Zelda On Wii U Won’t Be Ultra-Realistic, But Not Cartoony Realistic Either

By Ishaan . June 14, 2013 . 2:30pm

The next Zelda for Wii U—the one that will allegedly introduce some much-needed change to the series—will feature an art style that hasn’t been seen before, says Zelda producer Eiji Aonouma.


“The thing about Zelda is we want everything to be unique, whether it’s the graphical presentation or the gameplay,” Aonuma tells Nintendo Life.


“It has to be something you can’t see anywhere else. We wouldn’t want it to be ultra-realistic because you can see that elsewhere. But I can’t say that it’s going to be cartoony-realistic like you mentioned, the fantastic presentation that we’ve already done in the past. It will be something new.”


Aonuma also says that Nintendo are considering add-on content for future Zelda games, such as adding new areas to explore, but that they’d need to be careful about making sure that the additional content is worth its price.


Note: Screenshot from Zelda Wii U tech demo from E3 2012.


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  • I hope so. Windwaker has influenced too much of the series artstyle since it was released. It needs to be a complete departure from that and not a half-assed style like Skyward Sword. It was a terrible compromising artstyle that satisfied only a few fans. Those who wanted more of a TP look didn’t like it and those who wanted a return to Windwakers didn’t like either.

    Toon Link has been used for 5 games and WWs artsyle inspired SS. No more!

  • epy

    Much needed change, huh?

  • From that screenshot above, this “Change” looks nice.

    • Shane Guidaboni

      That was actually a tech-demo a while ago when the Wii-U was first announced.

      • I’ve never seen the tech-demo video lol

  • Tom_Phoenix

    …Are we REALLY going to go through that song and dance AGAIN? Is the Wii U Zelda trailer really going to be just like the Spaceworld demo, where they show off something that people find appealing only to do a bait-and-switch and release something completely different?


    What’s wrong with the style shown in the Wii U demo? People have responded positively to it. Why is there such a need for Aonuma to be some sort of unique snowflake?

    This whole situation is extremely aggravating. Aonuma has run the serious into the ground, yet Nintendo keeps letting him do whatever he wants. You’d THINK they would impose more control over him or try someone else for a change at this point, considering Skyward Sword’s abysmal performance.

    • That’s just Twilight Princess with HD assets. I think they could do better and the Wii U could pump out better graphics than that if pushed. The Zelda HD Experience was just a tech demo. People should never expect them to represent any final game.

      People also have a twisted perception that Miyamoto runs everything and Aounuma is completely in charge of Zelda. Look up the game directors and blame them for how a game turned out; not producers who most of the times are just a face to speak with the media.

      • Tom_Phoenix

        So what if its Twilight Princess with HD assets? People LIKED the art style in Twilight Princess; people WANT to see a Zelda game with that art style. It doesn’t have to be the EXACT SAME, of course, but I don’t see why they can’t go with that kind of direction.

        Also, Aonuma IS in charge of Zelda. Even when he doesn’t serve as the director, his influence is written all over the recent Zelda games. As such, he can be considered at least partially responsible for the state of the series.

        But even if we accept your argument that it’s not really his fault, it doesn’t change my point; if the people working on it so far haven’t been doing a good job, it doesn’t hurt to let someone else do it for a change.

        • Brian

          Who is people? You’re not the entire Zelda fanbase. YOU liked the art style in twilight princess. YOU want to see a Zelda game with the same art style. Stop acting like you’re a spokesperson.

          • Tom_Phoenix

            Of course I’m not the entire Zelda fanbase. But I’m sure you remember the HUGE backlash Wind Waker received on the account of its art style, so…

            Just beacuse you don’t like my stance on the matter doesn’t mean that MY opinion is the minority one.

          • French

            I remember being around 14 when Wind Waker came out, I thought it was absolutely amazing…the fact that they changed him so much and in such a style. It was a true first. The game made me happy, because I took it for what it is…when you treat it that way you find yourself pointing out its flaws less and more of what it brings to the table

        • KingRuff

          You lost all credibility the second you went on a tirade about what it is that you want and putting the fans name into it. It’s fine to have an opinion but when you falsely assume that your opinion is the only valid one then you don’t deserve our attention. You aren’t even saying anything worth hearing, just another Nintendo rant, plain and simple. Please come back once you have something worthwhile to add to the discussion, cause whining isn’t it.

