Influential publication TIME has run an interview with the one and only The Legend of Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma. During the interview Aonuma revealed that the team working on the latest Legend of Zelda game Zelda: Breath of the Wild has seen some of the veteran Zelda developers step aside so that a younger team can come in with new ideas. From what we’ve seen and heard so far it could well pay off. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild comes out next year on the Nintendo NX and Wii U.
As the first fully open-world Nintendo’s worked on, what’s the hardest thing about designing for an open world?
This is definitely the first time we’ve created a game this large. We didn’t know where to start. So it happened to be there was a team that was working on creating a larger world. And this team was a group of younger developers. So we had our old programmers from the Zelda team take a step aside, so we could introduce this new group of programmers.
But then these new, younger developers had no clue about how past Zeldas had been created. The group of new staff actually would ask us, like ‘Well I know that it’s been done, traditionally, in other Zelda titles, but why does it have to be that way?’ And among those questions there were some I just couldn’t answer, that I didn’t know the answer to myself. That was because I just took those things on as a tradition, and I didn’t really know why the tradition existed.
When you think about it, maybe those things really didn’t need to be there in the modern world, those traditions. So I started destroying these traditions I’d inherited in the series one by one. But it’s a process that takes a lot of time. And because we were destroying everything we’d done in the past, and rebuild new ideas from the ground up, that was the hardest thing, and it’s really taken a long time to create the thing I most wanted to create.