The man in charge of the Zelda series at Nintendo says he's ready to make big changes in the series. He's not guaranteeing them, but in an interview in the new issue of Game Informer magazine, Eiji Aonuma says the time for big changes may finally have come.
"I started working on the series not at the beginning but part-way through its history," he told GI in their chock-full new issue with the next South Park game on the cover. "I think because of that, early on I was more looking objectively at the series and how we could change small, individual elements within it, rather than looking at how the series should evolve.
"As time has passed — particularly in the last few years — I've started to think a lot more about how I can take the series and really make it my own Zelda and evolve it further. As [Nintendo's head of game development] Mr. Miyamoto has allowed me to take the reins of the Zelda series, ultimately that's what I need to do. Perhaps some people will think it's a little bit late for me to start thinking about that, but as time goes by, that's becoming more of a theme in how I'm approaching the series."
Aonuma has been heavily involved with the 25-year-old Zelda series since 1998's acclaimed The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. The series has had plenty of admired installments since then, including last month's The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. In my own review for the game, I praised it but also described it as part of what I consider to be the new paradigm for Zelda, a series that was once formally experimental but in the last decade has become entertainingly formulaic, a la James Bond movies.
In the same GI interview, Aonuma expressed mixed feelings about adding voice-acting to the series, an element that many vocal fans call for. It doesn't seem like adding voice is the kind of fundamental change Aonuma is talking about. He doesn't want to tweak elements. He wants to tweak the whole thing. That should make future Zeldas all the more interesting to anticipate and play.