Zelda Producer Aims to Stop "Hand-Holding" in A Link Between Worlds

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Zelda Producer Aims to Stop "Hand-Holding" in A Link Between Worlds

Zelda A Link Between Worlds

Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma wants A Link Between Worlds to be a "game where it would be fun to get stuck."

Back in the day, half the fun of a Zelda title was trying to figure out what the heck you were supposed to do next. That feeling of being happily lost is something some might argue recent entries in the franchise have been missing. In turn, series producer Eiji Aonuma hopes to lessen some of the "hand-holding" in the series' next iteration, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and craft a game that returns players to a time where wanderers aren't necessarily lost.

"We wanted to make it a game where it would be fun to get stuck and be lost," said Aonuma. According to Aonuma, this goal has sometimes run contrary to many of the lessons the company has learned from the modern gaming market. "I think that one thing all game developers worry about when they're putting something into a game is, 'Will people notice it? Will people realize what they're supposed to do?' And we kind of have a bad habit of hand-holding, trying to make things easier for everyone. But more and more, I start to think that that kind of isn't actually that fun."

In turn, Aonuma has tried to guide the team making A Link Between Worlds to create a game that offers help for players who really need it, but also leaves enough ambiguity so that gamers will have the freedom to explore, get lost, and figure things out for themselves. "There's actually one area in the game where I fought for three days with my director over whether we should have a hint in there or not," he said. "As a result, after the end of that we actually decided to take it out. So if that part of the game is too difficult, it's my fault." Somehow we suspect there won't be too many Zelda fans holding it against him.

Source: Polygon

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Back in the day, half the fun of a Zelda title was trying to figure out what the heck you were supposed to do next

That was back then. Now if a game tried to do that, you would have a fuck ton of reviewers take points off the game's initial score for "poor" direction and confusing flow.

I'm not talking about Zelda games. I'm just talking about all games in general.

Hand holding is essential now. Otherwise a game that should of gotten an 8/10 would only get a 7/10 because the reviewer couldn't be assed to use their brain for 10 seconds and figure out themselves what they need to accomplish said task and how.

there is a difference between not hand-holding and plain not explaining it. If the game actuals gives you plenty of clues as to where to go/what to do then it's ok, but don't blame me if I look at gamefaqs because I get stuck when I didn't pour the golden snicker juice at the base of the yoo-hoo tree and play the nightmare serenade on the tilly drums, when the game never tells you anything and you just have to take a wild guess. Hate that stuff.

I would think the easiest and fairest solution, generally, is to either have a switch for Hint System: On/Off, or--instead of constantly nagging the player and pointing out to her/him what to do--you can have those nice little talking statues, like in OoT and (I believe) Link's Awakening, where the player can seek out hints on her/his own volition.

While I tend to always deactivate hint systems and such, I think it's important to recognize that different people have different capabilities, and it would be foolish to abandon part of the established audience for a long-running franchise.

Dragonbums:

Back in the day, half the fun of a Zelda title was trying to figure out what the heck you were supposed to do next

That was back then. Now if a game tried to do that, you would have a fuck ton of reviewers take points off the game's initial score for "poor" direction and confusing flow.

I'm not talking about Zelda games. I'm just talking about all games in general.

Hand holding is essential now. Otherwise a game that should of gotten an 8/10 would only get a 7/10 because the reviewer couldn't be assed to use their brain for 10 seconds and figure out themselves what they need to accomplish said task and how.

They would probably use words like "archaic".

I'm glad he's aware of it, i hope he continues this thought in the WiiU Zelda game. I'm still baffled that every single reviewer out there decided to praise the living hell out of Skyward Sword even though the game seems to assume that the player is dumb. There's good stuff in there, but it's ruined because they keep repeating everything and they keep stating the obvious.

This is good.

Handholding out of wedlock is excessively lewd, and I am happy that Nintendo is taking a stand against it.

Well I applaud any game that goes the good old way of letting the player figure out shit on theyr own. Dark souls let you into the world with precisely this much information "theres on bell up and one bell down no go and get fucked up". Thats how you make a fucking game.

