Aonuma on valuing feedback from Zelda fans, not trying to force messages into the games - Nintendo Everything

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Aonuma on valuing feedback from Zelda fans, not trying to force messages into the games

Posted on February 6, 2016 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News

Speaking with GamesMaster this month, Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma commented on how feedback from the fans is greatly valued.

He said:

“We’re constantly thinking about how to make it unique compared to other games, both in general as well as to others in the Zelda series. Of course, the response of fans is most important and something we care very much about, which is why recently we have been showing early previews at events like E3. We’re looking to see that there are no problems with the directions we’re taking, and are reflecting the reactions we do get into subsequent development.”

At another point of the interview, Aonuma talked about how the Zelda games are free of meaning. He finds the idea of putting ideologies in games “kind of scary.”

Aonuma stated:

“I haven’t and won’t be trying to put any message or meaning into the games. (If someone else were to make a Zelda game though, of course it might be different.) Occasionally I receive messages from fans telling me how playing Zelda games has changed their lives. While of course this makes me incredibly happy to hear, I feel a great sense of responsibility as well, so part of me feels that developers putting their own ideologies in games is kind of scary.”

That wasn’t all from Aonuma. During the same interview, he also weighed in on Link having a voice. You can find his comments about that topic here if you missed them last week.

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  • Justin McQuillen

    I liked how Link’s Awakening had a meaning pertaining to dream, or lucid dreaming. Similar to Super Mario Bros 2. It’s more theoretical, but I feel like A Link to the Past’s meaning has to do with the frontal lobe, pineal gland, and dimethyl-tryptamine molecule “spirit world”, but only symbolically. In fact there has been a lot of meaningful symbolism in the games, but none of these symbolisms are self-confirming (as in, they don’t necessarily hold meaning unless you read them that way).

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  • Wendigo Reacts

    Good, not every game needs a political agenda

    • RoadyMike

      NO game needs a political agenda

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      • gigamario

        Depends on what you consider political. I have enjoed games which deal with themes such as discrimination, conservation of nature and poverty.

        • RoadyMike

          I see something as a political agenda when they shoehorn someone’s beliefs into something that never needed it in the first place and expect others to accept it or embrace it

  • Vigilante_blade

    Aonuma, here’s feedback, please announce Pro controller support. I want to play the game in a way that I can enjoy.

    • link2metroid

      Pro controller support is in both WW HD and TP HD. Pro controller support for Zelda U is guaranteed.

      • Vigilante_blade

        I want to believe that, but unless I have full confirmation, I can’t really trust Nintendo.

        • TheJuiciest

          What would lead one to think otherwise? Is there some a bunch of games out there you can only play with the gamepad?

          • UltimaLuminaire

            Think of it as simple caution. You won’t change anyone’s mind by shifting the burden of proof in this kind of case, since caution is developed from any number of experiences with set back, not just with a single instance.

            Also, Skyward Sword’s singular control scheme on Wii, but any number of set backs, my friend.

          • Vigilante_blade

            As Luminaire has indeed stated, Nintendo has had a history of shoehorning gimmick controls into select games, like Skyward Sword for example. I can even name some Wii U examples like a few Super Mario 3D Land stages, Hyrule Warriors multiplayer, Xenoblade X’s fast travel and probe features, Captain Toad, Game and Wario, Splatoon online… etc… Even Star Fox Zero is rumoured to shoehorn the Gamepad. it is not unreasonable of me to believe that there is a distinct possibility that the gamepad will be shoehorned into this game as the only way to play it, especially since they started to double down on trying to prove the worth of their device. Past behaviour is a pretty good way to guess future behaviour.

            Certainly, there could be a chance that the game will support pro controls. However, as long as they announce nothing about it, I can’t risk committing myself to a purchase. Nintendo staying silent on that matter is frustrating customers and could be seen as dishonesty. Whichever way you see it, there is no reason to refuse to talk about it, unless they are trying to push the gamepad on to people. Honestly, if you have to hide information and push your device, it is a sign that it is not successful in the first place. Pushing it too aggressively also shows insecurity and will have the adverse effect of people resisting it as they don,t like being told how to play their games.

