Zelda Boss Will Be "Careful" About Including Too Many Tutorials

Eiji Aonuma discusses his "learning experience" with the tutorial-heavy Skyward Sword.

A common criticism of certain games in The Legend of Zelda series--Skyward Sword, in particular--is that there are too many things, like tutorials, that get in your way of playing. Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma is aware of this concern and is consciously trying to avoid having it come up again in the future.

"When we created Skyward Sword, I really felt the need to make sure that everyone playing the game understood it," Aonuma told Kotaku. "But I also understand now, in hindsight, that when you go out and buy a game, you buy the game because you want to play it, and you don't want to have any obstacles in the way. And I guess it was received as a bit of an obstacle."

Last year's 3DS Zelda game, A Link Between Worlds, defied many series conventions, providing players with a great deal of freedom in how to go about their quest. It also didn't saddle players with a great deal of handholding that got in the way of playing, and it sounds as if future Zelda games will be more like that.

"In a game, it's when you get stuck, when you want that help," Aonuma continued. "And I kinda frontloaded all that in Skyward Sword, and it doesn't really help to get that information when you don't know what to do with it. So that was a real learning experience for me. So I'm going to be careful not to do that."

Nintendo unveiled its next Zelda game last week at E3. It does not yet have a name and isn't expected out until next year, but the Wii U game will be an open-world one and has sparked a great deal of excitement for the series. One thing that won't change in that game, though, is the protagonist: Despite some indications that the character seen in the trailer above was someone other than Link--possibly even a female--it is, in fact, Link.

Were you bothered by how tutorial heavy the opening hours of Skyward Sword were? Are you happy that future Zelda games will continue to shy away from that? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Chris Pereira is a freelance writer for GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @TheSmokingManX
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Discussion

84 comments
wowwow27
wowwow27

tutorials don't bother me, isn't there always the option to skip? 

N64ever
N64ever

It will be awesome to get back to the old, "ah...where do I go?" feeling that I used to get when I played the original LoZ. True adventure and exploration (well, at least as far as video games are concerned).

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

"Powerful enemies appearing in a peaceful world."

Well, actually, I enjoyed it more watching the world change to herald the arrival of the more powerful enemies.  Traditionally in Zelda the peaceful areas are inhabited by pretty weak enemies, and it's not until you find a secret area or dungeon, or until the world itself becomes corrupted by greed that the slightly more powerful and sinister enemies appear.

There's not many instances in the franchise's history of seeing a monster like that in a setting like that.

I always liked in the Zelda games the feeling of transition to something that is supposed to feel perhaps a little out of your depth.  It's always a beautiful moment in any installment where the game seems to say to you, "OK you're not a child any more, in the real world if you're not ready, you die.  That time of innocence and safety you enjoyed is dead and gone."

In fact, in Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask particularly, despite the relatively easy gameplay, I would even go as far as to say that they managed to capture an almost Dark Souls-esque atmosphere of utter, cold indifference by the mid point in the game, which really is a feat.

JalalBlack
JalalBlack

Just make it a Game Of Thrones Zelda and see what'll happen , link with a beard will be a good start : )

lostn
lostn

I had come to accept that there would be some tutorials in the beginning but Skyward Sword took it to a level that I felt Aonuma was patronizing me and insulting my intelligence.

Chernnunos
Chernnunos

Yeah, that's why I didn't make it to the first dungeon on Skyward Sword. The damn thing just makes you read too many tutorials and slow dialogue. Initial game experience should be enrapturing and interesting. Too many tuturials can ruin all that.

Rennik_Repotsir
Rennik_Repotsir

Should be just a on-screen notification saying "Slash with A", but the player can just continue without slashing the pot. No pausing, no cut-scenes, just a floating message. Tutorials aren't bad, it just sucks when it interrupts game flow because it has to be "conversation-like".


mirage_so3
mirage_so3

Do you want to hear what I just said again?

SigurdJohannsen
SigurdJohannsen

Tutorials should be an option, like subtitles, to be toggled on/off in the menu.

Poodger
Poodger

I think the standard in Zelda should be that it is assumed players have played previous games in the series, and the "tutorial" sections only cover what is new, added or changed. Have some kind of optional, out of the way "target practice area", or even an option on the menu for training to cover old stuff that new players may not know.

Poodger
Poodger

I couldn't even finish the first dungeon in Skyward Sword because I got BOOORRREEED. They held my hand so long in that game, that I gave up before they let go.

boringdork
boringdork

Sadly most Zelda games (and games in general) are played with hand-holding via google.

I still always tackles a new Zelda head on with hand drawn maps and turning off the internet. It takes a little longer than playing with a guide... but i may as well just watch someone's youtube if i want hand holding.

Kalan_Arkais
Kalan_Arkais

This is exactly what I've been wanting to hear.

Intellijosh
Intellijosh

skyward sword was the best zelda since OOT

Bowser05
Bowser05

That's awesome. While SS is my favorite in the series...the hand-holding is one of my biggest gripes about the game.

Lambchopzin
Lambchopzin

Music to my ears.


