Aonuma tried the game because of its name
When The Legend of Zelda director Eiji Aonuma said that he had played The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in an interview, word got out that he was using the Bethesda title as inspiration for the next Zelda. Naturally, that got our imaginations going. In an interview with USGamer, he sets the record straight -- Skyrim hasn't impacted his ideas for the series, it turns out.
"I started playing Skyrim because the name was so close to 'Skyward Sword' and I wanted to see what that was about," he explained. "[laughs] I didn't pick it up because it was popular or because it was getting good reviews or anything like that. I just wanted to take a look at it. 'Oh, okay, this is what this game's about. There are some things in here that are sort of Zelda-esque and maybe some things that aren't.'
"But there was no inspiration taken from Skyrim. It didn't impact what I was thinking about for future Zelda titles. I'm always thinking about, 'Okay, next time, what are we going to do with the next one?' As a producer, whenever I can find more time to play games, I'm taking that free time to go out and play other games just to play them and see what's out there."
One might argue that being exposed to other works can have an effect despite your intentions going in. Aonuma went on to say "...everything you play influences what you're thinking, but I'm not looking at other games to try and find inspiration. If it happens, it's a natural process."
Wind Waker HD: Remaking a Classic [USGamer]