News Article

Aonuma: Wii U Zelda Is All About "Rethinking Series Conventions"

Posted by Damien McFerran

Nintendo has something new planned for Link

Nintendo's Eiji Aonuma has given a few tantalising details regarding the all-new Wii U Legend of Zelda title during today's Wii U Direct.

The game will be the second Zelda release for the new console, with an updated version of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker coming later this year. No footage or screens were shown, and Nintendo President Satoru Iwata admitted that the game is still a long way off - a 2013 release is about as likely as hell freezing over.

Zelda series producer Aonuma had this to say during the broadcast:

Our mission in developing this new Zelda game for Wii U is quite plainly to rethink the conventions of Zelda. I'm referring to things like the expectation that the player is supposed to complete dungeons in a certain order, or that you're supposed to play by yourself. The things that we've come to take for granted recently.

We want to set aside these 'conventions', get back to basics and create a newborn Zelda game so that the players today can best enjoy the real essence of the franchise.

We had actually worked on this kind of challenge with Skyward Sword but we weren't able to put effort into changing the linear-path structure of the game. I hope to be able to talk to you in more detail about how it will change after I see it come together a bit more.

Do you think it's time for Nintendo to really mix it up when it comes to creating a new Zelda experience, or are you hoping for a more traditional outing? Drop a comment to let us know.


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User Comments (74)



BenAV said:

Can't wait till we finally get to see and hear more of it.
Until then, I'll be enjoying Wind Waker in HD.



Gamesake said:

A non-linear Zelda game sounds cool. It'll probably feel more like the Elder Scrolls.



NintyMan said:

Nice to hear that they're trying to think of something new. It'll be interesting to see how they work the GamePad into this. The game will be far off from release for sure, but surely not as far off as Super Smash Bros.



LordJumpMad said:

Zelda is so dated in gameplay, I hope they do rethink it.
We had many games that were like Zelda, but are so much better, Nintendo needs to get with the times, and not rehash 20 years old gameplay.



Spooky said:

I am all for Nintendo trying new things with the series. I'm hoping for a new four swords with multiple gamepad support.



citizenerased said:

To be fair, they say this every time, don't they?

Skyward Sword made it come somewhat true. An agile Link, no torch "puzzles", dungeon elements throughout the overworld, new items that are actually used...

I'd love a (colourful) steampunk Zelda, personally. The robotic spiders from Skyward Sword were a nice start. Or at least some entirely new environments. SS had a fresh take on the forest/sand/fire, but the foundation was the stuff we've seen before. Go crazy, like Retro did with Metroid Prime.

@LordJumpMad Can you name a game with Zelda-like gameplay that's better?



rjejr said:

They really need to make Zelda a flagship game. I don't mind if it's even more linear than it is now, just make it a modern game. Either a linear movie like the Uncharted series, or more open world like inFamous. I know the Wii was underpowered but the Wii U should at least be able to do what the PS3 could do 2 or 3 years ago. And it could still be colorful like Enslaved, jut not so cartoony or washed out. OOT might be the best looking Zelda game and it's over 10 years old. TP was good but mostly just updated OOT.

And for the love of god VOICE ACTING. And not this mumbo jumbo nonsense either.

i don't want Link to be Batman or Kratos but it still should be the best looking game on the system. Heck use that zen garden bird demo video and make Link japanese. Just do something.



citizenerased said:

I can't be the only one that, after Other M, wants Nintendo to stay far away from voice acting? There should be more variation in the mumbling, but I really can't see Link with a voice. I guess they could give everyone a voice except for Link (similar to the dialogue now), but that would be awkward.



Undead_terror said:

The thing is if you go to a temple, you would need something in order to pass it like a hook shot or something, if thats not the case well then it would be a bit boring.



hypercoyote said:


I still don't know why people hate on Other M so much....I thought the voice acting was fine and the only "legitimate" complaints I could hear from people were they didn't like the direction they took with Samus (which I also thought was fine).



Jukilum said:

@rjejr OOT is not the best looking Zelda game. Pretty much every Zelda game after OOT has better graphics, even Windwaker. Preferring OOT's graphical style does not make it better than the other ones. I just hope Nintendo stays out of uncanny valley. Too many games are at that point right now.