I had lots of fun with skyward sword when it didnīt treat me like I had a chromosome to much or to little and its good to see zelda try and move away from such bs.

The only games I could finish was as a kid was Link's Awakening, that was not a hand holding game and i hated it!

Then I played the rest and things where right :)

MrBaskerville:

Dragonbums:

Back in the day, half the fun of a Zelda title was trying to figure out what the heck you were supposed to do next

That was back then. Now if a game tried to do that, you would have a fuck ton of reviewers take points off the game's initial score for "poor" direction and confusing flow.

I'm not talking about Zelda games. I'm just talking about all games in general.

Hand holding is essential now. Otherwise a game that should of gotten an 8/10 would only get a 7/10 because the reviewer couldn't be assed to use their brain for 10 seconds and figure out themselves what they need to accomplish said task and how.

They would probably use words like "archaic".

I'm glad he's aware of it, i hope he continues this thought in the WiiU Zelda game. I'm still baffled that every single reviewer out there decided to praise the living hell out of Skyward Sword even though the game seems to assume that the player is dumb. There's good stuff in there, but it's ruined because they keep repeating everything and they keep stating the obvious.

Compared to old Zelda's maybe, but compared to most games this gen, Skyward Sword wasn't easy, it was normal (which is easy).

JediMB:
snip

But doing that would probably give us a situation like Skyrim, where it assumes you have the hints turned on and so never actually tells you where to go.

Dragonbums:

Back in the day, half the fun of a Zelda title was trying to figure out what the heck you were supposed to do next

That was back then. Now if a game tried to do that, you would have a fuck ton of reviewers take points off the game's initial score for "poor" direction and confusing flow.

Because it would be poor direction. It's not fun not knowing what your objective is. At least, not for me. I can handle being stuck because I can't do something. But I absolutely hate being stuck because I didn't know something, and that's even worse when nowhere in the game was I given the opportunity to find out prior.

Hand holding is essential now.

If telling the player how to play your game is considered "hand holding" these days, then yes I suppose it is. Really, it's always been that way. When you don't tell your player bugger all, you get a game like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

But personally I'd define hand-holding as an infinite tutorial. Something like how in Arkham Asylum simple actions are accompanied by an on-screen prompt ("Press A to hop over a wall") literally the entirety of the game. That's hand-holding. Or, even in Zelda itself, the characters Navi and Fi and their insistence on reinforcing the goals and information that might have been given to you just moments ago.

Genocidicles:

JediMB:
snip

But doing that would probably give us a situation like Skyrim, where it assumes you have the hints turned on and so never actually tells you where to go.

Or we get situations like the Metroid Prime games and a few other titles where it wasn't a problem at all.

The developers just have to, you know, keep in mind that there will be people who play with the hint system disabled.

It does seem some designs play more to reviewers or pr and public appeal as to the whole of the game.

I'm in favor of not treating us like we were dropped on our heads as kids. Just as long as there's something to point us in the right direction, instead of grabbing, and pushing us there.

My reaction to this is to ask, "How far back are you going?" A Link to the Past wasn't hand-holdy, but a smart player wasn't likely to get stuck trying to find the next dungeon, either. The original The Legend of Zelda, on the other hand, had ridiculously abstract puzzles without adequate clues, and it was kind of a pain for it.

P.S. THanks

Dragonbums:

Back in the day, half the fun of a Zelda title was trying to figure out what the heck you were supposed to do next

That was back then. Now if a game tried to do that, you would have a fuck ton of reviewers take points off the game's initial score for "poor" direction and confusing flow.

If the game gave no hints, no clues, absolutely fuck all indication as to where you are supposed to go then yes, the game deserves to have points taken off the score.

Just how un-hand holdy are we talking here? Are we just talking about abandoning the annoying support character that constatly flat out tells you what you're supposed to be doing and where to go whether you want to hear it or not, but like in LttP, still being given an indication of where you were supposed to go? Because I'm all in favour of that. However if we're talking like the Sierra Adventure Game un-hand holdy where you run around the world lost for hours, possibly days, and possibly dieing a lot; and the only way to figure out what the hell you're supposed to do is consult GameFAQs then no I'm not in favour of that.