            I cannot prove whether the pro controller will be supported or not, and that is the issue at hand. I want to know as a consumer, so that I can make an informed purchase decision. I cannot do that because Nintendo refuses to give me that basic information that I need. I am therefore frustrated and annoyed. I have even emailed Nintendo about it and they refuse to give me a response. If they were not deliberately hiding that fact, i would have gotten the response I desired.

            You are asking me to prove the improvable. My issue is with having the information in the first place. assumptions are risky, and I am not going to make a purchase decision based on a gut feeling.

          • TheJuiciest

            If that’s your idea of “playing the game in a way that I can enjoy” then you’re already out of luck. They already said they’ll take advantage of the gamepad. At the very least it’ll likely utilize it like some of the examples you gave of shoehorning gimmicks. As for me, that’s no problem. I’ve probably spent 99% of my time playing with the Pro Controller on the Wii U. I didn’t like Splatoon so I didn’t bother continuing with it, but that’s the only one that really seemed to force any “gimmicks” on me.

          • Kaine Morrison


        • Reggie

          The TPHD website. There’s your confirmation.

          • Vigilante_blade

            Bro, I’m talking about Zelda U.

          • Reggie

            Oh, well I doubt it then.

    • Martin Sørensen

      They have

      • Vigilante_blade


        • Martin Sørensen

          Do you think i remember? i read all Nintendo news sites. They confirmed it yesterday..

          • That was for TPHD. For Zelda Wii U we don’t know.

    • TalesOfBS

      I want to play on the Gamepad but i really don’t want any motion gimmick attempt at “innovation” ruining it.

  • R.Z.

    It must be hard to take feedback into account when there are as many opinions on Zelda games as there are fans. 🙂

    About the ideologies part, while I enjoy Zelda’s neutrality, I always manage to find some powerful and evocative themes in the games, so even though there is no forced message, the games rarely feel shallow.
    However it is pretty hard to keep a game “neutral” especially at a time when media are over-analyzed. It’s easy to be accused of siding with the dominating one. I can understand that he is feeling some pressure under that constant scrutiny.

    But yeah, most of all, I want to get some info on the WiiU episode !
    I hope they will start opening the floodgates once TP HD gets released !

  • Burning Gravity

    I get where he’s coming from, though a lot of great games were great because they took risked and tried to say something. It’s difficult and it really comes down to the person in that people can interpret things X or Y way and whatnot, like how even a racing game could technically influence someone to drive recklessly IRL although I sincerely doubt that would be a normal dev’s intention, so like… he can try not to but people may find meaning or be influenced by something for better or worse regardless. So yeah, I get trying to avoid responsibility but at the same time, it comes with the territory… so he can see it as “I’m not trying to make a statement and it’s on the players if they make something out of it” or see it as anything is his fault or be like it’s just a game and people should know better or whatever… all diff takes~

    also LOL at the person who is always going on either about Pro Controller support or how great Melee is, lol. just find it hilarious.

  • link2metroid

    “I haven’t and won’t be trying to put any message or meaning into the games.”

    No, you’re forcing SCamiibo into the game instead.

    • Bap

      You sound like those old white people on facebook talking about Obama. You even screwed the quote to your unrelated liking.

      • Justin McQuillen

        Ok, link2metroid is flipping retardo, this is true. And he’s wrong about this in a special way that makes it appear as if he has no understanding of the slightest thing he is talking about, as per usual. But nothing about his post reminded me of old white people talking about Obama, I gotta say that was a pretty bad attempt at a snarky comment.

        • “Retardo”, really? That’s just mean.

          • Justin McQuillen

            All I am saying Mango is that I am trying to create a retardo-free society.

          • I mean it’s fair to disagree, but you don’t need to insult the them.

