Game Reactor recently had the chance to interview Eiji Aonuma, who is overseeing development on Zelda U, coming later this year. He had a couple of interesting statements regarding both the Wii U and an open world in Zelda.

“A huge, seamlessly unfolding world is something that can’t be achieved if the hardware isn’t advanced enough.”

Aonuma made mention that hardware dictates the software limitations and expansion; each Zelda title has strived to be an open world: “A huge, seamlessly unfolding world is something that can’t be achieved if the hardware isn’t advanced enough. Ever since we made the very first generation of Legend of Zelda games though, we’ve had as large a world as can be realised with the hardware, so you could say it was inevitable that we’ve now done the same with the new Wii U title.”


Aonuma then went on to say, “Zelda games have always allowed you to roam and explore a huge world. What’s changed now is that the hardware has progressed to the point that you can now explore this vast world seamlessly; the underpinning of the game hasn’t changed.”

In addition to the open world concept, Aonuma briefly touched on the thought process behind the map in the upcoming title. In the reveal video from last year, the map was shown on the GamePad, and will most likely be a huge part of the adventure in Zelda U. Aonuma likened it to his smart phone. “Recently, I’ve taken to relying on the map on my smart phone when I’m out walking in a place I’m not familiar with. A map isn’t something you keep tucked away in your bag, it’s by holding it in your hand and being able to constantly check it as you move forward step by step that gives you that sense of adventure.”

You can read the full interview in the latest issue of Game Reactor, which is out now.

  • Thomas Andersen

    Please, dont mark where we have to go on the map!! Not knowing where to go, then figure it out -On Our Own- is the only way we can feel that we are on an adventure!!:) Marking destinations on the map, and guiding us there is letting us experience a guided tour, so please, dont do that!!:)

    • Vladislak

      I wouldn’t mind general guidelines though, saying the objective is “in the mountains to the north” or something like that would be fine with me.

      But I agree that having the exact location marked takes away from what I fell in love with way back when I played my first Zelda game (B&W Link’s Awakening); exploration.

      • Thomas Andersen

        It depends, I agree about general guidelines, not having anything to go by in the main quest would be hard in a Huge and Open world!!:) So yeah, agreed! But when it comes to side quests etc, I dont want to know anything until I find the side quest.. that should be a reward because I explored, not because some person marked it on the map for me! The more secrets, the better. As they say; Its a secret to everyone!

  • Zelda Fan Guy

    Hoping this is as open world as Skyrim was, would like it to be more than that though, preferably minimal loading for entering houses, and none for entering cities/towns would be great 🙂

    • Thomas Andersen

      Open world is nice and all.. but the main thing is to fill this world with fun rewarding stuff! If its like the Sky in SS or the Ocean in WW.. well, that would be a huge let down! There needs to be lots of content, and that is more important than the openess in itself!

      Just take Majora’s Mask! Small, intimate and filled with content! The world FEELS Alive!!:)

      • THIEF

        Thanks for bringing up the WW ocean. So many people act like there was just tons of stuff to do, but Ganon probably got the description best when he named it a barren sea and likened it to a wasteland. There are like 4 islands worth visiting, and really not much to do on them once you’ve gotten the one thing you need.

        • Thomas Andersen

          True, the content found in WW overworld(the ocean) wasnt to strong! Rupies only works as an reward if you REALLY need Rupies! But there is just way to much Rupies and to little to spend it on.. so after you get 1/10th into the game, you already got enough rupies for the rest of the game.. and then; finding chests etc in the overworld with rupies, it wont feel rewarding + getting the final side quest reward(Huge Wallet) ..will feel more like a slap in the face, than a Raward.. this is truly a broken mechanicme in Zelda in the later games… In MM you need to farm a little now and then to get enough Rupies, and then.. when finding chests with 50rupies +/- it actually feels rewarding, and it will add to the fact that the overworld at least feels a bit more fun to explore! Not to on topic, this little rant, but ah well!:)

          Yes, hopefully there will be LOTS of Meaningfull Content scattered around the Overworld in Zelda for Wii U! And the key word is Meaningfull! We need to Need and/or want the rewards we get for fulfilling different side quests and mini games etc… if we dont want and/or need any of it, it will autocatically deminish the overall experience..

