Nintendo is Ready to Re-Think Zelda

Illustration for article titled Nintendo is Ready to Re-Think Zelda

The man in charge of the Zelda series at Nintendo says he's ready to make big changes in the series. He's not guaranteeing them, but in an interview in the new issue of Game Informer magazine, Eiji Aonuma says the time for big changes may finally have come.


"I started working on the series not at the beginning but part-way through its history," he told GI in their chock-full new issue with the next South Park game on the cover. "I think because of that, early on I was more looking objectively at the series and how we could change small, individual elements within it, rather than looking at how the series should evolve.

"As time has passed—particularly in the last few years—I've started to think a lot more about how I can take the series and really make it my own Zelda and evolve it further. As [Nintendo's head of game development] Mr. Miyamoto has allowed me to take the reins of the Zelda series, ultimately that's what I need to do. Perhaps some people will think it's a little bit late for me to start thinking about that, but as time goes by, that's becoming more of a theme in how I'm approaching the series."

Aonuma has been heavily involved with the 25-year-old Zelda series since 1998's acclaimed The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time. The series has had plenty of admired installments since then, including last month's The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. In my own review for the game, I praised it but also described it as part of what I consider to be the new paradigm for Zelda, a series that was once formally experimental but in the last decade has become entertainingly formulaic, a la James Bond movies.

In the same GI interview, Aonuma expressed mixed feelings about adding voice-acting to the series, an element that many vocal fans call for. It doesn't seem like adding voice is the kind of fundamental change Aonuma is talking about. He doesn't want to tweak elements. He wants to tweak the whole thing. That should make future Zeldas all the more interesting to anticipate and play.

Game Informer Issue 225



If they would stop with the "save the princess" storyline, and change the "town-dungeon-temple" setup, they are already on their way to altering Zelda as we have known it for over 20 years.

Several questions I have always asked:

- If there is always a new iteration of Link in every game, why has he never been female?

- If Zelda can use a piece of the Triforce, why has she never been a playable character (in a game made by Nintendo)?

- If Ganon is such a well-known villain in the Zelda mythos, why not give him the main character position, and explain why he became the bad ass he grew to be?

- Where has all the magic (sorcery/spells) gone from the series? Focusing on swordplay limits the franchise, IMO.

With that being said (and asked), I hope they are ready to hand the franchise off to another established developer; I get goosebumps thinking about what Retro could do with the series, and the magic they could create if given the reigns to a future game. (Just no First Person Adventure; please God, no LoZ FPA).