News Article

Eiji Aonuma Explains Why The Legend of Zelda Isn't a Yearly Franchise

Posted by Martin Watts

Quality is the key

Time has played a key role in many of the games in The Legend of Zelda series, and it would seem that it's also quite important when it comes to its development. In a recent interview with Shack News Eiji Aonuma explained why we don't see our favourite green-garbed hero on a yearly basis, as per Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed.

The esteemed producer of the legendary series was keen to point out that a yearly Legend of Zelda release wouldn't necessarily be impossible, referring to the relatively short amount of time between 1998's The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and 2000's The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask:

Ocarina of Time was the first 3D Zelda game. When you make a 3D game, you have all these 3D models. But in a 2D game, you're drawing all these 2D images. Even if you wanted to make another game right away, if the background is different, you actually end up having to re-draw everything. But in a 3D game, you can put those 3D models in different backgrounds and animate them...So Mr. Miyamoto thought 'well, actually shouldn't this make it easier for us to make a sequel?'

While The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask did feature lots of new areas, players will remember that many of the same character models from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time were reused. Nintendo got around this by having the game take place in Termina, a bizarre parallel of Hyrule in which most characters had different roles and names.

It was after The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker released that the series began to slow down, with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess appearing a hefty four years later and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword another five years after the latter. Aonuma states in the interview that this is completely intentional.

I think before, we did maybe try to make Zelda games come out faster. But there's so much expected of Zelda titles now, so you have to reach a certain level of quality, so that's why we started to take a bit more time now," he told us. I don't think it's necessary that development needs to be longer. But to reach a certain level of quality, there's just a certain amount of time that's needed.

A new Legend of Zelda project is in the works for Wii U, but Aonuma doesn't feel under any pressure to get it out too soon. With The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD having released earlier this month and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds coming to 3DS on 22nd November, it's quite clear that fans will be satiated for some time to come.

Would you be happier if the The Legend of Zelda franchise consisted of annual releases, but at the expense of some quality? Share your thoughts below.

Many thanks to Ryan Millar for bringing this interview to our attention.

[via shacknews.com]

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User Comments (120)

Diz93

#2

Diz93 said:

I don't want it to be a yearly release, but it would be nice if they picked up the pace just a little bit. Maybe a game every 3 or 4 years at the most? That could help with hardware sales too. The wonderful thing about Nintendo is that they take their time to create a perfect game, but it's so hard to be patient for so long.

Kevin

#4

Kevin said:

Thank God for that. Game in series that come out every year lack quality.

Kaine_Morrison

#6

Kaine_Morrison said:

I say every 2 and a half years.
Or 3 per console.
I hate that A Link to the Past was the ONLY Super Nintendo Zelda Game.
Same with the Wii, Skyward Sword was the only Wii ONLY Zelda Game.

SkywardCrowbar

#8

SkywardCrowbar said:

Zelda games are (along with 3D Mario games) the gold standard of the entire industry when it comes to quality. A key component to how great Zelda titles are is that the devs take their time.

Diz93

#11

Diz93 said:

@JudgeMethos I know! It's like they assume we only play their game. I mean I still havent finished Assassin's Creed 3 and now 4 is coming out, and theres a bunch of other games I'd like to play. How do they expect us to buy a brand new game when there are other games we want for cheaper?

startropics3

#13

startropics3 said:

Gives everyone time to experience other titles, not only for consumers, but also developers. Other action RPGs have tried and succeeded at new ideas that I would love to see in a Zelda title.

It also wouldn't hurt to have some replay value in the Zelda series. Multiplayer is fine, but a dungeon editor would be delicious.

TheAdrock

#14

TheAdrock said:

I don't want N to compromise on Zelda quality, but they also don't need to take 5 years between titles. And now we're supposed to wait another 2+ years for the next Zelda (making it 4+ years since SS), and they justify that in the name of "quality". FAIL.

unrandomsam

#16

unrandomsam said:

@Diz93 I would rather them slow it down.(And make sure every revision is better than the last in every way). If it is not up to scratch use different characters and release it as something else so it is less disappointing.

GazPlant

#18

GazPlant said:

However long it takes is how long I wait. Don't rush Zelda, it's not a franchise that can be taken lightly

WanderingPB

#19

WanderingPB said:

I prefer quality over quantity…which is why Nintendo is my favorite

I agree it sucks to wait but these classic titles are worth the wait

Zombie_Barioth

#20

Zombie_Barioth said:

Games like Zelda don't really need a yearly release. People buy the latest COD or Battlefield for roster updates, new/updated mechanics, ect. once the newest game is out people usually move on. Zelda is the kind of series you'll usually want to replay or return to later. People still play the original ALTTP after all these years.

