Aonuma explained how they wanted to update Link’s Awakening screen transitions but try to keep the movement faithful.
The Legend of Zelda titles have always featured the classic scroll feature where the map scrolls in single screen units. This is mostly apparent in the 2D titles featured on older consoles and handhelds. Now that Nintendo has faithfully recreated one of those classic games, they wanted to modernize this feature to be more seamless and to remove a feeling of being blocked.
In an email sent to IGN, Aonuma explained how they wanted to update how Link travels around the map but wanted to keep the game’s charm. He stated:
“The original The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening game has the ‘Zelda scroll’ feature, where the map scrolls in single-screen units, which is a traditional part of 2D-Zelda games. But including a standard transition between screens as the player moves around makes it difficult to grasp how the layout of the map is connected, which caused people to get lost,” he said. “So in the reimagining, we made it so that you can move around the world seamlessly. This removed the feeling of being blocked when playing the original, and helped make it more of a stress-free game to play.”
Since The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening on the Nintendo Switch is a painstakingly almost shot for shot remake of the original, almost everything is the same compared to the release version in 1993. Even how Link moves.
“Link, the playable character in the original, moved according to digital input in eight directions: up, down, left, right and diagonals, and the entire game was designed around that style of movement. If we were to completely replace that with analog input to allow free movement in all directions, we’d also need to redesign the gameplay itself, and the way the game feels and responds would be entirely different,” he said. “So, taking into account that it’s now possible to move seamlessly around the map, what we did is keep the original movement in eight directions and made some adjustments to the game overall to make sure the feel and response don’t differ too much from the original.”
I am currently loving my playthrough of the game so far and readers can expect to read my full review of the game in the coming days.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is currently available for the Nintendo Switch. For more details about how the game was created, make sure to check out how the new dungeon creator mode was originally workshopped.