In a recent interview with ShackNews, Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma has revealed a bit more about why the series hasn’t been annualized like some of the most popular Western franchises. In fact, Majora’s Mask was intended to be released one year after Ocarina of Time, in a time table given by Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto. He wanted to see Aonuma create a sequel to Ocarina of Time in just one year.
According to Aonuma, Nintendo believed at that time than an annualization of the series would be possible, thanks to Ocarina of Time being in 3D and the models being able to be reused, versus having to draw all new sprites, as Zelda games were 2D before the release of OoT. Despite the time table set up by Miyamoto, Majora’s Mask launched two years after Ocarina of Time and then Wind Waker 2 years behind it.
Since then, Zelda titles have slowed down. There was four years between Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, and five years between Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. Aonuma says the reason for this is to maintain quality.
“I don’t think it’s necessary that development needs to be longer. But to reach a certain level of quality, there’s just a certain amount of time that’s needed. Obviously, the company is telling me that I need to put games out as quickly as possible.”
If you’re interested in reading the rest of the interview with Eiji Aonuma, you can do so here. What do you think of longer release cycles versus annualization? Let us know in the comments below.