That’s honestly not an inherently bad idea, but it wasn’t long before the team realized that there was a big difference between telling a Master Sword origin story and making sure that it all made sense.
“We settled on having the sky and surface world, and on top of that, it was going to tell the story of the creation of Hyrule, with the untold story of the origin of the Master Sword,” says Fujibayashi. “So, looking back at the series so far, we began knitting together the various elements. And then all sorts of contradictions arose.”
Despite knowing early on those contradictions were going to be a problem, it sounds like work didn’t begin on Skyward Sword‘s detailed story outline until about a couple of years into the game’s development. Even then, Fujibayashi admits to essentially knocking out the basic story by himself in one long day. From that point, there was obviously still quite a bit of work to do in terms of animating the major story sections, filling in as many plot holes as possible, and trying to make sure that the whole thing made sense as both a standalone story and pretty substantial piece of franchise lore. Needles to say, it wasn’t always a smooth process.
To be clear, this wasn’t a matter of the developers just not caring about the game’s story. The interview makes it obvious that the Zelda team put a lot of thought into even minor plot and character elements. As Iwata also notes, there “have been a lot of games in the series since the original Legend of Zelda game 25 years ago” and “trying to create a new setting based on them all is bound to become a battle against contradictions.” This was always going to be a tall task, and it wasn’t taken lightly.
No, the big takeaway here is that the motivation to make a Zelda origin story (or Master Sword origin story) in the first place was based on Nintendo’s desire to create a certain kind of Zelda gameplay experience rather than because they had a story in mind that they really wanted to tell. It’s honestly the same reason why we see so many movie origin stories fall short. Solo was made because it’s Star Wars and not because someone had this incredible Han Solo story that everyone felt simply had to be told. In both cases, the story we got was ultimately a means to an end for some other purpose.
The great irony in this instance, though, is that Skyward Sword‘s origin story was designed around motion controls that were the source of many of the game’s problems and ended up being optional in Skyward Sword HD. Imagine going back and telling the Skyward Sword team that’s the way things are going to play out. Wouldn’t they have probably reconsidered the entire experience?