TruenoGT

#21

TruenoGT said:

I don't think I want ANY franchise annually. Annual releases are usually not nearly unique enough to warrant a whole new game.

unrandomsam

#22

unrandomsam said:

@SkywardCrowbar Ocarina of Time was. Skyword Sword is what definitely not to do (Telling you what to do all the time etc). Twilight Princess is quite good. Not bothered about Windwaker. A Link to the Past is great.

(I take the gold standard to mean perfect in every way).

Mario Galaxy 1/2 is a gold standard game and probably 64 was (3D Land definitely isn't).

Xiao_Pai

#23

Xiao_Pai said:

Thought the image was fake for a minute there. xD
I do hope they keep the visuals like that for Wii U, cel-shading needs a small break.

Senario

#24

Senario said:

@theadrock13 I dunno, I wouldn't trade anything for a new zelda game tomorrow. Quality is not a fail excuse or reason. It is a fair reason considering zelda has the highest standard of quality in the industry.

Sir_JBizzle

#26

Sir_JBizzle said:

@unrandomsam even with the excessive hand holding, Skyward Sword was still very decent, and could still be considered a gold standard among games. I think the problem was that with the Wii, they had a MASSIVE causal audience and they were trying to cater to them as well. Hopefully that need to cater changes with Zelda U.

JebbyDeringer

#27

JebbyDeringer said:

5 years is way too long and while I have been a bit annoyed at how stale the franchise is becoming I can't knock the quality one bit. I think 3 years is about right, also timing is key, Skyward Sword was way too late in the life of the Wii.

Giygas_95

#28

Giygas_95 said:

"Would you be happier if the The Legend of Zelda franchise consisted of annual releases, but at the expense of some quality?"

Heck no. They can take all the time they want as far as I'm concerned.

Neram

#29

Neram said:

I don't mind waiting. I'd rather have quality Zelda games that come out once every 5 or 6 years than annual releases that are essentially the same thing only incrementally improved (I'm looking at you Assassin's Creed). In fact I'd like to see only one Zelda game per console. Every time there's two per platform the second one is too different like Zelda II or Majora's Mask, with the exception of Twilight Priness of course, but that was sort of an unusual case being on GameCube and Wii.

Anyway, this is good because it shows that Nintendo isn't interested in pumping out Zelda games at the expense of quality.

SkywardCrowbar

#30

SkywardCrowbar said:

@unrandomsam You are stating opinion. I'm talking about review scores.

GameRankings:

Ocarina of Time: 97.54 (93.96 for 3D, 89.77 for Master Quest on GCN)
Majora's Mask: 91.95
Wind Waker: 94.43 (90.39 for HD on Wii U)
Twilight Princess: 95 on GCN, 94.58 on Wii
Skyward Sword: 93.25

The first 3 titles (through Link to the Past) are all considered classics. Legend of Zelda games are absolutely considered gold standard by critics, developers, and many gamers.

Also, Skyward Sword is my favorite game in the series, and my second favorite game of all time.

vio

#31

vio said:

@theadrock13 Historically they have released a new console with a new Zelda title? With the exception of Twilight Princess(which was ported over from the Gamecube), what Zelda's launched with a Nintendo console?

sinalefa

#33

sinalefa said:

I don't mind either. There is a good mixture of handheld and console Zeldas, so even if the console versions take longer, you never feel like there are no Zeldas to play in between.

And besides the burnout and the hit in quality, yearly releases are also very heavy on the wallet.

Haxonberik

#34

Haxonberik said:

A main game every 3 years seems like the sweet spot to me for deelopment time and hype building.

DerpSandwich

#35

DerpSandwich said:

Happy medium. Yearly? No way. Every five years? Horrible to wait for. So how about every two or three years? How about each time an all new game comes out, we get a "sequel" using much of the same code shortly after? Then they can take a bit more time to make one from the ground up.

I appreciate the level of quality in Zelda games, but I'm really not okay with how infrequently they release, especially seeing how great Majora's Mask turned out. I just hate how they have to pretty much start over every single time. Other systems get three or four games per series per generation, and they still get great scores. I would sacrifice a little quality to get more games, personally. (Especially when a game takes five years and then doesn't live up to your expectations, like Skyward Sword for me. Not a fun way to end a half-decade wait.)

