Legend of Zelda producer not afraid of questioning the franchise's traditions

Eiji Aonuma says Nintendo will "continue to question and reconsider the approaches we have take in the past without any reservations."

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Nintendo recently shook up the conventions of the Legend of Zelda franchise with 3DS game A Link Between Worlds (our 2013 Game of the Year), which allowed you to transform into a painting and traverse walls. But it's not going to stop there, according to series producer Eiji Aonuma.

He explained in a new interview with Official Nintendo Magazine that he has no reservations whatsoever about questioning the "traditional" approach to the beloved franchise when making new games.

"The recent Zelda games have been rather linear, as I thought players didn't like getting lost, wondering what to do, or where to go," Aonuma said. "However, I've come to question this 'traditional' approach as I felt that we couldn't gain the sense of wonder that existed in the original Legend of Zelda, in which you made unexpected encounters and where what used to be impossible would suddenly become possible."

Aonuma and his team at Nintendo are currently working on an all-new Legend of Zelda game for Wii U. Though we don't know much at all about this project, Aonuma said fans can be assured that Nintendo will challenge the franchise's traditions.

"We will, of course, continue to question and reconsider the approaches we have taken in the past without any reservations," he said.

This isn't the first time Aonuma has discussed his intention to "shake up" the Legend of Zelda series. In October, he said," The more we change it, the more I get fired up. Having someone think 'Huh? Is this Zelda?!' at first, then, 'Oh, it is Zelda,' is what we're going for." More details about the new Zelda game for Wii U are expected during E3 2014.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Discussion

121 comments
nurnberg
nurnberg

Shut up and tell me when the game is coming out.

vetar1
vetar1

I just dying to see Zelda U, I just cant wait E3 for revealing of Zelda.

WR_Platinum
WR_Platinum

I wonder if Aonuma will bring something drastically different to the series. Maybe not, but I'm looking forward to seeeing a release date at E3. Hopefully.

guardianofhonor
guardianofhonor

The names, items and maps have been the only change ever made to a zelda game.

randomkidlol
randomkidlol

a video of the 2011 wiiu demo? really eddie?

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

Rated M with slow motion but quicktime kill sequences. You can practically feel the Octorock's pain as Link pushes the Master Sword through its eye. 

AmbiguousAlias
AmbiguousAlias

If any game can show the world the Wii U is awesome, it's Zelda.

Wej_accept_it
Wej_accept_it

Link gets dialogue
Fanboys promptly lose their shit upon hearing the news but the game turns out to be absolutely amazing because of it

deadpen
deadpen

I want to see the next game start out with Link and Zelda sitting in a sun filled field picnicking, Then a dark storm cloud rolls in as Ganon walks to them. Suddenly Ganon transports right in front of the two, the camera pans to Link and Zelda's surprised faces. It is only then that Link realizes Ganon has ran his sword through the pregnant belly of Zelda.

This is where Link snaps and the start of a very dark Zelda game, as Link charges in killing everything that stands in his way of destroying the monster that murdered his family. Then at the end it goes all Super Mario Bros. 2 ending on ya.

hadlee73
hadlee73

I hope they carry over the idea from the last 3DS game (being able to choose which parts of the game to do, rather than just following a set order).

ReadingRainbow4
ReadingRainbow4

Give link a sex change.


Also, you have to start making these games harder nintendo, they're too damn easy.

chev9342
chev9342

How about a modern day Zelda? A world that, for the most part, resembles our own. Of course, some elements should be brought in like all the weird creatures (humanoid and animal-like), and all the magical elements as well.


Also, voice acting please. And get a team that can handle casting good voice actors. And, no Link should not have a voice like in all the other games. And seeing how Robin Williams is a huge fan of the series, Nintendo could get him in. He could Tingle, which I could imagine Williams' betrayal would be similar to the genie from Aladdin. 

Tomcat2007
Tomcat2007

Please tell me there are no more GameCube Zelda games that could potentially be ported to the Wii U so they're FORCED to make a new Zelda.

Sheik2
Sheik2

It's not zelda, it's ZERUDA. It's not wind waker, its WINDU WAIKA. Learn to pronounce titles in the original language, you dickheads!  **flies away**

Defender1978
Defender1978

I can't wait for the new Zelda.  It's gonna look awesome on the Wii U.  

