What is more important, gameplay or story? Eiji Aonuma, producer of many Zelda games, thinks the answer is gameplay. He was quoted in Hyrule Historia saying that while developing the games, he was more focused on pleasant controls in a 3D world, comfortable stylus controls, and an easy way to swing your sword using the Wii Motion Plus, while story elements came second to that. The Missing Link over at Zelda Universe recently wrote an article on why Aonuma is wrong and that gameplay is not more important than story.
He reflects back on his time in Hyrule, which he calls his home away from home and how he has enjoyed every Zelda experience. He also discusses how recent Zelda games have not been doing it for him as much as others because of lack of story. With his focus being on Skyward Sword, he feels that Zelda is falling behind its competitors in terms of story and as a result it is affecting the players experience with the games and their emotional connection to characters and plot. Of course, many are quick to disagree saying things like it shouldn’t have a deep story because it is a game designed for everyone and adding a lot could alienate people, or Nintendo knows we will buy the game anyway, while others say that the series and its most recent games do have a good story. In the end, he hopes that story is made a primary focus and that it will help make a truly, artistic masterpiece. After the jump you can preview the article, but make sure to head over to Zelda Universe to read it all.
Yet my cry is more than just me not being fulfilled. The long list of game series that have tickled my interests over the past decade have proven to me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that games are truly artistic experiences—that the best of games are artistic masterpieces. As a musician growing up, I felt the power of music swell through my band and my instrument as we created harmony together. I’ve seen films and read literature that have brought me to tears. And I have seen sculpture and paintings that have taken my breath away. And I’ve played video games that have kept me up until 4am because I was so mesmerized by them that I’d forgotten I was just a player. I’ve fallen in love with video game characters so much that I’ve written stories to flesh out the universes that I was presented. I’ve seen such rich artistry and creativity in games, not just visually but also literarily!
And I can’t help but want to see that in Zelda too. I want Zelda to be a true masterpiece that every gamer can appreciate.
Yet without story being a primary focus of the Zelda experience, all we are bound to receive is a paper-thin shell that will never tackle deeper issues or produce true, heartfelt feelings. Without story as a primary focus, there won’t be any incentive to push the limits of human emotion and force players into difficult situations that tear at their hearts. Take the delicious ending of Link’s Awakening; that game is a tale of tragic loss and bittersweet endings. I’d argue that Link’s Awakening’s ending was just as deep and emotional as the games it was indirectly competing with in those days: Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IV, and so forth. It pushed through and surpassed the limitations of four-color gaming to deliver a solid experience.
Did you enjoy the article? Do you agree with Aonuma and say that gameplay is more important, or do you agree with The Missing Link and say that story is more important? Maybe they are both equally important? Tell us what you think in the comments.
Source: Zelda Universe
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