FiveDigitLP said:

I don't have a problem with voice acting in some Nintendo games (haven't played Other M yet), but I do not want it in Zelda, especially for Link. It just does not fit for Link to talk as he represents the player. Just like your character doesn't talk in the Elder Scrolls games, I don't think Link should. Really though, I think voice acting would just seem weird in Zelda. I think the text gives it a storybook feel.



FiveDigitLP said:

AGREED! I think the uncanny valley has lessened some since last generation, but really there are a lot of PS3 and 360 games that annoy me because of how the characters' skin looks. As much as I love the AC series, the latest was uncanny valley central. I must say Uncharted wasn't too bad, though. (Haven't played the 3rd one yet, though.)
Really, if a game can't get past the uncanny valley, I'd rather it just have a cartoonish feeling, personally.



Bass_X0 said:

I think the text gives it a storybook feel.

Should games today still have a storybook feel? When they are and should be rivalling big movie blockbusters?

There's no excuse any more to not have voice acting.



FiveDigitLP said:

I think it depends on the game. Yeah, games meant for a movie feel like Uncharted should have voice acting, but I just don't think it fits the Zelda series. They're epic games, but I don't want them turning into interactive movies like a lot of modern games are.



DrKarl said:

"supposed to complete dungeons in a certain order, or that you're supposed to play by yourself."

4 swords online?



shingi_70 said:

Calling it now its going to be similar to Elder Scrolls/Dragon Dogma. Maybe a smidge of multiplayer as well.



Moshugan said:

@LordJumpMad I'm also interested in these similar-to-but-better-than games that you mentioned. What might they be? I'd be very much willing to play such games!



aaronsullivan said:

Wow, really hate some of the ideas listed here. Like Elder Scrolls? Gag. I prefer combat that is fun and involved. More linear and directed like Uncharted. Ugh. Please, no. I like that type of game, but I'd rather be adventurous than watch someone be adventurous.

Fortunately, the tantalizing bits from the actual director of the game are much better. They are looking at a way to involve multiple players and multiple ways to progress. Doing dungeons out of order and figuring out your favorite style of completing the game is something you really haven't been able to do very extensively since the first game.

The multiple player thing sounds nice after so many hours of playing Battle Quest in Nintendo Land with my wife and kids.

Guys and gals, LordJumpMad has an awesome avatar but his statement smells like it came from under a bridge and he wants a toll.



cornishlee said:

I'm actually quite excited about this; and I say that as someone with very little Zelda experience.



TreonsRealm said:

I'm looking forward to a Zelda game with an open world like the NES original where you could hit the final dungeon first if you had balls of steel. As for multi-player, I wouldn't mind something like the Raid Mode from Resident Evil Revelations where you could experience and level up with someone else during chunks of the single player campaign. Either way, it makes sense that they chose Wind Waker to experiment on considering how open the world was in that game. I can't wait for either game!



Shanksta said:

@hypercoyote I completely agree. As a long time fan of the Metroid series myself, there were some complaints that people had that made sense, but I didn't mind myself. It isn't my favorite Metroid game but I liked that they tried something new.



shinpichu said:

Nintendo has been getting better at voice acting. The problems with Nintendo dubs tend to result from Nintendo going almost exclusively for newer VAs than for veterans.

KI:Uprising had a very good dub. If that's an indication of what future Nintendo dubs will be like, then it's fine by me.



gefflt said:

I can't wait to see what new things they will introduce.
However, I do miss travelling Hyrule Fields while riding on Epona.



citizenerased said:

I thought about Okami myself, fantastic game. Wouldn't say it blows Zelda out of the water but it's up there with the best Zelda games. You can't deny how much TLOZ series influenced it, though.



artofmana said:

Personally I hope they use the same or similar art style to the tech demo. I think it is a good balance between light and colorful and "realistic." That coupled with some of the non-linearity of the original would probably be great! I'd love to feel like I'm an adventurer in a large world with some directive and a lot of opportunities I have to choose between.



