It’s a busy time for any Zelda fan — the excellent Cadence of Hyrule has just released, the Link’s Awakening remake is months away, and there’s still plenty of excitement left over for that Breath of the Wild sequel. Recently, series producer and de facto face of the Zelda dev team Eiji Aonuma sat down with Kotaku’s Jason Schrier to discuss a variety of topics, from the remake to the series moving forward. Here’s a rundown:
- Asked why Nintendo decided to remake Link’s Awakening, Aonuma cites the game’s age and difficulty of access as primary reasons. There was also a separate discussion of allowing players to arrange their own dungeons, which ended up becoming the Chamber Dungeon concept. Since the rooms of Link’s Awakening are all around the same size due to original GB limitations, it ended up being a good match for the concept.
- When it comes to a remake like this one, Aonuma discusses maintaining a balance between keeping the essence of the original and adding new touches. “In that way, I think it’s a very creative process.” This also extends to the lack of new dungeons — Aonuma thinks the act of replaying a game that is so strikingly familiar can call back long-forgotten memories.
- Schrier asks if the team will consider a proper “Zelda Maker” if Chamber Dungeons do well. Aonuma: “I can’t predict the future, but if people do love this idea of arranging dungeons, I’ll keep that in mind going forward.”
- Button mapping wasn’t implemented in BotW because Aonuma felt that it’s the game designers’ jobs to figure out the ideal configuration and implement it as they see fit, and leaving it to the player is “letting go of our responsibility.” That said, they understand the desire for customization, especially as it pertains to disabled players.
- When asked what ideas he has for Zelda going forward, Aonuma simply laughs and says “I can’t tell you.” He does mention that multi-solution puzzles worked out very well in BotW, and he wants to polish them for the future. As for ideas that could have improved that game, he’s saving them for another game.
- Next up was working conditions at Nintendo – still a hot topic in the game industry. Aonuma’s response is extremely encouraging, however: “When creating a game, game development is all about the people. So if one of them or any of them aren’t well, that definitely affects the game and overall quality, and that’s just not good … staff comes first, and I always want to think about it when creating a game.” He mentions that Nintendo focuses on a flexible work culture, where workers can balance themselves as they see fit to a degree.
- The Breath of the Wild sequel came about largely because the staff had so many ideas for DLC for the first game that they just eventually decided to start a new title from scratch.
- Not in the interview itself, but Schrier on Twitter later confirmed that BotW 2 is helmed by Aonuma’s team while Link’s Awakening is being handled by OoT/MM 3DS remakers Grezzo. There are also “no plans” for Oracle remakes at the moment.
Be sure to read the full interview if you get the chance. Link’s Awakening drops September 20th, and nobody knows when BotW 2 is coming — but hopefully it’ll happen in the next few years.
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