Speaking in Edge #296, The Legend of Zelda series producer Eiji Aonouma has pointed out how the franchise consistently remains unique.
“Whenever I ask Mr Miyamoto what Zelda is, he says, ‘Well, Zelda’s greatness is that it’s unique’. So we focus on what we weren’t able to do in other games. Of course we play a lot of games. Especially the staff – they play whatever they like. When someone says, ‘hey, I’d really like to put this feature in the game’, someone else may say, ‘no, actually, that’s already been done in another game’. We try not to focus too much on whether it’s already been done. We think, ok, it’s been done before, but how can we implement it in our game and make it our own, unique experience?”
To further Aonouma’s point, the new Legend of Zelda game, Breath of the Wild, will include stealth mechanics as well as a day/night cycle, not to mention the crafting and hunting elements. None of these are features that are new to the industry, but they are new to Zelda, and Nintendo hopes that by providing their own distinct spin on these factors they will help to build the franchise somewhat. Anouma also went on to discuss the newfound dynamism in the game’s combat system.
“In the past titles, if a player found a different solution to the on we’d intended, we’d call it a bug. But for this title we created puzzles with multiple solutions. Even battles against enemies have a puzzle element: you can push a rock off a cliff and defeat them that way, or have bees chase them away so you can sneak up and take their weapons. Even if it’s a strong enemy, there are a lot of strategies, and it’s not just about battling.”