Sounds awesome. The more I see and hear about this game, the more I'm interested!

kiri2tsubasa:

Dragonbums:

Back in the day, half the fun of a Zelda title was trying to figure out what the heck you were supposed to do next

That was back then. Now if a game tried to do that, you would have a fuck ton of reviewers take points off the game's initial score for "poor" direction and confusing flow.

If the game gave no hints, no clues, absolutely fuck all indication as to where you are supposed to go then yes, the game deserves to have points taken off the score.

There is expecting you to have god like powers in knowing what your supposed to do, and there is a game that drops you hints on what to do without being overtly obvious about it so it challenges your sense of intuition.

Professor Layton games(or at least the last one I played.) have got to be one of the few game series I can think of that doesn't hold your hand like your an idiot when it comes to finding out what to do next.

canadamus_prime:
Just how un-hand holdy are we talking here? Are we just talking about abandoning the annoying support character that constatly flat out tells you what you're supposed to be doing and where to go whether you want to hear it or not, but like in LttP, still being given an indication of where you were supposed to go? Because I'm all in favour of that. However if we're talking like the Sierra Adventure Game un-hand holdy where you run around the world lost for hours, possibly days, and possibly dieing a lot; and the only way to figure out what the hell you're supposed to do is consult GameFAQs then no I'm not in favour of that.

Really, I trust this guy with the experience that he has gotten over the years he made zelda games to not fail in it spectacularly. People don't like to be nagged every time, but they do like some clues as to where they need to go next. As to how they will remind the players, maybe they could just give you a map and make you mark things in a way understandable to you. I'd be all for that way of doing things.

EDIT: However, I do think this game might be grindy... From what I've read around here, you can access all the dungeons. But you have no way of knowing what you'd need to complete it. Hope they allow you to gather info about that at first.

Also, you need to know how high the prices of those tools will be. if they will be like 200 or 300 rupees per tool, that's going to get boring realy quick.

MrBaskerville:

Dragonbums:

Back in the day, half the fun of a Zelda title was trying to figure out what the heck you were supposed to do next

That was back then. Now if a game tried to do that, you would have a fuck ton of reviewers take points off the game's initial score for "poor" direction and confusing flow.

I'm not talking about Zelda games. I'm just talking about all games in general.

Hand holding is essential now. Otherwise a game that should of gotten an 8/10 would only get a 7/10 because the reviewer couldn't be assed to use their brain for 10 seconds and figure out themselves what they need to accomplish said task and how.

They would probably use words like "archaic".

I'm glad he's aware of it, i hope he continues this thought in the WiiU Zelda game. I'm still baffled that every single reviewer out there decided to praise the living hell out of Skyward Sword even though the game seems to assume that the player is dumb. There's good stuff in there, but it's ruined because they keep repeating everything and they keep stating the obvious.

I never took notice. Then again, I kind of skim the instructions, and it's not like I couldn't just ask Fi what to do if I forgot.
Of course there were some instances where she was vague as all fuck about it....which is kind of my fault for not paying attention anyway.

hickwarrior:

canadamus_prime:
Just how un-hand holdy are we talking here? Are we just talking about abandoning the annoying support character that constatly flat out tells you what you're supposed to be doing and where to go whether you want to hear it or not, but like in LttP, still being given an indication of where you were supposed to go? Because I'm all in favour of that. However if we're talking like the Sierra Adventure Game un-hand holdy where you run around the world lost for hours, possibly days, and possibly dieing a lot; and the only way to figure out what the hell you're supposed to do is consult GameFAQs then no I'm not in favour of that.

Really, I trust this guy with the experience that he has gotten over the years he made zelda games to not fail in it spectacularly. People don't like to be nagged every time, but they do like some clues as to where they need to go next. As to how they will remind the players, maybe they could just give you a map and make you mark things in a way understandable to you. I'd be all for that way of doing things.

