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Zelda series producer: I want to “make it my own”

Monday, 5th December 2011 03:03 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Eiji Aonuma, the series producer on The Legend of Zelda, isn’t afraid to usurp creator Shigeru Miyamoto now that the franchise is in his hands.

“I started working on the series not at the beginning but part-way through its history. 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,” Aonuma told GameInformer.

“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 Mr. Miyamoto has allowed me to take the reins on 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 even entertained the thought of bringing in full voice acting to the games, despite Link’s traditional silence, on the back of the success of Skyward Sword’s orchestrated music, a series first.

“We’re continually looking at ways that we can evolve the series. We’re not confident that we can find the right balance with full voice, so we’ll see,” he said.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is out now, exclusively for Wii.

Thanks, GoNintendo.

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6 Comments

  1. Cygnar

    Maybe Aonuma should stop “thinking about” doing new and interesting things with Zelda, and start actually doing them. Zelda games are so iconic because the 2D games have not advanced meaningfully since Link to the Past, and the 3D games have not really changed since Ocarina of Time. No one can deny the influence these games have had on the adventure game as a genre, nor is there any gain in saying that the formula is bad or unenjoyable. But like so many classic Nintendo franchises, the formula is so completely baked into each of the games that it is as difficult to imagine a Zelda game without the typical gadgets as it is to picture a Mario Kart game without the typical shells.

    Where does Aonuma have left to go? If Zelda games gain voiceacting, character stats, dynamic dialogue, and so on, there will undoubtedly be some contingent of players who despise whatever changes come. Even Wind Waker still has its detractors, despite playing precisely the same as every other 3D Zelda title. If Aonuma’s changes to the series are too fundamental, they will be too controversial. If his changes are more subtle, such as merely adding recorded music, how has he made the franchise his own? I have been playing games with orchestral soundtracks since 2000 with Diablo II. What is treated as a giant leap for Zelda games is old news to the industry outside the Truman Show of Nintendo’s development process.

    Aonuma may either attempt to innovate and move too quickly for Zelda fans looking for more of the same, or he may act more safely and fail to bring any meaningful changes to the series. Safe variations on long-established themes are the bread and butter of Zelda games. They sell games. They command rave reviews. They are great games. But only time will tell if they thirst for the sorts of changes Aonuma has in mind.

    If it is a fair criticism to level against any game that it strays too little from the developers’ comfort zone, it is a fair criticism of Zelda. If Eurogamer and The Onion are comfortable demanding constant innovation from the Uncharted series, for example, it is a wonder that neither publication saw fit to dock a single point from the latest Zelda when the same criticism bites into every title of the series since 1998.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. triggerhappy

    No voice acting! PLEEEEAAASSSSEEEE!!!! Im playing Skyward Sword right now and its kind of refreshing to not have to listen to any hammy acting, its more like reading a story. Infact it IS reading a story, and its one of my most beloved things about the series. If it eventually does happen I hope Link remains silent.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Joe Musashi

    @1 If Eurogamer and The Onion are comfortable demanding constant innovation from the Uncharted series, for example, it is a wonder that neither publication saw fit to dock a single point from the latest Zelda when the same criticism bites into every title of the series since 1998.

    I cannot put into words how strongly I agree with this sentiment.

    There needs to be consistency in this area. And even moreso, there needs to be far less blame being assigned to PR and gamers and far more accountability on the part of the games media for their hypocrisy and inability / refusal to practice what they preach. Silencing your critics does not invalidate what they say.

    JM

    #3 3 years ago
  4. YoungZer0

    @4: Voiceacting in a Zelda game wouldn’t make it a better game, but at least it would be on the same level as games from 2000.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Ireland Michael

    In my honest opinion, Aonuma usurped Miyamoto the moment he released Wind Waker.

    Ocarina of Time undoubtedly holds an important legacy. At its time, it was revolutionary. I play it now though, and it just feels awkward, cumbersome and frustrating to control.

    Nostalgia is great. But the game has already been surpassed by the later titles, by a huge margin.

    People say that it hasn’t changed, that it hasn’t innovated, but I completely disagree. The same basic structure of going to dungeons and collecting items is still there, but that’s about as deep as the similarities go. The controls have improved, countless unique new skills have been added, and the stories continue to grow and become a far more involved and enjoyable part of the experience with every title.

    If that’s not evolution, I don’t know what is.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Gurdil

    @Ireland Michael I agree with most of what you wrote but I’m wondering what you mean by usurp. I guess it doesn’t have the same meaning as in french cause I don’t see how Aonuma took Myiamoto’s role by force or illegitimately.
    For what it’s worth, I loved Ocarina of Time but thought Majora’s Mask was even better thanks to its weird and dark atmosphere. It sure is an underrated Zelda game.

    #6 3 years ago

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