Nintendo Is Ready To Re-Think Zelda

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.

Game Informer Issue 225


    great news! Skyward Sword shook up the usual formula a bit, but im all for even more changes. The idea of a new Wii U Zelda game with these new ideas makes me drooooool lol

      Great news! Wind Waker shook up the usual formula a bit, but I am all for even more changes. The idea of a wii Zelda game with new ideas makes me drool! Repeat ad nauseum!

        Great news! I'm going to be a troll.

    Here's the sort of change we want:

    Let us fast forward through the dialogue, instead of feeding it to us at a kindergartener's reading speed.

      haha yeah I'm finding that infuriating! Somehow I cant learn that mashing the A button doesn't speed it up, I just keep doing it

    First person shooter, Link will now carry guns.

      And fly a B-52 instead of a Loftwing.

        And Link's best friend John Hathcock will use a Barrett M82A1 and blow Ganondorf's face off from 2 miles (convert it yourself) away.

    Those damn vocal fans better not get voice acting!! *shakes fists
    Most fans I know and talk to don't want voice acting for zelda so I don't know who these vocal fans are but they BE LOCO! :P

      I can't get my head around this: do they not want voice acting, or do they not want BAD voice acting. If it was good, would that really be shitty?

      I'll be honest: I want it. Text based conversations leave out a whole dimension of characterisation. I've been playing Zelda forever, and will continue to do so, but I'd rather some high-quality voice acting, especially as their now starting to get the idea that a decent story is a must.

      I'm fine with no voice acting for the characters, but I'd love the story narration, i.e the non-interactive section, to be voiced. That would improve the storytelling feel to the game, and also make the narration more interesting to sit through.

    no voice acting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It would ruin the series. Fans dont know what they want

    I remember he said the exact same thing once Twilight Princes was released. Here we are 5 years later and while Skyward Sword changed a few things here and there, it's still the bare-bones Zelda experience we've had since 1998.

      Right, but he has still been working under Miyamoto for those years as well... *now* that will be different and he actually *will* be in charge of the franchise's direction.

    It needs voice acting. Not for link himself, he can still remain a silent protagonist with voice acting in the game (see: Half-life) but the whole game feels cheap and rushed without it. I feel like i'm playing one of those crappy DS ports that can't spare the memory for voice acting.

      Why does he have to be silent? Why should ANY protagonist be silent! It is childish and ridiculous. When would you ever ask someone to do something and then then they just stay completely silent and then walk off to do it? Nothing should follow Half-Life's example, Freeman not talking is easily the weakest part of the whole franchise. Zelda NEEDS voice acting, and it needs EVERYONE voice acting. All or nothing.

        Zelda doesn't NEED voice acting, it's done fine without it.

        If they do add voices though, Link needs to stay silent, because as miyamoto has said, his intent was that the player becomes link, giving a character a voice makes it that much harder to feel like them.

        You find freeman not talking to be a weakpoint, a lot of people find it to be strongpoint.

          Hey there, welcome to gaming! You must be new.

          Silent protagonists have been a staple of gaming almost from the time the first videogames with dialogue appeared -that is, more than a decade before Half Life. Link certainly was mute from his inception... when Dr. Freeman wasn't even a spark jumping between two synapses deep in the subconscious of Gabe Newell.

          There's a clear reason for the existence of silent heroes beyond the sometimes rightful accusation of lack of technical resources or will:

          A game's playable character becomes an avatar for the player to interact with the visual medium of the game. The player dictates all its actions, vests it with his own personality and desires, and in turn, adopts the motivations, abilities, and resolve of the playable character. This amalgamation creates the illusion that the player became the playable character, enhancing his or her experience. A silent hero contributes to this illusion, allowing the player to contribute his own thoughts as dialogue.

            Great in theory, but no game has pulled it off yet. All games only give the illusion of choice, the player doesnt dictate all its actions, the player simply chooses with pre-determined path they are going to [make the character] follow.

      You obviously need to play Metroid: Other M... silent protagonists are a much better idea.

      May Link remain forever enigmatic and thoughtful.

    As long as they don't listen to the fans TOO much. Most people have no idea what they want until they get given it. As long as the games continue to be of a high standard I don't care what they do. (Though personally I hope they go down the motion controlled swordplay path one more time. Loved it in Skyward Sword)

    I wouldn't mind seeing more new locatiions rather than just Hyrule. Maybe revisit Termina, New Hyrule, Labrynna, Holodrum and Koholint Island; and maybe even expand them a bit more.

    Maybe make a few changes to Link's tunic. I mean still keep the Green hat and tunic but maybe make it more rugged. Also make some more of the items he acquires appear outside on him instead of just when equiped.

      This is a great idea, showing the main items on link, and when you pull a item out it shows him taking it of his body, just not to a huge extent

    I reckon Skyward Sword is a great place to leave behind the old formula, and shake things up.

    I prefer there to be no voice acting. I also like the game play as it is now, I hope the changes aren't for the worst

    The Elder Scrolls VI: Hyrule.......nuff said

    I remember hearing in another kotaku post that Ocarina of time was originally going to be in the first person. Perhaps A re-imagining in the first person could be a nice change.

    Yeah, about 10 years too late.
    I'd rather they rested the franchise for at least the next generation of consoles - and come back with a real re-boot.

    I respect Miyamoto and his contributions to Zelda. He truly created some wonderful things.

    But I am also extremely excited to see what Aonuma will do with Zelda. I have loved what he's done so far with the series and my tastes have begun to lean more towards his style and opinion of what 'Zelda' can/should be than towards Miyamoto's.

    The Miyamoto games were the solid-diamond foundation for Zelda and will always be classics. It's an extremely strong franchise. I think it can withstand some experimentation and some exploration of different ideas and 'versions' of itself.

    Really looking forward to seeing what he comes up with. :)

    Voice Acting? I'd be happy if they'd go back to LttP's formula and trim out the fat of the whole NPC/story crap. Focus on gameplay more, give gamers back their freedom (and start admitting they're not morons).

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