The Legend of Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma was recently available in New York at the New York Comic Con, giving a presentation for the upcoming Nintendo 3DS title, A Link Between Worlds. Polygon caught up with him to ask him about the title in a new interview. One of the biggest revelations to come from the interview is that Aonuma himself thinks that the hand-holding of previous Zelda titles like Skyward Sword was in fact, too much.
“I think that one thing all game developers worry about when they’re putting something into a game is, ‘Will people notice it? Will people realize what they’re supposed to do?’ And we kind of have a bad habit of hand-holding, trying to make things easier for everyone. But more and more, I start to think that that kind of isn’t actually that fun.”
Aonuma acknowledges that developers sometimes underestimate the player and the level of hand-holding that some games incorporate can be off-putting for people who aren’t fans of the series. I know this is the case for me with several JRPG titles, as many of them have tutorial periods that can be upwards of 2 to 3 hours long. The most blatant example I can think of is Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, in which your companion Drippy is still treating you as though you’re stupid halfway through the game with a specific mechanic.
I’m happy to see Aonuma acknowledge this aspect of development as overkill and hopefully future titles such as A Link Between Worlds and the new Zelda Wii U title will see less hand-holding than a title like Skyward Sword.