Nintendo 'Will Be A Bit More Careful' With Zelda In The Future

The last time Nintendo took massive risks with the Zelda franchise people made a big negative noise. The game was Wind Waker and people were a little bit annoyed about cel-shaded link and his move into the high seas. According to Nintendo's Eiji Aonuma, that negative reaction is the reason why, these days, Nintendo tends to be a little more conservative in its decisions with regards to Zelda.

In an interview with Games TM Eiji Aonuma discussed Wind Waker's grand leap and its repercussions.

"We encountered an awful lot of problems from the drastic leap we took with Wind Waker," he said. "I think we will be a bit more careful in the future, but if we find a new approach that not just the developers, but also the users would enjoy then I think we will want to break new ground again. But we haven’t found such an approach yet."

A "bit more careful". I sincerely hope that isn't code for 'same old game over and over', because Zelda is in need of a makeover. It's funny how the perception of Wind Waker has changed over time. Back then I was among the cynical but now, after two largely uninspiring console Zeldas, I'm desperate for something new to be injected into the Zelda formula.

It's karma in action. This is what asked for. It's our own fault.

Ah well, at least I have Wind Waker HD to tide me over.

Via NintendoEverything


    Amusingly enough the only change in this Zelda game was the graphics. The rest of the game is just as formulaic as any other Zelda game, for some reason people forget that.


      It seems people are overlooking Skyward Sword (which changed a lot and was terrible).

        I disagree. I thought skyward sword was one of the better Zelda's. Minor annoying constant beeping noises aside.

        The only thing it lacked was a world which felt more open and explorable. Rather it took the path of everything being a well designed puzzle.

          The only thing it lacked was a world which felt more open and explorable. Rather it took the path of everything being a well designed puzzle.

          And decent controls. It lacked that also.

            I never had a problem with the controls, and I actually found them to be quite interesting, easy to use, well implemented and fun. It also added a greater level of complexity to combat, where you actually had to think about how as well as when to strike.

            I think gamers are just afraid or reluctant when a control scheme is slightly different, particularly if it involves motion controls.

              Having to recalibrate my wiimote every 5-10 minutes definitely added a greater level of complexity. And when I would make a vertical slash and the game would decide that what I really wanted to do was something entirely different? Nope. Perhaps it was just down to my set-up. I don't have a massive space to game in, but the controls were horrifically broken for me making the game almost completely unplayable.

              I'm not afraid of motion controls. Maybe one day we'll even get a game with motion controls where they actually work and don't feel like a tacked on gimmick. Until then, we have Kinect.

          i liked the start, i liked the scope, the puzzles and the visuals but about a third of the way in when you start retreading old areas i got worried and then 2 thirds in when you retread old areas AGAIN i realized i wasn't enjoying it. those glowing gem collection bits were absolutely stupid and the skyworld was actually a really shallow area when you start exploring it.

          the final boss was cool though, just not the whole stabbing in the toe crap

        allegedly they tried to change up the formula with skyward sword, it was supposed to be a groundbreaking new take on the way the quest in a zelda game plays out but about half way through they realised they couldn't pull it off quite yet.

        I don't believe that the Zelda franchise lends itself well to reinterpretation though. When you look back on the games the things you will likely remember is the temples/dungeons of collecting keys, compasses and maps and getting a new weapon and using it to delve further in to fight a big boss that requires some sort of repeated strategy.
        If they were to change this aspect of the game then they would be jumping the proverbial shark. They can tweak and tune and add interesting equipment but if people aren't out collecting x macguffins to save the world from the evil so and so then it probably isn't a zelda game and they might as well start a new franchise (please nintendo start a new franchise).

        In much the same way pokemon has used the same formula for now 6 generations spread across some 18 odd games and still manages to make shit loads of money doing so, Link needs to keep defeating Gannondorf and Mario needs to keep saving the princess. There are some exceptions to the rule (see pokemon snap which needs a sequel on the Wii U) but these are few and far between.

      I would love another console Zelda game in this style. It was so beautiful and exploring was so fun. It also allowed them to add some humour and some great over the top animation.

      Yeah, all that sailing in previous Zelda games really got old fast.

        Meh - I guess I'm vehicle agnostic because it was basically a more frustrating alternative to horseback riding rather than some amazing thing.

