Zelda Producer Talks Story And Complexity In The Legend Of Zelda Series

The Legend of Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma has sat down with IGN to discuss the Zelda series. Aonuma talks about a range of things including working with other developers, adding complexity to the game, and how the tutorial process in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword worked. Here’s a few choice extracts from the interview:

“I’m not really opposed to adding more complexity to Zelda,” Aonuma told us. “However, I don’t think Zelda needs complicated elements that have to be mastered before a player can enjoy the core of the game’s appeal. I think Zelda should be a game that is simple but that also has enough depth and variety to enable players to continue to make new discoveries.”

“The tutorial process in [Skyward Sword] wasn’t designed with the specific goal of educating new players. The process was designed to let the player become familiar with the world of Skyloft and to communicate with its residents,” Aonuma told us. “After the tutorial process, Zelda disappears and Link has to descend by himself to the unexplored surface world. The intent of the tutorial is to give players a strong connection to Skyloft, which is Link’s home, and to Zelda.”

“Nintendo’s developers will continue to work on a number of different titles, and I think that we will have to rely on outside companies for graphics and other elements that require massive resources,” Aonuma said, specifically addressing the idea of future partnerships. “I’m satisfied when the cooperation between Nintendo and other companies becomes something meaningful for both parties.”

41 thoughts on “Zelda Producer Talks Story And Complexity In The Legend Of Zelda Series”

    1. yes more than likely

      at least till the games start to progress beyond the limitations of the system
      although that will be a long way down the line
      but then again they may not abandon the Wii U

      After all alot of developers stuck with xbox 360 even though the ps3 could do soo much more with the games if they went exsclusive

      when it comes to third party all they care about is money money money
      so its very unlikely that multiplatform games will leave Nintendos market out
      specially since Wii U will be the first on the shelfs and likely the most populer for a long time

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  1. Working with Retro for the next Zelda would be a great move in the right direction for the next Zelda. They are the only ones I’d trust to be able to pull off a “TRUE” Zelda game! Retro seems to be able to tweak their versions of games just enough to show it was done by them but not too much so we still see and feel the core play we have come to love about the games. And PLEASE give them the go on the next Metroid series for Wii U, I know they don’t want to do Prime anymore but I’m sure they could find a way to top it!!

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    1. “Working with Retro for the next Zelda would be a great move in the right direction for the next Zelda”

      Nice repetition >.>

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  2. 2 things on the matter:

    1. I’m for getting the player attached to the character’s home, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of exposing most of the island relatively early. Sure there was the occasional discovery like the chest you have to dive for and *Spoiler* the final temple under the Island of the Goddess *Spoiler end*, but those kinds of moments should come at a greater frequency throughout the adventure. I like how new areas open in general regions, particularly in Lanayru Desert, or how it can change like in the last 3rd of the game, and I would have liked the sky to do more along those lines than the Thunderhead.

    2. This game did require a meatier tutorial because the control scheme can take some getting used to*, but the next game has to get to the punch much quicker. It actually might be a good opportunity to have a more immediate kind of opening seen in the 2D Zeldas. The adjustable screen layout and 2 button could also work to this EAD’s advantage as they could offer an option where more experienced players can get to the first full dungeon or “overworld” as quickly as possible. Banjo-Kazooie did it, and despite being a different, simpler kind of game to grasp the concept could work for Zelda.

    * Some of you may believe the player shouldn’t have a tutorial for a new scheme and should learn through trial and error, and I believe the proposed “adjustable/skippable tutorial” would serve that purpose.

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  3. I think Zelda needs a ten year hiatus. Like Robert Downey Jr.
    It’s my favourite series, but it’s been going down hill for so long. First with the WAY below par DS games, and now SS, which is the worst of the major titles.
    I realise a lot of people adore SS, but I was disappointed. The approach they took, whereby the entire game is one dungeon, did not appeal. I like a big, open world with new towns and such. Plus the game babies the player too much, what with telling you where the Goddess Cubes and Gratitude Crystals are.
    I think Nintendo should take a step back and really think about what Zelda needs to keep it’s core appeal but still be fresh. TP did the latter former but not the latter, and SS did the opposite.
    MM is a good example of what I’m talking about. When compared to it’s predecessor, OoT, it provides a shining example of how each instalment should build on the series as a whole. Make it a little more challenging, throw in a few unique gimmicks that truly impact upon game play (not dual world, and flying was substantively the same as sailing), but keep it Zelda. Keep it open world. Make the scale of the adventure daunting. SS lacked that. It felt aimless, you didn’t know why you were creating the Master Sword, for example, someone just told you to do it. It felt linear because of the the-entire-game-is-one-big-dungeon-approach.