          • Justin McQuillen

            He does this in every thread. We hate him.

          • Does what?

          • Justin McQuillen

            Talks about “SCamiibo” and stuff. Seriously go check out the history of this website and you will find him hating on every single comment section with some really bizarre ideas of why he always has a problem with every concept imaginable.

          • Ehh looking at their history, they just seem passionate, perhaps a bit too much, I’ve been there especially with Disqus, but that’s not a crime. That said, they’re not innocent either, so both sides in my opinion should be nicer to each other.

          • Indielink

            Ehhhh. He really is the most negative person on this site. Don’t think I have ever seen him happy about something.

          • TalesOfBS

            I thought that was me.

          • UltimaLuminaire

            Innocence or guilt has nothing to do with it. Just as you are doing here, people are constantly trying to shape the community they find themselves in. The walls are just really thin here.

          • link2metroid

            Justin McQuillen is a tróll and an idíot. I responded to him for the first time in one thread and told him these facts because I was sick of reading his trípe. Then told him that I won’t be wasting my time on such a móron in the future. He now spends his time attacking my posts, not sure if it’s to further cement how much of a retárd he is or if it’s to try and próvoke a response from me.

          • Justin McQuillen

            Nice accent marks.

    • RoadyMike

      amiibo is a thing. It’s making Nintendo ridiculous amounts of money. They’ll use them how they choose to use them. It’s not going away nor will the way they’re being used change
      Get over it

      • karukonu

        Or maybe, you know, people can criticize something if they’re not ok with it?

        • RoadyMike

          Sound more like he’s complaining about them, which is stupid because no one is forcing anyone to buy amiibos.
          Even his argument about locking content away is retarded. All of Nintendo’s dlc (I’d go as far to say ALL dlc) is OPTIONAL.Either you want it or you don’t. You don’t need it to fully enjoy the game nor will the game be unplayable without it
          This guy is just whining for the sake of whining

          • link2metroid

            If you want to go that far then you don’t NEED any game. You may WANT it but it’s not like you’ll die if you don’t get to play it.

      • TalesOfBS

        Amiibos may be the hot thing but many of them are almost impossible to find and using those as a paywall on every game is really sad and bad for your fans/consumers.

        • RoadyMike

          None of the stuff amiibos unlock is necessary for the games you use them on. Its all optional,preference etc. The games are 100% playable and enjoyable without the use/purchase of any amiibo (except AC: Amiibo Fest but that game is bs anyway)
          Absolutely no one is forcing anyone to buy amiibos. Well, except those people who desperately want the that extra stuff and complain about it. They have to force themselves to buy them,apparently.Get a job or wait till your birthday or something if you’re low on cash

          • TalesOfBS

            Absolutely no one is forcing anyone to buy amiibos.

            They ARE forcing people to buy Amiibos by locking on Disc game content behind them. This is worse than on disc DLC because you don’t even have an option to buy it, unless you go to ebay and get scalped.

            Well, except those people who desperately want the that extra stuff and complain about it.

            People want complete games without paywalls. Nintendo sheeps used to flaunt this in the past, now suddenly it is right and players are wrong just because Nintendo is doing it?

            They have to force themselves to buy them,apparently.

            Yes, people are being forced. Content they already paid for is locked on the Disc behind an Amiibo paywall.

            Get a job or wait till your birthday or something if you’re low on cash

            You can do better than this.

            As for low availability of amiibos, that is truly all Nintendo’s fault for not keeping them in stock. As I said, they’re making a lot of money of of these things, so they have no excuse to not have more of them on shelves

            I wonder which will be the excuse later when they go out of print while still sold out, just like Nintendo does with most of their products.

  • Well at least if he puts a fem Link or whatever in to the game, we wont have to worry about said game force feeding its audience about the same dime-a-dozen nonsense you can find everywhere on the internet.

    Still, if he’s listening to fan feedback, then listen up Aonuma, don’t change Link! If you feel the fandom wants a female character make something like Linkle or just make Zelda playable.