Kaeobais said:

@LordJumpMad While I agree they need to start doing something different, the gameplay in Zelda is ageless. There's nothing wrong with it, it's just too samey now.

I'm glad Nintendo is trying to do different things, but I hope it's for the best.



Starwolf_UK said:

Hopefully non-linear doesn't mean its like item not used outside of its dungeon until you reach the next tier of dungeons. Non-linear is pointless if you have to do it in a certain order to make meaningful progress. I guess a Mega Man style where there is a logical order would be an interesting compromise.

Then again a lot of backtracking is a pest too. Maybe spoiling people on dungeon items (Zelda 1 style) and being able to leave notes of "use 'item' in this part of dungeon I've been to" then have the game remind you when you get said 'item' will help give you directed backtracking.



citizenerased said:

I just can't see Nintendo reverting back to the "adventurous" Zelda games where you have no idea where to go. That worked in the 80s/90s, and maybe it'll work in an eShop Zelda, but a full-blown console Zelda? I really do hope they take some steps away from Fi explaining every little thing (twice), though.

I feel Skyward Sword made some tremendous strides. Keep Link agile, keep adding dungeon elements to the overworld, that worked out fantastically.



Xilef said:

@tealovertoma Other M had more had decent VA, it was the script that was a part of the problem. Games like Kid Icarus, Xenobalde and The Last Story has had really good VA, Nintendo can certainly have great VA if they want to.



Jaz007 said:

I'm not sure about changing the idea that I have to play alone. It might impact Zelda negatively if you ask me. I like the idea of making it less linear though, I would them to expand on the multiple choices for the conversation cause I really enjoyed that. "Duty or job?" I loved that moment. I also want more Zelda-Link romance as well.



JebbyDeringer said:


I've always made an effort to play Zelda games as non-linear as possible. All the way back to Zelda 2 I was raiding dungeons for the "special item" so I could move on without fighting the boss. I would come back later and pummel the *&#@ out of them.



paburrows said:

I'm not sure about this I like the fact that some dungons are harder then others and that you need certain items to progress in later levels. I usually don't like it when they mess around with what works. Like I hated the two DS games (personal opion, don't flame me) how they they took away the ability to walk around and explore in place of boats and trains. But who knows, hopefully I'll love this game just as much as Skyward Sword.



paburrows said:

I do like the idea of multiple play though, It would be cool if the different players could break off and be in a totally different part of the world had each have to turn some knob or something.



TromaDogg said:

I really don't want online multiplayer shoehorned into the next Zelda game. Nobody complained that Bethesda didn't put online multiplayer into Oblivion or Skyrim, so why does Zelda need it? It'll just mean the main game gets watered down, IMHO. I'd much rather them concentrate on making a bigger, more open world and adding DLC to it with future updates.



startropics3 said:

A new Zelda game does not need to be "new" like they claimed with Skyward Sword. As long as it sticks to the design elements of the first two (yes, the NES Zelda 1 and 2), then it will be worth it. You don't need a fairy giving you hints at every tough spot. The first two Zeldas had mystery, (some) non-linearity, and difficulty, which are lacking from the predictable and puzzle-heavy efforts since Ocarina. All the other things like online support and graphics can be secondary.
If you want a more recent standard to compare to, then look at Demon Souls/Dark Souls. Those games are on the far end of the challenge spectrum, but I feel that they at least respect the person playing enough to let them explore instead of beating them over the head with objectives and chores.
I really don't want to play another Zelda game that feels like I'm the Town's errand boy, and where each new dungeon is like the last, but where you use a different tool to solve puzzles and defeat the boss. It was fun in a Link to the Past, but why do it again, and again, but with awkward camera angles and controls.
Okay, rant over.



Klinny said:

I'm interested in the non-linear aspects of the new Zelda. I'm all for rethinking gameplay, but in my opinion the "innovative" elements of previous Zelda games seemed gimicky to me. The DS games were all about the stylus, which in moderation could have been fine, but I didn't enjoy prforming every action with the stylus just because it was the new innovation at the time. Also Spirit Tracks was unplayable to me, as it required you to physically blow into the microphone, which is a nightmare on a standard 3DS.

