Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker director Shinya Hiratake has revealed that the game originally started out life as an unrelated project starring Link from The Legend of Zelda.
Speaking during an interview with Polygon, Hiratake-san said the concept was born out of Ninty's desire to feature a character exploring self-contained levels while being incapable of jumping. Link can jump in the Zelda games obviously, but it's hardly a defining trait as opposed to someone like Mario.
Nintendo eventually decided to bin the Zelda project but later turned its attention to Captain Toad, which started out life in a set of bonus games in Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U.
'We thought Link would be a little too courageous and he would want to fight enemies with his weapons,' commented Hiratake.
Having said that, it's possible to find some features in the final game that were left over from Link's outing. These include Draggadon and Wingo, who the pointy-eared hero would have fought while taking cover behind walls.
'We always think about how we can introduce 3D games to more people,' said Hiratake. 'We thought that Captain Toad in Super Mario 3D World was perfect because it brought in the element of searching to [Mario’s] world.'
'We wanted to build a sandbox: a small, contained world that has a linear path, and someone that could not jump. By having a main character that couldn’t jump, we thought it would be easier for the player to explore the 3D world. Also, we would be able to contain the world and not make it too big.'
It was a smart move too, as Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker isn't a bad effort by any stretch of the imagination, as Colm points out in his review.