Nintendo announced a three-part The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom interview series, and the second entry touched upon returning sounds. Producer Eiji Aonuma, Director Hidemaro Fujibayashi, Technical Director Takuhiro Dohta, Art Director Satoru Takizawa, and Sound Director Hajime Wakai all commented on design decisions for the sequel. Aonuma mentioned a desire to try and mitigate the feeling of “déjà vu” when people would play. However, he also noted, “Breaking boundaries doesn’t mean you can just destroy whatever you like, though.” Fujibayashi also joked that consistent and recurring elements were referred to as “the Great Mundanity” during development.
Sound Director Wakai specifically spoke about retaining classic The Legend of Zelda sounds in Tears of the Kingdom. His statement noted, “We intended to keep iconic sounds from the previous title, such as the sounds that play when you obtain an item or solve a puzzle.” Art Director Takizawa also noted that part of that was to ensure “it feels like an adventure in the same world.” In that same conversation that discussed sounds, Producer Aonuma said, “Breaking boundaries doesn’t mean you can just destroy whatever you like, though. Those boundaries give you the basis to feel safe about taking risks elsewhere.”
Art Director Takizawa also brought up how the idea of the Great Mundanity” came to be. He noted:
We often experienced strong déjà vu, particularly in the early stages, and we thought it was imperative to transform how the game felt as much as we could. We worked hard with that thought in mind, but once we got to a certain point in development, we were able to identify areas that would lose their appeal if we changed them.
By the end, the definition of this “Great Mundanity” became clear, so even if a team member approached us about a déjà vu feeling, we felt more comfortable asking them to intentionally keep something unchanged.
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom will come to the Nintendo Switch on May 12, 2023.