munich - He's mister Zelda '. Eiji Aonuma, veteran game giant Nintendo has been working for almost twenty years only to the Legend of Zelda games. Now the most part, Breath of the Wild, a true state, he makes time to speak to the press. A conversation about the core of what The Legend of Zelda, how Aonuma himself is in development and of course the latest installment in the series.
Zelda games are quite diverse. What is the essence of a Zelda game?
The key element is that while protagonist Link is going through the game, he learns and grows as a character. Which is present in each Zelda title. We always try to give players the feeling that they, like Link, have the same kind of sense of growth as they go through the game.
'Zelda' course takes place in a fantasy setting, but we always try to work up a sense of reality. The puzzles you encounter, you might also see in real life. The way you would solve a problem in everyday life, you could take in a Zelda game and use it to solve problems.
If you are thinking of developing a new Zelda game, which begins the process and how to determine which direction the development is going on?
Often we look at how fans and players have responded to previous games in the series and we look at the feedback they give us. Of course, we can not go into every piece of feedback, we finally try not to cram everything into a game. But if we find that there is feedback that also appeals to the development team, something that we think 'Ah, I can do something with it,' we definitely use that to inspire us.
Another element is the platform on which to develop the game. We always look at the hardware, especially if it is a new generation of hardware. We look at the unique features and whether we can do something we could not in the past. We try to maximize the potential of the hardware so we can create a new and exciting experience.
As to what direction the development is: it's not like I come into the room and say 'this is what I want to do' and that everyone is therefore going to do. The development of a Zelda title is a process in which cooperation is extremely important. We work as a team and at any point in the process everyone can share opinions and ideas, so the direction is formed by this feedback. We always try to reach an end point where everyone is happy in the team with the final product.
You have said in the past that the latest Zelda title, Breath of the Wild, you just wanted off the beaten path. What elements we see in this game that we have not previously encountered in a Zelda game?
One of the things I found that it has become too present in 'Zelda' is that the player from the beginning to the end will be taken by the hand. At any point in the game there are hints and clues as to where to go or what to do next.
That was the main thing we wanted to deal with Breath of the Wild. In the game there is not someone who takes you by the hand and leads you through the game. You will put the player in the world and have the freedom to find your own way.
Are you afraid of negative reactions from fans?
Yes, there is definitely a fear. But just because there is a greater chance that the player will feel a little lost. To counter this, we have Breath of the Wild developed in a way that it is almost impossible to get completely lost.
For example, 'climbing' an important element in the game. In certain parts of the game world can link climb up so you can see the area. If you do, you will always see spots in your field that you think 'that damn interesting out there I want to go.' Now link in the new game a paraglider, so you can jump directly from your high point and floating in a straight line to the new area. We think this new option it is easier for players to discover new things in the game world and you do not feel lost. There is always something new on the horizon where you can go easy. And if you do, you will discover more and more and more interesting things in the game world.
During development, the term 'open air' often cases. I think this is reflecting the essence of the game, where you can float through the world with the paraglider.
I can still remember that I played the first Legend of Zelda game; that game gave the player a lot of information about where he was or what he had to do it. Is this comparison justified?
At the beginning of the development of Breath of the Wild we wondered 'what earlier part of the Zelda series gave players the most freedom?' If you look at it that way, then that is indeed the first Legend of Zelda. So there is definitely a connection.
However, I would stress that we never consciously tried to take direct elements of that game over. It's more the general idea and the feeling of freedom that we have drawn inspiration from.
When we Breath of the Wild for the first time revealed to the public, we showed a lot from the beginning of the game in which Link encounters a mysterious old man. That man seemed rather on the mysterious old man from the first part. So some fans saw that and thought we express that connection were trying to make. But that was not our intention, it was just the way.
You just said that, when working with new hardware, your team as much as possible of the latest gadgets will use. Breath of the Wild is one of the first games for the new console switch. What features did you have in mind in its development?
Development of Breath of the Wild began for the Wii U, the current console from Nintendo. During that process we decided to make the game suitable for the Switch. So to come to the question: I would not say that we are from the beginning of the development had the unique features of the Switch in mind.
That said, there is certainly one thing we are very happy regarding the Switch. Part of the appeal of a Zelda game is how compelling it is and how you carried as a player in the story. The fact that you can now play at home and you can take just the Switch, and continue to play on the go, fans will certainly appeal.
As you just said, the game comes out for the Wii U. It is not the first time a Zelda game on two consoles displayed simultaneously, for Twilight Princess came out for both the GameCube and Wii. What have you taken to the development of Breath of the Wild lessons from that process?