        • I personally loved the style of Twilight Princess and would actually to love to see something closer to that in tone for the next Zelda. However, the Zelda HD Experience was just Twilight Princess all over again and it looked a bit plastic-y and not complete. I wan’t something completely new leaning towards a more OooT/MM/TP look than a WW/SS style. I don’t simply want TP in HD like you seem too.

          Of course Aonuma has input and influence over the Zelda games but it’s ultimately not his decision how the entire game is shaped. I’m not saying he’s blameless but calling him out as the specific reason for the quality of reason Zelda titles is absurd.

          I think I might actually agree with you a lot about the state of the Zelda series and the quality of recent titles.I just don’t agree where your placing the blame and the desire to use the Twilight Princess style for the Zelda U.

          I don’t like the artstyle of Windwaker, I don’t like Toon Link games aside from Minish Cap and thought Skyward Sword was awful. The further they get away from the cel shaded look and the more they return to the roots of the series the better looking and the more fun the series will be in my opinion. The sailing/flying in WW/SS was tedious as hell and the hub world/sectioning off of the world in Skyward Sword was awful. Twilight Princess might not have been innovative but it was fun, that’s more than I can say for the last couple of Zeldas going back to WW and including the portable entries. Where this surge in love for Windwaker in the last couple of years came from I have no idea. One second everyone considers it a weak entry in the franchise and the next it’s the most beloved and people want more of that crap. I don’t understand it.

    • Shane Guidaboni

      “abysmal performance” ? What? Last I heard people actually enjoyed that game, they just thought it was all done before. Good Zelda game, but seen it all before.

      • Tom_Phoenix

        Abysmal commercial performance; the game sold terribly. So even though some people did enjoy it, there apparently wasn’t enough of them to sustain longterm sales.

        • Shane Guidaboni

          I don’t think it had anything to do with the game itself, more to the fact that it game so late in the Wii’s life cycle. And let’s not exaggerate; 3.5 million units sold isn’t “sold terribly”.

          • Tom_Phoenix
          • Shane Guidaboni

            Hm, okay. Well by that standard, a cult fan favorite, Majora’s Mask, is one of the worst selling games in the series.

          • Tom_Phoenix

            You do realise that a game being a “cult favourite” is bad for a series that once enjoyed mainstream popularity, right?

            You have to understand something; I’m not saying all of this as some sort of attack on people who enjoyed Majora’s Mask or Skyward Sword. If you enjoyed something, it doesn’t matter what other people (including myself) say.

            However, as a video game developer, Nintendo’s priority is (and should be) the longterm commercial health of their series. If a game sold poorly (again, by series standards) in spite of the heavy investment of time and manpower, that IS a serious problem. It is NOT something that can be ignored, especially not in Nintendo’s current situation.

          • Shane Guidaboni

            I’m not even really sure what to say to this. I know you’re not attacking anybody, but you’re coming off as sort of bitter in your discussion and it’s somewhat off-putting.

            Personally, I’m not very worried about where this series is going. I’ve always liked the art direction in any Zelda game and I’m looking forward to the new 3DS Zelda game, but I tend to look less forward to console iterations. I tried Skyward Sword, but I didn’t enjoy the forced motions controls. I would have enjoyed it a lot more of it weren’t for that. The new Wii-U Zelda game will likely fix this problem I had.

          • Tom_Phoenix

            I’m not being bitter. I’m not really THAT invested in the series (which, considering the current state of affairs, I’m thankful for).

            However, the way the series has been treated does make me ocassionally facepalm and wonder what the hell is going on at Nintendo.

          • Kavyn

            Not very fair to compare the numbers that way without taking into account the number of consoles sold for each generation. Not to mention TP’s sales probably account for both Gamecube and Wii sales which explains why it’s so high up compared to Skyward Sword’s sales. PLUS as mentioned before, SS was released much later in the Wii’s life span where as Twilight Princess was a release title.

            Not sure what the deal is with Majora’s Mask, though… You would think it had more sales considering how popular it is online.

          • Haseyo

            The online community with gamers is very, very small in comparison of how many people play games as a whole.

            Take Call of Duty. Many, MANY people bash it on the internet but it’s still one of the highest selling game series ever. Just observe a game store a few times and look at how many people are surprised when they hear news that we knew for months because they don’t surf the net for this stuff.

          • Flandre Scarlet

            The market during the OoT-era and the market now are very different. Ocarina of Time was similar to Mario 64: it defined an entire generation and redesigned the genre. Even then, most of it’s sales were from outside Japan.

            Skyward Sword was released late into the Wii’s lifespan and utilized a control scheme not everyone liked. That alone polarized potential buyers, and worked well to keep them off it.