Tomcat2007
Tomcat2007

Can't wait for X on wii U also while waiting for the new Zelda. 

Zilaan_
Zilaan_

At this rate they should launch Zelda and other key Nintendo games with a new and real next gen system launch next year...

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

Go for a direct sequel to Zelda 2.

Metroidvanelda.



tonybob8989
tonybob8989

ive always loved zelda but im getting tired of of the set path all the time..i think they should make it a sandbox game and make the fighting a little more complex.....idk sounds good but could they actually do it

deviant74
deviant74

Rated T or M would be nice start. 

hotdiddykong
hotdiddykong

He's right, and frankly we can only be excited.


Link Between Worlds was a breath of Fresh air, it only makes you wonder what they'll do with the Wii U Zelda if they continue to break tradition.


Zelda tends to do different things each iteration but keeps a traditional following, but with gameplay shake ups like Dungeon order and the Item Renting system in Link between Worlds, it can be fun.


All we know is that the Wii U Zelda will take advantage of the Wii U gamepad, wonder what'll be, especially the art style, each Zelda game brought with it an amazing artstyle, with Skyward Sword being a mix of Twilight and Wind Waker.

skayj2
skayj2

Traditional Zelda game with Dark Souls-esque combat would literally make my life. 

darkfiercelink
darkfiercelink

I hope for an open world zelda game, free to explore and tackle any dungeon you want

Freezezzy
Freezezzy

Easiest way to shake things up is reverse the roles of the two main characters. Link would either be kidnapped, or just missing, which would require Zelda herself to take action.

RyogaRod
RyogaRod

I don't expect to hear much about Wii U Zelda at this years E3. I read awhile ago this game is expected in 2015. Lets at least hope. A trailer for the game could really create some much needed buzz for the Wii U. I'll be waiting.

lbryson8
lbryson8

If zelda and dark souls had a baby... my life would be complete 

evilelect
evilelect

Please stop blindly following Nintendo. Call them out on their horrid decision making so they can move forward from this and once again become a company to be revered and loved by all. Right now their a joke and you are to if you don't see it. 

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

It would be cool to see that but idk is nintendo going to be at this coming E3 they skipped out last year and I still say that didn't help them win over any prospective fan base.

hystavito
hystavito

@AmbiguousAlias  But is it really the WiiU that's awesome, or is it just Zelda itself? :)


Really, imagine the same people, same company, Nintendo, everything the same, except the WiiU being far more powerful, maybe just the equivalent of a PS4 or Xbox One.  Wouldn't they be able to take it even farther?


They could keep the simple art style but just do so many other things.  More NPCs, more density, objects, larger locations, more interactive elements, and on and on.

Super_C
Super_C

@Wej_accept_it  I think that's basically what happened when Wind Waker's new graphical approach was announced during the game's development.

chev9342
chev9342

@Wej_accept_it Wait, trolling makes certain ideas automatically good? Don't treat the new Zelda game as trollbait like DmC. 

Trolling a fanbase over a bad game like DmC didn't cause that game to be a success. The game is bad, and it failed financially - putting Capcom near bankruptcy. Why can't you get that through your head? 

DWalker131
DWalker131

@xstation4one  what about 'legend of shadowfall: the shadow link story'.....or "the fall of shadow link"

Tomcat2007
Tomcat2007

@Zilaan_  honestly nintendo buyers don't care as much as about graphics and next-gen as you would think...i can guarantee that's not what is hurting the wii u the most, it's a matter of bad marketing and lack of games until only recently

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

@lbryson8  I think this is what they're going for gameplay-wise, plus puzzles and non-linear progression. Probably wicked dungeon design too. I just wish Zelda wasn't a Nintendo exclusive franchise.

Unless the game ends up blowing.

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

@hystavito No, because many of the features of a Zelda title are built around the hardware features. i.e. You couldn't do Skyward Sword with a 360 controller and Move and Kinect would not exist if not for the Wiimote. The 3D effect was a big part of A Link Between Worlds and you cant do that on a Vita or assure that everyone has a 3D TV. I'm sure many of the features of the Wii U will be integral to this new Zelda, features the other systems lack.