          • Graham Columb

            best memories of wind waker- just sailing on the open sea! it was vast and truly felt like an epic adventure! it was lacking in real-time activities and, most importantly I think, movement of characters/events between islands. that’s why it didn’t feel active/real enough. That’s also what Majora’s mask had on any of the others- characters moved around the world, just as link would. so it felt more real.

          • Thomas Andersen

            Yes, I agree!:)

      • Michael Bowerman

        I am one of the few who enjoyed the open ocean in WW. Gave the world a large feel to me (I know I’m most likely in the minority) 😛

        But you’re absolutely right: big world needs more content!

        • Thomas Andersen

          No, you are not one of the few!:) I loved the Ocean in WW aswell, and know many that do.. but I dont love it for its amazing content! I to felt the “world” was huge, and great and I loved sailing without any real purspose! But yes, that wouldnt work the same way.. at least I think, in a new Zelda! Especially not after the wastland of a sky we got to experience in SS.. and now with MM, how much more alive that game feels, despiste its rather small scale!!:)

          The potential is so great, I just hope they realize that + the content needs to have purpose.. a combination of course, but I want to feel like Im helping Real people.. like Majora’s Mask.. not over the top goofy characters that are hollow on the inside like in SS.. Crossing my fingers!!:)

          • Michael Bowerman

            Totally agree on all accounts! Especially the SS comments

        • Kalin_Thalis

          The difference is that the large open ocean also had a purpose to play in the story of the game. The world needed to feel empty, because there the actual kingdom was sunken under the ocean. You needed to feel that void with only small islands, filling the world, except for the huge ocean you could roam. That worked well in both a gameplay and narrative way. But for Zelda U, it probably won’t be the same, so yeah you do need more content. I don’t want it to be like the Order for example. Large beautiful world (probably the most beautiful seen on screen so far), but is hardly interactive. (looking at objects, picking them up, hardly no impact on the environment when firing a gun or even cannons) It’s a pretty world, but it’s like ‘look, but don’t touch!’. That has to be avoided in this Zelda U. Otherwise it’s just showing off how big and beautiful the world can be without actually having fun in it.

    • Jeff Ranger

      Xenoblade on the wii was 1.5 times bigger than skyrim

      • Nick

        no thats not true Xenoblade is 30 km2 and Skyrim is 40 km2, although the new Xenoblade is gonna be 150 km2

  • rusVan

    I love Zelda games where I can get stuck for weeks on end. Yes, I’m serious. Wind Waker was the last to do this consistantly.

  • Nick

    One weakness zelda games always seem to have is a total lack of towns and cities. I hope this one has a lot of them.

    • Thomas Andersen

      Zelda II..!!:) But yes, I see what you mean! I agree, though I dont want to many either! If there where 3-4 Towns, and they all worked like Clock Town from Majora’s Mask(meaning there would be lots of side quests and people with real emotions to be found) then that would be great!

      Lets say you got one Bomber’s Notebook for each of the 4towns, and all had the same amount of side quests as Clock Town.. wow, that would be amazing! It would be a way to create a contrast to the huge open world.. creating these intimate, self running towns that made you spend time there(when you wanted, at your own paste) and solve side quests.. That would be amazing!

      Then one would get an amazing reward for completing all 4 Bombers Notebooks! Perhaps access to another Town, with a 5th Bombers Notebook and the same amount of things to do(side quests) as in the other towns!!:)

      I know I would love that to death!