I enjoyed the subquests in Skyward Sword, and the feeling of knowing there would be new conversations and quests to find back in Skyloft after major events. However, the world seemed very disconnected to me. My favorite part about the N64 titles was exploring the (at the time) massive worlds and environments. I also spent most of Skyward Sword fighting with the WiiMote, having to recalibrate it every 10 or so minutes.

Anyways, the point that I was trying to make is that while I am excited about innovation in the series, I am worried that the gameplay will be designed around a specific piece of hardware (the gamepad in this case) and that will affect the enjoyment of the game. It seems to me that recently, Zelda games have been designed to promote new hardware, instead of the other way around.

With all that being said, however, I am excited about the prospect of multiplayer, though I hope that it will not be limited to one player on screen and one player on the gamepad.



Expa0 said:

Make a new Zelda with Zelda 2 style gameplay, then I might be somewhat interested .



YChung said:

I want a Zelda that looks like the E3 demo they did. More in the vein of ocarina and twilight princess rather than windwaker or skyward sword.



gavn64 said:

Ha going by some peoples reactions on here you would swear it was the work experience boys making it. Its being made by the zelda team for crying out loud have faith they are a billion times better at making games than any of us will ever be its sounds amazing casting zeldas structure away is groundbreaking im excited.



KAHN said:

good thing too. i liked not having any specific order of dungeons to go through in the original, if you understand what i mean. i felt more like it was an adventure, which is a feeling i hadn't felt in a zelda game since wind waker... this is what i have in mind for my zelda3 project.



ajcismo said:

I'm hoping Link continues to be the silent hero. Give all the other characters a voice, just continue to keep him quiet.



Zhanglot said:

Yes, this sounds great! I'm usually opposed to change, but in Nintendo I trust!



bbbx said:

I love the more open world idea (reminds me of Wind Waker - my favourite Zelda game), but I always viewed LOZ as an epic single-player adventure. I'm a bit skeptical about the multi-player....



sinalefa said:

I wonder if this one will keep the wiimote plus based combat, which to me was delightful in SS. I have never minded the linearity but I am ok if they want to change it. Not leaning towards multiplayer, unless it is a completely separate mode which does not impact single player, which means I can skip it if I like.



Emaan said:

Really interesting to hear they plan on mixing up the Zelda formula with the new one. In all honesty, I thought Skyward Sword brought quite a change to the series' usual, despite its criticisms. Looking forward to see how it turns out.



Adam said:

Nonlinear and multiplayer? Good thinking, Aonuma. I've only been asking you this for years now.

Oh, you can't read English?

And you don't look at these comments at all?

oh ok



EaZy_T said:

I hope that 'Multiplayer' means something like having wiimote swordsmen and 3DS archers.



HouseofBees said:

I'm not remotely bothered whether Zelda dates or not - it's always fun to play. Hopefully it won't ape the Elder Scrolls for the sake of it -no matter which entry in the series, Zelda's quality speaks for itself .

On the other hand, the combination of the hint at multiplayer and non-linearity makes me wonder about a Zelda party game - what fans have been waiting for, surely? I don't think it'll be the end of the world if it's not HD, but I agree that voice acting would be a bad move. Either way, should be interesting!



DarkNinja9 said:

i just hope they dont go to crazy on changing the over all zelda feel to it the whole play by yourself makes me uneasy i mean i would say it was ok as long as it was a four sword game but not a main type of game =S



Scribbler said:

@JebbyDeringer Funny, I used to do that in Zelda 3 (Link to the Past), too. Once I reached the dark world, I always had trouble beating the first boss, so I'd swipe the hammer from the eastern palace, use it to get the Titan's Mitts in thieves' town, rescue the smithy's brother and obtain the level three sword, stop by the water palace to grab the hookshot, then go back to the eastern palace to tear up Helmasaur in mere seconds. Zelda 3 has always been one of my favorite games because it let me do stuff like that.



Peppy_Hare said:

I don't believe this has anything to do with the popularity of The Elder Scrolls series, but instead more to do with Demon and Dark Souls. This guy explains, better than I ever could, how the Souls series took inspiration from the original Zelda, but how Zelda has diverged from it's open-ended roots. Please take a look at this popular essay on saving Zelda.



