We explore the history and development of one of the strangest entries in the Zelda series to discover how the game became the black sheep of the family.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is one of the few Nintendo games where the consequence of your failure is planetary genocide. Link, searching for his lost friend Na'vi, is robbed and is then forced to stop the moon from plunging into Termina. The happy mask salesman, who looks eerily like series creator Shigeru Miyamoto, tells Link early on that has "met a terrible fate" and that he has to fix this calamity in three days. But don't worry, he knows Link can do it.
The titular Majora's Mask doesn't play into the game's frightfulness. While Ganondorf may have threatened to rule Link's home with a tyrant's fist, he does not bring about the end of the world. Then there's the subdued colour palette, the off-kilter music, and a three day cycle that can be punishingly difficult if not carefully managed. Link needs to keep his eye on the clock every day because everyone is busy in on their final days, and may need him at various hours.
Daniel Rosen argues much of this difference can be attributed to Eiji Aonuma, and his freshman direction on the series, which has left it feeling dissonant from the rest of the franchise. Plus, he's got his hands on the upcoming Majora's Mask 3DS remake, so it's probably a decent time to revisit it.
Daniel will have more about the game when it goes for sale on February 3.