Japanese magazine Famitsu has been chatting with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom director Hidemaro Fujibayashi and producer Eiji Aonuma about different parts of the critically acclaimed game. In this particular interview, the team touched on the design of the Depths which twist, turns, and unravels underneath the surface of Hyrule. Mr. Aonuma informed the publication that the design and elements which make up the Depths were created in a surprisingly short period of time. However, perfecting the Depths to the state that it is in the final game, did take them longer to accomplish.
Fujibayashi: By the way, in fear of being misleading, the Depths were made in a surprisingly short period of time.
Seriously? Is that true?
Fujibayashi: But if you say that sort of thing you’ll make the staff angry and say “That was not easy!”. Strictly speaking, I mean the base landforms of the depths made from in an extremely short period of time.
The Depths and surface have an inverted relationship; areas that are high up in the surface are instead low in the Depths, and conversely, low places and rivers on the surface become tall walls in the Depths. When originally creating the surface area, level designs were separated by rivers so if you were to make the terrain inverted, the areas themselves would be similarly separated by rivers and you would have another naturally terrain-created level. So I wanted to try investigating this idea, and after conveying some of the conditions we talked about to a programmer, they quickly finished a prototype.
Aonuma: Not only Fujibayashi, but other staff members also attempted to ask various things in the process of creating the previous game, like “I wonder if by using Breath of the Wild’s materials, what things can we change?” Meanwhile, with an automated approach, programmers implemented this in a short time.
Fujibayashi: Of course, from there it took a long time and many adjustments for it to take its present shape, but the time to build up the base itself was not long at all.
Aonuma: I am the first to stop things so that they do not take too much time and effort. The way it went when we decided to implement something was, “No, this surprisingly will not take much effort to create”, and then “Well then, let’s do it”. (laughs)
It is possible to seamlessly move from the sky to the surface and then pierce into the Depths, isn’t that difficult to technologically achieve?
Fujibayashi: Yes, it is. The programmers were considerably creative while they made various adjustments and moved forward implementing optimizations until the end.
Aonuma: In fact, until the end of development it had not become seamless. While in the middle of loading, Link would stop and not fall among other issues.
It truly was a properly challenging thing, wasn’t it?
Aonuma: The programmers would say “It’s fine” but that situation continued until the end and we kept checking “Can we really make it seamless?” But, at the very end, they made it a reality. (laughs)