Wej_accept_it
Wej_accept_it

@chev9342 @Wej_accept_itGet this through your head Chev; I've never played any DmC games (no reason just never got to) and have no idea what the hell you're on about when you say "trolling a fanbase"


I believe there's very few truly good or bad ideas in gaming, there's just ideas plain and simple. Some get implemented really well, while others are poorly used and come across as negatives.
I genuinely believe that expanding Link as a character would be an idea that could be used to great effect. I also, realistically, expect plenty of diehard fans would resist the idea at first, (it's generally regarded that people don't like changes, something to do with our comfort zone and not liking others making choices for us, search Google Scholar for more if you want) but the opinions of one group of people would not have any impact on the final game product and let's face it, even when the Zelda franchise isn't taking the world by storm, the Zelda games still have a great track record.

Jag85
Jag85

@Zilaan_


Actually, it's not "Regenderu Ovu Zeruda", but "Zeruda no Densetsu".


@Sheik2  


Actually, it's not "Windu Waika", but "Kaze no Takuto".


deth420
deth420

@chev9342 @Zilaan_  oh god, not the troll guy. does nintendo pay you to come on here? or, do you sound this idiotic all the time?



chev9342
chev9342

@AuronAXE @lbryson8 If you bought the PS4 or Xbone to play Sony's or M$'s games then you can do the same for Nintendo, you big baby. Sony and M$ aren't special, deal with it. 

lbryson8
lbryson8

@AuronAXE @lbryson8  I mean... the Zelda fan base has grown up. Sure people are still jumping on board but the majority of the people who love zelda grew up. It would be such a huge money maker to make it more adult (not necessarily M rating but lets make zelda serious) and no longer a Nintendo exclusive. I get them trying to keep it console exclusive but I mean... come on... time to cut loses

evilelect
evilelect

@Sepewrath @hystavito Nintendo sucks so bad and I'm sick people like you defending them. Things will never get better for them because of people like you.

hystavito
hystavito

@Sepewrath @hystavitoI get that, but the WiiU doesn't have any cool features :).  I'm kidding, sort of.  The WiiU does have the gamepad, and there's a lot of possibly cool things that can be done with it, only problem is most games don't do any cool things with it.

A big problem, especially with Nintendo's own games, is that the feature they really like to push for the WiiU is being able to play the game on the gamepad alone.  This of course poses a big obstacle to making interesting uses of the gamepad, as you must also design the game to be played completely without it.  It's likely Nintendo will impose this requirement on the next Zelda as well, and the gamepad will not be integral to the experience, but rather optional and occasional.


That's what I was getting at with the comment about everything being the same except more power, I was kind of getting at the fact that the WiiU isn't doing much with it's unique elements and therefore mostly just ends up being a weaker version of the other consoles, except it has the ability to run Nintendo software.  There were a couple games that I felt made decent uses of the gamepad, but ultimately the only consistent standout is having a keyboard on the gamepad, a nice convenience, but not very fun and actually not so useful when the console rarely gets turned on :).


I feel like I have to always add this, but I am not a hater :), I'm disappointed I guess.  I have really tried to get into Nintendo's current stuff, got a WiiU at launch, and I'm still trying as I just bought a 3DS.  I would love to see some really awesome gamepad usage in the next Zelda, I just don't think it's going to happen.

Wej_accept_it
Wej_accept_it

@chev9342 @Wej_accept_itNope still wrong, and I'll quote myself too to prove, I said (actually I typed, no one has said a word, this is the internet)

"Link gets dialogue
Fanboys promptly lose their shit upon hearing the news but the game turns out to be absolutely amazing because of it"

Note that the words "negative reaction makes crap good" aren't in there, so don't use an absolute term like "flat out" prematurely.
I'll say it again simpler, I'm implying that a change would be negatively received when some fans first hear about it via gaming media, but when the game in question and people get to experience the change, they will be surprised to see how it turned out to be really good.
Looking at my statement I can see that I didn't make that 100% clear, but the implication of it shouldn't be so hard to find or easy to misread.

chev9342
chev9342

@Wej_accept_it @chev9342You flatout said that negative reaction makes crap good. That's what you said. Learn to remember what you just said.

lbryson8
lbryson8

@chev9342 Hows the trolling for you going today? Catch anything?

lbryson8
lbryson8

@FlameEmperor  I have played it and it was way good. Just because I said id like zelda to be more serious doesnt mean I want gore or guns

FlameEmperor
FlameEmperor

A game doesn't need blood and Gore or guns to make it good. Twilight princess was a very dark zelda game, if you haven't played it then go ahead. It was very good story wise.