Speaking with GamesTM this month, Eiji Aonuma expressed his hesitance to drastically change the art style for future installments in the Zelda series. In the interview, he had this to say:
“We encountered an awful lot of problems from the drastic leap we took with Wind Waker. I think we will be a bit more careful in the future, but if we find a new approach that not just the developers, but also the users would enjoy then I think we will want to break new ground again. But we haven’t found such an approach yet.”
The most shocking change the development team made was when they introduced cel-shading in The Wind Waker, which left much of the Zelda fanbase divided after a previously shown tech demo displayed a more mature and realistic-styled Link. In response to some of the backlash from the art style in The Wind Waker, Aonuma decided to use a more realistic style in Twilight Princess.
It’s good to know that Aonuma and his team are wary of taking such drastic leaps in the future, but it is also wonderful to hear that they are not afraid to take risks if they believe it would be beneficial to both developers and gamers alike. So many were adverse to the graphical style of The Wind Waker when it was unveiled, but 10 years later it is beloved as a classic by many who were initially disappointed with the new art style, myself included.
With Zelda U well into development, this quote from Aonuma could imply that the art style for the game is not a huge change from what we are already accustomed to seeing in other Zelda titles, although it may contradict what was said earlier this year. Is it possible that we will get the realistic-styled high definition Zelda game that so many fans have been waiting for? Or will Zelda fans be left feeling disappointed with a completely different art style being unveiled?