Zelda Producer Looking to Move Past Tradition

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Zelda Producer Looking to Move Past Tradition

Zelda: A Link Between Worlds items screen

Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma says too much tradition "takes away" from a franchise's uniqueness.

There are a lot of descriptors you could attach to The Legend of Zelda games and standing tall among them would be "traditional." While the franchise has obviously grown and expanded since its origins on the NES, it's still markedly tied to tropes and standards that have been present since day one. As the series grows older there's no shortage of people who see this predictable nature as a liability.

Surprisingly, their ranks would seem to include Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma. Elaborating on earlier statements that he's "tired" of the Zelda formula, Aonuma expressed his desire to bring change to the franchise and start bucking tradition. "Something that is 'traditional' is in a sense often something that copies previous works," he said. "If you continue doing that, it gradually takes away from its uniqueness. So we're currently working on making those parts more and more unique."

The coming changes, some of which will be exhibited in the upcoming 3DS game A Link Between Worlds, are reigniting Aonuma's passion for the franchise. "By no means, am I tired of it," he affirmed. "Rather, the more we change it, the more I get fired up. Having someone think 'Huh? Is this Zelda?!' at first, then 'Oh, it is Zelda,' is what we're going for. Something that wouldn't make it matter whether Link or Princess Zelda appear in it or not. Something where it wouldn't even matter if Zelda is actually a princess, or not." It's a sentiment that's likely to be music to the ears of many Zelda fans.

Source: Siliconera

Permalink

Can we just say "About time" here?

It'd be great if we got a new Zelda game where we actually play as Zelda. I understand two exist, but c'mon... give Zelda an adventure that's every bit as epic as recent Zelda games. If Nintendo wants to move past the tradition without a huge culture shock to their fans, this would be a good way to start the transition.

This is very good to hear, and it's really something that all of Nintendo should take to heart. Now let's see if they actually come through on it or just end up treading water.

Sheo_Dagana:
It'd be great if we got a new Zelda game where we actually play as Zelda. I understand two exist, but c'mon... give Zelda an adventure that's every bit as epic as recent Zelda games. If Nintendo wants to move past the tradition without a huge culture shock to their fans, this would be a good way to start the transition.

I agree with this completely. In fact, it would be one of the easiest ways for Nintendo to shake up the series without actually having to make many changes to the core content (though actual core changes wouldn't be uninvited).

I think Aonuma's been wanting to shake things up for awhile now. Skyward Sword seems like the type of game were one higher up wanted to do something new were as another higher-higher up wanted to keep things traditional and safe. Thus we got some kind of weird hybrid that didn't quite jell.

But lets not forget about Zelda 2, Majora's Mask, Four Swords, and the DS games, as I've always felt these games were good examples of the Zelda formula getting a bit of a shake up. Hell with it's cell shaded graphics and approach to exploring you could say the Wind Waker was a good example of doing something unique with the series. In fact I remember reading an interview with Aonuma were he expressed his sadness at the negative feedback Wind Waker received simply for being different.

I find it odd how you three above could not see that this is utter PR bullshit. I would take his word if their solution wasn't a rental store for items in the form of microtransactions.

I am all for changing up the zelda formula but they are only changing it to get more $$$ out of you not to further enrich the story/gameplay. It is pretty obvious its a sham.

Wasn't this guy the main force behind majoras mask?

If i where to see another zelda that gave this particular vibe of a vibrantly happy yet at the same time crushingly depressive world, I would be head over heels on that game.

Zelda also while not being playable had her own story and mission in skyward sword, would be awesome to see her get a bigger part.

Perhaps the IP could use the kind of treatment that The Other M gave Metroid. Minus the crappyness, I mean.

GAunderrated:
I find it odd how you three above could not see that this is utter PR bullshit. I would take his word if their solution wasn't a rental store for items in the form of microtransactions.

I am all for changing up the zelda formula but they are only changing it to get more $$$ out of you not to further enrich the story/gameplay. It is pretty obvious its a sham.

Yes, because a rental fee for items OBVIOIUSLY means microtransactions, instead of, you know, grinding for rupees in-game and buying them that way. Because there have been NO other example of key items being sold for money in stores *coughLinksAwakeningcough* or renting items for in-game use from stores *coughOcarinaofTimecough*.