Kage_88 said:

Really glad to hear this. Aonuma is a great director.

I wonder what Koizumi is planning for the Wii U Mario game...



Phle said:

A less linear Zelda game sounds pretty good.

I hope they'll let Link ride Epona to get around. A fast Epona like in Twilight Princess, where she actually flies over the ground, also let Link have easy access to her quite early in the game, especially if they add ways to teleport/travel fast as you advance the game.

Multiplayer sounds like a task that has to be done right. It can probably be amazing, but they can easily step wrong and kill the game experience. I can't really picture two Links solving a dungeon together, both with their own Navi... Or two Links find the Master Sword, and then take turns using it?

Voice acting? Hm, as long as Link stays quiet or at least close too. I really like him being the silent hero. I would love if the graphics where similar to those graphics they showed at E3 2012. I love those colors and the art style. Link looks just like I want him too.

I also hope that Link will have some kind of "friend" along with him on the quest. Navi and Midna where just enough not to get lonely (me not Link) while running around in a dungeon for hours, but they still didn't destroy the only-Link-can-do-this feeling.



ThreadShadow said:

Two player co-op Zelda in a Skyrim-vast open world game, sandbox style! Solid controls and lots of exploration. Beautiful vistas, villages and castles. And a telescope!

Nintendo needs to release that Zelda HD Experience "demo" on the Wii U eShop.



Rekiotsu said:

I am hoping something new, something what changes Zelda in in a good way and not too dramatically.



startropics3 said:

@Peppy_Hare Thanks for posting Tevis' essay. He really captured a lot of what I've felt since Wind Waker. His opinion is definitely coming from someone who remembers when games were challenging. I remember playing Zelda 2 on the NES when it was released and having my ass handed to me multiple times. I recently purchased it for the GBA, and after still getting trounced by death mountain, I realized my 6 or 7 year-old self must have had quite a bit of patience (and imagination).

The hand-holding in the polygon (3D) Zeldas is really disappointing. It's as if Nintendo or Aonuma doesn't expect much from the player, thus a "locked door" is placed in areas to keep you from getting hurt or failing. That was not the idea behind Miyamoto's Zelda. In the first Zelda, you could get through the most of the overworld and some of dungeons in any order you pleased. Heck, it was even possible to get to Gannon without using a sword. You would die, a lot, but it was not frustrating in the same way a Mega Man game was. You felt like progression was just a matter of time and strategy, not careful button presses (as in Mega Man) or finding the right NPC to talk to (as in recent Zeldas). The reliance on a linear story and weapons as plot-items and keys has been way overdone in recent Zeldas, even in a Link to the Past. Tevis' essay goes into this much more, and I suggest any Zelda fan reads it.

What I prefer about Dark Souls is it's a return to that age of real freedom to die and imagine, but I understand that it is not for everyone. You don't get a map (draw it yourself). You don't get a story (do what you please and kill NPCs). And you don't get directions (use trial and error or notes left on the ground by other players). It's almost like a life lesson wrapped in a very rewarding game. It's also the adventure RPG I've wanted from Zelda since Ocarina. Maybe this is the realism that I thought would be in Twilight Princess. Instead we got more of the same, which was definitely a good game and may have advanced the series as far as storytelling and character development, but it was not as rewarding and heartfelt as the first two Zeldas.

I guess linear games have their place, but I doubt Miyamoto intended for a linear Zelda given the distinction between it and Super Mario.



ouroborous said:

don't know that messing with the formula is going to work, i already hate the wiimote controls (although twilight princess was still the most boring zelda ever even on the gamecube)



MeloMan said:

Thats what they said about skyward sword. hope they get it right this time.



Irene said:

This is one of the best things I've heard all day. I'm tired of the extremely linear order and having it go back to its roots is nice.

Albeit, having an explorable Overworld like OOT again would suffice. Spirit Tracks had the worst Overworld literally ever. If you could seriously call it that.

Anyway, I can't wait. I wonder if they'll reuse the Clawshots again. They were rather neat compared to the Hookshots. Although the Switchhooks were cool too.

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