In addition to the recently released The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, series producer Eiji Aonuma has had his hands full working on two other games—The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and a new Zelda title for Wii U. During a lengthy interview with 4Gamer, he briefly talks about the new game and what makes The Legend of Zelda what it is.
4Gamer asks about the development of the new Legend of Zelda for Wii U, a game many fans have wondered about since Nintendo’s Zelda tech demo from E3 2012.
“It’s going well!” exclaims Aonuma. “We’re incorporating HD features we tried in the Wind Waker, and vice-versa, by applying HD features from it to the Wind Waker. Since it’s a remake, we’ve been limited regarding what we can do with the Wii U Gamepad; however, for the new title we’ll have various ways of using [the device].”
Since the two games seem to have been an influence to each other, 4Gamer asks if we’ll be seeing any sort of connection between the new Wii U Zelda title in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.
“I believe so,” answers Aonuma. “For example, traveling while having the map displayed on the Wii U GamePad made it really comfortable [to play], and I believe this can also be done for other areas besides the ocean. Parts that I felt were fun while playing [The Wind Waker HD] will assuredly have an influence on the next title, without a doubt.”
After joining the development team for the Zelda series, starting with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Eiji Aonuma went on to direct and produce several other Zelda titles through the span of four Nintendo console generations. Of all his accomplishments in the series, 4Gamer asks which one is his favorite.
“This is a question that I’m often asked, but to me, ‘the one I’m working on’ will always be my favorite,” responds Aonuma.
“When I start working on something, from the moment I wake up in the morning until I sleep at night, it’s all I think of. So this time, it would be The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.”
4Gamer then say they’ve had something in mind that they absolutely felt the need to ask Aonuma about himself, regarding the topic “Aonuma is tired of making Zelda games.”
While The Legend of Zelda producer was not aware of the word that has spread across the Internet, 4Gamer reiterates that during an interview with foreign press, Aonuma had stated, “If I’m getting tired of it, then I’m sure other people are getting tired of it,” which was misinterpreted by many as “Aonuma is tired of making Zelda games.”
“I see,” Aonuma replies with a laugh. “When I say I’m tired, I’m not talking about making Zelda, but rather, the same constituent that has been used to make Zelda up until now. While on the subject, in regard to how we’ve always done things the traditional way until now: ‘Why does it have to be traditional?’ That’s the question I’ve been asking myself.”
He continues, “If we don’t change that, we can’t make something new. We’re slightly approaching The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds with that mindset, and also the next Zelda title, which we intend to continue changing. However, this brings us to the topic, ‘Exactly what is The Legend of Zelda about?”
The man who is in charge of all-things Zelda explains that this is a topic that is occasionally discussed with Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto. For example, it is a requirement for there to be a Princess Zelda, but that’s not necessarily the main focus of the game. This leaves them with having to think of something that can bring a unique experience to the players. Having players experience something for the first time is what Eiji Aonuma considers to be the core of The Legend of Zelda series.
“Something that is ‘traditional’ is in a sense often something that copies previous works, so if you continue doing that, it gradually takes away from its uniqueness,” says Aonuma. “So we’re currently working on making those parts more and more unique.”
“So, by no means, am I tired of it,” Aonuma reiterates with a laugh. “Rather, the more we change it, the more I get fired up. Having someone think ‘Huh? Is this Zelda?!’ at first, then ‘Oh, it is Zelda,’ is what we’re going for. Something that wouldn’t make it matter whether Link or Princess Zelda appear in it or not. Something where it wouldn’t even matter if Zelda is actually a princess, or not.”
Photographs courtesy 4Gamer.