Williaint

#36

Williaint said:

I have no beef against the development time (Then again, I'm the patient type). I'm just happy that they are working on it. Having one too often would make the series like Madden. I hope that day never comes.

Diavir

#37

Diavir said:

I think everyones in agreement that while the wait sucks it definitely pays off, having them spit out every 6-12 months would be a terrible terrible terrible alternative

3Daniel

#39

3Daniel said:

i think the Zelda universe just needs to branch out. theres enough characters and interesting lore to support other genres. id like a sequel, at least in terms of gameplay, to adventure of link. or perhaps a turn based rpg. or a game starring and detailing ganondorfs upbringing in the gerudo desert and eventual corruption leading into OoT. Or even those DS tingle games. I thought this was going to be the case after crossbow training...

LetsGoRetro

#40

LetsGoRetro said:

My opinion on this is that every 2-3 years would be a good compromise. While i don't want rushed products, it kills me sometimes when i finish a zelda game and think of the age I'll be the next time I get a chance to do so.

Zelda has always been the gold standard of quality but honestly things are getting much closer nowadays than they were. OOT was miles ahead of it's competition when it released, so that wait was worth it, but how much better can Zelda be than the other big hitters out nowadays?

Can Zelda really be made to feel way more epic than skyrim? how much better can it really than the monolith soft's x?

Whereas in the past, that extra time helped to create a "miles ahead of the rest" experience, zelda's only real differentiating factor from it's competition nowadays is it's history and it's charm. And neither of those need 5 years development cycles, so let me have my zelda just a LITTLE sooner please, big N?

thesilverbrick

#42

thesilverbrick said:

@theadrock13 Umm, the NES, SNES, N64 and GameCube did not launch with a Zelda title. The NES came out in 1985 and the first Zelda in 1986. The SNES came out in 1991 and Link to the Past in 1992. The N64 in 1996 and Ocarina in 1998. And finally the GameCube in 2001 and Wind Waker in 2003. So really, the Wii was the only console to launch with Zelda, and it was a port.

SwerdMurd

#43

SwerdMurd said:

Heaven forbid we ever enter an age where they try to crank a Zelda game out every year. One of the last pristine franchises we have left (hi Super Mario Galaxy 2! :/ )

Subie98

#44

Subie98 said:

@DerpSandwich agreed. I also didnt like how they did the dungeons. At least making you return to the same dungeons but extended it with a new area felt like they rushed it. What were they doing for the better part of 5 years? I see no excuse. By the time I had gotten everything and what not I was so burnt out on the game I didnt bother to fight the last boss. Shame. I had beaten every console zelda too. I was excited for that game. I was very let down.

thesilverbrick

#45

thesilverbrick said:

@unrandomsam Mario 64 is highly romanticized at this point. Go back and play it. It's still fun, but it really hasn't aged all that well, unlike Ocarina of Time.

thesilverbrick

#47

thesilverbrick said:

@Subie98 I disagree. Ocarina got rereleased on 3DS with no changes to the gameplay and still reviewed well. Mario 64 didn't fare so well with its DS remake and that even included tons of extra content.

Lionhart

#48

Lionhart said:

Both "The Legend of Zelda" and "Kid Icarus" are synonymous with quality and I wouldn't want for Nintendo to sell out on quality for quantity. I think that Nintendo should stick with their formula for quality and content over speed and yearly releases. We've got a good Zelda lowdown with Wind Waker HD and A Link Betwixt Worlds and so I'm pretty happy with the way things are now. I'm fairly confident that the next Zelda WiiU title will release either in Q4 of 2014 or Q1 of 2015. Kid Icarus Uprising is the BEST Nintendo game that I have ever played and I can't wait to pick up my own copy of KI Uprising once I buy a 3DS XL this Black Friday.

Subie98

#49

Subie98 said:

@thesilverbrick not everyone has a 3ds or would pay attention to that. I own all the Zeldas that have came out o console. Ive played oot and mario 64 recently. Both dont look very good. Super mario world for snes and alttp has aged better. Just will have to agree to disagree.

Genesaur

#50

Genesaur said:

Pfft, as if they don't release something every year or so, anyway. It may not be a main-line title, but they really have been coming out with plenty of Zelda, for the past few years.

thesilverbrick

#51

thesilverbrick said:

@Subie98 I wasn't referring to visuals. Ocarina still plays nearly perfectly while Mario 64 seems kind of simplistic now by comparison. Don't get me wrong, I still think Mario 64 has historical value and is still fun, but it doesn't hold up as well in the gameplay department.

