Who is better of making the remake?
Should it be the original team, who remember all the sweat and tears they originally put into the project?
Or perhaps a brand new team, who can look at the project with a whole new perspective?
Truthfully I think, as far as a tribute goes, the latter might just be better of. Not saying the original team would make a bad job, only they already did it and can be rather tricky to celebrate oneself.
Another thing to take into account is that a pure fan project with no money interest would be even greater (you would know this is no milking project) for the outcome. And therefor I am very proud to give you an interview with Mithoskuu and Dan Vithyavuthi about their 3D remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening!
Follow the project at Mithoskuu blog. You will find updates all the time! There is also a demo, letting you hit them chickens. A forum for the project and finally a link toDan’s music can also be found.
Q: So, who are you and what have you been up to for the latest year?
A: MithosKuu: I am MithosKuu, a 3D modeler and game tester, for the past year I’ve been working on remaking the Gameboy title *The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening *in 3D.
Dan Vithyavuthi: My name is Dan Vithyavuthi, and I have been teaching piano and composing music for the past year.
Q: Have you done anything similar to this before?
A:MK: I have modeled a few multiplayer levels for Halo PC, but nothing on the scale of (re)making an entire game.
DV: I have not done any commercial work, but I have been composing pieces for a friend of mine before I started with the Link’s Awakening project.
Q: How many people are currently working on the project, and what different roles do you play?
A: MK: There are currently 3 people working on the project, I serve the role of modeler and project lead.
DV: and I am the composer of the game.
Note to readers: Also there is Dave – the programmer – who sadly could not take part of the interview.
Q: The music and musical instruments has always been a big part of the Zelda games, why do you think this is?
A: DV: Music is always an integral part for the Zelda games and all games in general because music has a very deep emotional connection with the players. Especially in this game were instruments have a key part in the storyline. You may be able to see a beautiful landscape, or a fiery volcano, but you won’t be able to emotionally “feel” it without the music. Also the music in Zelda has always been very adventurous and unique, so it prepares the player to go and save the world!
Q: Even if you do not get to use any of the instruments in the acctual gameplay, which of the instruments found in this game are you the most fond of, and why?
A: DV: I always loved the cello. To me the cellos sound has the embodiment of so much emotion and passion out of all the other instruments. Though if there had been a piano instead of the organ I might have chosen that one instead since that is my main instrument.
Q: Has there been any difficulties working with the music and sounds from the game?
A: DV: There haven’t really been any issues so far with the music, but I haven’t been able to hear the music during gameplay yet so I’m not completely sure if all of my arrangements fit well enough yet. Since the music of the time was very simple and uses old synthesizers, I have alot of freedom to choose how I want to arrange the music.
Q: So tell me, have you taken any liberties in this project, perhaps adding some special trademark of yours, or just tried to stay as close to the original title as possible?
A: DV: Since this is a remake of a very popular game, I generally tried to follow the melodies of the tracks, but with my own instrumental arrangements. In some cases were the music was very simple, I have added my own musical ideas to add to the original feeling of the music.
MK: There are a few changes that have been made, some areas near the beach have been completely changed (due to the difficulty in adding elevation mostly) a few Easter eggs hidden in textures and a few other small changes, but it is a mostly faithful remake.
Q: I understand the original project was to make a 3D model of the overworld, which by itself is kind of a big project, but when did you decide to go all the way, making it playable?
A: MK: Yes, the original project was simply to model the overworld, the decision to model the dungeons and make an actual playable game out of this was due entirly to fan response, they really motivated me to take this project far further then I had originally intended.
Q: What has been the biggest difficulties in adapting this title for a 3D world?
A: MK: Adding changes in elevation to the overworld, it’s not really noticeable in the original game, but in our remake the starting village is a good 90 feet (about 28 meters) above sea level. Figuring out the elevation of every tile is what made the overworld take so long to make.
Q: Are you not afraid Nintendo will try to stop this, I am thinking of the outcome of Chrono Resurrection?
