Nintendo doesn't foresee Hyrule Warriors becoming a series going forward, talks about the idea of more Zelda spin-offs

What's next for Zelda?

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is the second Zelda spin-off in this style. Does that mean we can expect a Hyrule Warriors series as the years roll on? According to an IGN interview with Eiji Aonuma, that's not very likely.

"I do think circumstances could align like this again, but I don't think we're expecting this to become a series. We'd make that decision based on its creative merits, just like we did this time."

Producer Yosuke Hayashi was a bit more open to the idea, but it all depends on the fans.

"I think it depends on whether we get an idea that'll make all the fans happy!"

If this is the end of Hyrule Warriors, can Zelda fans expect more Zelda spin-offs down the road? Aonuma left the door open a tiny bit, but was far from confirming anything.

"Echoing my answer to the question above, we're always looking for valuable creative projects, but those only come about when several different conditions align. So, I think it's hard for us to have conscious control over the frequency."

Eiji Aonuma comments on Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2's development, hints at location

Back to where it all started

Earlier today, Eiji Aonuma was front-and-center for the reveal of Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. Before he revealed that title, Aonuma did comment quickly on Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2.

“Regarding the Breath of the Wild sequel, in order to make the vast world you enjoyed exploring in the original game even more impressive, the team is working hard on its development, so you’ll have to wait a bit longer before we can provide more updates.”

The way that statement is worded does make it seem like Breath of the Wild 2 is going to take place in the same location as the original. There was some speculation that the game would move to another location, due to the scene in the reveal trailer where Hyrule Castle floats away. This comment from Aonuma certainly sounds like they'll just be adding to the current setting.

Eiji Aonuma goes into detail on the art style for The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on Switch

He's got the look

The Zelda franchise is no stranger to unique visuals. The series has dabbled with all sorts of art styles over the years, and Link's Awakening takes Link into yet another new direction visually. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Eiji Aonuma opens up about how Nintendo settled on the interesting look.

The art style came about as a result of making 3D re-creations of the original characters, buildings and their exaggerated proportions as faithfully as possible. That said, we were aiming for the feel of a “diorama,” so we may have been thinking about some actual miniature dioramas.

We felt like a “miniature diorama” style fits the concept of the small but deep setting of the original game, as well as the comical characters and brisk action. We decided to apply the tilt-shift aspect to further emphasize that.

Did You Know Gaming - Eiji Aonuma

Did you know?

In this episode, Did You Know Gaming takes a look at some facts, secrets, and history of one of gaming's biggest figures, Eiji Aonuma. In this video we cover everything in Aonuma's carrier, from his beginning at Nintendo, and his impact on the Zelda franchise, with some his most notable contributions being to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Nintendo Switch.

Miyamoto asked Aonuma to make a Zelda game with Super Mario Maker-like gameplay, which lead to the Chamber Dungeons of Link's Awakening

It's all thanks to Miyamoto

We've heard Eiji Aonuma say countless times that the Chamber Dungeons in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening on Switch are the whole reason the game was remade. Now we finally have some more details on how things lined up. In an interview with IGN, Aonuma reveals that it was a request from Miyamoto that set the wheels in motion.

"I talk to Mr. Miyamoto regularly about ‘the next Zelda game,’ and one time, he asked me if I could come up with a game that features Super Mario Maker-like gameplay, but for Zelda. We talked about how a game like this for Zelda would have dungeons, but it’s generally quite difficult to devise the logic needed to solve them. So we gave some thought into a more approachable style of play where you have to think about how to arrange parts that already have a solution to create a single dungeon, instead of allowing players to create complex arrangements like in Super Mario Maker 2, and that’s how we created the Chamber Dungeons for this game.

Given that the Chamber Dungeons feature is based on using rooms that already have a solution, we went looking for examples from existing titles, and found that the dungeons in The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening would be the most suitable, because each room is usually the size of a single screen, and seen from a top-down view this makes their layout easy to understand. A critical part of the Chamber Dungeon gameplay is understanding the original dungeons before arranging your own.”

Eiji Aonuma on The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Why they're doing the remake, Chamber Dungeons, art style, and more

Aonuma speaks!

The Switch News channel shared an internal Nintendo interview with Eiji Aonuma that focuses on The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. You can check out the full interview below.

Nintendo: Why did the team decide to reimagine Link’s Awakening specifically?