      • Nick

        i guess??? hahaha youre really like… dreaming out there for like an mm fan game or something. no disrespect. myself i would actually like lots of towns. i dont even like side quests that much, i just like towns and lots of characters and people, and the feeling of like, going to an inn for a night, and preparing for travels. that kinda stuff is whats fun for me personally. doubt well ever see any of that in zelda tho

        • Thomas Andersen

          Its an idea from MM yes, but doesnt have to have anything Majora’s Maskish over it.. its just a good way to create areas that stand on their own(the towns) and create a structure you feel you want to complete 100%!

          For me and most people that play Zelda, the side quests are the reason we Love Zelda! So of course, if you dont like Side Quests that much, I understand you would be hessitant about such an idea! Im sure you loved Skyward Sword then.. that game was all about the Main Quest, a linear one at that without any good side quests(almost at all). One of the many reasons I hold SS as my least favorite Zelda of all time..

          In a huge “poll” ;Exploration came out on top, and Side Quests allow for this to happen! A way to explore the world, with more purpose than to find heart pieces and rupies! Im not sure why you want lots of characters and people.. if they arent there for any reason? Just to have conversations about what? Nothing?!:) No, Im all for more characters as well.. but they need a purpose! I want to help them, like Anju and Kafei! Helping people feels great, if the people you help feel Real!!:)

          And to structure that in a “Bombers Notebook” for each town, that would be Amazing! Then one could chose to do the main quest or stride of and do side quests when ever you want! We both win in this case, you dont Have to do the side quests.. but if they arent there, well, Im forced to “not do them”.. if that made any sense?!:)

          • GreenLinkMaster

            I don’t know about a “bomber notebook” for every town. if their game has like, 1 city and 3 towns, then maybe a village or 2, that would be great, and of course I don’t mind a place having a bunch of passing faces, not EVERYONR has to have a deep and interesting story to learn about or listen to. and it’s more than reasonable that not everyone is going to want to run over to the “first new face in town for the last few years” and spill their heart out, share their joys pains and lifes stories.
            having some people there moveing about their day just to give a place a bit more life and energy is fine with me. I loved TPs Castle town, it FELT alive! but I admit I was disappointed that there weren’t more people to talk to. there were say…15 people worth talking to? and maybe 5-10 more you could atleast speak to, even without getting much of a conversation. I don’t mind that last 5-10 being there, but not all of those 15 were even always there. I am of course including Telma and her rebel friends in the bar, and Ilia.
            I would say there should have been atleast 12 important people you talk to more than 2-3 times, and atleast 10 people you could talk to and maybe learn a bit about, or learn a bit from. and then maybe another 8 you can just talk to but don’t get or hear anything important from. that would be 30 people. I think that would atleast have been sufficient for TPs Castle Town.

          • Thomas Andersen

            True, not everyone needs to be like Anju and Kafei, but there should be more of those people.. people we can relate to and like! Id like a good mix, people that give you some vague feedback and people that allow you to spend lots of time with them, and get to know them.. + side quest with them etc!

  • GreenLinkMaster

    I would atleast like to see more people and interact able creatures, if not more towns. maybe some small villages here and there? and as for rupees, I hope there are more things worth buying with them!
    a set amount of rupees in the game is a bad idea, because there are always places where you can, and people who will, spend their rupees to play a mini game a few times, or buy a heart peach. and use those rupees on things you don’t need just one to many times, and you might not be able to get whatever item when and where you find it. that would just suck, cuz then you’d have to play through again and be stinge with your money.
    instead just give us plenty of worth while things to buy and things to do with our money! make hearts harder to find, but give use more ways to restore our hearts, those that restore more costing money! make potions far more nessesary to carry along with us! and give us several places throughout the world to buy them rather than find them (like the tp chus you kill and collect, though that was cool and kinda fun. specially when you found a sparkly one.) ok maybe leave in the jelly blob monsters, but don’t make them too common!
    really the game just needs balance in places like it’s money system and such, and a diversity of monsters, creatures, and people. as well as activities and such.

    • Thomas Andersen

      Yes! Expanding the world isnt enough.. they Need to fill the world up with content, as you say more people to interact with! Id love Real stories this time.. I felt the people in Skyward Sword(side quest people) where shallow and without real emotions(unlike Majora’s Mask, who had plenty of those people) ..

