The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the most critically acclaimed and influential games of all time, inspiring countless adventures in the two decades since it released. So where does a game like that draw its own inspiration? Certainly past Zelda games like A Link to the Past set the foundation, but Ocarina of Time's action came from a less expected source. Nintendo turned to Ninja movies.
The latest episode of Did You Know Gaming explores the development of one of gaming's greatest masterpieces, revealing lots of lesser-known details in the process. During the game's development, many staff members would head to Toei Kyoto Studio Park for inspiration. This park is designed to look like it's from the Edo Period (1603 - 1868) in Japan, and more than 200 movies a year are shot inside.
Patrons of the park are allowed to explore freely, watching as period piece films are created right before their eyes. One day while some Nintendo staffers were in attendance, they witnessed a scene in which a samurai caught a kusarigama thrown by a ninja, pulled the chain taut, and began moving in a circle around his opponent. This is how the idea for Ocarina's famous Z-targeting system came to be.
Nintendo also noticed that in many of these films, enemies would rush the opponent in hordes, but then only one would attack a time. As silly as this is to think about happening in a real life fight, it was the perfect system to pair with Z-targeting to create Ocarina of Time's combat. In fact, Nintendo went so far as to hire many of the actors they encountered in the park so that they could record motion capture for the game.
Seeing as Ocarina of Time is one of the most popular games in the Zelda franchise, I'd say this strategy paid off. You can learn all about this story and many others from Ocarina of Time's development by checking out the video above!