We’re doing our best to report all the incoming interviews from Zelda producer, Eiji Aonuma. Just recently, Aonuma spoke with USGamer about remaking The Wind Waker, first-person mode in The Wind Waker HD, capturing the feeling of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and more. Read what he said after the jump! You can also read about the most recent Aonuma interviews we have reported on here and here.
Aonuma was asked how much distance he thinks is necessary from something that he’s worked on to be able to give it a fresh perspective as a remake. He responded by saying:
“That’s a tough question. Of course, if you’ve just finished a game and somebody says, “Hey, I want you to remake that game,” it’s too soon. All you’re going to get is reactions like, “No, thank you, I’m done with that.” So I think 10 years seems to be a pretty good distance, a pretty good amount of time. You can rationally, without getting too emotionally involved or emotionally upset… You can look at your memories of what you did versus the reality of what’s actually there. You still have some fairly fresh memories, but they’re not so recent that they impair your judgment.
“That’s something that producers have to do when they’re working on a game regardless. They have to have that sort of mindset where they can view these things with an impartiality and make sure that they’re not just following their own… They can view them impartially so they can create the best games they can. I really wish there was a technology where we could go in and zap certain portions of our memory, just erase them. If we could do that without any risk, we could play the game, have fun with it, and then turn around and erase that piece of memory, and then go in and play the same game and experience it for the first time and have that feeling of excitement all over again. I really wish we could do that.”
As we know, the Wii U GamePad controller will bring a unique aspect to the Wind Waker HD gameplay. Aonuma was asked if it’s better for players to play on the TV, on the GamePad, or both. He also addressed whether or not he thought the Wii U GamePad would impede gameplay.
“For me, I think the best style for this remake is using both the TV and the GamePad together. I think that’s the best way to play the game. But of course, playing on the GamePad itself has its own unique attractions as well. Obviously, you get to play it without having to worry about the television. Some of the map features I talked about, you’re going to have to go back to the original style of playing – pull the map out, put it away – and for some people who don’t mind that or like that, that’s going to be a good experience for them. But what I think is unique is that you have the ability to let the user choose the experience they want to have. We also have Classic Controller support, so with all these different options, people are going to find the style that works the best for them.”
“As far as whether or not it was an impediment to our design, the answer is no. I think if we had decided, “This is the only style of play that we’re going to support and everything has to fit into this box,” then yes, it would have been. But we’ve decided that we want to support all these various gameplay styles and allow the users to pick one that works the best for them or that’s most expedient to the situation they’re in. And so we allow for all of that. It absolutely wasn’t an impediment, because right from the beginning of the game, we decided to support these different play styles. There was never any, “Oh, gosh, that doesn’t fit into what we’re trying to do.” There were no moments like that.”
Aonuma also talked about the new and improved first-person gameplay mode in Wind Waker HD. He said:
“Personally, I really enjoy shooting the bow in that first-person perspective, being able to take aim at an enemy from a distance and really take my time and lock in and fire. It’s an exciting thing. It’s something that I enjoy as well. But that alone really doesn’t make a Zelda game. That alone isn’t a feature for us to focus on. Zelda’s all about lots of different experiences for the player to take part in.”
“For example, one thing that’s been… I don’t want to say it’s a difficulty, but something we’ve encountered is that it’s not easy to go from swinging a sword in the third-person perspective, when you’re doing swordplay, to switching to your bow and then jumping into a first-person perspective. All of a sudden you have something that’s blocking your line of sight. There are other things that make that not an easy transition. But I think it’s something that we’re getting better at. We’re able to do it more smoothly. That’s something that I hope to be able to continue working with and making more enjoyable and easily accessible.”
Finally, Aonuma clarified some comments he made about being inspired by the game Skyrim, and whether or not elements from Skyrim will make their way into future Zelda games.
“I just wanted to say, I’ve been a bit surprised by the focus on my comments about Skyrim. I started playing Skyrim because the name was so close to “Skyward Sword” and I wanted to see what that was about. [laughs] I didn’t pick it up because it was popular or because it was getting good reviews or anything like that. I just wanted to take a look at it. “Oh, okay, this is what this game’s about. There are some things in here that are sort of Zelda-esque and maybe some things that aren’t.”
“But there was no inspiration taken from Skyrim. It didn’t impact what I was thinking about for future Zelda titles. I’m always thinking about, “Okay, next time, what are we going to do with the next one?” As a producer, whenever I can find more time to play games, I’m taking that free time to go out and play other games just to play them and see what’s out there. As far as whether or not those are inspiring me or influencing my decisions, I guess it’s probably the same way as when I talk to young developers or new people on our staff, or when I read interviews with other people saying, “Yeah, this game was influenced by my experience playing Zelda as a kid.” Or, “Zelda really impacted my design decisions going forward.” I think the problem with that is that everything you play influences what you’re thinking, but I’m not looking at other games to try and find inspiration. If it happens, it’s a natural process.”
Personally, I think game developers have to play a wide variety of games in order to better understand style and gameplay dynamics across genres. It may have just been a coincidence that he was playing Skyrim, and may not necassarily mean Skyrim will influence future Zelda titles. Do you think Aonuma may have been influenced by elements of Skyrim?