Subie98

#52

Subie98 said:

@thesilverbrick oh. See, when i played oot recently, I started in the middle of the game. Was bored, dont ask. It felt clunky as all hell. I tried to play it for like 20 minutes and quit because of the controls. I thought to myself..howd I play this through back then? Maybe I had patience to get used to the controls then. Being I wasn't really vested in getting back into it. Mario 64 controls felt clunky but not that clunky. Dunno. I played starfox 64 recently too. I love that game. Again the controls were very blah. Maybe im just spoiled on current stuff. No....when I think about it there is plenty of snes games that just plain feel better.

GalacticMario28

#53

GalacticMario28 said:

I think it's good that Zelda games typically only come out once every few years. Yeah, some people want them more frequently (providing the quality of the games doesn't suffer at all), but if the games did come out annually, then I think a lot of people would start to get burnt out after a few years. If the current method isn't broken, don't try to fix it.

rbmoura85

#54

rbmoura85 said:

@theadrock13 zelda titles usually come late in the consoles life...TP for the wii was an exception. N64 did not launch with ocarina of time (it was an extremely long wait, actually), neither snes with alttp :)

rbmoura85

#55

rbmoura85 said:

I like when they take the time they need...when a new zelda is released its like a big thing for me, becuase im a huge fan since the snes days, and i like it to keep being a big event like it is, and not something trivial (anyway theres always portable zelda to keep us entertained until the next big one)

thesilverbrick

#56

thesilverbrick said:

@Subie98 Well, the clunky controls may have had something to do with the N64's controller, which is more of a torture device than a game input device. That said, what I mean is that Ocarina's progression, gameplay and overall flow is still very good when compared to modern adventure games while Mario 64 is very primitive in terms of structure when compared to modern platformers.

Subie98

#57

Subie98 said:

@thesilverbrick I played it with the gamecube controller. I played it on the collecters edition rather than digging out the n64. I just meant the way yhe character moved felt clunky. I get you now though.

Bryon15

#58

Bryon15 said:

@Sideswipe
But we did get a new zelda every year from 1998 to 2007. Here's a list:

1998 - ocarina of time
1999 - link's awakening DX
2000 - majora's mask
2001 - oracle of ages/seasons
2002 - a link to the past/four swords
2003 - the wind waker
2004 - four sword adventures
2005 - the minish cap
2006 - twilight princess
2007 - phantom hourglass

DerpSandwich

#59

DerpSandwich said:

@Subie98 Seriously! After five years, why was the world so small?? But I could go on and on about why I was disappointed with that game, haha.

People think Nintendo takes a lot of time to polish their games, but I think there are also big management problems in the company. I think they're just not good at managing their resources. No other company picks and chooses what IP they want to work on--if it's something they think is marketable, they work on it all the time. None of this "We MIGHT get around to making another [blank] game someday..." garbage.

dyopri

#60

dyopri said:

its great that zelda games would shift from consoles to handheld every couple of years or so.. makes us not wait too long for a zelda experience

MrL1193

#62

MrL1193 said:

I understand that the developers need to ensure the quality of the game, especially for a franchise that's held to such a high standard, but I do sometimes wish that they could find a way to make more than one home console Zelda game per generation (not counting ports like the Wii version of Twilight Princess). Majora's Mask is a bit of an oddball in the series, but the reused character models didn't seem to do it much harm.

VolcanoFlames

#64

VolcanoFlames said:

Hmph. I wouldn't even want it to be, cuz I can't get my hands on all of 'em. Plus I want quality titles!

bloodycelt

#66

bloodycelt said:

Well, in the interim between zeldas, how about a new action RPG title? Or a revisit to Star Tropics?

CaviarMeths

#67

CaviarMeths said:

Definitely quality comes first. Even with the long waits between console titles, Zelda games are almost endlessly accessible. Ocarina of Time was 13 years old at the time of its remake's release and is still considered a must-buy for the 3DS. Replay value for a core Zelda title is near-infinite.

I'd really like to see Kid Icarus become a franchise too though. Sakurai seems so overworked, but he could be to Kid Icarus as Aonuma is to Zelda.

Zombie_Barioth

#70

Zombie_Barioth said:

@DerpSandwich
I think a lot of that might be because they pretty much dedicate a team of devs to each franchise. They have Retro on DK, team Mario, team Zelda, ect. and thats pretty much all they have those teams working on. Sakurai has called them out on it before, even when he wanted to work on something new they kept making him start on another Kirby. Didn't Retro also make a similar comment about DK a while back?

