Some people play Skyrim for the big open world, or the variety of interesting quests. The guy who makes Zelda, though? He plays Skyrim because it starts with the same three letters as Skyward Sword.
Speaking with USGamer in an interesting interview published today, Zelda bossman Eiji Aonuma spilled the beans: he played Skyrim because it has the word "Sky" in it, just like the most recent Zelda game. (Also, the next Zelda won't take inspiration from Bethesda's stellar open-world RPG.)
USG: When I've told people about my experience with the first-person mode in the game, they've said, "Well, Mr. Aonuma has spoken about how he's been inspired by Skyrim." Was this one of those things you pulled away from playing games like Skyrim, and can we expect to see this kind of inspiration – maybe some of these elements – in future Zelda games?
EA: I just wanted to say, I've been a bit surprised by the focus on my comments about Skyrim. I started playing Skyrim because the name was so close to "Skyward Sword" and I wanted to see what that was about. [laughs] I didn't pick it up because it was popular or because it was getting good reviews or anything like that. I just wanted to take a look at it. "Oh, okay, this is what this game's about. There are some things in here that are sort of Zelda-esque and maybe some things that aren't."
But there was no inspiration taken from Skyrim. It didn't impact what I was thinking about for future Zelda titles. I'm always thinking about, "Okay, next time, what are we going to do with the next one?" As a producer, whenever I can find more time to play games, I'm taking that free time to go out and play other games just to play them and see what's out there.
As far as whether or not those are inspiring me or influencing my decisions, I guess it's probably the same way as when I talk to young developers or new people on our staff, or when I read interviews with other people saying, "Yeah, this game was influenced by my experience playing Zelda as a kid." Or, "Zelda really impacted my design decisions going forward." I think the problem with that is that everything you play influences what you're thinking, but I'm not looking at other games to try and find inspiration. If it happens, it's a natural process.
Next up: Skylanders. And then, uh, Skyblazer?
Check out the full interview here. It's a good read.