EDIT: However, I do think this game might be grindy... From what I've read around here, you can access all the dungeons. But you have no way of knowing what you'd need to complete it. Hope they allow you to gather info about that at first.

Also, you need to know how high the prices of those tools will be. if they will be like 200 or 300 rupees per tool, that's going to get boring realy quick.

I don't know, I always get nervous when they talk about completely mixing things up. I'm all in favour of doing something like in LttP where you were given an indication of where you were supposed to go and even had it marked on your map, but weren't told how you were supposed to get there. Like when you got to the crystal in the swamp, there was no clear indication how you were supposed to even get into the swamp. You had to get the flute, get the bird to take you to that ledge in the desert, and then use the portal there.
The old Zelda formula may have gotten a bit tired, but it worked and gave a good sense of progression. You know, you go to a dungeon, get an item, use item on boss, then use item to access a new area(s). You know, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I'm not sure I'm in favour of his new plan of buying/renting items and having all the dungeons accessible from the start.

I'd like to see some more difficult combat. I don't think I dies once in Twilight Princess, and when you fight Ganon in Ocarina of Time you're literally being swarmed by fairies. It would be nice to have an actual challenge.

Sounds good tom me! While I don't mind linear gameplay in most games, I like having to find out where I'm supposed to go in Zelda games. I want to be pushed to the point where I would want to go look up an online guide when playing a Zelda game for the first time.

That being said, even if Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword had you on a fairly set path, I still really love those games despite that.

Dragonbums:

There is expecting you to have god like powers in knowing what your supposed to do, and there is a game that drops you hints on what to do without being overtly obvious about it so it challenges your sense of intuition.

Isn't that what I just said?

I feel like they are trying to do a bit too much divergence in this game. Sure if you focus on doing one or two things different well it could turn out great but if you decide to try and do too much, it could just end up a sloppy mess.

I have a feeling A Link Between World will be just that. A sloppy mess of ideas

Fox12:
I'd like to see some more difficult combat. I don't think I dies once in Twilight Princess, and when you fight Ganon in Ocarina of Time you're literally being swarmed by fairies. It would be nice to have an actual challenge.

This would be an addition I would make as well. Zelda combat, outside of a moment or two here or there, hasn't been really meaty or challenging since Zelda 2. Without being challenged in combat, I fear that any changes they make otherwise will just result in you taking an unguided tour through a children's theme park instead of a guided tour through a children's theme park.

I like Twilight Princess more than Skyward sword and I think it was because in Skyward sword I figured out things instantly only to have Fi tell me what to do. EVERY single time. Not once did she trust me having the ability to do it myself.

That was one of the most annoying part of the game. In Twilight Princess Midna wasn't constantly telling you what to do in fact she let you be alone for most of the time. She also had more emotions too which made her more like able.

So I want something more in style of Twilight princess but with maybe less hand holding. I just need clues on what to do or where to go and I'm sure I'll be able to do it.
You could still make a fairy that can guide you if you ask for help for those that needs it.

GAunderrated:
I feel like they are trying to do a bit too much divergence in this game. Sure if you focus on doing one or two things different well it could turn out great but if you decide to try and do too much, it could just end up a sloppy mess.

I have a feeling A Link Between World will be just that. A sloppy mess of ideas

Really? What is it that's got you thinking it'll be diverging it's attention too much? I've honestly not done all that much reading about this one.

Saying that, Nintendo just grabbed my interest. My 10 year old cousin mentioned that he felt his games were too easy the other week, and I'm inclined to agree with him. Bringing back some of that sense of wonder and challenge would be fantastic to see in bigger titles.

GAunderrated:
I feel like they are trying to do a bit too much divergence in this game. Sure if you focus on doing one or two things different well it could turn out great but if you decide to try and do too much, it could just end up a sloppy mess.

I have a feeling A Link Between World will be just that. A sloppy mess of ideas

...Maybe they are diverging a bit to combat the impression many gamers seem to have that Nintendo just makes the same game over and over again.

