Eiji Aonuma Comments on the 5 Stages of Grief Theory, Wanted to Hook Players into the Emotional Tone
Posted on March 04 2015 by Nathanial Rumphol-Janc
One of the many popular theories surrounding Majora’s Mask is the 5 Stages of Grief. This theory was something we ourselves put together many years ago, but since those days others have come up with more and more evidence to support them. It’s also a key piece behind the Link is Dead theory – though it’s not the only one. Many fans have been speculating about this game for 15 years, and now thanks to the remake Eiji Aonuma is more open than ever to talk about the original ideas for the game. In an interview with Game Informer magazine, Eiji Aonuma is asked point blank about the 5 Stages of Grief, of which he gives a rather interesting response:
“Game Informer: Some fans speculate that Majora’s Mask is a metaphor for the stages of grief. The towns-folk are in denial of the moon falling; the Deku King is punishing the monkey out of anger; the ghost in the snow temple is bargaining for a return to the world of the living; Lulu in the Zora Temple is battling with depression; and the final temple could be considered acceptance as it wraps up Link’s journey. Was this considered during development, or is this just a fan interpretation?
Eiji Aonuma: It’s certainly true that each one of these different episodes you talked about has a different emotional cast to it. One feels like it’s tinged with sadness, and another with anger – that certainly was intentional. But, I also want to point out that it’s not that each one of these episodes only has the one emotion that they are conveying. There are certainly other notes that we’re trying to hit as well, and the reason we did this is always to allow the player to experience that emotion – to give them a chance to hook into the emotional tone of this scene and react to it and feel like they want to accomplish something in the game as a result.”
These are some really interesting words that can be interpreted any number of ways depending on what you believe. If like me, you think the Link is the Dead theory is wrong, and one of the main reasons of that is that the 5 stages of grief theory itself is wrong, than you likely see this as some sort of confirmation of that end. How? Because while he says the mentioned emotions are intentionally conveyed, he also goes on to mention that at the same time, those aren’t the only emotions being conveyed in those scenes. He also says that all of this exists to draw us in emotionally into what is going on. Then, there is also the fact he doesn’t mention grief at any point in his response, making it seem like that’s fan coincidence, and that we see the stages because we’re ignoring the other emotions to fit our own imagination.
Then, on the other side, Eiji Aonuma did say these emotions were intentional, and thus you might take that to mean that they intended for there to be a “5 Stages of Grief” ideal throughout the story. Reality is, neither side is wrong, at least based on what Eiji Aonuma just said. Many of you know which side of the fence I lay on, but what about you?
Source: Game Informer Magazine (Exclusive to Subscribers)