As for why I think it comes down to their own big franchises' success. What sells better, Mario or Kirby? Zelda or Metroid? Despite all this demand for their other franchises they still sell truck loads, so why bother doing anything else? Its not that they don't know people like and want them, there just aren't as many as those who want Mario or Zelda.

Peach64

#71

Peach64 said:

I have no problem waiting for games, but I'm not sure they use their time wisely. For me, the last GREAT Zelda game was Wind Waker. Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword were both very, very good, but not in that AAA bracket for me. Most people playing GTA V see the size, scope and detail in that world and comment how it's incredible they've done that in just five years, but I don't think anyone made the same comments about Skyward Sword.

Burn out is a different matter and a problem though. On one the latest Bombcasts they were talking about how much they enjoyed the WW remake, and then went onto say WW was the last Zelda they really enjoyed, as some had either felt Twilight Princess was the point where it felt stale, and others got there with Skyward Sword. I'll get flamed for saying it, but I think the problem is that the team have a very set idea of the Zelda story, and they 'remake' it far too often. Not ALWAYS, but often.

Einherjar

#72

Einherjar said:

There is one key difference between game franchises released evey year and franchises like zelda that have longer pauses in between:
Most franchises that get released on a (half)year basis get finished once and are then quickly forgotten, replaced by their sequels.
No one i know direktly compares Zelda titles to each other. Sure, you can say that you like X more than Y but i never saw someone argue that one Zelda game was inferior to another because of specific things. Zelda games stand on their own over decades. The old "A Link to the Past" is still as important and beloved as every new installment, something that rarely happens with modern games / franchises.
Take Assassins Creed for instance. The first 2 installments had quite some time in between and id showed. 2 was a drastic improvement over the first game in both gameplay and story telling. But the fact is, the first game is now more or less obsolete as it doesnt offer anything special on its own. It serves as an entry point to the series story wise, but since every subsequent game is pretty much the same game with enhancements none of them matter anymore.
Zelda games on the other hand differ greatly from each other. They are paced differently, have a different take at story telling, focus on different aspects of gameplay etc. That way, each game has its distinct personality that cant be easily replaced. Majoras Mask may be a direkt sequel to Ocarina of Time, but no one would ever argue that MM replaces OoT or that one is superior to the other. You may like one more than the other, but both are, at their core, completely different games. And such things cant be made on a yearly basis, it needs time and effort.

Jaco

#73

Jaco said:

@Peach64 I agree, wind waker was the last GREAT Zelda game. The once since have been great GAMES but not great ZELDA games. For me, there's a difference.

With wind waker there was truly a full explorable world, with optional side quests and items that were not needed to finish the game, but were fun to get none the less. I was truly disappointed by the size of the world in twilight princess and the lack of things to do (compared to wind waker) Twilight Princess couldhave been so much more but I believe that when the idea of porting it to Wii came along, that past bit of development was all for the new system, instead of making it a zelda game to remember for years to come

DarkCoolEdge

#74

DarkCoolEdge said:

Zelda is special and as something special, it can't be released often. Four years sounds about right.

Morph

#75

Morph said:

I think the bigger issue is releasing the game right at the end of a consoles life rather than at the height of its popularity, skyward sword and twilight princess both did this. Hopefully they can break that cycle with wii u.

retro_player_22

#76

retro_player_22 said:

The thing that make the Legend of Zelda great is its quality, take that away and it'll be just like the CD-I games. So glad Aonuma is in no rush in developing it.

Assassinated

#77

Assassinated said:

I think it would be good to have a new entry every 2 to 3 years on consoles, with handheld entries interspersed throughout. it definitely should not become a yearly console franchise however, I could see it working with a yearly hand held console pattern.

Boxmonkey

#78

Boxmonkey said:

There should be two zelda games on every console, one near the beginning if the console release and one near the end. By the time this zelda wii u comes out the u will be over three years old! That is not good enough!

banacheck

#79

banacheck said:

I don't think people understand what quality actually means, quality in a game obviously does take time. But gone are the days of developer’s having the responsibility of debugging, hence as games got bigger developer's & publisher realized that they needed to invest in a larger pool of testers, hence Quality Assurance. But seeing as we are in 2013 quality management should be done at every point in the game development cycle, cutting it short quality in a game has nothing to do with gameplay or the actually size of the game.

retro_player_22

#80

retro_player_22 said:

@Boxmonkey

I agree; however, I feel as time goes on and the industry evolve the development for Zelda games will lag behind due to its long development cycle though as long as the games are great it's worth waiting for. The Super NES is the only Nintendo home console to only had one Zelda game, the NES, N64, and GameCube are the only Nintendo home consoles to had two new Zelda games released for its gen, the Wii and Wii U also had two Zelda games for its gen as well but the early two are port/remake while the last two are new.

