Shigeru Miyamoto Says Not to Hold Your Breath for a Retro Studios Zelda

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A lot of people have apparently been asking Nintendo if Retro Studios will ever get to work on the Zelda franchise – and many of our staffpeople are included in that number. The Legend of Zelda draws largely on Western mythology and culture, and I think it’s a strong sentiment for many that the best way to capture that aesthetic is to give the franchise over to a non-Japanese developer for a change.

If you’re a member of that crowd, however, you might not want to hold your breath. Speaking to GameReactor in an interview following his receipt of the Prince of Asturias Award, Miyamoto said that it’s unlikely that it’ll ever happen due to the need to keep certain elements of the franchise inside Japan.

Hop inside for his full comments… and a brief response.

UPDATE: We’ve tracked down a more complete quote – turns out the one we originally cited was a summary.

Really, with every game we develop, Zelda gets bigger and bigger. It’s reached a point where, if we had to do it entirely inside Nintendo, we would have to dedicate ourselves exclusively to Zelda given the dimensions it has reached. That’s why Nintendo is working with more and more companies either in-house or subcontracted, like Monolith or Grezzo. Ultimately, Mr. Aonuma is very close with these kind of companies in his work, so the possibility of Retro Studios making a new Zelda, following a good proposal, isn’t a farfetched idea at all and could be totally possible.

But on the other hand, so far the design and script was created within Nintendo and this must continue. Even though Retro Studios is qualified, in the end they would have to be in very close contact with us, and, being outside Japan the distance and timezone differences would make communication more complicated. Retro Studios should be a company that is more focused on developing projects with less dependence on Nintendo; they’re probably not the most appropriate [for Zelda].

I’m actually totally down with the idea that Retro should be given projects where they’ll have tons of independence and won’t need to be in constant communication with Japan. However, here’s the piece of the puzzle that I think Miyamoto and his cohorts at NCL don’t understand: people want both of these things to be true for a Retro-designed Zelda game.

The people looking for a Zelda developed by Retro Studios strongly desire a breath of fresh air from the “design and script created within Nintendo.” They want Retro to be able to work on these things without strong influence from their Japanese overlords. It’s like I said in my opening statement: a Retro Studios Zelda would represent a return to Zelda‘s heavily Western-inspired roots – a kind of direction that Nintendo has not been willing to fully embrace since Majora’s Mask.

If Nintendo is not willing to turn the Zelda series back over to the currents of Western culture and game design, then I foresee the continued decline of the fanbase as more and more gamers choose games like Skyrim as alternatives. By this I do not mean that Zelda should sacrifice those “classic” elements that made it popular in the first place – just the “Japanese” sensibilities that have divorced it not only from its mostly Western audience but from most of its Japanese fans as well.

Source: GameReactor, full quote via NeoGAF

  • http://www.facebook.com/joseph.lago.9 Joseph Lago

    I think a part of it is that Nintendo is fearing a repeat of the horrendous CD-i games. While I am down with the idea of Retro doing a Zelda game. I can admit that I would approach with caution… I also think that the reverse is also a fear for Nintendo. If Retro made the game with it being very successful then that means Nintendo may have to redo how they work on the Zelda franchise or risk Zelda spliting into two different types of games.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Thompson/100000355411389 Steve Thompson

      I’m not sure its the cd-i thing. They did allow capcom to make a few zeldas and they were good. Retro can make a good zelda, nintendo just doesn’t want to take a risk when they really really need to.

  • http://www.zeldadungeon.net/ Mases Hagopian

    I think Nintendo can give Zelda a breath of fresh air internally, just as much as Retro Studios can. I think they need to just not make such a conservative type of game. They don’t need to hold true to the established Zelda formula. Perhaps be a bit more quirky.

    I mean, they did just that with Link’s Awakening and it turned out great. Granted, even the changes they made to LA don’t seem like huge changes nowadays, but at the time they were. While I think Retro can make a great Zelda, I think internally, Nintendo can do it as well.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Thompson/100000355411389 Steve Thompson

      Links awakening is quite old though. Will nintendo take risks with zelda though? Skyward swords risk was the motion controls but swap those out with traditional controls and you get pretty much Oot. As a huge fan of majoras mask I’d love for nintendo to look back at what they did with some of the more “out there” zeldas but will that happen? Nintendo seems to be very conservative with zelda and mario.

    • http://www.gengame.net/ Alex Plant

      I am worried that “quirky” will lead to more elements like Tingle, “toon” graphics, and so on that were not accepted by the mainstream or even the older fans, instead of actually good gameplay innovations.

      • K2L

        Except Tingle hasn’t been seen since a long time ago, and the Toon design was demoted to handheld installments only. You’re only resented that Nintendo isn’t outsopurcing the game to Retro Studios because you DID hold your breath too much for something that was never confirmed to begin with. I mean, was your anti-WW hate so fiercely strong to fear that elements long absent would return in the blink of an eye? =/

        • http://www.gengame.net/ Alex Plant

          I love TWW. One of my favorite Zelda games, art style and all.

          Don’t think its art direction was a good idea, though.

          • K2L

            Way to miss the point. My question was whyy would you worry about aspects that weren’t seen since long ago. Tingle is MIA since TP, and Toon Link never appeared again in a home console since 2004.

            • http://www.gengame.net/ Alex Plant

              They replaced Tingle with the clowns in the other games… and seem to think that merging the same kind of coloring used in TWW with the TP style was a good idea.

              • K2L

                Looks like it’s impossible to please everybody, then. I don’t care much for Tingle personally, but I thought that mixing up the visual styles would please both camps, and if anything it became loathed by either. Not completely sure how will Nintendo create a game that surpasses OOT if they can’t impact everybody alike.

                • http://www.gengame.net/ Alex Plant

                  Make a game that appeals to the most possible people – i.e., ditch the niche art styles and go for classic high fantasy and medieval and mythological-style worlds. These have been popular for thousands of years.

  • zelda1947

    Why would Mr. Miyamoto want to change what is not broken, Zelda has been great games for 25 years, leave it alone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Thompson/100000355411389 Steve Thompson

      I think the story has become predictable and the atmosphere has been mostly the same. Keep the zelda feel but change the tone and drasticly change the story. I’d not like not to rescue zelda and kill what ever gannon is calling himself in that game. Majoras mask was the last zelda that excelled in story and atmosphere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002367454310 Jonathan Stoffregen

    thats fine BUT they need to make another metroid game!

  • Aiddon

    there, now shut up about Retro and Zelda. i think most people clamoring for it probably wouldn’t like what they’d say. Zelda is one of Miyamoto’s babies and due to its legacy it ain’t leaving Japan anytime soon, similar to how the main Mario lines are done in Japan.

  • …..

    I think TP had some Western influence with the cowboys and Royalty and old ghost towns, so we have seen some since MM.

    BTW i think there might be a troll among us

    • http://www.gengame.net/ Alex Plant

      That is not “Western” influence. No self-respecting Western mind would put cowboys in a high fantasy game.