Zelda producer: 'If we don't change we might die'

Eiji Aonuma explains Nintendo is planning to shake things up with new Zelda games without straying too far from proven formula.

The Legend of Zelda director Eiji Aonuma has told Engadget that it is imperative that Nintendo breaks new ground with its future Zelda titles.

"If we don't change we might die," Aonuma said. "We need to evolve. Things need to change. Things need to grow."

Fans may then ask why Nintendo is launching The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD on the Wii U this fall. Aonuma said development on the HD remake has helped the team "learn what it is the Wii U can do...[and] what the system is capable of."

Aonuma said he has heard calls from fans to shake up the series and change the formula, and though he thinks it is important to do this, changing too much would be a problem as well.

"With regard to...breaking the mold or changing the formula, I certainly hear the thoughts of fans. The impressions of fans that maybe it's getting a bit stale," Aonuma said.

"If we change it too much, I'm also concerned people will say, 'OK, is it no longer Zelda if we don't have this formula?'"

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD launches this fall, while the Wii U's all-new Zelda game currently has no release window.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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799 comments
windtune
windtune

People love OoT, ALttP and MM because they have a freely exploreable world, rich with charm, personality, magic and fantasy. Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword by comparison were much more bland in fantasy, limiting and unrewarding freeplay, no adventuring for yourself. The former of course was trying to be dark and realistic and totally missed the spirit and magical vibrance of Zelda games. Remember that Zelda used to let us loose in a lush fairy-tale atmosphere, with content everywhere to explore and do exactly what we want. They weren't linear stories, they were worlds to explore and adventure for ourselves.

Those who keep saying they'd like a darker game, a more realistic game, or anything else vague, need to stop simplifying the problem. Zelda needs to bring back free exploration, of a world packed with personality, magical atmosphere and content.

Lykanthropie
Lykanthropie

just make a new hyrule zelda game. These are the only real Zelda games.

The 3DS Remake of Ocarina of time sold more then 3M units - nearly as much as skyward sword for the wii - twiliight princss also sold a lot mroe copies.

Thats just what the fans want - now the fans want a zelda game with graphics like it was shown during the e3 presentation of the wiiu - or a twilight princess HD remake like wind waker with new lighting and shadows - i could look so great as there are a lot textures that even look like on the n64. Twilight Princess also sold more copies then OoC - guess it would sell much better then wind waker - while it may not be the worst to bring wind waker first as many fans had doubts about the graphic on the gamecube and its relativ simple style - the new version looks just like how such a graphic style should look.


SS4kronos33
SS4kronos33

personally we need more darker zelda games like majoras mask

micahartist
micahartist

As I've seen, the Zelda franchise had almost branched in two entirely different directions while it was on the Gamecube. It went in the direction of WW and TP. This branching encouraged two different groups of Zelda fans. I personally want to see more dark and realistic Zelda games such as TP was in its time.

My suggestion to Nintendo? Continue on with this branching. Really shake things up. Don't try to please everybody with one Zelda game, split it into two different teams both of which communicate with each other to ultimately create two different branches of Zelda which appease to the fans that have developed due to the Gamecube's two main Zelda releases.

Your mistake, Nintendo, was SS. It seemed as though you were desperately trying to merge the two different branches, all together creating an all new Zelda feel which I for one did not enjoy as much as TP and OoT, not even as much as WW. But you did it to attempt the avoidance of this branching, which you should really be embracing.

Zelda fans don't want the other groups' desires, nor do they want a mix. Each fan from both groups wants the Zelda from which branch they have decided to climb. Our differentiating opinions will not intertwine and you should not expect them to. The best solution is to give these two groups exactly what they desire, their own kind of Zelda.

kiteinthesky
kiteinthesky

Why not have the game take place in another time period but keep the same trope formula? It doesn't have to be anything outlandish like Zelda In Space! (tm), but some steampunk elements like Final Fantasy would be nice. It's boring to play in the same old Lord of the Rings ripoff setting over and over again. 

gr8arm
gr8arm

Well, Nintendo you can definitely do these things to the Zelda series:

1.) Difficulty: Give us a little challenge at least.  There are way too many opportunities to get hearts, restore health...  There is no sense of urgency because you know you will never die if enemies only do 1/4 heart of damage and there will just always be hearts in pots or plants nearby.

