As we reported earlier yesterday, David from the German website Gameswelt had an interview with Eiji Aonuma. We gave you a brief snippet of what exactly they talked about, but now we want to take a closer look at it and we haven’t been disappointed. Aonuma’s latest interview leaves a lot of room for speculation.
For those of you who are capable of understanding German, you can find the original video on their website–for everyone else, I’ve translated it for you! There are many interesting things to take away from this interview. Firstly, Aonuma discusses some development concepts behind A Link Between Worlds. He also goes on to provide another hint to suggest that a Majora’s Mask remake might be happening, saying that “I am happy because the fans are looking forward to it.” He even teases that he planned to make a Zelda Wii U announcement at the recent New York Comic Con, before scrapping it.
David: Who came up with the idea for A Link Between Worlds? Was it you, Mr. Miyamoto or someone else?
Aonuma: We started off with the idea of Link becoming one with the wall, turning into a painting and going back to his normal self. After we had this concept up, it was necessary to decide what kind of game it should become. We had a lot of discussions regarding this, back then I remembered that Mr. Miyamoto had expressed the desire to bring A Link to the Past back as a 3D remake. In that moment I thought, “What would happen if we cross the Link paintings with A Link to the Past?” And that was exactly how the development of A Link Between Worlds came to be.
David: So A Link Between Worlds is a sequel to A Link to the Past? Aren’t you scared that, when you make a sequel of one of the most popular games of all time, you won’t be able to live up to the expectations of the fans?
Aonuma: As you just said, it is the sequel to A Link to the Past which had been released 20 years ago. We are aware of the fact, that the fans are going to remember its successor and this makes it more difficult to live up to the expectations. However, it might be a sequel but it’s also a completely new, stand-alone game. That’s why we are certain to be able to create something that is fun for fans as well as newcomers to the Zelda series.
David: What was your inspiration for Link to become a painting?
Aonuma: In Ocarina of Time Phantom Ganon, the boss of the forest dungeon, was able to leave a painting, attack Link and go back into it. We asked ourselves, “What kind of experience would it be if Link was able to do the same?”. That was one of our inspiration sources.
David: Last week you showed us a new trailer for A Link Between Worlds, and in this trailer you introduced a new kingdom called Lorule to us. What is the background story of this kingdom and its new princess, Hilda?
Aonuma: Link has to discover Lorule, afterwards he can switch between Hyrule and Lorule. As time passes he will realize what he has to do. In Lorule he meets Princess Hilda and due to the constant switching between the worlds he realizes that there is a connection between Princess Zelda and Hilda.
David: A lot of Zelda games (A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time and A Link Between Worlds) use the concept of two worlds. What’s the reason behind this?
Aonuma: When we create a game with two worlds, this has gameplay-related reasons. Every world is a bit different from its counterpart. This is good for puzzles, as you receive hints for the solution from the differences between the worlds. The on top-camera is here and very helpful as well. It helps us to create worlds that have an easily understandable structure. The player is able to find the counterpart to the place where he is right now in the other world without much effort.
David: We already know that the player can decide in which order he wants to defeat the dungeons, this is very much like in the first Zelda game. Would you say that the future of the franchise can be found in the past?
Aonuma: We tried to avoid to create games that would confuse the player. Our games were easy to play because you always know where you have to head next. We always thought that games, which are easily understood, are the best solution for the player. However, we have learned lately that getting lost in a game can be an entertaining experience for the player too. It can be fun to decide where to head next and discover the world on your own. This new aspect will influence any further games; we want to develop games that offer the player the opportunity to experience such a freedom.
David: Last week you talked a lot about a remake of Majora’s Mask because a lot of people asked about it. I am wondering, isn’t it annoying to be asked the same questions all the time?
Aonuma: No, it doesn’t annoy me at all. I know that everyone would be happy about it and therefore would like to know more about Majora’s Mask. Right now we talk about A Link Between Worlds and I can’t talk about Majora’s Mask all the time but would like to clarify that I am not annoyed. I am happy because the fans are looking forward to it.
David: Mario and Pokémon are popular all over the world; Zelda is more popular in the west. Do you have an idea why the Western and the Japanese market are so different regarding Zelda?
Aonuma: I am not totally certain, but I have thought about this before. What I can say is, that the Zelda franchise is famous (in Japan) but the amount of people who have actually played it is way smaller than in the west.
In Japan, we have two kinds of player: core gamers and casual gamers. That might be the reason why. Maybe the casual gamers believe that Zelda is just a game for core gamers. We hope that we can change this image with A Link Between Worlds because it’s designed for fans as well as newcomers.
David: Two colleagues of mine would like to see a Zelda game that contains aspects of Dark Souls. What do you think of that idea? Those two think that the focus of Zelda should be the core gamers, but I believe that Zelda tries to find a balance to target core gamers as well as newcomers. They’d like to see a Zelda that’s targeted only towards hardcore gamers.
Aonuma: We know what kind of games hardcore gamers appreciate and honour that, on the other hand we want newcomers to the series to experience it as well and have fun while doing so. It might not fully satisfy the hardcore gamer community but we had a Hero Mode in The Wind Waker HD. It was available from the beginning and offered more of a challenge than the normal difficulty. By using feature like the Hero Mode, we hope to be able to offer hardcore gamers as well as newcomers the opportunity to enjoy the same game.
David: Will Link Between Worlds have such a Hero Mode?
Aonuma: No, it won’t be the same feature. However, upon completion of the game you will be able to unlock a second difficulty level. We hope that some of the players will dare to play through it once more.
David: Are you already preparing an announcement for the next E3? Maybe a Zelda for Wii U?
Aonuma: Indeed I had planned to prepare something, for my visits in New York City and Germany, so I’d have something to announce for the fans, but I was so busy with the preparations for the presentation of A Link Between Worlds. Now I am sitting here empty-handed. You should look forward to future announcements. As fast as I am back in my office, I will start to work on something to announce.