Seriously, Nintendo has just barely started doing online transactions, there's no way they're going to microtransactions yet. Have a little faith in the games industry. You have no precedent to suggest Nintendo would run that kind of scam, so don't accuse them.

On topic: I'm going to be the first to say I'm not sure how much I want the formula to be mixed up. I know it's been done well in the past, with Majora's Mask and Four Swords, but I'm still a little wary about them messing it up too much. I know what I like, and if it's not there, then I'm not going to be too happy. Like what happened with Skyward Sword.

GAunderrated:
I find it odd how you three above could not see that this is utter PR bullshit. I would take his word if their solution wasn't a rental store for items in the form of microtransactions.

I am all for changing up the zelda formula but they are only changing it to get more $$$ out of you not to further enrich the story/gameplay. It is pretty obvious its a sham.

ALBW doesn't have microtransactions. Where are you getting your info? The items in-game are rented with rupees, the in-game currency. Unless you have a source saying that Nintendo is charging real-world money for rupees, then you are talking utter bollocks.

Mahorfeus:
Perhaps the IP could use the kind of treatment that The Other M gave Metroid. Minus the crappyness, I mean.

Other M minus the crappyness? There wouldnt be much left....
Also, Other M was pretty much a constant leeching of nostalgia, with all the same graphics, enemies and sounds copied directly from Super Metroid. Apart from that it rather substracted features (like the exploration) and added not much exept for a sappy hollywood-story.
It was the Prime series that actually did things differently, so Id rather say it needs a treatment like Prime gave Metroid.

Also, glad the try soemthing new. Wasnt interested in the game, but now Ill keep an eye out for this.

MrPhyntch:
-snip-

Clearly you haven't heard. Nintendo is an evil corporation that wants to steal all your money and your firstborn child.

I don't have the facts to back that up, of course, I'm just reporting it as if it were fact.

I'll believe it when I see it. They said the exact same garbage about Skyward Sword, and yet it was still the same bullshit as before, only with fucking terrible motion controls.

*Ahem*

The Story of Eiji Aonuma, and the Unpleasable Gaming Community

There once was a famous man, Eiji Aonuma by name
And he helped make the Legend Of Zelda video games
He worked hard on making each one feel fresh and spanking new
And with each brand new entry, he did gamers try and woo

"Ahoy" he said, "This game has masks, and time travel and grief
There's a crazy kid, a salesman and a moon with angry teeth."
But gamers they were not impressed, its sales were none to great.
"It's dark" they said, "And much too weird. This game we really hate."

Poor Eiji was upset by this, he'd tried his very best
His heart it broke, his eyes they welled, his head sank to his chest
But undeterred he carried on, he went back to square one
And made a game where emphasis was on the light and fun.

"Ahoy" he said, "Look here, a Zelda made of fun and light!
The artstyle is unprecedented, it's colourful and bright!"
But gamers they replied with scorn "Does this look like a creche?
You must be f***ing kidding if this is what you call fresh!"

"Those kiddy graphics look like they were made for some pre-school.
We preferred your last game, it was so edgy and so cool."
Eiji was getting quite irate, so he stormed off in a huff
And made another game, one that was edgy, dark and tough.

"Look here," he said, "This Zelda has got everything you need.
It's open world, realistic, you can see enemies bleed.
It's dark and full of bloom lighting, there's a whole new shadow world
You can play as a wolf now too!" But the gamers' lips did curl.

"Your last game was so colourful, and stuffed with love and care.
This game is drab and dull, the overworld is grey and bare.
We want a Zelda game that's filled with bright and lovely things
Not twilight beasts, and twilight birds, and twilight bloody kings!"

Poor Eiji, he simply could not think of what he could do
But nonetheless he tried again, and brainstormed something new
A Zelda game both real and bright, with brand new sword controls
With tons of things to do, new moves, new jumps, new forward rolls.

"Oh gamers," said Aonuma, "Guess what I have got right here.
A brand new game with new controls. IGN's Game Of The Year.
You've never played a Zelda like the game I have today.
Time stones, beetles, flying mounts and Metroidvania style play."

