Two of the key minds behind the Legend of Zelda series have weighed in on the balance between listening to fan feedback and sticking true to what they know is good game design.
In an interview with Game Informer, Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma said there was “a gap” between what he heard from fans and what he personally wanted to do with the new game, Breath of the Wild.
“I’ve felt like there are ways that the game should be and I’ve stuck to it for a very long time. But then, right before I started developing Breath of the Wild, I realized there is a gap between fan feedback and what my strategy was,” he explained.
One example he provided was that one fan told him he enjoyed Skyward Sword but wanted a game more like Ocarina of Time where he could ride on his horse in a big open world.
“And somewhere within myself, I felt the same way. So for Breath of the Wild, it’s something that I definitely thought about,” Aonuma explained.
Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto is also featured in the interview. He explained that that, while regular testing is important, it may not be enough on its own.
“In terms of gameplay, I’ve really stressed the importance of whitepaper testing or monitor testing to get feedback,” he said. “But I’ve also conveyed to my team members that you can’t just have somebody play and ask them, ‘How was it?’ I really think it’s important to have an idea or a concept of what you want to convey in this game and what the monitor testing does is test whether that idea or concept has been conveyed. Were people able to understand it?”
Another interesting piece of insight from the interview is that Aonuma said he is personally looking forward to using the hang-glider in the game. He is afraid of heights in real life, so being able to do that from the comfort and safety of a video game is an exciting proposition.
Breath of the Wild comes out on March 3 as a launch title for the Nintendo Switch; the game also arrives for Wii U on that day. In other news, Nintendo has announced a $20 DLC Pass for Breath of the Wild.