A game-by-game jour­ney through Hide­maro Fu­jibayashi’s Zelda ca­reer


The Leg­end Of Zelda: Or­a­cle of Ages/ Sea­sons (Game Boy Color, 2001)

Fu­jibayashi’s first Zelda game was de­vel­oped at Cap­com sub­sidiary Flag­ship. Ini­tially con­ceived as a tri­umvi­rate – rep­re­sent­ing the three parts of the Tri­force – one game was can­celled, leav­ing the puz­zle-led Ages and the more ac­tion-fo­cused

Sea­sons. The two could be con­nected to form a sin­gle plot, lead­ing to an ex­tended end­ing.

The Leg­end Of Zelda: Four Swords (Game Boy Ad­vance, 2002)

From link­ing games to link­ing play­ers: Fu­jibayashi’s next project was this mul­ti­player ad­ven­ture, which was bun­dled with the GBA re­make of A Link To The Past. It blended co-op and com­pet­i­tive play: col­lab­o­ra­tion was re­quired to progress in its ran­domised puz­zle dun­geons, but the player to col­lect the most ru­pees would earn an ex­tra re­ward.

The Leg­end Of Zelda: The Min­ish Cap (Game Boy Ad­vance, 2004)

The fi­nal Cap­com-de­vel­oped Zelda saw Link don the tit­u­lar gar­ment to shrink down to the size of an in­sect – as a re­sult, reg­u­lar en­e­mies such as Chuchus be­came tow­er­ing bosses. It also saw a re­turn for Four Swords an­tag­o­nist Vaati, while the Gust Jar – later seen in 3DS mul­ti­player spinoff Tri Force Heroes – made its de­but.

The Leg­end Of Zelda: Phan­tom Hour­glass (Nin­tendo DS, 2007)

Af­ter Cap­com closed Flag­ship, Fu­jibayashi be­gan work­ing for Nin­tendo. Bor­row­ing the cel-shaded aes­thetic (and sail­ing el­e­ments) of

The Wind Waker, Phan­tom Hour­glass fea­tured in­ge­nious sty­lus con­trols and a cen­tral dun­geon, the di­vi­sive Tem­ple Of The Ocean King, to which play­ers had to re­peat­edly re­turn.

The Leg­end Of Zelda: Sky­ward Sword (Wii, 2011)

Fu­jibayashi’s first home-con­sole Zelda took five years to make – and the stresses of de­vel­op­ment pushed him into throw­ing a sickie so he could write the game’s sce­nario in a day while clois­tered at home. Its mo­tion-con­trolled com­bat didn’t sit well with ev­ery­one, though plenty – in­clud­ing us – ap­pre­ci­ated its breaks with se­ries tra­di­tion.

The Leg­end Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild (Nin­tendo Switch/Wii U, 2017)

Fu­jibayashi says that Breath Of The Wild was built with the no­tion of re­think­ing se­ries con­ven­tions, but he hasn’t sim­ply gone back to the draw­ing board. “We’re not chang­ing the true na­ture of Zelda games,” he says. “We’re just chang­ing our ap­proach to it.” Dis­count­ing Four Swords Ad­ven­tures, it’s the first main­line Zelda to use auto-saves.

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