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Aonuma Keeps Returning To Zelda In The Hope Of Making A Perfect Game

Posted by Christopher Costabile

Perfection is only a Triforce away

Legend of Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma exhibits all the traits of a true artist, from a willingness to buck the confines of tradition to the overwhelming desire to branch out into different territory. Now, he has admitted that with every new Zelda adventure, he has been striving to make the perfect video game.

In an interview with GamesTM, Aonuma revealed that when he sets out to work on a Zelda game, he expects it to be his last. Afterwards, however, he experiences a lingering feeling of regret over things that could have been improved, and this repeating cycle of near-flawlessness keeps him returning to the series.

In a rather candid personal admission, Aonuma told GamesTM that he wishes to come as close to perfection as possible before the end of his developing career, lest he should leave the industry wondering what could have been:

I always make these games with the thought that this is going to be my last. However, every time we finish work on it, I always still have regrets, wishing that we could do this or that, and end up wanting to make another Zelda game. I guess that could come to a close if I finally make a perfect game, but perhaps I would not be able to create such a thing even if I spent my whole life on it. However, I know I won’t be able to keep working as a developer forever, so I really would like to create something as close to perfection as possible not too far into the future and be able to retire with no regrets.

With Aonuma currently spearheading numerous innovations to the Zelda series, such as the new items system at the forefront of A Link Between Worlds, or the proposed changes to Hyrule in Zelda for Wii U, the progressive developer's ultimate goal of perfection may soon be at hand.


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User Comments (71)



MJKOP said:

No matter how good or how close it comes to perfection, guys like Aonuma will only see what they could've done better once the dust has settled and the product is out there. A genius, and we all benefit from this quest for perfection!



Genesaur said:

Given that Metroid Prime is the best game ever made, this is an interesting proposition.



Chris720 said:

You can never make the perfect game, everyone will find a fault with it somewhere along he line. For example, SS wasn't perfect for me because the spirit world parts were annoying.

But Links Awakening was perfect for me because it was well balanced and the flow of the game felt just right.

But I have a feeling that his strive for perfection will just lead him into having more regrets about what he could change or could have added. But as long as there's a Zelda game, I will always buy it.



Boxmonkey said:

Let's hope that zelda wii u will be that perfect game. I'm sure we'll find out in a couple if years.



Goginho said:

I love this man's perfectionistic ambition and driving determination, something creators lack nowaydays. Ironically, I want the perfect Zelda game (according to him), but that would mean that he would retire, so in a way I also don't want the perfect Zelda game lol such a dilemma.

@Titanics Yep, I have to agree. And don't nobody come with that "annoying Fi hand-holding" crap! Maybe it was a tad unnecessary gameplay-wise, but story-wise it was incorporated perfectly if you really, truly think about it. A true, obedient sidekick that's willing to help their master in any way possible.



Nintenjoe64 said:

I think his problem is that Ocarina was perfect, it was the pinnacle of what console gaming could do in its day. Anything they make now will struggle to have as big an impact. To me, a cross between LttP, MM, TP, WW and SS is what it would take. The classic traditions and Dark World set-up of LttP, the side quests and charm of WW and MM, the Hyrule and graphics of TP, the sailing of WW, the flying and controls of SS and the number of amazing time-wasting fun and games of all the games combined. Another important thing for me would be that the game starts the minute you play and watch the brief intro. Link gets a wooden stick or sword and jumps right in to the action. None of this "walk to the 4 corners of this limited patch of land talking to everyone you meet until the game allows you to continue" nonsense.



ghall said:

I don't think any game can be "perfect", but Ocarina of Time and Windwaker (and to some extent Skyward Sword) are the closest to perfect the series has come. What I'd love to see is Skyward Sword controls (refined, of course) in a game world with as much to do and discover as Windwaker and as many dungeons as Ocarina of Time.