    • Reggie

      Except the whole opinion over female Link is literally split in half for the fandom. There is no majority or minority for either side. The only way I think Aonuma could appease to both sides is if he made Zelda a playable character, something which he has openly considered before.

      But you know, if the guy really is close to retiring from his position, then that could very well change. Someone else could come along and decide there needs to be a female Link.

      • Well, then I would be very displeased with this new person, or whoever hypothetically does it. There’s no need after thirty years to change a gaming icon.

        Also I doubt that a playable Zelda would please some on the pro-side, many of the people I’ve argued with seem completely unwilling to compromise period.

        • Reggie

          I wouldn’t say that. Most people on the pro-side argue that they simply want a female protagonist as representation, and would be fine with Zelda.

          • Well it depends on who you meet. I don’t think anyone is against a female protag, I’ve just met a lot of people that want Link changed simply for the sake of getting exactly what they want.

            Hell I’ve met people who want Zelda playable as well as Link turned into a woman.

          • Reggie

            Well sure, you’re going to get people who want a female Link specifically. But that doesn’t account for everyone who wants a female protagonist. In the greater end of things, Zelda would be the better choice and a fair compromise even if some people might disagree.

          • True, I guess the spectrum of opinions is wide when it comes to this. I’d love to play as Zelda though, I just don’t want Link changed, because I don’t think I’d want to be a part of the series if that happened. For Zelda though, I’m curious how she’d look if she was playable, I mean I’m sure people will disagree with me, but I’d want her to keep her dress if she was playable, as it’s a part of her design just like Link’s tunic is a part of his, and I’d hate to see her defeminized just because she’s playable, which is why I love the fact that you can play as Peach and Rosalina in 3D World, as you’re playing as Peach and Rosalina, and not Peach and Rosalina in clothes that aren’t their clothes.

            That said though, it might be a bit weird to see a princess in a dress running through dungeons, in that it might be a bit unbelievable, so I think I’d prefer something like HW Zelda, where it’s kinda armor and kinda a dress, just without the corset and the boob armor.

  • RoadyMike

    He finally said what some of these “fans” needed to hear. Keep it up Aonuma

  • gigamario

    “We’re looking to see that there are no problems with the directions we’re taking, and are reflecting the reactions we do get into subsequent development.”

    I wonder if the Federation Force team feels this way too…

    • RoadyMike

      I kinda feel sorry for them. They made what MIGHT turn out to be a decent Metroid spin off and they’re met with the biggest backlash for a game in my recent memory

      • Justin McQuillen

        Yeah, from what I remember, as a 3DS game it looked like something I would really love to play. Not sure how it got negative backlash considering I would love to be sitting here playing a portable multiplayer Metroid free-for-all right now.

        • RoadyMike

          I think the backlash is mostly due to the game not being a proper or “real” Metroid title(no isolation,exploring,etc) as well as there not being an actual Metroid title announce or hinted. Many are still bitter about Other M and I guess they don’t want to leave things like that.
          Just my thoughts though

  • NintendoPSXTheSecond

    “Hey did you know Link is DEAD in Majora’s Mask?”
    “Hey, did you know Majora’s Mask is ACTUALLY just stages of grief?”
    “Hey! Did you kn-”
    >Shows them this article

    • Well I mean none of those are true, and the first one is a big overly common cliche that every fan of everything eventually comes up with. :T

      • NintendoPSXTheSecond

        I know they’re not true. I’m just joking mate.

    • Jo

      Or you can show them this video which pretty much debunks the entire theory 5 times over.

      • Justin McQuillen

        I watched both videos, I don’t think either nails it but this debunk video really doesn’t debunk matpat’s argument at all.

        • Jo

          Care to explain why this video doesn’t debunk MatPat’s arguments…?

          • Jo

            Hmm, still no reply. Unfortunate.