    So Nintendo, give Zelda a chance to rest, give the fans a chance to miss it, take a step back, and really analyse what you’re doing.

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    1. Or instead of a ten-year gap, it could just be somewhat open ended. Dare I say it, like Skyrim. Basically, there’ll still be dungeons and a bad guy and a plot and all that good stuff, but instead of going fishing to take a break, the monsters in the field are actually a threat, and the citizens of Hyrule are everywhere instead of in segragation.

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    2. You do realize the zelda games on average are 6 years apart. They literally only do one per console lol. They always create 1-2 portable games. Also the only thing about SS was that its world felt small and kind or barren compared to the older titles. Like Skyloft should have either been larger or there should have been more floating towns so it felt more alive. Also below there should have been more NPCs that you could encounter. It would have been a great chance to bring new interactions to other species

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      1. 64 had OoT and MM, Cube had TP, WW, Four Swords Adv, DS had PH and ST. The only consoles to have one Zelda were NES, SNES and GB.
        They make a Zelda every 18 months to two years.

        Lol.

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        1. NES had Zelda II. While under the logic that GB and GBC are essentially the same system and they had the Oracle games in addition to LA, those games are notably further apart.

          While there was a good seperation between key “Hyrule” console games for a while, this ended as a rule with Twilight Princess. It can still happen, but it’s not guaranteed anymore.

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    3. I like how you try to pass off personal opinion as fact. “First with the WAY below par DS games, and now SS, which is the worst of the major titles”. What’s better is that you openly admit the game did not suit your own tastes. Also, “…the game is one dungeon” You were playing Skyward Sword right?
      Just imagine for one moment that you were granted the chance to meet Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma and ask them questions about Skyward Sword. Would you actually complain to these game geniuses that the intro to a 30+ hour game took an hour or two to set up the intro and that their game development could have been better?

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      1. I assumed that readers would recognise that I was stating my opinion. it’s nor generally necessary to preface everything one says with “in my opinion”. It’s pretty clear I’m stating my opinion.

        I don’t see how the game having a long (and dull) intro impacts upon the game feeling like one long dungeon. The fact (I am stating fact now- I know you have trouble discerning) that the game never gives you a break from dungeon-esque puzzle solving and linearity makes it feel like one long dungeon. Previous Zelda games separated over world exploration (visiting new towns, etc) from dungeons. SS is one long string of puzzles and fights at the expense of exploration and adventuring.
        Anyway, look at OoT or LttP. Both had tiny intros and still destroy SS.

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        1. Oh, and if I met Aonuma and had a discussion about Zelda with him, I would offer my opinion, yes. I wouldn’t ‘complain’, necessarily, but I would offer constructive criticism.

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  4. If ever there was a Zelda game Retro should do, it’s one about the war that caused the creation of Skyloft. But I’d like to see a direct sequel to Twilight Princess to see a world without Ganondorf that didn’t need to be drowned (*cough*windwaker*cough*) to get that way. Where did Link go when he left, to find the fossilized remains of Navi?

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    1. ohh dear god fossilized remains of
      Navi,i hope we never find that in other Zelda games,all we will hear is HEY,LISTEN,WATCH OUT the whole rest of the game.but another idea the would be cool is maybe finding out more about the supposedly “Hero” in Twillight Princess,yknow the skeleton dude who teaches you new moves,hes supposed to be another “Link” from a previous
      era,it would be cool if Link found out a bit more about his lineage of heros

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  5. We look forward to the next installment of the Zelda franchise with bated breath. If they do colaborate with another company it will be intersting to see what comes of it and how it will change the series.

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    1. change the series? I hope they don’t. I’m hoping for more of a revert back then a change. Add on to ocarina’s gameplay like majora’s mask did. Probably a little late to post but oh well.

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