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While The Legend of Zelda franchise has always been important to Nintendo, it has reached a whole new level with the Switch. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a major breakthrough moment for the series, helping it reach millions upon millions of new players, and Tears of the Kingdom continued that momentum. Without a doubt, the Zelda franchise is experiencing its greatest success right now.

The Switch paved the way for the next era of The Legend of Zelda, but with the launch of Tears of the Kingdom, it’s quite likely we’ve seen all there is when it comes to mainline Zelda games on the platform. Now we look to the future for The Legend of Zelda, as Nintendo no doubt has new hardware on the horizon, which in turn means new opportunities for long-running franchise.

In an interview with Polygon, Nintendo’s Eijo Aonuma and Hidemaro Fujibayashi shared their excitement for the future of Zelda, along with the goal of always pleasing fans, and being motivated by seeing player joy through the likes of social media. You can see the comments from both in the quote below.

I think this doesn’t just apply to the Switch’s life cycle, but I’m someone who has worked at Nintendo long enough to have been present during the changing of console generations multiple times. When something like that happens, we’re always looking forward to, What can we do that’s new? What will we be able to do? What kind of new themes will we be able to explore? And so I think, rather than focusing on the past, when we’ve changed from one console to another, it’s more than a feeling of saying goodbye. It’s a feeling of excitement. It’s about what will be the new things that we’ll be able to do.

As a producer who’s been involved with the series for a long time, I think it’s a miracle of sorts that this franchise I’ve worked on has continued for all these years. But that’s not something that I credit myself with, but instead with being surrounded by a team of really talented people. Getting to work with them and discussing our ideas about the game is something that has been responsible for the continuance of the series. I don’t know what the future holds exactly, but I’m excited about the changes that we’ll be able to accomplish together. And so I’m looking forward to continuing this process of working with the team, and I’m sure that it will continue.

[Eiji Aonuma]

You mentioned in a previous question, “What’s exciting about the future?” And I think this sort of ties in [with] that. The Zelda team is filled with people who love to actually feel the excitement, the joy that players are having when they’re playing their games. And in the world of social media, that feeling of excitement that players are feeding, there’s almost a direct pipeline in that environment to have that direct feed of players’ reactions. That environment exists now. And I think that also really helps support and, again, directly feeds into the motivation we have for trying to figure out what our next step is. What do we want to do next? And so, when we’re talking about, you know, “How did this franchise become what it is?” I think part of it is the kind of incredible motivation that we have to create the next step, and that’s all again thanks to seeing people actually play it, actually experience it, and actually enjoy it.

[Hidemaro Fujibayashi]

I think Mr. Fujibayashi hit on something by saying that our motivation is derived from seeing the joy that people get from playing these games and seeing [what] they clued in on and what makes them so happy. And I think we desire to repeat that process, to get that feeling again, and to take our thoughts for whatever we want to make going forward and try to get that response from the fans again, to please them. Like Mr. Fujibayashi mentioned, having social media now is a great way to be able to see that directly. That said, it can be intimidating at times, because knowing what the expectations are and having pleased fans in the past, we want to make sure we don’t undercut those expectations. We don’t want to disappoint them. So, you know, I would say that there is a bit of tension; we keep ourselves motivated and motivated not to disappoint fans, but we also really enjoy — and I think this applies to each member of our development team — [that team] really enjoys the work of trying to meet fan expectations and please them. And I think we’ve really landed on a good cycle of that now with our recent games, and I’m really looking forward to carrying that kind of process forward as we continue working in the future.

[Eiji Aonuma]

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Comments (6)

kuribo

3M ago

Just don't make us wait 7 years please


enthropy

3M ago

@kuribo

Making the game from scratch, being open world, new and stronger system and so on does indicate this will take some time.


conangiga

3M ago

@enthropy

I miss the days when a second team would create handheld Zelda games inbetween the 'main' ones. Capcom did a terrific job on that front.


kuribo

3M ago

@enthropy

They didn’t make TotK from scratch and it took 6 and half years. We’ll get the next one in 2030 :)


enthropy

2M ago

@kuribo

And that's the point =) It's going to be a long wait!


enthropy

2M ago

@conangiga

They can still let a different studio make smaller Zelda games to "ease the pain" and I wouldn't be surprised if they did now after the success of BOTW and TOTK, really.

Took me only six days to reply xD Sorry about that, got a bit busy.