Spanjard

#81

Spanjard said:

I wouldn't mind another "sequel" thing like majoras mask, using the same models, etc. It allows for more Zelda and retaining quality. It would just look a bit the same, that's all.

EarthboundBenjy

#82

EarthboundBenjy said:

There tend to be 2 Zeldas on each system, though a lot of the time one of them is a port.
Quick rundown:
NES had Zelda 1 and Zelda 2

N64 had Ocarina and Majora

DS had Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks

GBC had a port of Link's Awakening, plus Seasons and Ages

GBA had a port of A Link to the Past, plus Four Swords and Minish Cap, as well as Zelda 1 and Zelda 2 as part of the Classic NES series.

GameCube had Wind Waker, Four Swords Adventures and Twilight Princes. PLUS GCN also has the Ocarina Master Quest, and a port of Zelda 1, Zelda 2, Ocarina and Majora on a collector's disc.

Wii had a port of Twilight Princess, plus Skyward Sword.
3DS has a port of Ocarina, plus A Link Between Worlds.

The only systems with only a single Zelda were SNES with A Link to the Past and the first GB with Link's Awakening.

AJWolfTill

#83

AJWolfTill said:

@theadrock13
I know it's annoying about the Wii U but there is a Zelda title coming out next month :P and there was one (sort of) released this month.

The_Ninja

#84

The_Ninja said:

Why would you want it on a yearly basis? If people keep bashing Nintendo, the game will end up like Sonic 06.....

WaveBoy

#85

WaveBoy said:

no less than 3 years would more ideal. I would rather see more of a focus on delivering new franchises or older franchises that need to be resurrected like StarTropics, maybe a new Ice Climbers and everybody's favorite...Gyromite ;)Untitled

mookysam

#86

mookysam said:

At the moment I appreciate the balance between new console and handheld entries and remakes of older titles. There is never too long to wait for a game in the series. The release of a new console Zelda always feels like an event to me. Sometimes the wait is horrible, as with Skyward Sword, but that just made me appreciate it more. Zelda games are consistently excellent, so for me, it's worth the wait. I would hate to get burnt out on annual console releases.

Goginho

#87

Goginho said:

Quality comes first. But I do not wish to wait a lifetime for a new game in one of my favorite series. I do not wish to wait 5 even 4 years for a new console Zelda to come out. I don't just want one new Zelda game per generation (two if you count portable), as we are getting older :P
I also don't want an overdose. It's been proven that, what's rare, is more valuable.

That being said, I would like a yearly release, although alternating between console and portable, meaning every two years a new console Zelda, and every other two years a new portable Zelda, since different teams would be working on them anyway. I think that would be a reasonable balance.
If I recall correctly, the seemingly quick release of Majora's Mask back in 2000 (~2 years after Ocarina of Time), proved that quality does not need to be sacrificed in order to achieve that two-year basis I mentioned.

Now, I don't know much about game development, and according to this trend; 4 years from WW to TP, then 5 years from TP to SS ..one would say that technology has gotten us so far, that developers need to spend more time on developing games. Personally, I would have assumed the other way around though, especially due to the fact of gained experience and expanded dev teams and what not. Although, one must take into consideration that those titles have completely different visuals, so they had to have started at square one with each, unlike for Majora's Mask.
Therefore, I can only suggest that they stick with the next and upcoming visual direction they have determined for Zelda U, and try to create another Zelda title before the Wii U's generation presumably ends.

DestinyMan

#89

DestinyMan said:

I thought this would've been a foregone conclusion that with a series like Zelda, patience and time were the keys to quality. They don't have to take so much time that there could only be one Zelda game on a console, but they also don't have to pump Zelda games out a year. Time should be managed judiciously so that Nintendo can find that middle sweet spot.

linkdeku7

#91

linkdeku7 said:

If they released a Zelda game annually, I would never be able to keep up with it all, mentally or financially. It would likely also cause the series to become more stale. Don't get me wrong, I would love to see the new Wii U Zelda, but I still think coming out with a new game yearly seems too traditional and unoriginal. Ever since Assassin's Creed started doing annual releases, I personally became less motivated to hop on and start playing those games because I just don't have as much time as I would like to have to play video games, and I felt that it did start to get a little repetitive with games so close together. People were practically just getting into Assassin's Creed 3 before we started hearing rumors of 4, and I found that almost irritating.