Eiji Aonuma: So, you may know this, but for the original Link’s Awakening game, I wasn’t involved in the development – I was only a fan when it was released 26 years ago on the Game Boy. Since it came out so many years ago, it’s a little hard to get ahold of. I’ve always wanted to remake it.

I’ve also had the idea of arranging dungeons in a Zelda game, and I wanted to add this new feature when I was thinking about the Link’s Awakening remake. The fact that the dungeons in Link’s Awakening fit well with the idea of arranging dungeons also encouraged me to remake this game. And this is how the new feature called Chamber Dungeons was born.

Nintendo: Speaking of Chamber Dungeons, what made Link’s Awakening a good fit for this feature?

Eiji Aonuma: So, while we wanted a way for players to arrange their own dungeon, we thought a 3D dungeon would be harder for players to manage. However, Link’s Awakening is always viewed from the top and each room in the dungeon is the same size: making it easier for the player. There’s a lot of ways you can do something called “dungeon arrangement,” but we wanted to make it so it’s more like solving a puzzle. We wanted to make it accessible for everyone.

Nintendo: Many folks have remarked on how cute the art style is. How would you describe the look of the game, and how was it decided on?

Eiji Aonuma: We didn’t really intend on making it necessarily “cute,” but the original game was a small world that you kind of glimpsed into. We thought this diorama-like world that you could look in from an angle was a perfect fit for the remake.

Nintendo: After The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, this may be a lot of Nintendo Switch owners’ second Zelda game, and they may be surprised how different this game is. How would you recommend Link’s Awakening to players who have only played Breath of the Wild before?

Eiji Aonuma: If Breath of the Wild is the player’s first Zelda game, it may be easy to think that that’s what all Zelda games are like. But honestly, when you think about it, traditional Zelda games led up to what Breath of the Wild is. By playing Link’s Awakening, I hope those newer fans will enjoy the difference between Breath of the Wild and a traditional Zelda. And we hope that new things like Chamber Dungeons will give players a different kind of experience.

Nintendo: We saw a few characters from the Super Mario series appear in Link’s Awakening, but which cameo is your favorite?

Eiji Aonuma: Ah, I really like Bow Wow. He is so useful!

IGN: Eiji Aonuma discusses the diversity of the Legend of Zelda team, and what he'd like to see from a Zelda movie or TV show

But who would play Link?

IGN spent a lot of time at E3 2019 chatting with Eiji Aonuma about the Zelda franchise. Most of that content has been covered here, but IGN shared the full interview today, and there's some elements that weren't given their own features. Out of all that, I felt there were two tidbits worth bringing up here. You can see the direct questions and answers below.

Dev team diversity

IGN: Talking about the team that's working on this game, I just read an interview where Mr. Miyamoto told people he doesn't want to hire super passionate game fans anymore, but instead people that have different interests and skill sets. I was wondering what qualities do you look for in people to make them part of the Zelda team? How do you get onto the Zelda team? What makes those people interesting?

Mr. Aonuma: I'm thinking probably very similar to Mr. Miyamoto and not necessarily do I want to work with someone that's good at playing games. I would rather be with people maybe have an interest in climbing mountains or love scuba diving in the ocean. Just someone with a very different skill. And so maybe by having those skills we can incorporate them into our games.

IGN: When I read that statement from Mr. Miyamoto, I thought a lot about diversification of backgrounds. At E3 I keep on seeing companies conscientiously put the spotlight on women developers and developers of color. I was wondering if a diverse team has helped achieve your goals to make the Zelda design team more interesting, background-wise.

Mr. Aonuma: What do you mean specifically diverse in?

IGN: As in people from different backgrounds, or nationalities; women, and people of color.

Mr. Aonuma: I think that's definitely something we think about. And I would love to work with a lot of variety of people with different backgrounds, just because, as I mentioned earlier, I would love to have all their different experiences. But one thing: If they can speak Japanese that would be good, because I can communicate with them.

A Zelda TV show or movie adaptation

IGN: ...if there were a TV show or a movie or something, what game would you think would make a really good world for that movie or TV show to be set in, out of all the many Zelda games?

Mr. Aonuma: I don't know. Honestly I wish we could do it for all of the titles. Or maybe just combine all of them and then something new can be created out of that maybe?

Nintendo's Tezuka and Aonuma look back on Zelda: Link's Awakening development, nostalgia, and influence on the series

Revisiting a classic

Game Informer had the chance to talk to Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma and Link's Awakening director Takashi Tezuka about the upcoming Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening remake. The conversation started off with Tezuka, who worked on multiple Zelda titles over the years, sharing his fondness for the original Link's Awakening.