But once again, the gamers were not so easily amused.
"Get lost grandpa!" They said, "Your game is clearly but a ruse.
The last one was classic Zelda; traditional, huge, bold.
This one has no overworld, and waggle is rather old."

At this poor Eiji snapped, he threw his hands up in the air.
"That's it!" he cried, "I'm done! Finished! I just don't f****ing care!
Damn tradition! Damn the rules! I'm doing that all away!
I'll make this game how I want, and I'm making it my way!"

"A Link Between Worlds? I'll rent you stuff! Pick anything you like!
Wind Waker? I'll make it HD, and I'll put bloom in all the lights!
Wii U? Oh wait, oh just you wait! I'll blow your f****ing minds!
I'll make you beg for this game, then your money will be mine!"

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
snip

Nice one bro.

ShirowShirow:
Can we just say "About time" here?

Anyways, Im all for seeing where this goes.

That's all very well and good, but I think some things need to remain consistent otherwise you might as well be creating a new IP.

I hope they make another RPG.

For those of you who haven't played 2, it was hard. Like, fucking hard. And in the Japanese version, your level was reset to 1 if you died. Yep.

Except not so horribly this time. It would be interesting to see how it would translate into the franchise's evolvement since 2.

This is something I feel like they should have been doing decades ago. One of my favorite Zelda games was the second one, which broke away from the trend of the original game. I guess most developers are worried fans will scream and cry that it isn't a Zelda game if it doesn't have every single trope from one.

GAunderrated:
I find it odd how you three above could not see that this is utter PR bullshit. I would take his word if their solution wasn't a rental store for items in the form of microtransactions.

I am all for changing up the zelda formula but they are only changing it to get more $$$ out of you not to further enrich the story/gameplay. It is pretty obvious its a sham.

Yeah I for one am sick of using my hard-earned (fictional) currency to purchase (fictional) items. Maybe you should read some articles or something before spouting off, huh?

OT: I am one of those guys who would play ALBW regardless, and probably love it. But I am quite excited to see how the changes shake out.

Your level was reset to 1 if you died in the Japanese version of Zelda 2?! Really? The real Dark Souls began there lol.

I would have never been able to finish that game then.

My favorite Zeldas were Z1, Zelda 2, Link to the Past, Link's Awakening, and Majora's Mask. Those are the ones I consider real Zelda Games. The rest are okay, sometimes really good, but ultimately their flaws are overwhelming enough to make me not want to replay them often or at all.

Breaking with tradition is something I certainly embrace with the series. I've seen some seriously awesome quests and ideas via Zelda Classic that fans have made. Version 2.5 is pretty sweet, but even going as far back as 10 years ago they were doing things that were more exiting and original than Nintendo has been doing lately.

ALBW is easily the most excited I've been about a Zelda game in many years. I don't really recall much of Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks was pretty boring, and Minish Cap was short and easy. Getting all the figures was what made up the bulk of my playtime.

I liked the art style of Wind Waker, but sailing was not even 10% as cool as I thought it would be at the time. The Oracle games I really need to replay, because all I remember is liking Seasons, and hating Ages. That and hating the dancing minigames. The rings were a mixed bag imo. Some were useful, most were not, and some were really OP.

Twilight Princess, I liked Midna, and the Arbiter's Grounds. That's about it.

Skyward Sword, I liked the story quite a bit. Demise was pretty cool. The Cistern was awesome, and I liked all the bosses. Also one of my favorite Zeldas (person). Groose was probably the best new character they have had in a long time. Certainly better than Tingle. I just wasn't a fan of the motion controls. So much so that even though I otherwise really liked the game, I just don't feel like playing it again anytime soon.

As for Ocarina. It blew my mind coming from Link's Awakening obviously. At the time I enjoyed it, particularly the Spirit Temple, but it just has too many parts that I do NOT enjoy (Water Temple for starters) that it takes a serious commitment to get back to the parts I DO like for me to want to play it anymore. Plus Majora's Mask was so much better for me, I'd rather just play that.

The prospect of picking out an item from the shop, and then going out into the world looking for places to use it/the dungeon it might be required to finish excites me.

