News Article

Aonuma: I Want To Work On Things Other Than Zelda

Posted by Damien McFerran

"I only have about ten more years to make games at Nintendo"

Eiji Aonuma has worked on the Zelda series for 15 years now, and has been responsible for some truly amazing entries in this beloved franchise. However, in a recent interview with EDGE magazine, he has revealed that he'd like to try other things before he retires:

I'm 50 now, so I only have about ten more years to make games at Nintendo. I want to try all sorts of new things before it's too late — I don't want to get to the end of my career and only have worked on Zelda. But every time I come up with some good new ideas, they end up being used in a Zelda game! I need a six-month break to get away from the Zelda cycle and focus on something new [laughs]. But I'd probably end up making a game that is similar to Zelda; after all, A Link to the Past was my biggest influence.

Elsewhere in the interview — which also contains details about the upcoming 3DS entry running at 60fps and the proposed use of the console's 3D effect — Aonuma reveals that Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka can't remember much about the development of the original Link to the Past:

I have asked them for advice, but the problem is that they don't remember anything! For instance, Link was originally left-handed, but later became right-handed, and everyone has a different theory as to the reasons why. When I asked Miyamoto about it, he said, 'I forget!'

Finally, Aonuma admits that he has a very close connection with the character of Link, likening him to his own child:

When I first started making Zelda games, I was more interested in the enemy characters than in Link himself. But while I was making Twilight Princess, I was listening to the theme on an iPod while walking hand in hand with my child, and I suddenly burst into tears. I was thinking about all the awful trials Link would have to go through in the new game. I realised that Link really is my other child. I don't inhabit the character so much as watch him from somewhere very close.

You can read the full interview in issue 255 of EDGE magazine.

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User Comments (58)

Pixel-Perfect

#1

Pixel-Perfect said:

He should work on something else... I wouldn't want to work on only one series either. Anyways, this was a good read.

Kifa

#3

Kifa said:

Making games from one series for so many years straight does not sound like a good thing, and I'm really interested in what Anouma could possible do with some other, brand new IP. Still - with the Wii U Zelda looming on the horizon I doubt he's getting the break any time soon... ;]

DarkCoolEdge

#4

DarkCoolEdge said:

Maybe he can retire from Zelda, at least for a while, after the WiiU one is done. It'd be great to get a new big IP from Nintendo.

Geonjaha

#5

Geonjaha said:

That's kind of a sad story. Being tied to a franchise as successful on that - meaning you end up doing little else. :/

I hope he manages to get work on some other games done. Zelda games can be great, even in the hands of other developers - the fact that my favourite one was made by Capcom should show that.

RevolverLink

#7

RevolverLink said:

I'd welcome it. Aonuma clearly wants to try his hand at other things, and who can blame him? Even if you are proud of your work on a series, what type of creator wants to be stuck working on just one IP for their whole career? And Zelda could truly benefit from some fresh creative blood at this point.

Trikeboy

#8

Trikeboy said:

Umm, Link became right handed because of the Wii. They made him a righty because they assumed most people were right handed and wouldn't be able to play Zelda if he stayed a lefty.

NintyMan

#9

NintyMan said:

He's said before that he would like to work on games other than Zelda, so I hope that he gets to.

It's somewhat surprising that Miyamoto would forget how he made A Link to the Past. I imagine some would be skeptical of that statement, but after working on many large projects that require a tremendous amount of work, I guess the memory of all of that one big project back in the day would slip away somewhat. Thing is, Miyamoto can still remember certain details from games before that, so who knows?

shingi_70

#10

shingi_70 said:

Probably won't happen between the three zelda games.Hey nintendo maybe pull a sakurai for all your top devs.

mookysam

#12

mookysam said:

I think Aonuma's Zelda games have more of an attention to minor detail in the game world and tend to focus more on characters and themes. Wind Waker was very light and whimsical, but Majora's Mask and Twilight Princess were much darker. Games in general are becoming more cinematic and have greater narrative complexity, so these are things the series should continue to work on.

