There are few people in the video game industry who are as acclaimed and respected as Eiji Aonuma. He has gained a lot of admiration due to his work on many different Zelda games. His creativity and direction for the series has consistently been praised by fans and critics alike. However in a recent interview with Denfaminicogamer in Japan, Aonuma revealed he once considered leaving the Zelda franchise.
“I was tired of the heavy workload, and I was not comfortable conducting promotional interviews with Mr. Miyamoto”
Just after finishing Wind Waker, Aonuma admitted that he “didn’t want to be the director anymore.” He explained that there was a very challenging workload and just felt tired. Plus Aonuma felt that conducting press interviews with Miyamoto was difficult because he “points out every mistake” in front of the reporters.
Aonuma gave the example that “Mr. Miyamoto is inconsistent with his answers”, especially when asked what makes a good Zelda game. Miyamoto would often explain that “Zelda games are unique”, but state “Zelda games demonstrate growth” in other interviews. This is something that annoyed Aonuma, especially when he would give similar answers “only to be interrupted by Mr. Miyamoto” who disagreed with Aonuma during the interview.
Despite their disagreements in interviews, Aonuma revealed that he couldn’t get too annoyed at Miyamoto’s comments because they change “depending on time and place”. Instead it would make him reflect on “what it takes to be Zelda”, which would influence his ideas and creativity. Aonuma has also discussed this idea when considering the development for Breath of the Wild, especially how players engage with the game and feel immersed.
It was also Miyamoto who convinced Aonuma to stay and to work on Twilight Princess. Aonuma revealed that he had to “join in the middle of the work for the game”, but he didn’t mind starting late. Aonuma realized that “there were many ingredients to make an exciting game” and that he could add a lot to the development for Twilight Princess. After this Aonuma laughed about wanting to “be a director again.”
Aonuma obviously had a challenging relationship with Miyamoto at times. But Aonuma’s comments about defining Zelda also relate to Miyamoto’s influence. Perhaps Miyamoto was challenging Aonuma to make the best Zelda game possible. Either way, every Zelda fan can thank Aonuma for his contributions to the franchise and admire his dedication and passion for each game he has worked on. Hopefully he’ll be there for many more.