Jimmy_G_Buckets said:

I think Zelda can improve by having epic, large scale battles on open land. Boss fights confined to a dungeon prevents a more environmental experience. Similar to Skyrims Dragons, but on a more um, epic, large scale.



unrandomsam said:

@ghall Shenmue is as close as any complicated game has got for me. (Zelda too many things even I think could have been better. Ocarina could have used the RAM expansion and the 64dd and had all the textures as good as the temple and town).



Spoony_Tech said:

He has made the perfect Zelda! Problem is its across 4-5 different Zelda games! Dungeons in Twilight Princess, sailing and art design in Wind Waker, game play in Minish Cap, story in both Skyward Sword and Links Awakening, and over world in OOT! Now go play all those games at once and you have the perfect Zelda!



CaviarMeths said:

No one in the industry, not even Miyamoto, has put out consistently great games like Aonuma has. Even if this guy retires tomorrow, I am already amazed and grateful for his portfolio.

He will leave an incredible Eiji-shaped hole in the gaming world when he decides to hang up his gloves.



WanderingPB said:

Perfection is subjective…i admire his prespectives and diligence which shows in each game he makes and of course why every fan has their own favorite no matter what others say or what number critics gave it…

Oh and Wind Waker to me is my favorite amoungst all these classic Legend of Zelda titles



Mahe said:

Yeah, it's not working. Give up Zelda and try something else.



AJWolfTill said:

See this is why they could never make a perfect Zelda game, I really enjoyed the beginning of Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. The problem for me was that after 1-2 dungeons the story hadn't progressed in a meaningful way since I had left Skyloft. I'm happy to have a dramatic opening like that in A Link to the Past and Xenoblade if I can then go around and explore the world and it's characters for awhile.



AJ_Lethal said:

Perfection is unreacheable... which is a good thing, since it's pursuit always leads to constant improvement.

Go Aonuma.



ikki5 said:

@Titanics I would almost agree apart from in order to get around, you have to fly. Also, I hated the part where you go back just to be sent on multiple wild Groose (ha! get it ) chases and it just seemed really slow towards the end like they were trying to just make the game longer.



Weird said:

@Titanics no it really wasnt... otherwise i wouldnt have quited it after the first dungeon xD
(but its still a really good game.. dont get me wrong )



biglee said:

@Boxmonkey let's hope it's not because I really don't want it to be Aonuma's last Zelda game! I hope we think it's perfect, but that Aonuma thinks it "can be improved upon"



triforcepower73 said:

@Genesaur I really don't get what people see in that game. I love the game and it was amazing, but I don't think it's a contender for "Best Game Of All Time." I personally think Metroid Prime 3: Corruption is more deserving of that title.

Back to the topic at hand, Aounuma is truly an amazing developer! If anybody could make a perfect game, he could. The problem is nobody can make a perfect game...



triforcepower73 said:

@AJ_Lethal "Perfection is unreacheable... which is a good thing, since it's pursuit always leads to constant improvement." I love that! Did you come up with it?



rjejr said:

I've never even played Ocarina of Time but I'll agree that's as close to perfection as he's going to get. Too many variables today - balancing graphics and gameplay and controls: does he use Gamepad or Wiimote Plus, 3DS 3D or 2DS kid friendly 2D, open world or linear. I'm not sure any game can be better now than OoT was back in its day.

That said, SM3DW is looking to me like my favorite Mario game ever, but I wasn't impressed by 64 and dislike all the 2D ones so it won't be that hard. After years of PS2 platfomers it's hard to go back to 2D. My kids won't watch anything in black or white, and I hate watching SD tv. Upscaled DVDs are ok though.



Genesaur said:

@ToniK @triforcepower73 I hope everyone understands I was being a bit snarky with that one, but the Prime series is among the greatest anythings ever. Corruption was spectacular in its own right, but to single out any one of them, it'd have to be the first, since neither Echoes nor Corruption wouldn't have been made if not for the stellar quality of the first.

Perfection doesn't real, of course. It's all subjective.