2.) Kooky Characters: Tingle, most villagers, etc.. are incredibly annoying.  Maybe this is cool in Japan but in America anyone over the age of 8 does not find them cute or funny.  They distract from the game and make us feel like we are watching a Japanamation cartoon instead of a Zelda game.  Please cater this franchise more to adults/teens/people who can wipe their own butts.

Sincerely,

Anyone who has ever played a Zelda game

kreegan64
kreegan64

 I'd like to not save Hyrule for once, I mean in the main series. SS doesn't count since that was still technically Hyrule in a different time.

toffifee
toffifee

Never saw this article. YES to this. HELL YES! Zelda and Mario needs to change. A lot.

brainiac1988
brainiac1988

This feeling right here I want to experience again:


Mist3rDragon
Mist3rDragon

I would say that Zelda is going fine the way it is, though I think another game A la Majoras Mask would be amazing. I loved that game and it's feeling of dread and the way it makes you want to succeed and save everyone. I would kinda like another game in that mold (maybe not with the same gimmick, but one that gives the same sorta feeling). 

TalesOfGod
TalesOfGod

@ Jonny-Two-Delta (because my replies aren't working)

I suppose you live like a complete delusional idiot that fails to understand that Nintendo caters to everybody and always will. Also, I wasn't talking about sales as I never mentioned it. I was talking about what makes up the company and the image.

You say that the Legend Of Zelda needs a new change but that is your opinion. The fans have been enjoying the new ones as much as the old ones and that is good enough. If you think that it lacks your interest, that's fine. The solution? Move on to other games and let the fans of the series stay in peace as you can't even realize what makes Nintendo the great company that it is.

Nintendo also brings a unique brand into gaming that few companies can make an adventure series that is as good as The Legend Of Zelda and that caters to everyone. To say that they should turn into the rest instead of being themselves is simply ignorance as why would they go into the competition that everyone else is doing if they lose what makes them unique? Since they really need the sales? Oh wait, they already gain enough with every Zelda game that comes out. Your arguement is flawed and doesn't have anything to back it up.

lindallison
lindallison

How bout making Zelda hard again.  I and II were pretty damn tough.  After that not so much. 

younglionsp88
younglionsp88

make a game like the orcania of time same epicness and add the graphics of today but dont loss the look of zelda even if you make it like the twilight princes or skyward sword i thought that thoes were pretty cool revamps of the way zelda looks more mature but without lossing zelda im excited i wanna see an awesome game that will make all rpgs after make u a little bit disappointed like orcania of time did......../..thnx 

alzeer1
alzeer1

no one want change formula

we just need new zelda like the fake one on e3 2012 never heard about it after that

Trickymaster
Trickymaster

I bet they will make it 2D like the other titles just to p*** everyone off as usual. Turning Zelda into a party game.

Hekteur
Hekteur

While Zelda is already a sort of half open world game, why don't they go "full open world mode"? Would be so cool if we ALWAYS could decide what to do. Want to rush to the best sword in game from the beginning? No problem! Just rush the master sword quest ASAP. Wanna just rush the main quest and check how you can beat gannon with the weakest possible link? Just rush the main quest! The game won't stop you because you don't have the hammer, or whatever object you should need to go past a certain point. Wanna do the opposite and collect stuff as much as possible first? Just go! Every mini-games and most hidden stuff should be available from start.

Plataea
Plataea

Well, a simple suggestion is the change all the items and have all new ones.  That would be a start, anyway.  Another suggestion is to increase the difficulty.

gargungulunk
gargungulunk

I believe someone mentioned this a few hundred posts ago, but I really like the idea of having both Link and Zelda being playable.  Think Sword of Mana.  Where you could switch between the two on a whim and use different skills.

zorgan
zorgan

For me the best Zelda of all was the wind Waker. I love the art style its fun to play, the world is huge, its reactive, there is a real feel of freedom cruising the oceans with you boat finding new world, do side quest and mini games and best off all  look for underwater treasures with your crane. difficult to come with a new Zelda idea but for me I am not really fuss on how old zelda is int the game and I don't need more mature content. what I would like to see is more of a getting back to the roots kind of thing. maybe something more free to roam where you do not have to follow each mission and have to go from A to B in a maze to find that special key. I mean Zelda for me means adventure discoveries, fun Game play lots of hidden dungeons and secret treasure to be found. i don't really care too much about big boss battles. I would rather have instead loads of smaller enemies to defeat at any one time with great combat mechanics

