Director and Producer Eiji Aonuma Talks Zelda

Eiji Aonuma talks about Wind Waker, A Link Between Worlds and Nintendo.

During E3, Nintendo had a blast from the past when they announced the Wii U version of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, and A Link Between Worlds for 3DS. Eiji Aonuma, director and producer of these two games respectively, talks about these titles in an interview he did with Eurogamer.

Recommended Videos

Aonuma is the heart of soul of the Legend of Zelda. Having worked on various titles and now training of the up-and-coming directors for Nintendo, Aonuma knows the series like the back of his hand. Aonuma is looking forward to the advancements of Zelda coming to Nintendo.

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

After taking the opinion of players to heart, Aonuma has helped remaster Wind Waker to amazing HD with some additions.

“When the decision was made to make an HD version, using the power of HD and thinking about the toon-shading and how that would be effective, I’m certainly very excited about making the kind of adjustments so many said that they wanted after the first one was released.

“After the GameCube version was released it wouldn’t have been the right time to make those adjustments based on how people thought the game played. But now we have the Wii U, a system that is more powerful, has more powerful graphics and the GamePad. So I’m hoping that in addition to making the changes that people wanted from the GameCube version, we can do things even beyond what people expected.”

Remastering a game isn’t as simple as it looks. You can only change so much before you end up changing the game entirely. Aonuma wanted to do the opposite. He wanted to make the game better, while continuing the same story that he helped create all those years ago. This resulted in a new and improved Wind Waker.

“With Wind Waker you discovered something new, completed it and then moved on. But the gap between those experiences was just too long. It felt like you were engaged in something and knew you had another goal to get to, but the process of getting there was too far. So we need to tighten those and make the overall experience and story feel tighter.”

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

A Link Between Worlds is something that the Zelda fandom isn’t used to seeing; a sequel. It’s also supposed to live up to the title of Zelda, while sticking with the premise of Link to the Past.

“The thought was that we wanted to make a top-view Zelda with the concept that every once in a while Link would enter the wall, and only at that time would it become a 3D experience.

“We figured that if we used this Link to the Past world, this architecture and structure in place, we could create it even more quickly. There’s also a lot more to explore in that environment, so we felt that world would be a great starting point. So if we say it’s a sequel to A Link to the Past, it’s easier for players to understand where we’re coming from and our starting point for this story. It also felt like that story was really well suited for a sequel.”

Zelda has been known for its very strong traditions. Aonuma, in the future, is looking forward to breaking out and finding something knew for gamers to experience with the Legend of Zelda. Aonuma has been looking at different games for inspiration.

“I don’t look at what’s happening in the game, but how it made me feel, what in the game moved me, and how I can bring out those same emotions in players who play my games. My intent isn’t to copy them, but those are the things that stay with you as a player.

It’s not what you see but how the game makes you feel that makes you feel closer to the experience. It’s more about the feeling and expression of emotions in the game, and I do take that into consideration when working on my own projects.

“It’s like the difference between someone who takes a picture and looks at that picture when drawing a painting, and someone who sees something, keeps it in their head and then tries to recreate that.”

Aonuma has some great ideas for Nintendo in the future, as well. Aonuma thinks that adding new franchises to the Nintendo name will be beneficial in the long run, while also looking to the new directors to help spark some creativity.

“I’ve been asked about new franchises and I think it’d be great if we could find another one. I think it’s necessary for us to create new experiences and characters for fans to latch on to. But we’ve also got these great existing series that fans ask for new games for. So we’ve got to maintain these existing franchises while at the same time finding and creating these new IPs. That’s a lot of work, it is very challenging.

“I am part of the old guard at Nintendo, and I feel like it’s also my responsibility to raise the new employees and really hone their skills to find that new IP for us. It’s certainly something we’re always trying to do – to empower the next generation to engage their minds and come up with that new special thing for Nintendo. But a lot of it is luck, a lot of it is chance. If you know of anyone, please give me a call!”

Looks like we will be seeing some great things from Nintendo and Aonuma this year. I know I can’t wait to get my hands on some great Zelda games. In terms of where his loyalties lie, Aonuma is trying to balance out Zelda and training the directors of the future.

“It’s also my responsibility to try and find answers for these new directors – new projects for them to work on that will give birth to the new awesome IP we’ve all been waiting for.

“But timing is tricky. I’ve got Zelda to take care of, and I’ve also got to do this, too. Timing is going to be key on when I can pull myself off Zelda to do this.”

Both the Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and A Link Between Worlds will be released later this year to Nintendo Wii U and 3DS, respectively.

GameSkinny is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Raven Hathcock
Raven Hathcock
Better dead than a damsel. I'm a Magazine Journalism student at the University of Georgia. I enjoy shooting bullymongs in the head while I'm not cuddling my cat.