The three-day timer in Majora’s Mask was originally set for a week

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is distinctive within the franchise for being a tricky title that hinges on reliving the same three days over again, but the game’s timer was originally set for one week, longtime developer Eiji Aonuma said during an Iwata Asks interview.

In this most recent Iwata Asks, a Q&A series conducted by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, Aonuma talks about the origins of Majora’s Mask and its recent 3D remake for Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS. Although Aonuma was originally repurposing dungeons from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, they eventually spawned into an entirely new title.

During development, Aonuma approached developer Yoshiaki Koizumi, who was “working on a plan for a different game at that time, one where you would play in a compact game world over and over again.”

“Koizumi-san told me that he would help me out if he could use that system of time passing to make a game where you would be playing the same moments in time over and over again,” Aonuma told Iwata. “From there, the ‘Three-Day System’ was born. It’s where you would be playing the same three days over and over again.”

At first, however, it was for a full seven days; Aonuma and his team eventually decided against it.

“When you returned to the first day it was like, ‘Do I have to go through an entire week again…?’ So we thought three days would be just right,” Aonuma said.

Aonuma also goes on to discuss the game’s masks, working on Majora’s Mask and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds simultaneously and more. The interview also contains a brief note from Iwata on his recent health issues.

“Last year I fell ill and had undergone surgery,” Iwata said. “Many of you were probably wondering if my illness was the reason for us not revealing any new Iwata Asks. But to be honest, I’d been thinking about taking a break from it so I could recharge, even before I found out about my condition.”

Iwata added that he’s been pondering which game to feature for the Q&A series’ return, and that the “strong reactions” to the Majora’s Mask remake announcement made it a perfect fit. You can read the full interview over at Nintendo’s official site.

For more on the remake of Majora’s Mask, check out our review.