            Majora’s Mask is a cult classic, but it was really just a test for both the expansion pack and Nintendo: They wanted to see if they could make a game in a year, and they did. Just with reusing tons of assets in the process and creating a very…disjointed experience.

          • Volfos

            It outsold Majoras Mask while being on a console people were less willing to put faith in at the time of its release. It got immense praise for its combat while people were constantly bashing the Wii-Mote.

    • XiaomuArisu

      It is like the spaceworld demoXD
      They showed us a good looking Zelda game but are making Wind Waker AGAIN.
      Why make something new if you can just remake?
      Nintendo is just lazy sometimes

      • Shane Guidaboni

        They explained that they are making Wind Waker HD so the team can familiarize themselves with the Wii-U hardware. This isn’t uncommon. Etrian Odyssey, for example, was originally made by Atlus to test the DS lite hardware in order to make SMT:Strange Journey.

        • XiaomuArisu

          I know that they use it to familiarize themself but still…
          Everyone has the nostalgia effect here…
          Wind Waker was pretty,my reason to buy a GC but:
          Water,Too much water
          not enough dungeons
          searching for the triforce
          Remember that`?
          First remaking OoT now WW?
          If sony or microsoft did something like that they would be bashed to hell.
          Nintendo is allowed to do everything they want,which isnt always good

          • Shane Guidaboni

            I’m pretty certain that MS doesn’t actually make any of their own games in-house, or at all, but please someone correct me if I am wrong.

  • Silver Citizen

    So, possibly something like Link from Smash Bros Wii U?

    • I found that really interesting. The Link in the new SSB is clearly not the Skyward Sword Link.

      • Daniel Jeanbaptiste

        not Twilight Princess either. It a new design because of the hair.

        • Definitely not Twilight Princess Link but I think it’s much closer to TP link than Skyward Sword Link.

        • Dhruv Rajyagor

          I’m getting the impression that this Link is a mix of SS and TP Links.

        • linkenski

          Considering the fan reaction to their HD Tech demo they probably went with that.

  • Miss_Madness

    A true balance is hard to find but in the end if the art style is appealing in some way it really doesn’t matter. I’ve love all the art style for zelda (not including the unholy triforce.) they have had. Though admittedly four swords, minish, and Skyward are my favorite.

  • Flandre Scarlet

    So, what, something like a mix between Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess? That could work.

  • Honestly the Skyward Sword style for me was the perfect blend of the two (though them faces oh god).
    I think they know what they’re doing so go ahead Nintendo!

    • Exactly, SS was perfection to me as well. Also sucn an amazing game to boot.

  • Scipio

    So Twilight Princess again?

  • Guest

    Zelda skyrim? but better looking

  • MrRobbyM

    I’d imagine they’re going for a very stylized realistic approach. Something like Twilight Princess but with less bloom and better textures for a much more realistic look. As for the stylized part, that’s hard to guess.

  • AuraGuyChris

    “It has to be something you can’t see anywhere else. We wouldn’t want it to be ultra-realistic because you can see that elsewhere.”
    Tell me about it. All those Xbox One & PS4 games look very realistic…that you can say every game takes place in the same universe. It’s not even funny to me. It’s like it’s also the battle of the most realistic-looking game in there.

  • Gilgamesh2025

    I guess it’s all right as long as the game is entertaining!

  • French

    Do what you feel is right, I will respect you Nintendo

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    Ehhhh… people wined about Windwaker and Skyward sword art style/gameplay and STILL went out and got a copy. Whatever Nintendo has planned for Zelda, we will enjoy the hell out of it. That’s for sure.

    • epy

      Agreed. People complain and complain about Zelda all the time. I remember how everyone hated Wind Waker when it came out and now it is remembered as one of the best. They always deliver on a stellar game.

    • Skye Johnson


      Admittedly, from what I remember, most of what got me about WW art style was that it was really jarring. The jump from OoT Link to WW Link bothered me for some time, because it was so drastic from what I was used to. The art style is pretty quirky and cartoon-ish, and I ultimately never bought Wind Waker because of it. So the art style does influence my (immediate) decisions and affect my enjoyment of the game (at least initially) sometimes. Chrono Trigger, for example, has always bothered me for that reason. Great game, but the Dragon Ball Z art style bothers me a lot to this day. I resist games that feature that artist because I have such a dislike for it. (Kind of sad, because the games he draws for tend to be great!)