I wonder if Nintendo would let him work on a new IP?

sinalefa

#14

sinalefa said:

They should let him do a small game (something like harmoknight) to see how it goes. I know nintendo has their staff working in different projects, so why should not be the same with him?

DarkNinja9

#16

DarkNinja9 said:

to me it seems like this might be why at times some zelda games felt a bit off at some points :| he needed a break to refresh his mind with new ideas and not stay stuck in trying to think and think what next at the same time though this might not look good for the new zelda game then :(

still i say he should have a chance to create a new IP or something

ajcismo

#17

ajcismo said:

He's just a dude who has to go to work just like everybody else, and deal with work things just like everybody else. Granted, he oozes awesome juice out of every pore so I'm sure he'll have his chance to do something different. Which it will probably be awesome.

Bobhobob

#18

Bobhobob said:

He should ever do a new IP, or put some creativity into a new 2D Mario. That is a series that needs something new.

NINTENBOY

#19

NINTENBOY said:

I wanna see a new IP from Nintendo as much as anyone but you can tell this guy really LOVES Link as his "other child" as he said. I would like to see him go in to different avenunes but you couldn't really replace him.....

Unless if he leaves then they finally have voice actors for the next game....I mean Link can still remain silent but there's no excuse for everybody else. Plus it would be awesome to see a 4 player co-op made or something that would be cool just saying Zealda does need to mix it up a little bit.

BlackSpy

#20

BlackSpy said:

I think it would be fitting if the Wii U Zelda game would be his last Zelda game. Someone else could work on a Zelda game (if they can, like Eji would) and he can work on something like Mario, Metroid, or some new IP. Just a thought.

FernandoMachado

#22

FernandoMachado said:

There's so much passion in his words you can tell he's really attached to the franchise which might be why the games are always provide experiences that you just can't find anywhere else.

LordGeovanni

#23

LordGeovanni said:

I don't think that he really could leave a Zelda game in development. I think that if he tried for the 6-month break and they started something that he would get dragged in somehow...
As for Zelda, I wish that Nintendo would make more games sprite-based like Oracle(s) and Link's Awakening. There is so much potential for an easy-make game where it is still good as well as having the "retro" feel of a true nostalgic game (to me at least).
The Four Swords games really drive this home for me. Have any of you played the Four Swords Adventure game for GC? That was done GREAT and it actually used sprite-based tech. I really wish that they would shy some of the Zeldas back into sprite-focus instead of the 3D that they have been with the DS games. Maybe...

bizcuthammer

#25

bizcuthammer said:

After the next Wii U Zelda is finished, they should give the next entry to Retro and let Aonuma work on something else like Kid Icarus or Luigi's Mansion or Star Fox. I really think it would benefit Nintendo if they let their empkoyees work on games they truly want to make rather than always making the same teams make the same games. The new Mario game is also being made by the same team that made the last 3 mario games... If i worked on the same games like that, i'd be incredibly bored after a while. Why not switch up the formula a bit, ninty? It could turn out great with people who havent worked on a Zelda game coming in with some really fresh ideas for a change.

bassoongoon

#26

bassoongoon said:

This is definitely understandable. I hope that he gets something new to do after the main Zelda game on Wii U.

Spoony_Tech

#28

Spoony_Tech said:

Negative, you are a meat popsicle! All your butts belong to Nintendo! You will forever be stuck working on the greatest franchise EVER!

Dpullam

#30

Dpullam said:

I really don't blame him for wanting to create a game other than Zelda. I just hope that Nintendo gives him the opportunity to do so since I am sure he could create something special if given the chance.

Nico07

#31

Nico07 said:

New IPs aren't always a win. I'd say finish the big Zelda title for the Wii U and then try another project.

MikeDanger

#32

MikeDanger said:

Work on anything you desire Mr. Aonuma please. you're like the Hideo Kojima of Nintendo.

3Daniel

#33

3Daniel said:

New blood brings new life to ips so as long as the torch is passed to someone awesome im not concerned.

Algus

#34

Algus said:

Put this man to work on an action-RPG series right away. Good things could happen from marrying some of Zelda's mechanics with a deeper role-playing system.

