The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker almost had a completely different art style after Shigeru Miyamoto voiced his concerns about Toon Link.
In a recent episode of DidYouKnowGaming? (opens in new tab) on YouTube (via Nintendo Life (opens in new tab)) it was revealed – thanks to a series of newly translated Nintendo Dream magazine issues from the early 2000s – that legendary Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto really wasn’t a fan of Toon Link and the rest of Wind Waker’s cute art style when he first saw it.
In fact, it was revealed in the video that The Legend of Zelda lead Eiji Aonuma purposely didn’t tell or show Miyamoto much of the game until it was too late to change it as he knew Miyamoto wouldn’t be a fan. The plan was initially to take the visuals of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask and update them, however, Toon Link was later pitched by the development team and he was so loved that the art style stuck.
According to the video, Miyamoto “literally cringed” at the sight of Toon Link and didn’t think the game would sell very well due to this new style. Miyamoto then tried to persuade Aonuma to swap the cute character out for a more realistic version of the Hyrule hero but the team didn’t budge on their decision – which is probably a good thing considering how beloved Toon Link has become.
It wasn’t just the art style that was kept for Miyamoto, Aonuma also didn’t want Miyamoto to know the story behind Wind Waker too early. Aonuma described Wind Waker as “unique” due to it not feeling like a traditional Zelda game, and more like “an adventure across the sea where the main character just happens to be Link.”
Are you a big fan of Wind Waker? Find out where it placed in our list of the best Zelda games.