Keeping Mystery Alive in Majora’s Mask 3D

Just yesterday, Nintendo and Grezzo released The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D for the 3DS, providing a fresh coat of paint and a few selective tweaks to the original game released back in 2000 for the N64.

Now, I don’t own a 3DS (I’ve never been into portable systems), and by proxy don’t own Majora’s Mask 3D, however the original is pretty much my favorite game. As such, this is not a review; merely some newfound confidence I have in the remake based on a quick observation about some relatively mundane details.

One of the things that concerned me about potential changes for the remake was that in many cases the wall art and room decorations were being redesigned. It’s a great idea for the most part, however in doing so, it also runs the risk of removing some of the more mysterious connections found in the background of the original game. Connections like items from the Curiosity shop that can also be seen at Sakon’s Hideout; or the masks from the Oceanside Spider House also being found in the Stock Pot Inn. Either intentional or just a recycling of existing assets, the connections are there, and can make the player stop and think about them when noticed; contributing to the overall worldbuilding and implied history of Termina in the process.

The most mysterious of these background connections, I’d argue was the texture found on the back wall of the clock tower. Here’s a screenshot of the original wall:

The wall art depicts a strange looking squatting figure with legs spread apart and arms in the air. Without additional context this design seems pretty meaningless and ripe for change, especially if the approach Grezzo took in redesigning the game became compartmentalized by geographical area. Fortunately, here’s the new version of the wall on the 3DS (image credit to BLAKUboy):

The squatting man can still be seen – his appearance has been altered a bit to make it look a little more “Majora-y,” but it’s still there; arms, legs, body, and head. Now, you may rightly ask “But who cares about wall art?” but that’s where the mysterious connection comes in. This squatting man pose actually repeats in various forms throughout the kingdom of Ikana, hinting towards some sort of link between the land of the dead and the central Clock Tower.

Here it is on floor tiles:

Here it is on Doors:

It’s on the hooded guy’s robes:

It’s even the shape of their royal seal; found on the chests of Igos du Ikana, his guards, both composer brothers, and Captain Keeta:

Of course, what the squatting man is supposed to represent is up for interpretation…

That last part may not have been entirely serious. My point is, the original game established a suspicious connection between Ikana and the Clock Tower through use of similar imagery, and amidst the many textural updates and redesigns of Majora’s Mask 3D, this suspicious link survived, and not necessarily by accident considering the existing design did receive edits.

Why that connection remains is up to question; keeping one of the many unsolved mysteries from the game alive for a whole new generation of players to encounter, provided the player is willing to explore those mysteries further. It’s not the factual conclusions that make these connections fascinating; it’s the possibilities the connections might imply to make the player pause for thought before continuing onward to experience one of the best games of all time.

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