A Link to the Past

Game development is by no means an easy task, so it’s always been interesting to me to see how things progressed during a game’s creation. During a recent interview about Luigi’s Mansion 3 with Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo, lead producer Kensuke Tanabe spilled the beans on a rather interesting tidbit about A Link to the Past’s development. Though the final product features just two parallel worldsthe Light and Dark Worldsoriginally, many more were planned!

During E3 last year, it was hinted that a hotel setting allowed the Luigi’s Mansion 3 development team to create multi-floor puzzles, since the layout of a hotel would be easy to visualize. However, this idea was eventually scaled down to multi-room puzzles due to the difficulty of designing challenges across floors. Tanabe, who also served as a scenario writer on A Link to the Past, described this shift in development by referencing one of the original ideas for the beloved Zelda title, stating:

When that happens, I try not to cling to that initial idea too much. For example, this is when I was working on The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. At first, we were thinking about structuring the game with numerous parallel worlds. However, in order to establish the gameplay in the end, we decided that it would be better to narrow it down to two worlds: Light and Dark. I think game development involves much work where you never know unless you actually test it out.

Kensuke Tanabe

I’m pretty curious as to how multiple parallel worlds would’ve worked in A Link to the Past. After all, the idea of parallel worlds in The Legend of Zelda has been explored multiple times throughout the franchise, though in almost every case this has been limited to only two at any one time. I would argue the closest we’ve ever gotten to multiple worlds would be in Oracle of Seasons where the overworld changes state based on what season it currently is, with Link being able to shift between them at will.

Intrigue aside though, I have to be at least a little thankful that the A Link to the Past team settled on only two worlds. After all, the more you jump around, the more complex the game can get. As it stands, A Link to the Past is beautifully crafted to fully utilize each of its settings and I think adding more on top of that would ultimately take away a big piece of what makes the game so good, even by today’s standards.

Would you like to have seen multiple parallel worlds in A Link to the Past? If so, what types of worlds do you think would’ve worked well?

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Steven Rollins
Steven has been involved in video game reporting for over five years now. In his spare time, he can be found speedrunning, writing fanfiction, or watching as much anime as he possibly can.

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