NP: This title is the third game in the Four Sword series. Did you plan it as a trilogy from the beginning?
NP: Four Sword games tend to be more action-oriented than other Zelda games. Is this intentional?
HF: No. Every game was developed based on the concept we chose. In the Four Sword series, multiplayer play is important and I had a big wish to create a vivid expression of Link's moves in a 2-D art style. Those important concepts may generate a more action-style game impression compared to others.
NP: What inspired the Minish idea?
HF: This is the result of my consideration about what is a new idea of a game field for Link. Current vs. past, forward vs. reverse, seasons, adult vs. child, etc...that kind of pair concept is a very important element of Zelda games, I think. In this consideration I reached the big vs. small concept and the small people's world this time. After more deep ideation, I found out that this pair can work as a good combination and could create the interesting Minish world.
NP: In the prologue to this game, there are some hints that The Minish People brought a golden light into Hyrule. Does this relate to the Triforce legend?
HF: Golden light is a very, very old legend of Hyrule and nobody knows how it relates to the Triforce legend. It is still a big mystery whether it has some relationship with the Triforce, which is the most important element in the Legend of Zelda series.
NP: We see many familiar characters in this game (even the kid with the dripping nose from The Wind Waker!). Did you refer to any particular Zelda game for development of this game?
HF: In a kind of reverse way. We created the world of the Minish Cap first, then chose characters to fit this world.
NP: The game's music is very impressive. How much of it is classic Zelda music, and how much of it is new?
HF: Classic is 70% and original is 30%, I think (TSA Note: Sound test shows 52 songs, 30% are not original). The composer for this game is also a big Zelda fan. He does not want to miss the opportunity to relate key Zelda music elements to key points of gameplay, which will make Zelda fans say "Yes!" That perhaps explains the percentage balance.
NP: Ezlo is one of the most original characters ever to emerge in the Zelda universe. How did you come up with the idea of fusing a hat with a bird?
HF: I wanted to have a speaking hat, not a hat with a bird. Based upon my request, the character designer needed a very difficult long time to achieve the final form. The design of Ezlo fulfilled my needs - it has a good sense of existence on the GBA screen and is flexible to dynamic action and moves.
NP: Many gamers think of the bosses from A Link to the Past as some of the best in Zelda history. So it's got to be a challenge to provide new surprises in boss design. How did you go about creating Minish Cap's boss bosses? And if Ganon were to fight Vaati, who would win?
HF: Ganon is the villain from the Triforce story. We thought the Four Sword story needed a different evil than Ganon, so we created Vaati. Overall, bosses are designed to be good for Four Sword play. Ganon vs. Vaati...I never thought about. Perhaps Ganon is more powerful, because of the power of the Triforce.
NP: This title is not the first collaboration between Nintendo and Capcom. How did the development proceed this time?
HF: After the Capcom team presented the core idea and Nintendo agreed to it, we held progress meetings almost every month until completion.
NP: Are you already having discussions about another Zelda collaboration? If so, which platform are you looking at? Is it for DS?
Eiji Aonuma (Nintendo): As with previous development projects, Mr. Fujibayashi's team has done an excellent job. The Zelda universe that his team creates is bringing very good ideas and stimulates Nintendo's team a lot. I would like to continue to work with his team, but we have not decided on any platform for the next project.
NP: The New 3-D Zelda game shown at E3 was very exciting. Could you tell us your vision for the future of the Zelda universe?
EA: Since the first Zelda game, which was created by Mr. Miyamoto, "responsive intuitive interactivity" has carried throughout the Legend of Zelda series. I always keep this in my mind as the importance of the Zelda universe. Players make things happen by controller moves in gameplay. It is critical that the controls respond to the players' intentions and that the controls are easy to understand quickly. I think that as long as we can keep this "responsive intuitive interactivity," a variety of doors are open to the Zelda universe and it is not necessary to pursue traditional Zelda style. We are preparing big exciting things. Stay tuned.