While this week's Nintendo Direct was light on major revelations, Satoru Iwata did take the opportunity to explain that The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds would shake up item and dungeons conventions — some key items will be available to rent and buy, rather than be unlocked in the story, giving the player greater freedom in tackling dungeons in the order they prefer. It may not sound like a big deal, but could nevertheless lead to quite a shift in the narrative and experience.
It's perhaps one of the most notable changes in the "Zelda formula" in quite some time, and in an interview with 4Gamer (translated by Siliconera), series producer Eiji Aonuma quashed reports that he was growing weary of working on the franchise and explained that he seeks to evolve the series in order to keep it fresh.
When I say I’m tired, I’m not talking about making Zelda, but rather, the same constituent that has been used to make Zelda up until now. While on the subject, in regard to how we’ve always done things the traditional way until now: ‘Why does it have to be traditional?’ That’s the question I’ve been asking myself.
If we don’t change that, we can’t make something new. We’re slightly approaching The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds with that mindset, and also the next Zelda title, which we intend to continue changing. However, this brings us to the topic, ‘Exactly what is The Legend of Zelda about?
Something that is ‘traditional’ is in a sense often something that copies previous works, so if you continue doing that, it gradually takes away from its uniqueness. So we’re currently working on making those parts more and more unique.
So, by no means, am I tired of it. Rather, the more we change it, the more I get fired up. Having someone think ‘Huh? Is this Zelda?!’ at first, then ‘Oh, it is Zelda,’ is what we’re going for. Something that wouldn’t make it matter whether Link or Princess Zelda appear in it or not. Something where it wouldn’t even matter if Zelda is actually a princess, or not.
On the subject of the Wii U title, of which nothing has been seen to date, Aonuma-san stated that development was going well while explaining that GamePad implementation is very much part of the development plans.
It’s going well! We’re incorporating HD features we tried in the Wind Waker, and vice-versa, by applying HD features from it to the Wind Waker. Since it’s a remake, we’ve been limited regarding what we can do with the Wii U Gamepad; however, for the new title we’ll have various ways of using [the device].
What do you think of the new approach that's seemingly being taken in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds? Do you want to see further evolution of the franchise, or would you prefer a safer approach using the proven formula?