Nintendo Was Well Aware Of The Wind Waker Backlash, Discusses The ‘Zelda Cycle’

With The Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker HD so close to release, Satoru Iwata got the band back together for a new episode of Iwata Asks and discussed, not only the making of the new updated version of the game, but the development of the original Wind Waker. The coolest thing about the whole discussion? Zelda head honcho Eiji Aonuma totally knows what the ‘Zelda cycle’ is.

The Zelda cycle: the theory that Zelda fans always prefer the style of the Zelda that came before the last version. For example, when Wind Waker came out, everyone whinged that it didn’t look like Ocarina of Time. Then, when Twilight Princess was released everyone complained the art style wasn’t as expressive and vivid as Wind Waker. And so and so forth.

That style of thinking has become known as the ‘Zelda cycle’, but I thought it was just something people discussed on websites and forums. So I got a real kick out of the fact that Eiji Aonuma is completely aware of the cycle, and even refers to it by name!

“There’s a ‘Zelda cycle’,” he said.

“Yes. Bill Trinen-san at Nintendo of America—who always plays a big role in preparing the overseas versions of The Legend of Zelda games—always talks about the Zelda cycle,” added Iwata.

Bill Trinen is a Product Marketing Director at Nintendo, he’s also the man you’re most likely to see translating for Shigeru Miyamoto at E3.

“Basically, as time progresses, negative opinions about The Legend of Zelda turn into positive ones,” continued Aonuma. “At first, I wasn’t sure about that, but seeing the response to The Wind Waker HD, I think it may be right.”

“And it isn’t restricted to The Wind Waker,” added Iwata. “Every time a new Zelda title comes out, there’s no shortage of negative opinions, but a year or two later, people are revising their opinions, and its reputation goes up.”

So that’s the Zelda cycle, in a nutshell, and Nintendo is all over it. It’s weird, because I always imagine that Nintendo HQ is just this black hole where designers and producers work completely isolated from public opinion. I guess it makes sense they would be aware of the idea of the ‘Zelda cycle’, but somehow I didn’t expect that it would be something they would think about or discuss. Very cool.

You can read the whole of Iwata Asks here.

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