‘Legend of Zelda’ Concept Art Comes Out Of Nintendo’s Archives

Nintendo’s next Zelda game may not arrive until the end of 2010, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look at the oldest Zelda title with new eyes while you wait. A panel of Nintendo’s brightest minds unearthed a few maps and character designs from “The Legend of Zelda” and flashed back to the ’80s in the most recent edition of president Satoru Iwata’s “Iwata Asks” interview series. In doing so they revealed a few facts that aren’t common knowledge.

“Over the course of these few pages it doesn’t just talk about the overall structure of Zelda, but also items and enemies,” Systems Research and Development president (and longtime Nintendo collaborator) Toshihiko Nakago said over on Nintendo.co.uk.

Dated from 1985, the documents were labeled as “Adventure” and contained such historical details as Ganon’s original name, “Hakkai.” Looking over them, you can also get an idea of how the game’s dungeon designs developed as ideas began coming together.

“Back then we had some long paper, and Tezuka-san and Miyamoto-san would sit side by side and draw together,” Nakago explained.

For a glimpse at video game history in the making, these archived documents are worth a few minutes’ viewing. The sketches and diagrams that gave way to a one-of-a-kind NES game and kicked off the Zelda franchise look about like what a lot of aspiring game designers might have tucked away in their bedroom desks when they were 12 or 13.

Do you see any surprises in Iwata’s “Legend of Zelda” concept art? What questions would you want to ask Iwata’s the panel about the game? Sound off in the comment section below.