There’s a phrase that’s well-known among Zelda fans to the point where it’s become infamous and almost meme-like (though not to the same extent as virtually everything Reggie Fils-Aime says), and that’s “upending the tea table.” Shigeru Miyamoto created Zelda and was its primary developer for years, but he passed the reigns off to Eiji Aonuma for Majora’s Mask, and Aonuma has taken a much bigger role since then. However, Miyamoto still has final say on the development, and if what he sees is not up to his standards, he’s been known to “upend the tea table” by making the team scrap what they were working on and redo it. Notably, this happened during the development of both Four Swords Adventures and Twilight Princess. According to a recent interview, this also happened with the development of Hyrule Warriors.
I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Aonuma and some of the other Hyrule Warriors staff during E3 back before I joined the team here at Gamnesia. During the interview, Aonuma revealed that Miyamoto now only checks in with the Zelda team about once a month, leaving the vast majority of the development decisions up to Aonuma. However, he still has no problem asserting his authority if he feels a change is needed, and that’s exactly what happened with Hyrule Warriors. The collaboration with Koei Tecmo was originally planned to be much more Zelda-based with some Dynasty Warriors elements thrown in, but Miyamoto reversed this.
“At first, when Hayashi-san approached me, he wanted to make this title closer to a Zelda game than a Dynasty Warriors game — that extended to having boss battles in the dungeons and [having] certain characters in the game. However, Mr. Miyamoto came along and upended the tea table, saying, “No, that should not be the case. What we’re doing here is grafting Zelda onto the Dynasty Warriors experience.” It was a reversal of the original proposal from Hayashi-san, which was adding elements of Dynasty Warriors onto the Zelda franchise. It ended up being the other way around based on Miyamoto’s direction.” — Eiji Aonuma
What do you think of Miyamoto’s decision to base the gameplay more on Dynasty Warriors? Are you glad he shifted the balance between the two franchises, or would you have preferred to see the original concept for the game? Sound off in the comments!