The Wii U is getting a totally new entry in the revered Zelda series this year, and the game’s producer is suggesting that it’s going to surprise fans.
Nintendo’s Eiji Aonuma, who is currently directing The Legend of Zelda for Wii U, says that the new game is using a slightly different formula, according to an interview in Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu (first reported and translated by Kotaku). The producer explained to the magazine that he is busy working on a lot of the game’s text and dialogue, but he also noted that production on the oft-delayed project “has really taken shape.”
Zelda Wii U is one of the biggest unfulfilled promises for Nintendo’s current home console. This puts the company in an awkward position since it is now trying to transition from the Wii U (as well as the 3DS portable) to mobile games and the mysterious NX dedicated gaming platform. While the publisher expects its future endeavors to bring it back to “Nintendo-like profits” in the $99.3 billion gaming market, most fans won’t put their Wii U systems in the closet until they get a chance to play the next Zelda game.
And when those fans finally do get their hands on the next adventures of Link, they may find themselves encountering something different. We’ve already seen the company talk about making the new Zelda more open and sprawling, but the changes may go beyond that. Aonuma wants to make another leap forward equivalent to the jump the franchise took when it went from 2D games on Super Nintendo to 3D games on the Nintendo 64 with the beloved classic Ocarina of Time.
“I think the base of our secret sauce has always been Ocarina of Time,” he said. “But this time, the change in flavor will be like going from Japanese food to Western-style food. Perhaps players will be surprised. Please look forward to it because I think we’ll be able to make something new like Ocarina of Time.”
It’s hard not to read into a statement like “going from Japanese food to Western-style food.” It is potentially an admission that Nintendo is looking to games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or Fallout 4 from publisher Bethesda as an inspiration. Or it could just be a random analogy picked by Aonuma. But this isn’t the first time Nintendo has made such an allusion.
Way back in December 2014, Nintendo showed a four-minute demonstration of Zelda Wii U as part of the Game Awards ceremony. That video kicks off with Link running toward a golden red sun.
“It looks like it’s sunset already,” legendary Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto said to an Aonuma, who was controlling the hero Link. “So we must be looking to the West.”