During the development of Twilight Princess, we have experienced how difficult it can be to make a game for two completely different platforms. The main thing I took from there is that I wanted to be a little kind to the team that works on both versions. For example, when we decided that the game would be made for the switch, we realized that we would have to redo a lot of things, or should change. I tried my team there is not too much to bother, so I have to find for yourself attempted solutions to a lot of design problems so it is not too stressful for the development team.
The team said, was not so long ago out that nowadays policy at Nintendo is to give more responsibility younger developers. Does that also within the teams working on Zelda?
Yes absolutely. There are already several game directors who worked on Zelda under my supervision, and they understand very well what this series so special. It is important to me that they do not just do what I say, but come with a lot of their own ideas. There are already many people I have faith in that way. I know, I'm getting old (laughs), so in the future will include things like promotional tours or be taken over by the younger generation.
The Nintendo 3DS game A Link Between Worlds felt to me very 'fresh' on, with many new game elements. Is that the result of this policy?
Yes, with A Link Between Worlds, we had a young director, Hiromasa Shikata. That was the first time he got the role. In the early stages of the development of this game, we thought about what to do and was one idea to go to the SNES game A Link to the Past, but in a certain way to do new and fresh feeling back. Our new director had a lot of good ideas for this!
I like it very much that you are saying that the game felt so fresh, because that was exactly what we did the director succeeded in that game and were referring to Mr. Shikata.
You work yourself for a long time only to the Zelda series, for almost twenty years. What was one moment in this history where you're most proud of?
Well, it's not exactly a certain part of a game that I'm proud of. But after Ocarina of Time were released for Nintendo 64, we got a lot of fan mail. One of those letters has proved very special because he came from the father of a young girl who had a serious illness. Because of this she could not walk and had to spend a lot of time forced the hospital. Her parents therefore decided to give her some games to bring to pass the time and one of them was Ocarina of Time.
According to the letter was this girl for playing the game are not very motivated to participate in the rehabilitation exercises and she did her best not exactly sure. But after she had played Ocarina of Time, her attitude changed completely and she was all for it. When her parents asked her why she suddenly did so well her best, she said: 'If so much energy Link can stop saving the world, I can do my best to learn to walk again. 'Ultimately it succeeded and she could not long after that walk independently again.
Until I realized I do not read that letter, how big the effect is likely to have a game with someone in the real world. I kept that letter and have him on my bookcase. If I ever feel a little depressed or discouraged, I read again by him.
Is there a point where you look back and think 'I should have done differently?
Yes, that time is also about Ocarina of Time. We received much feedback from players that they have the Water Temple in the game encountered such a difficult part. So when we wanted to release the game again for the Nintendo 3DS, we decided to change it to something. We thought we had done well, but in the end we still received many comments about it was very hard (laughs)!
Actually, we get that feedback whenever we do something with water in a Zelda game, so perhaps that is just a recurring theme.
As you said, you get a lot of feedback from players. Is there a difference between the messages you see players from Europe, America or Japan?
Unfortunately, I speak no English or other European language, so for me the easiest feedback I get from fans from Japan. And of course you listen faster to opinions of people around you, like my son, whether friends or colleagues.
Of course getting our offices in the United States and Europe have feedback from local fans and that is shared by the entire company. From this example, I can conclude that American players do not like to do things in a fixed order. So instead of first x, then y, then z to do, they would prefer to see how far they can come without help.
Recently we have seen the first smartphone and tablet apps from Nintendo. Would you be interested in making a Zelda title for these platforms?
Personally, I would certainly be interested in making such a Zelda game. Of course I can not reveal specific plans, but as a Zelda fan, I would like to see something like that. I just do not know if I would be doing there or what it would otherwise be incurred.
Playing such mobile Zelda title would of course be quite different from traditional games in the series so developing such a game would be very challenging. The question is how you could make the most satisfying experience on such a device.
We were just about all that you been working so long on one game series. Have you ever considered doing something completely different?
Sometimes I think, 'if I did not make Zelda, what would I do?' But it turns out that I have no good ideas, so I'll give it but (laughs).
The funny thing is that the interesting ideas I have are mainly for Zelda games. I will go to work there and I know we are again working on a new Zelda game. And so it goes on.
If there was ever a time when I do not make Zelda games more and I have a good idea for something else, I would there might be unwilling to work.
And as previously mentioned, there are plenty of younger developers and directors in whom I have confidence. So if I were to stop, it would not hurt the series.