HERO OF TIME
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.