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Eiji Aonuma Wants Next Legend Of Zelda To Be ‘Surprising’

Eiji Aonuma Wants Next Legend Of Zelda To Be ‘Surprising’


By now half the world and their grandmothers have experienced the wonder of playing Breath of the Wild for the first time. What was originally treading wary waters became a runaway success and helped catapult the Nintendo Switch into position as Nintendo’s fastest selling console. Somehow, the game has ended up with a greater than 100% attach rate, meaning it has sold more copies than Switch consoles have.

In a quote from Japanese magazine Nikkei Trendy, translated for website Japanese Nintendo, Eiji Aonuma had the following to say regarding the reaction to Breath of the Wild‘s open world design:

On overseas reactions and thoughts of the series in the future:

“First of all I think the point that ‘this is a Zelda’ is big. It’s a series that has been continuing for a long time, if I am to put it in words then perhaps everyone would have thought it’s not that simple to do a ‘reform’.
Furthermore, that reform causes a ‘surprise’ to all our users who have played Zelda until now, since it exceeds their imaginations by a bit, and I think perhaps that’s why they, including the media, have welcomed it with the ‘zeal’.
It’s not an easy thing to be able to answer expectations of all our users, but through this game, I recognised again that the significance of continuing to create the series is right there, so in the future I’d like to repeat doing “great fusses*” and provide ‘surprises’ that exceed everyone’s expectations.”

Clearly this is a candid reply, and not an official statement of what’s to come. However, with Aonuma being the lead producer for the Legend of Zelda series, it’s fair to (or at least fun to) extrapolate what this could mean for the future of the series.

Surprise Mother@!£#+=!

Aonuma wants each game to feel ‘big’ and to give its players ‘surprises’. He certainly achieved that with Breath of the Wild, but this could mean we’ll be waiting a while before we ever see a systemic successor to the likes of Twilight Princess or Ocarina of Time. It’s hard to image where the engine could go to from here to add more surprises to the experience. Breath of the Wild was an excellent study in meta, so maybe it’ll take even more of the Legend of Zelda meta into account. The inclusion of time travel elements a la Majora’s Mask could be an idea, building branching timelines into a single game just as the timeline for the series has become fractured.

If you’re one of the dozen or so people that didn’t like Breath of the Wild, you might have to look for news of potential remakes or re-releases in the meantime. As much the new additions to the series, that doesn’t mean some of the older elements weren’t missed. Personally, I’m hoping to see the return of themed dungeons and the ability to control the environment through music. I loved the contained puzzles presented by the shrines, but I’d have liked them a lot more if the decor was a bit more varied. I sure as hell missed the Song of Storms when I was caught out in a thunder storm.

What new features could you see as good additions to the next installment? What old elements would you like to see making a return?