No longer am I going to find a hole in the ground with a bow, and know with pretty much 100% certainty that anything weird looking in there will need to be hit with an arrow and the boss will probably be Gohma.

Hey, it worked with Majora's Mask and Link's Awakening, so why wouldn't it work for future installments?

Anyways, as long as they don't turn it into Call of Duty: Zelda edition, then I'm fine.

I've always felt that Zelda games keep going back in forth between traditional and experimental games. I know to most people Zelda has been the same game since A Link to the Past, but I would disagree. I just want the fundamentals still there, which A Link Between Worlds seems to keep, yet always having new mechanics and for lack of a better word, gimmicks.

I've seem Majora's Mask touted as completely different from most Zelda games, it stands out no doubt, but it still felt like a Zelda game. I always look forward to new Zelda games and how they shake up the formula, but the most important things that separates the series from the competition are the fundamentals it keeps. I just want it to feel like Zelda, and looking at A Link Between Worlds footage, the feel is still there no matter how experimental the game is supposed to be.

I'm not looking forward to this Zelda, at least not a lot since I'm no fan of top view Zelda games. I'd rather have Majora's Mask Remake :/

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
snip

That's pretty cool. You made that now?

YES!

If I had to describe my ultimate Zelda game, it would be Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess mixed in with the deepness of Majoras Mask with a little of Elder Scrolls' massive openess also mixed in.

The screenshot looks like "Animal Crossing: A Link to the Past"

Zelda confirmed for gritty, 3rd person shooter reboot.

Sweet. Maybe we'll get another awesome experiment like Majora's Mask. MAN I love that game. XD

Last Zelda game I was actually excited about was Twilight Princess. I love the game, but I realized it's really not much different from previous games. And games following it has similarly been very samey, some of which only really exploring new grounds in how annoying one can make a companion. I never thought I'd say this, but I just don't really care about the series any more.

Captcha: pound cake
I'D LIKE SOME POUND CAKE!

canadamus_prime:
That's all very well and good, but I think some things need to remain consistent otherwise you might as well be creating a new IP.

That was my thought. When he started talking about how he wanted to make the kind of changes where it wouldn't even matter if Link or Zelda were even in the game, I was thinking "so you're making a new IP and shoehorning the Zelda name in, then?" Hopefully it won't be that bad, but that's always the fear when you see studios talking about "shaking up" a franchise, in any medium[1].

[1] Coughstartrek09coughBSG04cough

ShirowShirow:
Can we just say "About time" here?

I'd rather say 'well, why not just make a whole new IP, mMm?'

On the one hand, Zelda could use more refreshing changes. Skyward Sword took some great steps forward in my opinion with a improved Wii controls, tactical mechanics on the shield, and so on.

On the other hand, Other M was trying to do away with some of the tradition of its predecessors, too, and look how that worked out.

So I guess my stance is "fine, provided you make sure that it's not TOO far from what most folks recognize as a "Zelda" game.

aegix drakan:
Sweet. Maybe we'll get another awesome experiment like Majora's Mask. MAN I love that game. XD

Any chance of there ever being a Majoras Mask-like game from Zelda is a win in my book. I wanna play it again so badly, but I don't have the time. T^T

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
snip

Sadly you are completely correct about that story, although I must ask did you expect rational thought from a popular fanbase. Some Zelda fans are scary obsessed, close to the Sonic Fandom level, or do I need to remind you of the Twilight Princess thing. XD

Also, I feel that this picture is relevant.

Not sure how I feel about this. While I do think changes to the Zelda are long overdue, the reason I am so excited about this game was revel in my nostalgia of A Link to the Past. I kind of want this game to be as much like ALthP as possible. I think it might have been a better decision to save the new formula for a non sequel.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
*Ahem*

The Story of Eiji Aonuma, and the Unpleasable Gaming Community

Snipped for length

The moral of the story. He should've known you can't please everyone, and it's obvious that when you make one sequel different from the others that the change won't be for everyone, so he should've of made what he felt was right and not follow directions from 'ONE' of the disinterested groups.

Are you fucking kidding me? He actually made the changes to appease certain fans? If that really did upset him because couldn't please everyone (which is a mistake in itself) then he should be happy he's made at least one Zelda everyone can enjoy since there is a big spectrum of them now.

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