One of the biggest criticisms for long time Legend of Zelda fans is the first hour or so you spend essentially learning the game. Game tutorials are usually a necessary evil that long time fans must endure so you can learn any new control quirks, or acquaint new people with the action, but they’re a pretty boring way to start the game.
For that reason, many modern game developers are opting to leave their tutorials behind special sections of gameplay, instead of forcing players to sit through hours of tutorial. The Legend of Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma recognizes that gamers don’t like lengthy tutorials for series, which is addressed in his latest interview with Kotaku. Skyward Sword was heavily criticized for its over use of tutorials, while the Nintendo 3DS title A Link Between Worlds was a breath of fresh air in terms of the amount of tutorials. Aonuma says that’s his new approach for the Zelda series.
Yes. When we created Skyward Sword, I really felt the need to make sure that everyone playing the game understood it. But I also understand now, in hindsight, that when you go out and buy a game, you buy the game because you want to play it, and you don’t want to have any obstacles in the way. And I guess it was received as a bit of an obstacle. In a game, it’s when you get stuck, when you want that help. And I kinda frontloaded all that in Skyward Sword, and it doesn’t really help to get that information when you don’t know what to do with it. So that was a real learning experience for me. So I’m going to be careful not to do that.
It’s nice to see Aonuma acknowledge that front-loaded tutorials with information that you just don’t need at the time are less useful than small nudges where you might need them. A Link Between Worlds approached the tutorials of the game fantastically, so we’re happy to see Aonuma acknowledge that’s the best way to handle tutorials for a long-standing series were most of your players will likely be familiar with the items and concepts you’re introducing.