A Link to the Past Dev Reveals How It Was Initially Envisioned to Have Far More Than Just the Dark and Light Realms

A Link to the Past Dev Reveals How It Was Initially Envisioned to Have Far More Than Just the Dark and Light Realms

A Link Between Many, Many Worlds

Luigi's Mansion 3 is a wonderful game that was also one of 2019's surprise hits. Though it lacked the marketing push or cultivated hype you see for big Nintendo releases, Luigi's Mansion 3 quietly released on October 31, 2019 and went on to sell over 5 million copies.

There are a number of reasons Luigi's Mansion 3 still haunts the top of Nintendo's sales charts—it's just a lovely, charming adventure, for one thing—and a recent interview Kotaku published with its director and lead producers offers lots of insight. But the interview also contains a nugget of lost information about a one of the most beloved games of all time: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Apparently, the 1991 SNES classic was initially going to send Link across several parallel worlds in addition to the well-known Dark World.

The producer of Luigi's Mansion 3, Kensuke Tanabe, is a Nintendo veteran who also served as the scenario writer for A Link to the Past. When he talks to Kotaku about the necessity of scrapping some of the ideas he had for Luigi's Mansion 3 (particularly puzzles), he brings up the features he had to cut in A Link to the Past.

"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," Tanabe tells Kotaku. "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."

It's doubtful Tanabe's idea for multiple parallel universes in A Link to the Past entered the game code at any point, but the idea is very intriguing. According to established Zelda lore, the Dark World is a twisted version of Hyrule that Ganon created by abusing the Triforce's power. In the context of A Link to the Past's story, having a single Light World and a single Dark World makes sense. What other parallel universes could potentially come of Ganon's dark wishes, though? A realm where everyone has an evil twin that bears a beard and mustache? A realm of mass hysteria where dogs and cats live together?

Tanabe's idea is long dead; even the excellent remake of A Link to the Past, 2013's The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, sees Link travel exclusively between the Light and Dark Worlds. It's fun to imagine what might have been, though. I would've liked to see Link explore a land where people wear hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people.

If you get excited over the nitty-gritty of A Link to the Past (who doesn't), make sure to check out our classic deep dive into everything that makes the game special. We also re-evaulated A Link to the Past when it came to the SNES Classic. Does the game hold up? Spoilers: oh yeah.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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