          I very much preferred the sailing over Epona. Different strokes for different folks I guess. It's also the reason I'm busting a nut SO hard waiting for AC4, I LOVE sailing and there just aren't enough games that let you roam the open seas.

            Yeah - now that you mention it, I guess I do prefer sailing because AC4 has been looking mighty appealing. Still wouldn't call it a game changer though, and the sailing in WW was pretty crap (the speed, the whole playing a complicated musical tune to turn).

              It's funny that AC IV reminds me of Wind Waker because when I played the original AC it was very reminiscent of OoT with the hub field, the lock-on sword fighting - hell even AC II kind of had dungeons and even a stupid fetch quest toward the end!

        Wind Waker's boat was Ocarina's and Majora's Epona, and Spirit Tracks' train and Skyward Sword's bird. Same gameplay mechanic, different context.

          A boat and a horse are the same thing? No, not really.

          Last edited 05/11/13 1:06 pm

            Both used to traverse a large, otherwise empty area joining various parts of the map. They were essentially the same concept to navigate the large explorable area.

              Sure, when you simply and reduce concepts down enough you can create a similarity with almost anything. The Master Chief's assault rifle is pretty much identical to the Master Sword in that it's an iconic weapon the hero uses to dispatch large numbers of enemies and save the day while his Warthog vehicle is conceptually the same as Epona in that it allows him to traverse large, otherwise empty areas that connect encounters. At the end of the day if you take two very different things and only list their similarities, you can make anything seem identical. A giraffe is pretty much the same thing as a bulldozer in that their most often seen outside, they're taller than a human, yellow, kids are fascinated by them. Heck, I could also explain how Super Mario Bros shares characteristics with an open world RPG like Skyrim (it even has 'loot').

              But it's the nuances that create the distinction. You don't guide Epona over rolling waves, when you hop off Epona you don't begin to slowly drown until you reach a floating platform, you can't lower a crane from Epona into the earth to salvage treasures. Shall I go on explaining how a horse differs from a boat?

              Last edited 05/11/13 2:25 pm

                It depends on the context in which you consider it. Obviously, if we are to reduce everything to its broadest concept you can lead it to a point of absurdity. That wasn't what I was saying though, nor was it what Videk was saying.

                In the Zelda games, the boat in WW, the bird in SS, and Epona in TP/MM/ are primarily used to traverse the hyrule field/sky/ocean, or whatever other large connecting common area in the game. The designers even say as much, if you have ever read the relevant Iwata Asks.

                That was the purpose of the boat etc, from a game design context. They are there to be used as a tool by the player to more efficiently navigate the main field/connecting region. It's also quite small minded to not be able to move past the superficial differences in such things.

                Last edited 05/11/13 2:43 pm

                  In the Zelda games, the boat in WW, the bird in SS, and Epona in TP/MM/ are primarily used to traverse the hyrule field/sky/ocean, or whatever other large connecting common area in the game. The designers even say as much - That was the purpose of the boat etc, from a game design context. They are there to be used as a tool by the player to more efficiently navigate the main field/connecting region.

                  100% agree. No sane person would argue otherwise. It's obvious these very different devices (a horse, a boat, a train) offer a very different means to the same end.

                  But that's not my point at all. My disagreement is with the concept that:

                  Amusingly enough the only change in this Zelda game was the graphics.

                  Wind Waker's boat was Ocarina's and Majora's Epona

                  And, as you put it perfectly: if we are to reduce everything to its broadest concept you can lead it to a point of absurdity.

                  Last edited 05/11/13 2:51 pm

      But it was big change. A drastic change in graphical style made the game standout for more than just sailing. Not everyone liked the tone of it but I think ultimately the changes made the game visually charming in a way not many games are. A fresh coat of paint is simple but it can work wonders. Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword are great looking games, but they don't pop the way Wind Waker does.

      I'd love to see them start mixing it up with every new generation of Zelda. Just dig through piles of manga, anime and graphic novels to find visual styles that work without the younger tone. Really get out there with the concept art.
      I don't think it's the dramatic change as much as the direction appearing childish. If Wind Waker had of looked like Samurai Jack I think the anti-'cartoon' comments would have been dulled down. A Zelda game that looked like a friendlier Borderlands could work really well.