TheAdrock said:

@RedYoshi999 gasp MM was a skid mark on my undies. Annoyingly unplayable. Worse than SS.

Twilight Princess is the nearest Zelda game to perfection yet made.



Rezalack said:

@Genesaur After playing Corruption recently, I somewhat agree. That was a pretty damn addicting game and it made me want to play the first Prime over again pretty badly. Too bad I don't own it anymore. I never played Echos and I'm not willing to throw the cash out just yet.. especially for a used copy.

On topic, I think that the Wii U would be the perfect system to bring that "perfect" Zelda to life on. It has the right graphic capabilities and the perfect controller for it. I think the Wii U Zelda has the potential to be something really special.



triforcepower73 said:

@Genesaur So is the best Metroid the original one? Going by your logic, the first one of anything is the best, because it made the sequels possible. And I think most people would agree that, while being a great game at its time, the first Assassin's Creed wasn't the best in the series. While spawning a great franchise, it had its problems. The first one isn't always the best. In some cases, yes. But not always.



triforcepower73 said:

@Genesaur And to make this absolutely clear, I love Metroid Prime! It was an awesome game and my 2nd favorite FPS of all time(after Corruption). I just prefer Corruption.



unrandomsam said:

@JuanitoShet It is possible if you throw commercial considerations out of the window work out which bits are the best out of all the previous ones. Aim for double the length of the longest. Playtest it for at least 3 years don't release until there is nothing you think could be better don't be afraid to start again from scratch using what you have learnt. (Doing it and trying to make as much money as possible is likely incompatible with trying to make it perfect.)



DerpSandwich said:

If the motion controls were a bit more involved like in Skyward Sword, I think Twilight Princess would have been pretty perfect. Nah, I think it's already pretty perfect anyway, actually.



Kirk said:

It's a pity you don't have me by your side to help guide you towards that perfection you seek, Aonuma.


Just a few little tweaks here and there in most cases, with one big tweak to the visual style that I keep waiting on, and you'd have what is basically the perfect Zelda game.



Mommar said:

To be honest Skyward Sword is the only Zelda I've never completed. Actually, I got bored with the intro section, carrying baskets and rolling things that I never made it out of the tutorial phase which is odd for me to even think about or admit.



Windy said:

Well at least he keeps going after making great game after great game. Yes almost and in some cases, perfection already



sketchturner said:

Majora's Mask already reached perfection. He should have stopped while he was ahead. Every Zelda game since then (except TP) has tarnished my respect for him.

If he wanted to make a more perfect Zelda he should have dreamed up Shadow of the Colossus before Sony beat him to it.



hYdeks said:

he will never make one perfect zelda game, but all the Zelda game combined, now that's the perfect series!



TheAdrock said:

@Mommar I hear ya on SS. TP was fantastic, then we waited 5 years, such anticipation, SS was getting amazing ratings... and fizzle...
SS is almost as bad as MM. But two strikes out of 14 home runs still makes it the best series ever.



HaNks said:

dude needs to give it up and nintendo get koizumi directing some zelda. still got high hopes for the wii U title, but he said it himself, he's tired, he needs a holiday.



unrandomsam said:

@Nintenjoe64 Ocarina could have been perfect. (It was going to be on the 64DD). There is nothing that the 64DD and the ram expansion together couldn't have fixed.



luckybreak said:

From a psychological perspective he will never think he made a
"perfect" game. Probably has something to do with him striving towards an unobtainable image of what a perfect game is. He is too much of a perfectionist.



JebbyDeringer said:

Zelda will NEVER be perfect without proper controls. OOT was great but I knew it was flawed as soon as I found that jumping was an action confined to an "action" button. It's by no means even close to a game breaker but it does knock points off which pulls it further away from perfect territory. Also this plays into the targeting system. Targeting is good and somewhat necessary but it exposes a move set only possible within the targeting system (including jumping on demand). These sorts of things pull you out and scream "GAME" rather than immersive experience. I don't have a better suggestion but what they are doing now isn't "ideal". The waggle controls were also poor even in Skyward Sword, I'd much prefer regular stick/buttons. It's not that much fun when buttons are 100% reliable and waggle is only 85%.