      Rupies havent felt rewarding since the days of Majora’s Mask.. if they are going to add Loads of Rupies, like they do.. then there needs to be Tons of stuff to use it on! Up the prices on games, and things.. make us Crave the rupies, instead of naturally getting way to much of it, after only 2hours of gameplay… Opening a chest, a hidden chest with 200rupies does Not feel great and rewarding when you already got 7856Rupies in your pouch and you got absolutely nothing to spend it on!! At the moment, the rupie-system is a broken system in Zelda!!

      I have nothing against a set amount of rupies.. Im not sure when you ever would get into a situation where you actually dont got enough rupies to buy the stuff you want! I feel there is either way to much rupies(then one needs to reduce the emount to be found) or way to little to spend it on(then one needs to create more structures where you need to use more rupies) ..In WW, TP, SS and ALBW I had so much rupies after only 2-3hours of gamepley, I never needed to pick up more rupies, ever again for the rest of the game…

      Im not pro- your restoring hearts idea… the game is to easy as it is, at least if there are to be even more ways(other than potions and fairies) one needs to put that in a Easy Mode.. I never run out of hearts, not even when I dont use potions and fairies.. so yeah, Im very against this idea! Unless they up the enemis by 10x +

      Id rather they did your other suggestion, add content to spend money on, mini games, upgrades, outfits etc..

      But yeah, im all for more diversity in the enemies as you say.. but I think we will see more races now that there are a bigger map to explore!

      • GreenLinkMaster

        more Races would indeed be awesome! it’s said that the birdmen (Ruto right?) of WW are evolutionary descendants of the Zoras, who either couldn’t survive the turbulent seas, or couldn’t adapt to the salt water. I figure since the great sea was said to be one without fish, the perhaps even the fish people (Zoras) just went to some other sea with fish, since they seem to really like fish. but how awesome would it be if in this game we could see both Zoras AND (Ruto right?)? thought the Ruto (right?) say they get their wings from Valoos scales, so he would need to be in the game too…..
        but anyways! makebe Deku Scrub tribes like in MM? the chicken men from TP (XP), well basically every race seen in Zelda so far. you get what I mean 😛

        • Thomas Andersen

          I hope we get new species, that will stand on their own in the years to come.. like Gorons, Zoras or Kokiris! And I hope those races will stand tall in this Zelda, perhaps with great, living communities. 🙂

  • Metallionaxe

    I would love to see/hear more about the ancient tribe that used Majora’s Mask for hexing and torture.

  • Ben Steigerwalt

    The problem that I have with TP and WW are the amount of rupees you can get. There are just to many of them in both games unless you count TP’s multilevel dungeon where you need the armor to complete it. Having an open world with nothing to do or endless fetch quests can get old very quickly and the hand holding of the 3d Zelda’s got a little annoying when everything was reinforced by more then one source. For example in OoT one has Navi, the Owl, and the story line NPC’s all telling you to go to this place or that place. I think we all get the point.
    I would not mind main story points being marked on a map of a dungeon or town; but, make it that only the next dungeon appears on the map not every dungeon being laid out for you. Say you are looking for a location on the map that is marked on way to that location you are still free explore the map and may be found another location like anther dungeon, town, or cave with a shop in it and the only reason why you know about the dungeon in the first place is because you talked to someone who know about the location in the first place.
    What I don’t went to see are missions that only pat the length of the game. Like collecting spirit orbs in an alternate dimension of the same field. Make the side quest meaningful and give us characters that we care about not just your main partner or just the princess but a would of people to meet and get to know on more of a level then just save the monkey or this is a secret to everyone and you just take the rupees and just leave.

    • Michael Bowerman

      Totally agree on the side quests, but with open world games, there will be some repetition. Just hopefully less of it, and more meaningful content, like you stated. The spirit orbs in TP were pretty lame

  • hollander