  • MagcargoMan

    “He finds the idea of putting ideologies in games “kind of scary.””

    But Aonuma, you’ve already been putting in the ideology of “Dark Magic Warlocks are evil people who must be defeated”.

    • ShadyKnights

      Nah, that’s just the Hyrulean bourgeois and fat cat propaganda. They’ve humanized Ganondorf, quite often while Zelda and her old man put us in positions that forced our hands when fighting him enough for me to see when it’s the man tying the ill informed every man down with misinformation of righteousness while also keeping themselves just clear enough of danger until victory is all but certain.

    • Reggie

      Agreeing with ShadyKnights. Ganon is someone who has been gradually humanized over the course of the series, starting with ALttP by stating that he was once a human who fell to the temptation of greed. OoT took it a step further by portraying him as the king of a group of people who were living in rather unfair conditions, which TWW further clarified. Ganondorf in TWW made me sympathize with him. He was just someone who initially wanted to help his people, but was led astray.

      That’s kind of why I felt that Demise actually devalued Ganondorf’s development, though I’ve since grown a bit more lenient over the curse thing.

      • UltimaLuminaire

        WW Ganon turns the curse on its head. Despite all his negative traits, the game implies that Ganon wants to do the right thing for HIS people. The problem is the power and the hatred directed at him from the curse’s existence; it creates a destructive cycle for both sides. Ganon tries to conquer something, but the power granted to him makes it easy for him to screw up by destroying the land he covets. In most games, the manifestation is straight up madness. On the Goddess’ side, NO ONE wanted to flood the world. It was literally a panic reaction. There are a lot of mind games going on, and Demise doesn’t cheapen this one bit.

        • Reggie

          True. I mainly didn’t like Demise back when he was first introduced. Still don’t, but that’s lessened a bit.

      • MagcargoMan

        I get what your saying but I wasn’t even talking about personality. It was just a joke.

  • CheeseLink302

    I think I can safely say that he listens to the fans, unlike the people who made Sticker Star lol. People wanted a more realistic Zelda, he gave them Twilight Princess. People wanted a longer story, he gave them Skyward Sword. And now, people wanted a huge, open world, and we got it.

    • donut

      actually, sticker star WAS the result of listening to fans, albeit twisted in the worst possible way. they thought super paper mario had way too much dialogue, and that’s why sticker star turned out the way it did.

  • nekoknight

    Listening to the fans is good, but you also have to understand just how divided the fans can really be. I for one absolutely loved The Wind Waker’s graphics, and I was looking forward to the announced sequel. But when Twilight Princess was shown off, I was disappointed that they ditched the cel-shading to go for a more “western” appeal. I’m glad we got Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, but I really wanted a Wind Waker sequel on the GameCube.

  • That’s BS though. Link’s Awakening had a meaning; OoT and Majora’s Mask had meanings; Wind Waker ESPECIALLY had a meaning. I wonder whether something was lost in translation here or whether Aonuma really has become this jaded.

    • Reggie

      Aonuma wasn’t around when Link’s Awakening was made, nor was he elected series producer at the time of OoT’s and MM’s development. Plus their perceived meanings are all subjective anyway.

  • Reggie

    It’s interesting to hear him say that. A lot of fans of the series complain that Nintendo “doesn’t listen” to their feedback, mostly by citing the lack of Zelda Wii U news which has been highly demanded for several years now. I however honestly think that Aonuma and Nintendo as a whole shouldn’t listen to fans -at all times-, and shouldn’t feel pressured to achieve their wants and requests. When you try to pander to the wants of fans, you tend to get a mix of something that in all likelihood backfires. They’re not going to make everyone happy regardless of what they do, so they may as well just do their own thing. TP was the result of people wanting a game that looked and felt like OoT, and in the end, we got a game where people complained is too much like OoT.

  • ThreadShadow

    Taken at face value, I applaud these statements from Aonuma. Regarding Link speaking in games. Link shouldn’t be voiced, but I feel other characters could.