'Majora's Mask' Moon Designer May Have Taken a 'Star Fox' Asset as Inspiration

Nintendo announced The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask release date for the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pass. Finally, fans can play Breath of the Wild, Majora’s Mask, and Link’s Awakening, all on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, and Nintendo Switch OLED. It then turned fans’ attention back to the classic Nintendo 64 sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and brought visions of the Skull Kid, Termina, and the iconic moon to mind. However, some fans might not know that The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask moon design might have originated from the original Star Fox on SNES.

‘The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask’ moon resembles an asteroid face from ‘Star Fox’

In The Legend of Zelda game, the moment the Happy Mask Salesman sends Deku Link into Clock Town, the moon looms overhead. However, in Star Fox, fans can find a very familiar image from seven years earlier.

In the Star Fox asteroid field, players can enter a black hole. To open it, players must steer Star Fox and his Arwing to fire on a series of red rocks and then a meteor with a peculiar face. The Star Fox asteroid field face has a wide, toothy grin, glowing red and yellow eyes, and a prominent nose.

While it might seem like a coincidence or a fun callback, the Star Fox asteroid face and the Majora’s Mask moon have a much stronger connection.

Nintendo artist Takaya Imamura worked on the F-Zero series, Star Fox, and The Legend of Zelda series, like designing most bosses from A Link to the Past. He also had a direct hand in the Star Fox asteroid face and the Majora’s Mask moon.

‘The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask’ moon designer Takaya Imamura originally worked on ‘Star Fox’

Imamura designed the asteroid field face for the 1993 SNES Star Fox game. Then he handled more Nintendo projects for the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube.

Imamura became the art director for Star Fox 64, F-Zero X, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. He worked on the darker atmosphere for Majora’s Mask, designing characters like Tingle and the titular mask that Skull Kid stole. The more intense tone would then appear in later games like The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

He also created the Majora’s Mask moon. In a video from YouTuber Zeltik, Imamura’s work on Star Fox and Majora’s Mask is highlighted around the 9:05 mark.

However, the Majora’s Mask moon and Star Fox asteroid did not mark the first time the two series had a unique connection. In the Kokiri Forest in Ocarina of Time, a Star Fox 64 secret hid in the code.

‘Ocarina of Time’ had a secret Arwing in the Kokiri Forest

Deep in the Fire Temple in Death Mountain in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Volvagia guards the captured Gorons and then attacks Link. The fiery dragon moves unlike any other character in the game. And Nintendo achieved this through a unique strategy.

Nintendo used the Star Fox Arwing to test flight patterns for Volvagia. Players found ways to spawn the Arwing spaceship in the Kokiri Forest and fought it. It fires lasers at Link until he takes it down, or it defeats him.

There’s no telling what complications that would bring to The Legend of Zelda Timeline.

The Majora’s Mask moon and the Star Fox asteroid face link two very different games. However, Nintendo series’ always have unique connections, especially considering the Super Smash Bros. games.

And fans can see the Majora’s Mask moon again on Feb. 25, 2022.

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