Nintendo president Satoru Iwata's roundtable discussion with the EAD (Entertainment Analysis & Development Division) planners and developers behind The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword continues in his latest "Iwata Asks" column.
We're reassured of how "exploration and discovery" will continue to be a major theme for Skyward Sword. One of the key points behind the game's overall design is making areas more densely populated, so that there is actually more to see and do in spaces that aren't necessarily large for the sake of being large. Environments and terrain will be much more varied and "three dimensional" in Skyward Sword, encouraging exploration. In this way, backtracking will be made more rewarding. Players can also look forward to little touches while exploring that they can even interact with, like bug and bird catching. And boy will there be a lot of bugs to catch.
Turning to the overall art direction, we also learn that the "watercolor" graphics for Skyward Sword didn't originally impress Nintendo of America itself when the title was first showcased at E3 2010. At the time, EAD was still experimenting with what sort of direction it could go with the visual design that fell somewhere in between cel-shaded and "realistic", but NoA felt the graphics were too "featureless" and "lacked something." EAD's goal from that point was to make things more distinctive and expressive, so that the graphics would ultimately look more alive.
The sword movements too were further tweaked so that the player would get a better feel that they have greater freedom when it comes to swinging their weapon around with Wii MotionPlus. EAD explains that the end result was to make battles expressive as well. Indeed, Link himself will be more mobile than his character was in previous Zelda titles.
Of course, Link will still need to do more than sword slinging to defeat Skyward Sword's bosses. EAD in particular teases a gigantic enemy dubbed "The Sealed One" who will continue to harass Link throughout his latest adventure, because it can never truly be defeated at the outset, only sealed away until the next encounter where Link will need to leverage new tricks to survive.