These are just technical issues, there are other game play issues but they are more opinionated. The games aren't bad by any means and in some ways they are better than almost everything out there. I think that's the problem I have with them. They are perfect in some ways which makes me wonder why they can't be perfect in all.

The problem with the rest of the game relates specifically with Japan and their "old people" run everything mentality. Bring in some new blood and you will get your perfect Zelda.



JaxonH said:

He's done a stand-up job so far. I have yet to play a Zelda game I haven't liked.



unrandomsam said:

@JebbyDeringer He wants to make the perfect game not the perfect "immersive experience". The perfect immersive experience would be some type of virtual reality.



EarthboundBenjy said:

I think the closest thing we have to 'the perfect video game' is Super Mario Bros. on NES. It just...doesn't do anything wrong. It codified everything that the term "video game" meant from that point on. It's difficult, but also completely accessible. And it has never got to the point where it started to 'feel old' like some other games do. I don't think a game has reached the level of perfection that Mario 1 has.



element187 said:

@Mommar I didn't like the story/game that much of SS but those Wiimote plus controls was the best thing I ever played. It made the combat so deep and varied that every single encounter felt fresh, even the low level easy peasey enemies were fun to kill.

Put those SS controls on OOT story/game with TP art style in HD, that's Zelda perfection IMO



The-Chosen-one said:

i loved the anime style art in skyward sword, the cutscenes storyline etc.
The perfect zeldas where Ocarina of time and Majoras mask, the two feel like one game. the ocarina fluit just gave a magical feeling to the game, where the sound of the fluit changes everything, even the weather, and what i loved about majoras mask, where the masks! the transformations where magical! they should combine the two again, i also love in ocarina of time, the items, dins fire, farores wind and nayrus love. it made link look powerful, that was what i loved from Zelda, the quest to become stronger to defeat strong enemies. those things should return, Fierce deity link for the win lol..



Genesaur said:

@triforcepower73 I think you're taking my point a bit too far, though not unfairly. No, I don't think the first Metroid is the best in the entire franchise, but of course the other games owe to it entirely.



DarkNinja9 said:

never feeling like you made it perfect or got it right is just a artist way of life or way of seeing things

but im sure he will get that one game that comes close to having all this ideas he wanted



Dpullam said:

I personally feel he has already achieved perfection before, but I guess the endless pursuit to attain that goal shows how much of an artist he is. Gotta love Eiji Aonuma.



Nine-tailedFox said:

Let's just hope that we never forget what the Zelda series was centered around in its conception: Exploration in an unknown world. Skyward Sword severely lacked in exploration. Not saying it's a bad game, but a bigger focus on exploration could have made it so much better. Here's to hoping Aonuma realized this and strives to make Hyrule as great as it can be in Zelda Wii U!



kidicaroots said:

Aonuma's problem in achieving this is that a perfect Zelda game already exists. It's Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. That game is, alongside Super Metroid, one of those rare achievements in the gaming medium, very hard to match, impossible to outdo.



HappyHappyist said:

lol aonuma, you got a lot of work to do if you want to make a perfect game after SS game was so awful, it'll be tough making something worse than that. here's for ALBW everyone!



Mr_Video said:

Ah perfection, a goal that will always be out of reach...Really, I just find the concept of perfection to be something that can never be achieved. There'll always be someone who will dislike one thing, and another who'll really love that aspect. Really, it's all up to the opinion of the player if it's perfect or not.
But I do appreciate that he's giving his A-game with every new installment of the series. It's a nice ambition and it really tells a lot about his standards as the series' producer.



Kicked2TheKirb said:

good thing Skyward Sword wan NOT his last!... can't wait for A Link Between Worlds and whatever Wii U The Legend of Zelda comes along...

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