The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker[b] is a 2002 action-adventure game developed and published by Nintendo for the GameCube. An installment in The Legend of Zelda series, it was released in Japan in December 2002, in North America in March 2003, and in Europe in May 2003.
The game is set on a group of islands in a vast sea, a departure for the series. The player controls series protagonist Link as he attempts to save his sister from the sorcerer Ganon and becomes embroiled in a struggle for the Triforce, a sacred wish-granting relic. Aided by allies including pirate captain Tetra – an incarnation of Princess Zelda – and a talking boat named the King of Red Lions, Link sails the ocean, explores islands, and traverses dungeons to acquire the power necessary to defeat Ganon. Wind, which facilitates sailing, plays a prominent role and can be controlled with a magic conductor’s baton called the Wind Waker.
The Wind Waker was directed by Eiji Aonuma and produced by Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka. Development began in 2000. It retains the basic 3D gameplay of its predecessors, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, but the team chose to avoid the realistic graphics of previous games. Instead, they implemented a distinctive cartoon-like art style created through cel shading.