Switch Zelda entries Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom revolutionised the series’ long-standing formula, with a shift to open-world gameplay and systems which empower players to tackle the game in a huge number of ways.
The entries have proved incredibly successful, selling a combined 50m units. Previously, the best-selling Zelda game was Wii’s Twilight Princess at around 9 million sales.
Speaking to IGN, Aonuma said he believed games “where you need to follow a specific set of steps or complete tasks in a very set order” were “kind of the games of the past”.
“Whereas currently the games of today are ones in which that can accept a player’s own decisions and give them the freedom to flexibly proceed through the game, and the game will allow for that,” he said.
“So I’m in complete agreement with that as our design philosophy, but as the producer, I do have to admit making games that way always carries with it additional development costs. And that is something I have to think about.”
The producer was then asked about those fans who enjoyed classic-style 3D Zelda games such as Wind Waker and Ocarina of Time and who would like to see a return to more linear gameplay.
“Well, I do think we as people have a tendency to want the thing that we don’t currently have, and there’s a bit of a grass is greener mentality,” he replied.
“But I also think that with the freedom players have in the more recent games in the series… there still is a set path, it just happens to be the path that they chose. So I think that that is one thing I kind of like to remind myself about the current games that we’re making.
“But also, it’s interesting when I hear people say those things because I am wondering, ‘Why do you want to go back to a type of game where you’re more limited or more restricted in the types of things or ways you can play?’ But I do understand that desire that we have for nostalgia, and so I can also understand it from that aspect.”
Nintendo Switch sequel The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has been one of this year’s biggest blockbuster games.
It was released in May and sold 10 million copies worldwide in its first three days, according to Nintendo, making it the fastest-selling game in the history of the series and the fastest-selling Nintendo game for any system in Europe and the Americas. As of September, it’s sold 19.5 million copies.
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