Since the end of E3, Eiji Aonuma has been very active in the press, speaking about the next Legend of Zelda game, as well as the current upcoming release of Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD. One of the questions that people always focus on when discussing Zelda with Aonuma is whether or not the series will ever contain a multi-player element. His answer is a complicated one.
“Actually, multi-play has been a high hurdle for me, something that’s plagued me for a long time. We did come out with Four Swords but I don’t think that offered a whole lot of surprises for the user. I still believe there’s one Link; the one-Link philosophy works for Zelda. But there are other ways to incorporate kind of a multiplayer experience.”
It’s easy to understand Aonuma’s apprehension surrounding adding multiplayer to such a long-standing single player title, but it’s interesting to see that he is considering ways to incorporate it properly where it’s more than just the gimmick that Four Swords was. One possible way resembles the way Dark Souls multiplayer currently works, where each individual Link can communicate through something known as a Tingle bottle, using the Miiverse.
In Wind Waker there’s this vast kind of sea world that you’re traveling in, and there are lots of Links exploring this space. Through the Tingle bottle, that’s where that communication happens with those other Links. They may not physically appear in that space, but you know of their presence through the messages that they leave.
The concept of leaving messages for players in games is a novel one, as its the primary method of communication for Dark Souls players. Using an object in the game, players can leave a series of phrases on the ground at intervals, letting players know of upcoming traps, dangers, or secrets hidden behind walls. You can even leave false messages to trick players. This is all balanced by a rating system that sounds very familiar to the concept Aonuma is discussing here.
If you’d like to read the rest of Aonuma’s interview with Wired on the Legend of Zelda series, you can check it out here.