"I felt there was actually real meaning in the fact that we were able to make the game on the Game Boy. It was really fun to take on the challenge of trying to make a game for the Game Boy since its technical classifications were much lower than that of the Super Nintendo. Taking on that challenge was particularly exciting."

The Game Boy obviously had a ton of limitations compared to platforms today, which now let developers really run wild with ideas. Tezuka talked about how development has changed from the Game Boy days to now.

"Development is difficult in a different way now. Now the challenge is creating constraints for yourself."

Tezuka mentioned that Link's Awakening is his favorite title that he worked on in the Zelda series, but that doesn't mean he dislikes his time with A Link to the Past.

"It was actually really fun for me. I was right there, and to realize I was right there as a game like this was being made and to participate in it directly was really fun."

The conversation then moved over to Aonuma, who wasn't working on Zelda games back when Link's Awakening came out.

"Link's Awakening is a game where I was not involved in the development, I was just playing it as one player. It left a very strong impression. The original Game Boy version was released 26 years ago, so it's a little bit hard to get your hands on it these days. I've always wanted to reimagine this title."

Just like Tezuka, Aonuma has a special place in his heart for Link's Awakening.

"When I was playing Link's Awakening, I was very influenced by what the game offered. It definitely transferred to the other Zelda games I developed. I was recently playing through it and everything felt very nostalgic. I was like, 'Oh right, this is something I took and maybe incorporated into Ocarina of Time!' There were a lot of things like that where I was inspired."

Eiji Aonuma's team is handling development on Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2, while Grezzo is tackling Zelda: Link's Awakening

Good hands all around

Nintendo has both The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 in development at the same time. How are they managing to keep both projects going without a hitch? Aonuma has revealed in an interview with Kotaku that his team is heading up development on Breath of the Wild 2, while Grezzo is taking the reigns on Link's Awakening. Grezzo has plenty of experience with the Zelda series by now, so they seem like a perfect fit for the project.

Thanks to Dondom95 for the heads up!

Nintendo on the lack of button remapping in Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Breath of the Wild 2 being birthed from too many DLC ideas, and work life at Nintendo

Some really interesting insight into the creation of Zelda games

Kotaku has a massive interview with Nintendo's Eiji Aonuma, in which they talk about all things Zelda. Check out some tidbits from the interview below, including a quick mention of what working at Nintendo is like.

On not including button remapping on Zelda: Breath of the Wild

When we have a button arrangement, we very much put thought into how we do it, because there’s a specific way we want players to feel. In some ways, if we freely let players do customizations on key assignments and such, I feel like we’re letting go of our responsibility as a developer by just kind of handing everything over to the users. We have something in mind for everybody when we play the game, so that’s what we hope players experience and enjoy as well. But we understand also that players have a desire for free customization.

On work conditions at Nintendo

When creating a game, game development is all about the people. So if one of them or any of them aren’t well, that definitely affects the game and overall quality, and that’s just not good. We always try to think flexibility about delivery dates, and in the past I’ve apologized for delays. That’s because staff comes first, and I always want to think about it when creating a game.

Overall as a Nintendo work culture, we focus on flexibility. And so even the staff have that flexibility of when to focus, and use their energy on something, or they have a little bit of leeway in their work schedule, don’t have to exert themselves so much. They can maintain that balance themselves. Especially for Breath of the Wild, it was the same, and we focused on the staff. We didn’t have anybody be exerted or anything like that, and I think we were able to achieve our goal.

Every day’s a little bit different. Just to explain maybe an average day: In the morning I’ll check my mail, take care of that. In the afternoon, it depends on what’s needed—sometimes one of the teammates will ask for advice or I’ll play through something just to make sure it’s fun. And then before I go home I’ll check my email. Lately I’ve been able to go home pretty early, so it’s been good.

On what lead to Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2

When we released the DLC for Breath of the Wild, we realized that this is a great way to add more elements to the same world. But when it comes down to technical things, DLC is pretty much data—you’re adding data to a preexisting title. And so when we wanted to add bigger changes, DLC is not enough, and that’s why we thought maybe a sequel would be a good fit. Initially we were thinking of just DLC ideas, but then we had a lot of ideas and we said, “This is too many ideas, let’s just make one new game and start from scratch.”

Thanks to Dondom95 for the heads up!