The producer of the Zelda series

Eiji Aonuma, producer of Skyward Sword and one of the leading developers of the Zelda series since Ocarina of Time, recently spoke with IGN via e-mail about story and complexity in Zelda.  The team at IGN took notice of the greater detail in Skyward Sword, such as “bugs, minerals and other assorted collectables [that] could be used to upgrade potions, shields and other equipment,” and a “story [that] seemed to elevate the franchise’s standards to new heights.”  Read on to see what Mr. Aonuma had to say about these recent changes to the classic Zelda template.

The main hub of Skyward Sword

When asked about why the Zelda series has remained fairly simple over the years, despite the trend of adding complexity with each new title that many other series are embracing…

Aonuma:  “I’m not really opposed to adding more complexity to Zelda,” Aonuma told [IGN].  “However, I don’t think Zelda needs complicated elements that have to be mastered before a player can enjoy the core of the game’s appeal.  I think Zelda should be a game that is simple but that also has enough depth and variety to enable players to continue to make new discoveries.”

When asked how the tutorial or “intro” stages of Zelda games were designed…

Aonuma:  “The tutorial process in [Skyward Sword] wasn’t designed with the specific goal of educating new players.  The process was designed to let the player become familiar with the world of Skyloft and to communicate with its residents,” Aonuma told [IGN].  “After the tutorial process, Zelda disappears and Link has to descend by himself to the unexplored surface world.  The intent of the tutorial is to give players a strong connection to Skyloft, which is Link’s home, and to Zelda.”

When asked if Skyward Sword was intended to feature a more prominent story than in previous Zelda games…

Aonuma:  “We’re always trying to incorporate story elements into Zelda games in a balanced manner,” Aonuma told [IGN].  “If you’re saying that the story stood out more than anything else, then I feel like we need to work harder to achieve the right balance in the next Zelda game.”

IGN:  “For the record, Aonuma-san, the story didn’t stand out more than anything else!”

Swing that sword

IGN will continue to post quotes from their interview with Eiji Aonuma in the coming weeks.  After playing Skyward Sword, where do you stand on the debate:  should the Zelda series continue to explore complexity and a more detailed storyline, or did Link’s most recent adventure finally attain the right balance for both new and veteran players?

Source:  IGN (via GoNintendo)