Bill Trinen: How Zelda Team creates three games at the same time

JohnApril 25th, 2013 by John

It’s set to be a great couple of years for Zelda fans. Not only have we got The Wind Waker HD being released on the Wii U later this year, but we also have two original games on the 3DS and Wii U, the latter of which we will probably get a glimpse of at this year’s E3. It’s a lot of work for anyone to take on, even for Aonuma’s talented team of developers at Nintendo EAD. In a recent interview with Kotaku, Nintendo of America’s Bill Trinen shed some light on how the Zelda development team functions in such demanding times, revealing some fascinating info on the workings of how Zelda games are made. Hit the jump to find out more.

Trinen’s role as a translator means that he, more than anyone else at Nintendo of America, often gains some the most insightful views into how the Nintendo EAD works in Kyoto. His interview with Kotaku reveals the shuffling system employed by Nintendo to ensure that each of the individual development processes for the three Zelda games are kept fresh and all staff members can input thoughts and ideas.

“They kind of shuffle people in and out, so they’ll sort of have their core group, but then they’re bringing new people in and out, so that helps bring in fresh ideas. Each of the different games will have their main lead director, or maybe depending on the game, they may have two…Generally the way that the Zelda team operates is they may have one or two people who carry over or take the lead, but they do a lot of kind of jumping in and out in terms of moving from handheld to console, or vice-versa.”

It is certainly interesting to see the sort of system Nintendo uses to make Zelda games, especially when the same team are developing three games at once, which is a task which I imagine must be difficult to organise and keep in check even at the best of times. But what do you think? Do you perhaps think that Nintendo are biting off more than they can chew in terms of development? Does the quote maybe make you want to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes at Nintendo? Tell us in the comments below!

Source: Nintendo Everything

Categorized under: Zelda 3DS, Zelda Wii U
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  • Julian Delarosa

    And I don’t really care when the zeldas are reliced, as long as they stay the same fashion where its the same at it’s core, but still different enough to be a new experience

    • joshloveszelda

      why does everyone say first

      • Julian Delarosa

        IDK, it’s probably just a title thing. I just follow the crowd in that regard like a good little sheep

        • WhiteSamurott

          MIDDLE!!!!!! Maybe.

      • JuicieJ

        Why care? It used to bug me, too, and I openly reacted to it, but I realized responding to it is just as annoying as people saying it.

    • Jay De Marshall

      Agreed. I like the idea of shuffling the team around. Fresh eyes and hands on the project makes keep it fresh. I would how ever like to see an expanded upgrade system and possibly a fantasy/futristic setting. But I am not holding my breath for the latter.

    • Vink


      • Ein

        not anymore! :D

  • swornbrother1

    lol. Mistype. it says which twice in the last paragraph.

    • bs8814

      Quick brother sharpen your pitchforks, this crime cannot be taken lightly!!

    • John

      There you go, fixed it for ya.

      • swornbrother1

        Cool! I didn’t know you guys actually read the comments. Great article, by the way!

  • nignacio

    “[...]the latter of which we will probably get a glimpse of at this year’s E3″.
    Nintendo’s not going to participate in E3. They’re making a ton of Nintendo Directs instead.

    • Juggernaut

      There’s a difference between not participating and not holding a major conference like they usually do, get your facts straight, Nintendo will be at E3

      • Hyourinmaru

        Well now, it was a honest mistake, didn’t need to be rude about.

    • tipsd9video

      THey’re gonna have two small events instead of one large conference.

      • Midna’s Sister

        I wish so badly that I could go to one~ D:

  • Axle the Beast

    I like it how this got posted immediately after I posted a mailbag in which someone asked me if Zelda 3DS’ development might interfere with Zelda Wii U’s development. =P

    Anyway, sounds interesting. I don’t doubt their ability to develop these games. Nintendo wouldn’t have started all of these projects if they weren’t able to do it. Nintendo’s usually pretty good at managing their resources.

    • Fantym

      Stuff happens…

      • Tehlul

        Yeah. I don’t doubt their abilities either.
        Lets hope that Nintendo doesn’t have its own Battlefront 3 fiasco though.

    • Kravik

      More proof that the MOD’s of this site, does not communicate with each other ..

  • Hyrule’s Hero

    I don’t care if the development of Zelda Wii U is stalled. They need to take their time on this game. Make it the best in the series.

    • Midna’s Sister

      -3- Nothing can beat Majora’s Mask. My record shall never be broken.

      • Vincent Yobs

        Opinions, opinions everywhere… for me its A Link To The Past so yea to me it beats Majora’s Mask by a long run, at least it doesn’t pressure me with the 3 day time limit like Majora’s Mask does even with the slow down time gimmick… it doesn’t help if you are stuck on something for too fricking long!

        • WhiteSamurott

          Link’s Awakening is my favourite.

        • Midna’s Sister

          Oddly enough, the time limit helps me enjoy it more; it gives you an urgent, I-must-do-this world to play in. A lot of people dislike the urgency, but I feed off of it.

      • BlackRaven6695

        Nothing wrong with considering Majora’s Mask your favorite. But I do think that looking at a new game, Zelda or otherwise, and telling yourself “I refuse to enjoy this more than I enjoyed Majora’s Mask” isn’t the best outlook to have.

  • Princess Zelda

    Don’t doubt Nintendo! Can’t wait for all three games! Looks like I’ll have to “borrow” my uncle’s 3DS…

  • Alberto Mani

    They should be able to handle it, but with the rough economic troubles they are facing, this will be tense.

  • npatoray24

    in nintendo i trust

  • Mark Rose

    well that explians why the 3DS game is shit and is just a copy/paste of AlltP

    • Ben720

      … The game hasn’t come out yet.

    • Vincent Yobs

      just like that girl I want you dead….

      • Mark Rose

        SHut up bitch, I’ll kill you first.

        • Vincent Yobs

          (ಠ_ಠ)/ come at me bro

          • Mark Rose


          • Vincent Yobs

            d(ಠ_ಠ) good job you proven to be an idiot with an overactive imagination Naruto ftw tho

          • Mark Rose

            NOWWWW DIIIIEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! RASENGAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Justac00lguy

    Hmm it’s good to see the franchise pump out more games and I’m dying to see what’s in store for the Wii U but before then it’s off to revisit the great sea and the lovely overworld of A Link to the Past.

  • ndbrdb

    Bill Trinen seems like the nicest guy.
    I’m excited to see what Nintendo has in store for us.

  • Cade

    i NEED to work at nintendo!

  • Kravik

    Nintendo seems to never scrap a idea ..

    They just use it in new release ..

    We did get the LONG awaited URA Zelda ..

    But not as one game! ;)

    • Vincent Yobs

      URA Zelda?

  • Hydra

    If Almost 5 Mario games can be developed at once, I think 3 Zelda games would be fine.

  • Linkfan99

    “Each of the different games will have their main lead director…”

    Since Eiji Aonuma is developing A Link to the Past 2…

    Does that mean that Miyamoto could be directing Zelda Wii U??? :D

    • WhiteSamurott

      So, who’s directing WW HD. o.o

      • Linkfan99

        I don’t know that much needs to be directed in that part. The game’s already been made, so unless they’re adding new content, they only need to make new graphics. I think that maybe everyone’s helping out a little in that department. But then again, I could be totally wrong.

      • Midna’s Sister

        …. ZWU IS WW HD, I think