Jonny-Two-Delta
Jonny-Two-Delta

I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it 'til the idea catches on, but a hyper realistic, violent and darkly humourous Zelda game would revitalise the franchise if done well. It'd also serve  to show that nintendo actually have what it takes to design games and not just repackage ideas that were once brilliant.

link_hiei_gaara
link_hiei_gaara

@micahartist They did not make SS appeareance because they wanted to avoid branching. They did it because they like to experiment with new looks. They even might expereiement with another new look for the new wiiu adventure. I say go ahead because Zelda will always be amazing no matter how it looks. Come on, Link looks good no matter what :P

link_hiei_gaara
link_hiei_gaara

@gr8arm Um they did do number one, Its called hero mode in the new zelda games. X.x and the awsome characters like Tingle is another part that makes Zelda unique. I dont want characters that look like they come from tons of other games. Please do not try and represent the Zelda fans community.

Sincerely,

A real Zelda player

AccursedGamer
AccursedGamer

@Mist3rDragon  Maybe the formula doesn't have to change, but the story. I mean, like with Majora's Mask that takes place in another land. Maybe Nintendo should make a quest that doesn't involve saving Hyrule from Ganondorf for every game.

TalesOfGod
TalesOfGod

Also, I find it hilarious that you argue that they are milking the IP when the majority of the mature games have been releasing similar games that barely bring anything new to the series.

I love that you mentioned Elder Scrolls as well. With the most recent one, they just changed the story and added the graphics to make a new game. They've been doing the same thing ever since the franchise was made but I suppose you'll overlook that as you love it so much *rolls eyes*.

Also you argue that Nintendo needs to be made in a different light and that they need to bring the series in a different direction. There are tons of different way to do that but to make it into the kind of game that you would want it to be is not the solution. It would only detract from half of the fans and would serve no purpose as many other companies already make those types of games.

You are only being fueled by your opinion and providing no facts to back it up.

The sales and fans have shown to be perfectly fine with how Nintendo has been with the Legend Of Zelda and there is no need for a mature LOZ game that would ruin the series. Remember the last series that tried to bring it into a mature and more modern game? Dmc and Other M. Guess what? Both ended in failure.

mcquack306
mcquack306

@lindallison That's what I wouldn't mind. Dark Souls did this perfectly Don't give me a 2 hour tutorial on how to move and attack. Leave me in an open world environment and let me find things out on my own. Link could easily wake up from a dream (ALTTP) and has to set out to save the princess. There. Nothing else. Find our own way to rescuing her and that's it. Or switch it with Majora's Mask theme and save the planet from a destructive force. Don't care. Just less hand holding please.

BrutalPandaX2
BrutalPandaX2

@lindallison yeah some Nintendo games are really too easy. The new DK Country Tropical Freeze allows you to have 6 hearts, the originals didn't let you get hit once.

brainiac1988
brainiac1988

@alzeer1   you mean that fake trailer for Majora's Mask remake on the wii U?

That wasnt a new zelda game :)


Eldeorn
Eldeorn

@Hekteur What you're asking for is not a zelda game, it's an abomination. The model they have that forces you to solve puzzles or figure out stuff to progress is what makes the zelda games great. Show the franchise the respect it deserves and just play a game that already does what youre asking. It doesnt need Link in it for it to work.

Icepick_Trotter
Icepick_Trotter

@zorgan 
I always DID wonder why they dropped the brilliant formula from the NES Zeldas:

The whole "go into random dungeon --> get your ass kicked --> That's how you know you're not supposed to start here --> find a different one --> repeat"

I think games like Dark Souls learned more from Zelda than any other game...

Hekteur
Hekteur

@Jonny-Two-Delta "revitalizing a franchise", like you're saying, doesn't have to go through one specific idea you think is cool. Not everyone likes super dark games like you want and it wouldn't mean Nintendo is sticking with "kids games" if they don't go down the road you want. There are MANY ways to give a fresh new direction at a game and its graphic (quality or just artistic direction) is one of the most hated idea ever. The REAL gamers only want to have fun. They do not care about how realistic/toonish or how dark/cheezy the game looks.

