would be the very first one, even before Ocarina of Time, and that it would the very last one as well.
A statement which was allegedly made by the game director, Eiji Aonuma, killed these discussions. The statement said that the game would take place “after a certain time period in Ocarina of Time” — This was later proved to be wrong, and whether or not this was false information provided by the director to mislead the fans, or simply a glitch in the translation remains to be confirmed.
October and November 2002
Another eventful period, and a vast amount of information was released as we quickly closed in on the Japanese release, which was December 13th, 2002.
In this period the official Japanese sub-title for the game was announced, Kaze no Takuto. Three brand new items were also revealed: The Takuto of the Wind, the Deku Leaf and the Tingle Receiver which would eventually become the Tingle Tuner.
The Takuto would be used to control the direction and strength of the wind, while the Deku Leaf would work similar to a hang-glider, and with it you could simply glide down from and huge heights, and over deep abysses. Wit the Tingle Tuner, the game got a new dimension as it would be able to connect with the GameBoy Advance, and let two people enjoy the game at the same time!
Advertisements and new footage such as screenshots and videos were also made available to the public, and more importantly Nintendo of Japan announced the Bonus Disc, which would be included with the game as a “gift” to all of those who pre-ordered it, in Japan of course!
The game was released in Japan, and naturally incredibly amounts of both media and information became available to Zelda fans such as you and me, and the videogame press who just love to spoil the game for all of us who had to wait a few months for the English-language release of the game.
Right before the release of the game, Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aounuma confirmed some new and unknown details about the game. Among those was that the game had an estimation of at least 40 hours of gameplay, and that the game takes place 100 years after Link defeated Ganon in Ocarina of Time, which finally put a rest to all speculations about how the game would fit into the chronological order of the games.
People were also thrilled to hear that the game would, in fact that it was a landscape of islands, take place in Hyrule. Due to the spoiler fact, we will not reveal more of the information about the games’ storyline here, but what we can reveal is that you will meet many familiar places and characters, as well as new ones throughout the game!
January to March 2003
The work with the English localization of the game neared its final stages, and we closed in on the North American release of the game. The first media featuring English language was made public.
Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed that tiny parts of the game, close to the end, was altered for the American version, as it was reported that Zelda fans in Japan found this part to be very tedious.
Various magazines and websites also reviewed the game, and saying that it was critically acclaimed is the underestimation of the year! As good as everyone who played the game praised as good as every aspect of it, but most of all the graphics! What has started out as the most hated part of the game, had now turned into the strongest part of the game, as it had a new level of detail, and an artistic side that is unmatched by any other game on any console!
On March 24th, the game was released in the United States and Canada. People finally got the game they had been waiting two years to play!