Nintendo on avoiding and embracing the feeling of déjà vu in Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
The more things change...
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is a direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but it’s more than that. The game also takes place on the same landmass, albeit with areas to explore above and below.
There’s no doubt tons of new content to enjoy and locations to explore in Tears of the Kingdom, but there will be a lot of familiar territory as well. In an ‘Ask the Developer’ interview with Nintendo’s team, the staff discusses the balancing act of creating new content and revisiting some features of the previous game.
In particular, you can see Nintendo’s Hidemaro Fujibayashi and Satoru Takizawa discuss the topic of déjà vu below.
Aonuma: That reminds me of how the word “déjà vu” cropped up many times during development. We were supposed to be making something different, but the various things we made gave off a similar impression to what we’d done previously. But as development went on, we’d look at the game as a whole and sometimes discover that those things suddenly took a different shape because of the new elements we’d added. Until then, we were anxiously trying to change things up, but at some point, we realized that some of them were already as they should be.
Fujibayashi: There were many instances, even later on in development, where we struggled to differentiate the two. It was a constant and difficult process where we and the development team continued to mull over and discuss until we all came to an agreement. We started to think positively by calling what we decided not to change “the Great Mundanity.” (Laughs)
Takizawa: We often experienced strong déjà vu, particularly in the early stages, and we thought it was imperative to transform how the game felt as much as we could. We worked hard with that thought in mind, but once we got to a certain point in development, we were able to identify areas that would lose their appeal if we changed them.
By the end, the definition of this “Great Mundanity” became clear, so even if a team member approached us about a déjà vu feeling, we felt more comfortable asking them to intentionally keep something unchanged.