TalesOfGod
TalesOfGod

@Jonny-Two-Delta Yeah. You do realize that this is Nintendo right?

That wouldn't be showing that they actually have what it takes to design games (which they have been doing fine for the last 25 years). That would be showing complete and utter stupidity and treating their fanbase like trash...

Just like Microsoft.

gr8arm
gr8arm

@TalesOfGod: I guess you like idiotic annoying characters like Tingle and almost all of the villagers?  The fact is that if you were a true Zelda fan from the beginning you would know that Zelda originally didn't have all of this Japanese kiddie BS in it.  It has changed along the way for the worse.  You cannot tell me that the more recent games, Skyward Sword, Twilight Princess, can hold a red candle to the original, A Link to the Past, or Ocarina of Time.  Skyward Sword was plagued by utter goofiness from the start, I couldn't even finish it, the first time I ever did this for a Zelda game.  I would argue that a lot of the new Zelda games' sales come from people like me who love the series but are being let down by a constant downward spiral of quality, challenge, and maturity.   If you like kiddie games so much go play Pokémon, or any of a handful of other Nintendo franchises.  Your opinion is not that of "God" and if you look at the comments by non-fanboys you would see that you are in the minority. 

Eldeorn
Eldeorn

@Icepick_Trotter @zorgan Ive been pondering about it myself, and it didnt take me long to realize that Dark Souls really is a zelda game with different setting. I loved some of the older zeldas, but DS really blew me away with how good it was.

Jonny-Two-Delta
Jonny-Two-Delta

@Hekteur @Jonny-Two-Delta You're probably right, and yes I was going for a look and feel that I would prefer to see, but at the same time, it's what most people are into right not. Game of Thrones, Skyrim, Elder Scrolls Online, The Witcher... They're all dark, gritty fantasy, with violence and debauchery, and people absolutely love them. I'm not saying other genres wouldn't sell, but Nintendo have been doing the same thing for decades, and they're losing their touch. It's about time they tried something different.

Jonny-Two-Delta
Jonny-Two-Delta

@TalesOfGod @Jonny-Two-Delta You mean the sycophantic fanbase that would rather see Nintendo die than have them adapt to appeal to the average core gamer (mid 20s - early 30s)?

I suppose you live under a rock where Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age (and The Witcher) don't exist. If they can be so incredibly well received, then why wouldn't a realistic, gritty, engaging modern fantasy rpg Zelda title?

Jonny-Two-Delta
Jonny-Two-Delta

@Hekteur @Jonny-Two-Delta That's not irony. Even if your arguement was sound, it still wouldn't be irony. But your arguement isn't sound, you take only a small segment of my broad, thoughtful, and carefully worded response, and then change the wording to suit your purposes. If you'd read the whole thing you'd see you're flogging a dead horse.

Hekteur
Hekteur

@Jonny-Two-Delta @Hekteur I really don't get it... You want Nintendo to stop using the "games for everyone" formula by stopping what they do and making the games you think "everyone is into now". Kinda ironic isn't it?

vonbron
vonbron

@Jonny-Two-Delta @TalesOfGod 

 I think that is a great idea. I would really like a large open world experience, not a game like sorry you dont have the hammer so you cant go to this dungeon. Nintendo really needs to change up some of its franchises like Mario.

sireltonjohn
sireltonjohn

@Icepick_Trotter @Jonny-Two-Delta @TalesOfGod I see where he is coming from though. Maybe they could give it a shot but rebrand it as "ZeldaX" or something. See if it catches on. It would be their chance to try voice acting, more complexity in story telling, more complex in-depth combat that appeals to adults, but have a wicked humor to it like he said...I like it. And if it isn't as successful, they could go back to regular old "Zelda" since it wasn't positioned as a complete replacement of the series.

Icepick_Trotter
Icepick_Trotter

@Jonny-Two-Delta @TalesOfGod 
It would be great if Nintendo could make a more mature game, that explores things like violence and dark humor...

I just don't see why it should be a Zelda game. Zelda can't be everything. It would be best if they put the whole franchise to rest for a generation or two while they come up with new games...