The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword[b] is an action-adventure game developed and published by Nintendo for the Wii. The sixteenth mainline entry in The Legend of Zelda series, it was released worldwide in November 2011. The game was re-released digitally on the Wii U eShop in September 2016 to celebrate the series’ 30th anniversary.
Taking the role of series protagonist Link, players navigate the floating island of Skyloft and the land below it, completing quests that advance the story and solving environmental and dungeon-based puzzles. The original mechanics and combat, the latter focusing on attacking and blocking with sword and shield, are reliant on the Wii MotionPlus peripheral. Skyward Sword is the first game in the Zelda timeline, detailing the origins of the Master Sword, a recurring weapon within the series. Link, resident of a floating town called Skyloft, heads on a quest to rescue his childhood friend Zelda after she is kidnapped and brought to the Surface, an abandoned land below the clouds.
Development lasted around five years, beginning after the release of Twilight Princess in 2006. Multiple earlier Zelda games influenced the developers, including Twilight Princess, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. Many aspects of the game’s overworld and gameplay were designed to streamline and populate the experience for players. The art style was influenced by the work of impressionist painters including Paul Cézanne. The implementation of Wii MotionPlus proved problematic for the developers, to the point where it was nearly discarded. It was the first Zelda game to use a live orchestra for the majority of its tracks, with music composed by a team led by Hajime Wakai and supervised by Koji Kondo.
First revealed in 2009, it was initially planned for release in 2010 before it ended up being delayed to 2011 to further refine and expand it. The game was a critical and commercial success, receiving perfect scores from multiple journalistic sites, winning and receiving nominations for numerous industry and journalist awards, and selling over three million copies worldwide. Despite the accolades it received, points of criticism directed toward certain aspects of the game’s design proved to be a key influence in the development of the next entry for home consoles, Breath of the Wild. A remastered version of the game, Skyward Sword HD, is scheduled for release on Nintendo Switch in July 2021.