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The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Eiji Aonuma reflects on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

We sat down with Nintendo's Eiji Aonuma in Paris to talk about the past, present and future of The Legend of Zelda.


What do you have to say to players who perhaps didn't enjoy the final fight as much as they might have done?

You know, it's very difficult to harmonise the fight against a last boss because we have this desire that whatever the level of the players, they could reach the end of the adventure. And if you put a level of difficulty that is too high on this last boss, there are some who will never be able to finish it and it will lead to frustration too. So the balance is really very hard to find. We indeed prefer to lower the level of difficulty so that everyone can enjoy the end. And going back to Expert mode, it will be much more difficult, it will be a lot more challenging for those who want it. And then, keep in mind that Zelda is not just an adventure that will end with the fight against Ganon. For us, this final fight is just a way of finishing the game. The real end of the game is when you really get to the end of the adventure, having completed all the quests and discovered the secrets of the game. But we noted the complaints on that point too.

But many players feared the Lynels more than Ganon himself...

It is true that some Lynels are particularly challenging...

I noticed that Link was left-handed this time. Normally Link is left-handed, except on Wii for obvious gameplay reasons. Is there an explanation for that?

It is a matter of chance that Link is left-handed in the first episodes, for a reason that we could not really explain today. When we developed the game on Wii, we actually had to change and adapt to the majority of players - and that's my case too, I'm right-handed - so we had to make sure that Link was right-handed on that version. But it was to adapt to the gameplay, so in the end I think we can say that Link is ambidextrous [laughs]. When the developers at Koei Tecmo, who are in charge of Hyrule Warriors, asked me a few months ago whether he was left-handed or right-handed, I replied that it was absolutely not important to me. Nor for Shigeru Miyamoto for that matter [laughs].

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Which Link do you relate to the most?

It's very difficult to answer this question, but it's entertaining. You know, I'm a dad, I had a child when I was developing Windwaker, and I have a special attachment to the Link of this game. It's a bit like seeing my own child to be honest. Since then, it's true that Link became part of myself. And when we were developing Twilight Princess, I remember a day when I was walking my son in his stroller and I started crying just because I heard the music. I saw Link as my own child and I did not know what his future was going to be. But I really have a hard time choosing one in particular.

Could there be a Zelda Maker, like Mario Maker, even if the universe is much bigger and would obviously be more difficult to produce?

Would you like it?

Not really, because I wouldn't leave the house for a long time.

Well, I'll keep it in mind that there are people who could appreciate that then! But this is not something we considered. But be reassured, you will have the exclusivity if we ever decided to go through with it [laughs]...

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Can you imagine Link's adventures in VR? You/Nintendo don't seem too excited by the idea...

Let me tell you something. When we did Twilight Princess, we did first-person trials. And I absolutely did not like it, it did not look like Zelda as I conceived it, nor as you must conceive it yourself as a fan of the saga. And from that point on, we thought we had to be able to see Link, whether it was during the fighting or the exploration. For us, this is the very essence of Zelda. For the moment I have a hard time imagining a Zelda in VR so as you can probably imagine, this is not a priority nor a short-term project. But I'm not closing the door on that for the future.

What do you think about esports?

I think esports follows a fairly natural evolution of the practices in video games. This is not a bad thing in itself, but I fear that some do everything to ride this esport wave at the expense of the basic desire that was to make a good video game. I am afraid that everyone will want to take advantage of this growth to design games designed specifically for esports, which could harm their creations. But I find it amusing, and even very interesting in a certain way to see that video games are now becoming a sport. I hope it will grow further.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild