Navi. That simple, two-syllable word is enough to send even diehard Legend of Zelda fans into a tailspin. But as it turns out, even Shigeru Miyamoto–the legendary designer behind the action-adventure franchise and countless other Nintendo properties–felt a touch of frustration toward Link’s annoying fairy sidekick shortly after the 1998 release of Nintendo 64 classic Ocarina of Time.
That’s according to a new translation by the wonderful folks at Shmuplations, who managed to get their hands on an obscure Ocarina of Time strategy guide published by Japanese magazine Famitsu in April 1999. The conversation between Miyamoto and the unnamed interviewer touches on a variety of topics, but let’s be real: We’re all here for that Navi slander.
“I think the whole system with Navi giving you advice is the biggest weak point of Ocarina of Time,” Miyamoto said at the time. “The truth is I wanted to remove the entire system, but that would have been even more unfriendly to players. You can think of Navi as being there for players who stop playing for a month or so, who then pick the game back up and want to remember what they were supposed to do.”
Miyamoto added that Navi and her tips were purposefully kept “stupid” because a more complex hint system that adjusted itself to the player’s unique situation would have taken the same amount of time and manpower as developing the rest of Ocarina of Time. That’s why Navi says the same things on repeat, which ended up being a chief contributor to the lingering annoyance Zelda fans feel just hearing her name.
The rest of the interview includes some interesting talk on Nintendo’s struggle connecting Zelda games with a concrete canon as well as balancing difficulty for different experience levels. Miyamoto at one point even opines about the Link in Ocarina of Time potentially being the father of the Link in the NES original, an internal theory that we now know was left on the cutting room floor.
Do yourself a favour and head over to Shmuplations for the full discussion.