A: MK: Yes, that is part of the reason why I chose Link’s Awakening to remake instead of the more well known A Link to the Past, Link’s Awakening is not available new in stores, you can’t buy it on the Virtual Console, Nintendo won’t be losing any money if we release this. That being said, we do have a few plans to try and prevent getting a cease and desist three days before release. Of course, I can’t tell you them, just in case Nintedo’s lawyers are reading this.
Q: This question is a bit tricky, much likely as you might find it very hard to answer but give it your best: I have always thought there was somethi8ng
very special about the Zelda universe, something that can be quite hard to put a finger to – working with one title out of the universe – have you discovered anything special that you might think adds that extra something which I am having such a hard time even putting into words?
A: MK: I would have to say the sense of exploration, especially in the earlier games, plays a big part in that special feeling. I’m sure nostalgia has
something to do with why I love Link’s Awakening as well.
Q: How about some numbers for the viewers! Like, how many screens does the game consist of, what is the average time to do one of those? Think of anything else number related? Well, put it here.
A: MK: Each tile is 16×16 pixels in size, each quadrant is 10×8 tiles in size, the overworld contains 256 quadrants, most dungeons are made up of 20 to 40 quadrants, it takes roughly 30 minutes to make a single quadrant, I will never remake the Oracle games if for no other reason then how long it would
take to make all the overworlds.
Q: What are your general thoughts about piracy?
A: MK: I don’t really have a problem when it comes to older games, newer games and home brew games should actually be purchased if for no other reason then to support the developers… err… I mean piracy is always illegal! You should never pirate games!
Q: Who do you believe is most affected by piracy?
A: MK: Defiantly the developers, spending a good three years on a game and then not getting the go ahead to make sequels because more people pirated your game then bought it? Kick in the nuts. And considering how much current gen games cost to make? You pretty much need to earn back every penny you can
get from sales.
Q: Expect for the pirates, do you think anyone else could find this kind of
“business” good in any way?
A: MK: Well EA seems to be trying to turn piracy into a business, not caring if their games are pirated and hoping to make money from the pirates paying for DLC, ‘course that’s assuming the pirates don’t just pirate the DLC as well. Home brew devs may benefit as well, if you can figure out how to get pirated games to run, you can figure out how to get completely custom games to run. But as a business? I don’t see how anyone can make money off of piracy.
Q: On the piracy and business: Well, put it like this: a very small dev team that do not have the kind of money those big companies have for
marketing their games, could not internet be a very good platform to get your game out to as many as possible?
A: MK: The internet its self makes for a great platform for small teams, youtube is great for free advertising, and you can easily get feedback, sure there are the occasional pirates, but I’d say its well worth the risk.
Q: Why do you think so many people download stuff illegal?
A: MK: Because its so easy to do, for example: I legally own several copies of Super Metroid and Link’s Awakening, but if I get the sudden urge to play those games, its much easier and quicker for me to hop online and download a ROM then to break out my old SNES or Gameboy, find the cart I want, and
start playing, and for Gameboy and Gameboy Color games theres the advantage of not having the game cart’s internal battery dying thus losing all your
save files and preventing you from making new ones (which happened to my original Pokemon Blue cart, I had all 150 Pokemon too…) Yes, piracy is
wrong and illegal, but, for older games at least, it’s very useful (and cheap!) and it’s here to stay.
Q: I agree with you about this pretty much. I for one has no problem paying for games, that are worth it, but I kinda get the feeling the industry is like light-years behind on very fundamental things such as simplicity and convenience. So, do you think more people would buy games if it was easier, or are the pirates just plain evil? *arrrr*
A: MK: Services like Steam, Xbox Liva Arcade, Wii Ware, etc have gone a long way to make buying and playing games much easier, I’d say the biggest cause of piracy right now is the high price of games and (for PC games at least) highly obtrusive, and ultimately ineffective, DRM. Just take one look at Spore, so many people pirated it because they didn’t want to have to deal with its DRM. I can understand why games are selling for $50-$60 USD, it costs several millions to make a “blockbuster” game like Halo 3, but in this economy $60 per game is just too much for some people. Pirates aren’t evil, they just want to enjoy good games without paying out the ass and dealing with insulting DRM.
And that ends the interview, check out some screens and also the very great performence of Dan in the music teaser.