In an interview with Wired (and picked up by Official Nintendo Magazine), Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma has discussed how Wind Waker HD came about after the studio tested out various games on the Wii U hardware.
"We actually ran a few tests," he explained. "We tried converting other console games to Wii U. We actually did this with Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. And the result of that was, hmm, those are semi-realistic representations of the Zelda world so we weren't really surprised with what we got. But with Wind Waker, when we converted that to HD we were really surprised at how great it looked."
When he proposed they create an HD remake of the game, he said there was "a lot of pushback" internally because of the belief the was a lot of audience negativity towards that version of Link. "In talking to our counterparts in the U.S.," he continued, "that wasn't actually the case."
Aonuma states he believes the HD version to "create the complete Wind Waker experience".