DarkNinja9

#92

DarkNinja9 said:

lol why would you even thinking of making a zelda game every year? like who ever though of it slap your self a few times to realize you lost some common sense there

but im glad it does take a few years and that they focus on quality cuz that is what we want and from those who played zelda games know the story of it is deep at times not some random COD that is only for multiplayer

Dogpigfish

#93

Dogpigfish said:

Bla bla bla, dumb dumb dumb. It's not an annual franchise because you hog the development. Get another development team and release every year. People love Zelda. Quality is the developer, not the time spent on it. It should be an annual title which would boost its fanbase and numbers.

Warruz

#95

Warruz said:

@Dogpigfish You see what happens when you get another developer in the past , take a look at COD or AC. Hell even look at Diablo 3 compared to Diablo 2 since Blizzard North was no more.

GrimSh

#96

GrimSh said:

Take your time Nintendo! We're fully behind your commitment to quality!

Dogpigfish

#97

Dogpigfish said:

@Warruz I'm not sure what your point is. All of these games are fantastic. I'm not sure what you mean by Diablo, that's separated by like 15 years. Ubisoft delivers a quality AC experience every year. Why can't Nintendo? That's my point. How about an annual Metroid? We already get an annual Mario (or two, or three).

Warruz

#98

Warruz said:

@Dogpigfish They are fine games but they are not the best of the series is the point. All those i have listed have for the most part scored lower and have received not as great reviews when the "B" team did the work.

COD 1 - 91
COD 2 -86
COD 3- 82
COD 4 - 92
COD:WaW - 83
COD:MW2 - 86
COD:BO- 81

You see where i am going with this. When you have two teams there is always a B team and can you guess which ones of the list Infinity ward didnt work on? If you guessed all the ones at have an 83 or below you would be correct (it gets worse if you keep going). Not only does it show a general trend down with such frequent releases but it also shows when which team worked on what and that the B team didnt deliver as good of a game.

Kaine_Morrison

#99

Kaine_Morrison said:

There should be 3 MAIN Zelda Titles per Home Console!
1 at launch
1 about 2 and a half years later
1 at the end of the Console life
There should also be things like Link's Crossbow Training and NintendoLand type Games between releases.
Also, there should be Ports/Remakes in between the Main releases.

Portable Zelda Games should be every Year and a half!

DarkKirby

#101

DarkKirby said:

I don't mind waiting for quality over quantity.

But I question Nintendo's distribution of resources. All these games that are supposed to come out for the Wii U and have not come out yet, the lack of after market support.

I would guess Activision and Rockstar probably spend a heck of a lot more money producing and advertising their games than Nintendo, but they get a very high return out of it.

electrolite77

#103

electrolite77 said:

"Would you be happier if the The Legend of Zelda franchise consisted of annual releases, but at the expense of some quality?"

No. God no. The issue with Nintendo's release schedule isn't needing more Zelda, it needs more new franchises, F-Zero, Starfox, Pilotwings, Sin and Punishment, Earthbound, Advance Wars, Wave Race etc.etc.

flyguy6060

#105

flyguy6060 said:

Nintendo, take your time! Quality beats quantity any day, and if Zelda turned into AC or COD yearly releases it would become bland and overdone.

unrandomsam

#106

unrandomsam said:

@SkywardCrowbar What are review score's if they are not opinion ? At the time Ocarina of Time was released if I game got over 95% regardless of anything I would like it. Now with the average score (Regardless of the game) at 70% it is not comparable. Last year EA got a higher average score than Nintendo. Famitsu scores are a bit more useful but they are not easy to find and even they give perfect 10's much more easily than they used to. (They only gave 3 ever prior to 2002.) Its good for you if you like what is scored highly on those sites. It is bad for me because the most important things for me (Framerate / Controls / No Tutorials / Difficulty) seem to be the least important things for most reviewers.

shinesprite

#108

shinesprite said:

No, keep doing what you do best Aonuma. Solid, spaced titles are the way to go. Perhaps Mario could even learn a thing or too. I'd actually like to see Nintendo offer a better balance of franchises (eg. Kid Icarus, F-Zero, and Star Fox). . . and if that means less frequent Mario titles, than so be it. ;)

SuperMinusWorld

#109

SuperMinusWorld said:

@SkywardCrowbar Thank you for differentiating between 3D Mario games (which are amazing and packed with creativity and top-notch design) and 2D Mario games (which have become really uninspired, creatively stagnant, and lackluster since NSMB for the DS).

