Interview:EDGE August 26th 2014

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Aonuma: I should watch what I say. I purposely tried not to talk too much about the new game at this year's E3. That's because I was not in a position to give clear information about what kind of game it is, and also because, by doing so, I wanted to gauge people's reactions as they tried to get an idea about this new game.

Rather unexpectedly, after I mentioned that no one had explicitly said that it was Link [in the trailer], this speculation spread online and seems to have led to the idea that the main character will be a girl. However, this reaction from fans is something I would like to take into consideration as we proceed with development – although that doesn't mean we are going to change the main character to a girl.
Aonuma: Since we're talking about open worlds, let's state upfront that we don't plan to have an open world in the same way other companies have been doing in recent years.
Aonuma: In the original Legend of Zelda, there was no clear way to lead the main character to his goal. It was something that we entrusted to the players to find by themselves. As the game later expanded into a franchise, the structure of the game worlds became more and more complex – especially with the introduction of 3D – making it necessary for us to point the player in the right direction. Consequently, progression in the games became more linear.

To recreate a similar experience to the original, we have to give the game world a simple structure that players can understand intuitively. In doing so, it's very important that we make every aspect of the world feel real and physically connected, so that it's doesn't look fake.

We can achieve this thanks to the hardware features of Wii U, but to truly get a deep understanding of the game world, we also need a real map that depicts the world as it is. The GamePad is very effective for displaying this, and thus also [for] providing players with a constant hint on where to head to. I think we can safely say that the innovations in this new game are only possible thanks to the Wii U hardware.
Aonuma: The innovation of a vast open world could in one sense be seen as a return to the roots of the series. But in returning to these roots, we are also bringing with us all the things we have learned and ways the series has developed over all this time, which will help to create new and exciting gameplay possibilities.
Aonuma: I think the rental system had the effect of changing how the game progresses. However, there were quite a few complaints from players who felt let down that it lacked the classic zelda element of exploring dungeons to get items that gradually let you do more. Empathy and growth are important elements in Zelda games and acquiring new items in order to reach new areas was an element of gameplay related to growth. I realize that in order to satisfy all players, we must not only come up with new ideas, but also include something that allows the player to experience enjoyable elements from older titles in the series in a new way.