Nintendo wrestling with conservatism, innovation
Nintendo made a bold decision to eschew the typical conference at E3 this year, deciding instead to hold a number of several smaller events. True to form though, the company navigated some very safe waters with its software lineup, relying once again almost solely on classic franchises to support its platforms. This dichotomy echoes the outlook of Legend of Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma, a man determined to leap forward despite being tethered to the past.
"If we don't change we might die," Aonuma admitted to Engadget. "We need to evolve. Things need to change. Things need to grow." Still, Aonuma's current slate of Zelda projects aren't exactly the most progressive titles in the world. Subtle mutations aside, Wind Waker HD and the aptly titled A Link Between Worlds are largely recycled efforts.
Aonuma insists Wind Waker HD is more of a training tool designed, more than anything, to allow his production team to "learn what it is the Wii U can do... [and] what the system is capable of" before moving on to the high-definition follow-up to Skyward Sword everyone is waiting for.
Aonuma is at least cognizant of Nintendo's conservatism. "With regard to... breaking the mold or changing the formula, I certainly hear the thoughts of fans. The impressions of fans that maybe it's getting a bit stale," he admitted. So, change is coming. "The concept of the item will be completely different than what you've experienced before," he says.
How radical that departure will be remains to be seen, however. Despite the desire to evolve and experiment, there are also worries about changing the formula too much and losing what made the Zelda so special in the first place. Nintendo often talks about innovation, despite being so deeply rooted in the past. As Nintendo heads into a new generation, it will be interesting to see how far outside its comfort zone the company is willing to go.