      But whatever the art-style, Zelda games have always shined through and been very solid, enjoyable titled, so that helps me overlook art styles I don’t love. I’m confident whatever they’re going for will be fine. Since they’re not going for ‘cartoon realistic’ I’m sure it’ll be aesthetically pleasing for me, too. It’ll make it all the more enjoyable.

    • Despite all the hate SS got i went out and bought it anyway and it is by far my favorite of the series now along side OOT

  • ChiffonCake

    Something new, huh?

    I, for one, welcome our new abstract-styled Zelda

    • Detrimont

      i wanna play as a green triangle too :D

    • Kchorrex

      Calling it now: anime-styled cel shaded adult Link with realistic-looking environments. Okay, that probably won’t be it, but in any case it will sell like hotcakes regardless of the art style.

  • Jirin

    I don’t care if Zelda looks realistic or not. I want to go to dungeons filled with challenging enemies and have to figure out how to navigate through them. What form that challenge takes can be of all sorts of varieties.

    What I don’t want is little fairies following me around telling me how to solve the puzzles, little annoying children I have to rescue, mandatory minigames with awkward controls, three hour gaps in between dungeons, dialog that could come from Nickelodeon cartoons, kid pirates, and little cute things hiding from you that you need to track down.

    • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

      “Hey, listen!”~.

  • I wouldn’t mind nostalgia-DLC like in Fire Emblem. Y’know, like a dungeon from a previous game?

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    This oughta be good-this art style better blow me away like the one for Wind Waker and Skyward Sword did, I’m waiting for it.

  • Volfos

    Thank God! I’d prefer a cubist artstyle to more of Twilight Princess’s. A little more realism than Skyward Sword is completely within my comfort zone, but inspite of many of its strong points Twilight Princess seemed faaar to moody for my tastes.

    • linkenski

      I’d say too turbid. It looked terrible on the Wii’s resolution.

  • xxx128

    The terms “photo realistic” and “ultra-realistic” always make me laugh. There isnt a single GPU on the planet that could render a single realistic tree for example. And that will be the case for decades to come.

  • Solomon_Kano

    I’d be more than happy if it looked like that tech demo. That’s a style that they haven’t done previously. It’s not quite Twilight Princess, and it’s a far cry from any of the other games.

  • Danwen Huang

    I knew it. The next zelda is going to look like this:

  • Arrei

    I gotta say, a game featuring a Link like the one in the Mega Man Smash Bros. trailer… that’d be pretty slick.

  • Istillduno

    I don’t care about the graphics, just don’t keep breaking up the gameplay and having the whole game feel like a tutorial by having your stupid sword state the obvious to you with text that you have to wait to unveil itself at it’s leisure rather than being able to tap A to get all the text in the box at once and mash A to skip being told that, yes that is a mountain over there and that you might want to check it out altogether.

    That **** was why I never finished Skyward Sword.

  • isotrex

    Can’t wait for a gameplay trailer. Hopefully, it’ll be within this year.

  • Beta

    Thank you! My doubts are cleared now ^_^ I was really hoping it just wouldn’t be too realistic, it would be awesome if they use SS’ art-style.

  • yalissa

    I thought that Skyward Sword was a great blend of TP and WW’s style, and I agree that it shouldn’t be too realistic. Perhaps they could build off of Skyward Sword’s style a bit more? It was definitely on the cartoony side, but it was also more realistic than WW to a certain extent. However, it also worked well with a wide variety of colors, much like WW. I think that the style used in SS is very flexible.

    But that’s just what I think. I’ll be happy with whatever Nintendo decides to do. It’s their decision, and they’ve never disappointed me before.

  • CirnoLakes

    Basically, they’re wanting to appease both audiences.

    Kind of sad how so many people are either closed minded to games like Wind Waker or closed minded to games like Twilight Princess that Nintendo feel the need to do this.

    Oh well, I guess a happy medium is always nice.

  • Kchorrex

    I was hoping for ultra realistic, it’s true there are many games like that but THEY’RE NOT ZELDA. That would be great considering that somewhat similar HD games such as The Last Guardian are in limbo.

  • Zonder88

    Im glad they are trying to do legit DLC and not abuse it like EA, Capcom, Activision, and the rest of the culprits.

  • Jackson Brown


  • Jackson Brown

    honestly I would rather se a twilight princess type art style and then the could switch around between art styles like make one game cartoony one realistic and keep iit going like that, I don’t see why we are looking for one art style to use. I just don’t want it to be like skyward sword as far as story wise, they should bring back midna, she was soooo much better than fi fi drove me crazy.

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