Besides, it still seems to be exactly what it claims to be: a sequel to LttP. Dark World mechanic, but with some added twists. Isn't that what a sequel should be?

the way I expect them to do this is probably tied into the fact that it's non-linear now.

there's no need to tell the player "hey moron, the next dungeon's over here" when you can just have the player wander around, have them realize they need item X to overcome obstacle Y and let them into dungeon Z, since you can have all items, they can just go back to the item shop place and get that one

the player discovers the "next" dungeon on their own every time, so zero hand holding is required (after all, what's the point of telling the player what the next location is when "next" is down to the player's decision), it's like delicious metroidvania design :D

While I approve of eliminating some of the more overt hand-holding, but I do hope they know the fine line between "difficult" and "too obscure". The original A Link to the Past did it right. I remember both me and my dad being stumped about how to progress in the Ice Palace, when my younger sister suggested pulling the tongue on one of the statues.

This baffled me because no other statue behaved like that up to that point in the game and no overt hints were given, but sure enough, it was the solution. And it was something a literal 5 year old could figure out.

Compare that with the Second Quest in the very first Zelda. It was pretty fucking brutal without a guide.
Most of the dungeons were in the same/similar location as in the first quest...except for level 7 and level 8 which were not only in completely different locations from before, but in obscure as fuck locations that you would only know about with the help of a guide or an insane amount of trial and error.

You can't even enter level 8 without the ladder because it's literally a hole you blow in a wall along the river path that leads to the White Sword. Level 7 is in the same forest it was in before, but now it's under one of the many, many trees in said forest. And both levels were pretty brutal to navigate on top of that, combining the worst parts of the one-way-false-wall mechanic that is introduced in the Second Quest and semi-loops of secret passages.

canadamus_prime:
Just how un-hand holdy are we talking here? Are we just talking about abandoning the annoying support character that constatly flat out tells you what you're supposed to be doing and where to go whether you want to hear it or not, but like in LttP, still being given an indication of where you were supposed to go? Because I'm all in favour of that. However if we're talking like the Sierra Adventure Game un-hand holdy where you run around the world lost for hours, possibly days, and possibly dieing a lot; and the only way to figure out what the hell you're supposed to do is consult GameFAQs then no I'm not in favour of that.

I'd say Adventurers of link or Original Zelda and link to the past with the caveat there is an ingame notetaking device/journal (ala Majora's Mask) to give you framework and keep track of quests, oppurtunities, and engagements. Minus one or two really obscure ones. No offense but I GOT Dodongo don't like smoke (well only one or two items produced fire and presumably smoke so...) It was the Bagu letter that was a total stumper to me and even then you *could* jump the line and other things if you were thorough and didn't just take things at surface value. Just past the second temple the game is *terrible* about testing you this and the Death mountain run ramps the difficulty off a cliff

I sold my 3DS at the beginning of the year due to the lack of games. Now with DKCR, Luigi's Mansion and this on the horizon I'm actually tempted to buy another one.

On a completely unrelated note after reading the first post:

What is it with you native english speakers not being able to write "would've" or "should've" and instead writing "would of" or "should of"? Also, what is it about not being able to discern between "There", "They're" and "Their", or "You're" and "Your", respectively?
It always confuses me. I mean, it's not like english is a hard language at all. At least it's not if you're used to having 3 words for "the", which in turn are used to give everything a gender for unknown reasons. Like, "door" is a female word, "dog" is a male word and "car" is neither.
Plus, these sentences can be hard to understand if the reader isn't english spoken and you constantly keep mashing up correct english with your funny fantasy language.

Seriously, pull your sh*t together.
Sorry for the grammar nazi, but I just don't get it.

I remember getting very stuck with Oracle of Ages, like, I was stuck for days... and I loved it.

Also, when I was a kid, I pretty much spoiled Ocarina of Time for me back then, the game does it's fair job of not telling you right away where you need to go or what to do, it only gave you hints, but I said "fuck it" and finished the game with a Club Nintendo magazine in hand (mexican's equivalent to Nintendo Power, and it's still printed today).

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