WaxxyOne

#110

WaxxyOne said:

I think Nintendo is on the right track for this franchise, even if the little kid in me is constantly wishing for a Wii U Zelda title RIGHT NOW DARN IT!!

Ahem. Nintendo has showed love to the franchise with updated releases and VC rereleases while focusing on bringing out a new original title once or twice per console. That's probably the perfect system and I hope it doesn't ever change.

sketchturner

#111

sketchturner said:

I do want the quality of the games to be upheld, but in some ways I think having a smaller gap [two years] between games would actually HELP us see better quality and more refined ideas. The best example of this is the one in the article--Majora recycling so much from Ocarina allowed them to have a shorter development time focused on creatively tweaking things.

I would be happy to have had a Wind Waker 2, Twilight Princess 2, or Skyward Sword 2. This would help the devs learn from shortcomings of those games and then shortly thereafter release an improved sequel without trying to reinvent the wheel in terms of graphics and gameplay mechanics.

sketchturner

#112

sketchturner said:

BTW, people saying CoD is an example of how terrible a yearly franchise is really need to settle down. It has become way too popular to bash CoD for no good reason. The games are fun--they sell like crazy for a reason. Just because it's not your cup of tea doesn't mean the games aren't very well made.

tanookisuit

#113

tanookisuit said:

I've got to agree entirely with Aonuma. The last thing you want is Call of Zelda, the yearly adventure rehash. It would get boring quick, and in desperation you'd have to tack on some flimsy multiplayer garbage on the end to keep the chumps coming back for more touting some new feature or experience system to encourage regular purchases through incentives as there wouldn't be the time to make a truly solid single player experience.

SkywardCrowbar

#114

SkywardCrowbar said:

@unrandomsam You're right. Review scores are just the opinions of certain people. But they happen to be the opinions of well respected people within the industry. People who's opinions are trusted more than others due to experience and knowledge. At least in theory. I think that despite all of the problem that reviewers of any medium have, more often than not they are doing a solid job. More often than not I and most other people (This is anecdotal evidence, not scientific) think that games that are very well reviewed are very good. That doesn't mean that just because a game is well reviewed that everyone will like it or that it is good, but when a series of games like with Zelda have all been so spectacularly well reviewed, I think that's what the meaning of "gold standard" really is.

@SuperMinusWorld: I would agree that 3D Mario games are generally better than their modern 2D (2.5D) counterparts, but I still love the New Super Mario Bros. series. I gave New Super Mario Bros. U 10/10. I thought it was perfect and was the perfect blend of some innovation with classic gameplay with gorgeous HD visuals thrown in.

chibichibi

#115

chibichibi said:

I think two a generation would be the best compromise. We should get one at the launch of the Wii U and 3DS and one halfway through it's life. We'd probably have seen Zelda U last year and Link between worlds next year with a second console game two years later

JimLad

#116

JimLad said:

For me, everything up to Skyward Sword was fantastic.
I don't mind waiting for them at all, but Skyward Sword was definitely not worth the wait.
As others have said, it wouldn't be so bad if they released more of their other franchises in the meantime. Namely something in the action adventure genre to fill the void.

FJOJR

#117

FJOJR said:

I wouldn't mind the scenario of a console Zelda title (not counting remastering or VC) that had a handheld title thrown in the midway point between console titles.

WWammy

#118

WWammy said:

I hate the way games are being released with minor updates to the point of almost being the same game, Fifa comes to mind now.
I think Zelda should keep its current release schedule it makes the games special but I hate the way they are being released near the end of the console cycle with a release of an older game to tide fans over. Skyward Sword is what they should have been working on with the Wii not Twilight Princess that was a Gamecube game ported over.
The previous Zelda games were special because they were released early on in the consoles life cycle and you could come back to them.
The early releases define the console it's not good to keep us waiting a whole console generation to play the game when previously it was one of the defining games of the console but these days people might not even get to play the game if it's released so late.

sdelfin

#120

sdelfin said:

Easy. When expectations are too high, change the concept completely and hand off development to a third party(so they can take the blame) like Metroid Other M. Problem solved(I am joking).

Just because yearly might be possible doesn't mean it should be. Nintendo has always taken a lot of criticism for taking too long to do sequels, but Nintendo has done an excellent job over the years managing their properties. It's amazing how much longevity Mario and Pokemon have had because Nintendo knows how to leave people wanting more rather than releasing too many titles and burning out the audience. It's a tricky balancing act. Zelda is not immune to oversaturation.

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