AJWolfTill

#36

AJWolfTill said:

I really want Aonuma to work on something else, pretty much every developer states they would love to work on this franchise and Nintendo would never let someone mishandle this franchise. Also if Aonuma was given free reign as he says we would probably end up with a game with many similarities to the Zelda franchise but without any of the creative shackles in place in a franchise as huge and iconic as this.

startropics3

#37

startropics3 said:

"But I'd probably end up making a game that is similar to Zelda; after all, A Link to the Past was my biggest influence."

That may explain why almost every Zelda game since ALttP has followed the same general outline: princess is captured (come on!), retrieve three items then the sword, and retrieve several more items to get back the princess. This is the reason Majora's Mask stands out among the titles, although he co-directed that as well.

Get some young and creative directors in there or at least someone who doesn't refuse to acknowledge the original NES Zelda's due to their difficulty.

DerpSandwich

#38

DerpSandwich said:

You wouldn't have caught me saying this six years ago, but after Skyward Sword I think it would be great to get some fresh talent on the next Zelda game.

And joke time: Only ten more years, huh? Hey, looks like you've got just about enough time to work on one and a half more titles!

Epicnessofme99

#39

Epicnessofme99 said:

I wouldn't mind him working on something else, a new IP is always great, I remember when Pikmin was first announced I freaked out.

jon45030

#40

jon45030 said:

if he stops does this mean we wont get any more beutifully made zelda games? i hope not.

Lobster

#42

Lobster said:

I feel like he gave the same interview - the Please, Let Me Work On Something Else For Once interview, right after Skyward Sword too. Am I just imagining this?

Poor man. Let him do something else for a change, I'm sure it will be just as good. He shouldn't be randomly bursting into tears over a video game character while walking down the street. Let him get some distance.

smashbrolink

#43

smashbrolink said:

Any game that he works on would be blessed to have him.
You can really tell that he puts his heart into his work, and whether haters like it or not, he's the kind of man that we need more of in the industry.

Zombie_Barioth

#44

Zombie_Barioth said:

@LordGeovanni
Thats actually one of my favorite things about Four Swords Adventure, right down to looking just like A link to the Past.

I'd love to see what Aonuma could come up with wihen left to his own devices without his ideas automatically being tied to Zelda. The fact that ALTTP is such a big influence on his work is probably why his ideas fit so well with Zelda most of the time to begin with.

The mind is such a funny thing ain't it? You never think about such a seemingly huge event for so many people being so easily forgotten.

WinterWarm

#45

WinterWarm said:

"When I asked Miyamoto, he said 'I forget'!"

HAHAHAHA! XD

That's classic. :P

Anyway, this kinda depressed me. :(

ramstrong

#46

ramstrong said:

Retirement age in Japan is 60 years old? That's interesting. Isn't the divorce rate in Japan is highest around 60 year olds? Is that luck or is there something going here? Maybe he should work on games for old married couple to spend time together in retirement!

FritzFrapp

#48

FritzFrapp said:

I really don't want Retro working on Zelda, as I don't think they're good enough for Nintendo's. I'd much rather have Sakurai work his magic on the franchise when he's done with Smash Bros or Shimizu at EAD Tokyo.

Emaan

#53

Emaan said:

I'd love to see what Aonuma can do with another Nintendo series, or better yet something new!

Henmii

#55

Henmii said:

I don't think Nintendo will ever let him work on something else! A pity though, it could have potential!

QuickSilver88

#57

QuickSilver88 said:

As much as I love Nintendo's traditional lPs, I really think they shouod have their top talent working on some new IPs.....Miyamoto last new IP was Pikman? I would love to see something new out of him and Aonuma. Also after the new Zelda U it might be interesting to see someone like Retro put a new spin on it. I really hope W101 and Bayonetta 2 turn out good and do well, as I would love to see Nintendo fully own Platinum games and Monolith as well. That and it would be nice to see Nintendo try to aquire or assemble more Western teams as they did so great in working with Rare and Retro and even Silcon Knights.

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