Keeping with that train of thought, hopefully whatever navi-esque companion we get (assuming we do get one) is more like Midna and less like Navi or Fi. An actual character with an interesting story of their own who's hints are usually fairly vague at best. Midna is easily my favorite character in any Zelda game despite filling a role that has been typically fairly uninteresting in other entries.


That's assuming we get one at all of course, and I'd be totally fine with not having one in the first place.

bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

I don't see why he just doesn't include a tutorial option at the beginning of the game and to toggle it on and off. Adding the option for difficulty and tutorials would answer a lot of these issues. Should be in the option menu along with brightness subtitles etc. 

Poordevil
Poordevil

Haven't played a Zelda game to completion sinice OOT. Haven'r owned a Nintendo console since the Gamecube. I may pick up a Wii for this though. Has Nintendo Ever Come Out with a high resolution OOT? I would replay it in HD.

Zelda99
Zelda99

We dont need no... tutorials

SacredVega
SacredVega

He should difficulty level at the start of the game, zelda games are way too easy now, yeah we get hero mode but that one is when you beat the game once, I want to game to be increase in difficulty from the very first time I play the game

Arsonaire
Arsonaire

His comments still doesn't clarify whether the guided puzzle solutions would be toned down (or preferably cut off).

Arsonaire
Arsonaire

Sound super. I hope they drop the idea that console Zelda should be easier for masses than handheld zelda which are for hardcore. Go hardcore on consoles too. True challenges is what Zelda is about.

Derbefrier
Derbefrier

its a zelda game why would it even need one? I must admit i kinda want a WiiU after E3 though. never thought i would say that.

Monkfish95
Monkfish95

I don't think they understand that the internet exists, when I'm stuck in a game (or life) I GOOGLE IT

Halloll
Halloll

I detect a 95% chance that you want to hear the tutorial again because you keep maching the buttons to skip my dialog.

maxpowr3
maxpowr3

No motion controls! Rather have extensive use of the gamepad and touch screen than flail my arms around again.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

Ah man, my favorite part of the Zelda games have been the tutorials, now they're cutting them down?

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

When the tutorials are incorporated into the game as you play and progress I don't mind them at all, when they are levels specifically made as tutorials they get annoying and you just want to skip them and get to the game.

Carpetfluff
Carpetfluff

Japanese games in general can fall into this trap a lot. I don't mind a tutorial. Sometimes we need it, but they can tend to turn them into overlong, wordy chores more often than not. It's a cultural thing. The Japanese tend to explain everything in extreme depth.

King9999
King9999

If he does things right, he won't need to add a tutorial at all.

danusty
danusty

I tried to play and finish skyward sword on a previous vacation time I had but could not even get to the 1st dungeon and a lot of it had to do with all the tutorials. the game looks fantastic but as I was doing all those moves I was thinking how all of those things could be done with the simple press of a button just as in previous games and I was seriously let down by the whole concept of the game with the whole motion control thing.

bannermanner
bannermanner

Skyward Sword has an incredibly low opinion of everyone who plays it, and all because of one thing: Fi.

I play games to have fun, not to have my intelligence insulted. Skyward Sword is easily my least favorite core Zelda game.

aniva
aniva

@wowwow27 nope, they're pretty much forced on you in the game. Phi also gives away far too much information, leaving you little chance to solve the riddles on your own. I loved the game though...

landisan
landisan

@JalalBlack Please god no, that is the most undesirable thing I think I have ever heard.

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

@bunchanumbers Because the tutorials are usually intertwined into the narrative, so they cant really be skipped on a first playthrough. In order to make them skippable, they have to stop doing that.

stewedyeti
stewedyeti

@Poordevil The 3DS version has updated textures and whatnot, but I suppose it's not technically HD.

SythisTaru
SythisTaru

@Derbefrier Me too. I wonder if Dolphin emulator supports Wii-U stuff yet, I would rather use something like that. 

Poodger
Poodger

@maxpowr3 I hope they utilize the touch screen as nothing more than inventory management and quick reference to maps. I would like a good old fashioned Zelda that uses just a traditional gamepad approach.

Arsonaire
Arsonaire

@mkeezay22 Yeah tuts & speeches should be easily skippable. It's hard to believe that one cannot quickly skip texts in skyward.

wowwow27
wowwow27

@Poodger @Intellijosh since wind waker,....  i hated everything being disconnected and having some stupid means of transportation.  twilight princess was good, the 3ds game was awesome but retro, this should be cool if they stick to their guns, and don't jack it up with more strange modes of transportation.

Carpetfluff
Carpetfluff

@Gelugon_baat @Carpetfluff @Arsonaire Not in recent years, no but then the almost complete lack of complex tutorials and traditional storytelling could be a reaction to the norm. It's not just games this applies to either. How many times have you watched an anime when characters are in a dangerous, time sensitive situation but still stop to have 10 minute ponder on the meaning of it all? I'm not complaining about it by the way, it's just something I've noticed over the years and I've heard Japanese devs comment on it before now. 


While we're at it, Ubisoft apparently thinks players have no working memory and still bombard them with tutorials and reminders even after 20 hours of gameplay. so it's not just Japan's devs that over do it.