Zelda producer understands the nostalgia for the series’ linear games, but says there’s a 'grass is greener mentality'

Zelda holding the Master sword
(Image credit: Nintendo)

The producer of The Legend of Zelda series, Eiji Aonuma, has addressed the demand for more traditional, linear Zelda games, but believes that “people have a tendency to want the thing that we don't currently have.”

Excluding The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (2019) and Skyward Sword HD (a remake and remaster of two older games), the two newest entries in the series, Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, have both followed a non-linear open-world format. While this proved to be an enormous hit with fans new and old, it’s now been a while since the classic linear design has been used. 

Speaking in a recent interview with IGN, Aonuma said that while he believes “there's a bit of a grass is greener mentality,” he can understand from a nostalgic perspective why fans still have a desire for the series to revisit its roots. 

“It's interesting when I hear people say those things because I am wondering, ‘Why do you want to go back to a type of game where you're more limited or more restricted in the types of things or ways you can play?’ But I do understand that desire that we have for nostalgia, and so I can also understand it from that aspect,” he explained. 

In the same interview, Aonuma referred to "games where you need to follow a specific set of steps or complete tasks in a very set order" as "kind of the games of the past," while those that allow players freedom and flexibility are "currently the games of today."

Even though it doesn’t sound like Aonuma wants to ditch the new open-world format, in a separate interview with Game Informer, he was recently asked if a sequel to Tears of the Kingdom has been ruled out. In response, he referred to the latest entry as “the final form of that version of The Legend of Zelda,” and said: “I don't think that we'll be making a direct sequel to a world such as that that we've created.”

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom are two of the best Nintendo Switch games, but if you want to keep up with more of the console’s releases, you can check out our roundup of upcoming Switch games.

Catherine Lewis
News Writer, TechRadar Gaming

Catherine is a News Writer for TechRadar Gaming. Armed with a journalism degree from The University of Sheffield, she was sucked into the games media industry after spending far too much time on her university newspaper writing about Pokémon and cool indie games, and realising that was a very cool job, actually. She previously spent 19 months working at GAMINGbible as a full-time journalist. She loves all things Nintendo, and will never stop talking about Xenoblade Chronicles.