      Last edited 05/11/13 11:13 am

        I agree, but I also think, why does it have to be a zelda game at all? Look through the literature, get some cool designs and call it whatever?

        If it's a great game, people will play it.

      I agree with this so hard. To be honest, I didn't care for Wind Waker because I felt it was derivative of the N64 Zelda's. In fact, it felt like a step back from OoT and MM, because at least they both had interesting (if sometimes under utilised) time travelling mechanics. It also seemed really easy, until Twilight Princess came out, which was stupidly easy.

        MM was definitely my favourite of all the Zeldas, precisely because of the very intricate and well designed time mechanic. They should try something like that again. I honestly think MM was the biggest shake up of any 3D Zelda.

          I tend to think that MM was the only real deviation from the formula since a Link to the Past. And it worked stupidly well. Sure, the other games have made shallow differentiations in terms of graphics (WW) or controls (skyward sword), but the overall structure of the games is basically interchangeable: get item, clear dungeon, repeat. I find it impossible to maintain enthusiasm any more.

      I honestly don't think so. For me the best part about Wind Waker was exploring the sea and the various islands. It may have been an illusion, but the big open sea gave the sense of a vast, playful world full of secrets just waiting to be explored.

        Same way you explored Hyrule field to find every nook and cranny. There was just more of it.

    I hate this kind of attitude. Sometimes people don't even know they wanted something until you create it for them.
    Trying to cater to "the users" too much is a dangerous road.

      Henry Ford had a great quote about that. “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

      I often think what would happen if a video game like Halo was designed around the opinion of all of the fans, like a giant focus group. I think it'd be an un-inventive, generic, terrible, boring mess.

      The internet has empowered consumers and blurred the lines between consumer and creator. When I was young I was completely ignorant of the creative process and I think those were better times. Nowadays everyone is 'weapon balance' this and 'pacing' that. People have gingerly incorporated a whole load of technical and artistic terminology into their vocabulary and become armchair critics/designers. People watch one season of Australian Idol and they're calling singers a bit 'pitchy'.

      And in video games, we're exposed to SO much of the 'making of' process there's no mystery left. Before a game comes out we have access to concept art, developer diaries etc, I don't think it's good, it makes us less inclined to just absorb the creative vision of a game because we've already seen behind the curtains and seen what makes it tick. Wouldn't it be nice to just sit in the audience and watch the curtains open and not know what's coming? Imagine going to a play and, before sitting down to watch it, you took a walk backstage, glimpsed the script, saw the costumes being made, interviewed the writers and directors, talked to the actors, even seen some rehearsals ...

      To your original point, people do think they know what they want. I know what I want and what I want is boring, so I want someone really artistic to come along and give me something I wasn't expecting.

    Nintendo are far too conservative in general.

    They continue to remake the same game again and again... and not just Zelda, but Mario too.
    It's what Sega does with Sonic writ large.

    The ire that Call of Duty receives for not changing somehow seems to skip Nintendo, despite them having done it for far longer.

    Nintendo needs to generate some completely new IPs... completely new, as in don't integrate any of their existing characters. They need to start targeting an audience older than 13, they need to start training up a replacement for Miyamoto... and they really, really, need to sort out, simplify, and standardise, their online stuff.


      You are DEAD to me, Mac.

    Yet people look back upon it as one of the ultimate Zelda games now? Ironic?

    I blame you and you and YOU! *points randomly at everyone*

    The one time they did change it up pretty drastically with Majora's Mask is one of my favourites.

    It was nice not saving the Princess from Ganon for once.

      Interestingly enough this game from them simply building upon the assets of Ocarina of Time, giving them more energy to be creative in the rest of the game design. I'd love to see them do that again.

      And Link's Awakening. That game is soo good and was very different from LTTP (Although LTTP is still the better game :P)

      That said, Skyward Sword didn't have Ganon. Or a Princess. And it was still... not nice...

      Very not nice.

        Oh I had no idea what happened in Skyward Sword. I gave up pretty early into it.

          You try to find that pesky zelda girl but she's always one step ahead of you.

          And there's a whole lot of controller calibration. And back tracking to the same 3 dungeons over and over...

          You aren't missing much.

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