We all know Zelda games have always had an interesting plot and characters, but the story itself has never played a huge role in the overall gameplay. Recently, MTV’s Multiplayer blog spoke to Eiji Aonuma about the importance of story-lines in the Zelda series. What would happen if Nintendo allowed the player to define the story? Click the jump to read more.

Aonuma was asked what it would be like if the story was the main focus of a Zelda game. He admitted that would be a difficult task.

“(I feel) like that would be a game that’s really hard to develop, if you have a story first, you’re kind of tied to that story, and locked into it, and you have to alter gameplay to make sure that the story progresses in a certain way. …that doesn’t really mean that the gameplay itself will be fun. I know that there are many games that were created to fit an existing story, and I don’t know that there are that many that have been very successful at it.”

Aonuma went on to say that The Wind Waker was unique in that the gameplay and the story grew together at the same time, and was a special element that sets the game apart from other games in the Zelda series.

“‘Wind Waker’ is unlike anything that has ever happened on any other ‘Zelda’ game; the gameplay and the environment, the graphic style of the environment and the story kind of came together at the same time, or as development progressed. We knew that we wanted to have the seas as our setting, and we could really bring that sea to life via the toon shading. And, because exploration is such a huge part of the experience, for example, we decided that Hyrule has to exist somewhere in this expansive sea. Got it – it’ll be under the sea, it’ll be sunken Hyrule, and part way through your character will have to go diving into the sea, and discover it there. This is how the story will progress. So, it was a very organic process almost, with the gameplay, and the environment, and the story all being created as we went, as part of the process.”

Finally, Aonuma expressed his ultimate goal for himself as a game developer:

“What I really, really want to create, what my ultimate hope or goal is, to create a game without a story – not to say that the story is nonexistent, but it’s a story that isn’t already created. It’s a story that the player, in interacting with the space or environment, creates. So, a story that is defined by the player, not one that is already prepared, and a game that just kind of follows that path, if that makes sense.”

Would you like to see a Zelda game that allows the player to define the story the way Aonuma envisions?

Source: MTV Multiplayer Blog
Via: Nintendo Everything
  • Trance

    That would actually be quite interesting. BRING IT! 😀

  • Vladislak

    Maybe, but I'm sure it would spark a feeding frenzy of timeline theorists all over again arguing which is the "canon" story. 😛
    Or would it end up splitting the timeline again with it's different endings?

    Still, I'd like to be able to have some degree of control over how things play out depending on how it's done. Nintendo has always played it on the safe side in certain areas like romance for fear of upsetting some fans, this would allow for the fans that want that kind of thing to have it.

    • ZeldaFanGuy

      One game that started on Nintendo but has branched to other systems, is actually well known for how open it is for creating your own story and choice for romance… The Harvest Moon franchise, it's so open ended and doesn't really follow a set story, but the player has a choice of which romance they wish to follow (though it is part of the main game for that but still, it's something 😛 )

    • Davin McGee

      People still care about the timeline? I thought that Hyrule Historia had it settled already. And then again, we have this "Dark Triforce" that's hinted to be in A Link Between Worlds, and I know that kind of reveal is bound to throw one hell of a monkey wrench into the whole works. To put it short, I think its a good idea for the Zelda series to be reinvented, and we don't need to be necessarily shackled to the timeline anymore.

      Skyrim is still a good game, even if your Dragonborn doesn't match the lore perfectly.

  • ZeldaFanGuy

    I could see this being something immensly great for the zelda franchise if they could pull it off. I approve entirley 🙂

  • wandersage

    maybe they could do it without effecting the larger story within the game. What I loved about Majora's mask was that you could simply beat the game, or you could go through doing all the side quests, which slowly exposed you to the broad world of termina and surrounding areas by exploring them at different times. This meant that what you did on day one would effect what was happening on day 2 and 3. this gave an amazing amount of control, feeling like the actions you were taking actually made a difference, this was my favorite aspect of MM, but it doesn't need to effect the main story, or at the very least it doesn't have to effect the final out come. there could be many different pathways to the end, which would make it so you could play the game through multiple times, discovering different events, levels, characters and items along the way, that then effects the way you choose to navigate the final temple, and even determine how to beat the final boss. The final result might be the same, link kills the bad guy and saves the princess, but the game could be a totally different thing depending on what choices you make along the way. I'd play that game 3 or 4 times just to see everything, which is how I judge a good game, how often I want to replay it.

  • RPH1

    "a story that is defined by the player"

    I can't imagine how that would work. Would it be like one of those kid books where it tells you to pick an option and then turn to a specific page?

    I like Wandersage's idea, though. I guess that's what I'm doing on Lord of the Rings Online. I have 6 characters, each with a different class.

  • Ari

    His idea kinda reminds me of the game 'The Unfinished Swan'

  • So we can get Link to join the Dark Side?

  • Gward

    ^It seems like everyone is interpreting this as if he strives to makes a game like, say, mass effect, where you have so many set choices and there are a set number of story paths to follow and whatnot.

    I'm pretty sure what he meant by "the player defines the story" is that it's more like the original legend of zelda game, where there is basically no story and it's so open that the order you explore and beat dungeons and fight enemies and basically do any action progress the story being built inside of the player's head.

  • Emwat

    Too bad, Aonuma. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles already accomplished that.

  • Mickii

    I'm not sure I understand, but that sounds very interesting!

    • The D

      Imagine being a firstborn child and you'll have it to a T.

  • Keara Hayes

    This is actually a pretty good idea in my opinion. Leaving the game more open ended would make the game a totally different experience for everyone, and I adore that kind of thing in a game. It's something that Zelda's never seen before, and I really like it. Too bad I don't have a 3DS yet. I'll have to get one sometime.

  • If the Zelda series turned towards this direction, I feel a better way of creating a less linear game would be to reflect upon the rpg's of the early 90's, such as 'Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen' and definitely the rarely spoken of 'Secrets of Mana 2' which enabled a variety of alternative endings based upon the choices made by the player themselves.