Posted by: seanmalstrom | April 4, 2017

Aonuma: “Damn that Malstrom!”

Disclaimer: He didn’t actually say ‘damn, that Malstrom’.

Here is what he said:

Famitsu: Making the next Zelda game might be more difficult if you choose to make it an open-air game. What will evolve open-air? How will you make future dungeons? What will the next Zelda title be like?

Aonuma: I think that, in the future, open air games will be the standard for Zelda.


Nintendo likes to pretend they have originally created something by changing the label. Open Air is Open World.

Now why would Nintendo want future Zelda games to be Open World?

Is it due to the critical success of BoW “Wow!”? Nah. Every Zelda has critical success.

The real reason is due to SALES. The job of first party games is to sell the hardware. Open World Zelda does that. Aonuma Zelda does NOT do that.

Even with BoW “Wow!”, you hear people say, “I like the game but those dungeons are terrible!” What are the dungeons? Gigantic puzzles. Aonuma Pets. That is what the Divine Beasts are, Aonuma Pets.

Zelda is about the Open World, not about puzzles. There may be puzzles in this Open World, but that is not why we are playing the game. If the dungeons were all like Hyrule Castle, this game would be perfect.

Dos Equis Gifs to the World wink the most interesting man dos equis GIF

Above: Malstrom winks at the reader

What I think is fun about this were the haters of Malstrom who said, “WTF? Zelda is fine. Zelda is glorious. What do you mean that Zelda isn’t selling right? Zelda sells fine.” As I used to say, Zelda was the gold cartridge game. Zelda was so popular, so phenomenal, it had its own cartoon show, was part of a cereal, and every game company tried to copy Zelda (look at all the Zelda 1, 2, and 3 clones!). Zelda was not as popular as Mario (but then again, NOTHING was), but Zelda was a phenomenon. I remember Zelda 1 and 2 as massive phenomenons. Link to the Past… not nearly as much. Ocarina of Time was a phenomenon, but in what way? I say Ocarina of Time’s power was in being Grand Theft Auto 3 before Grand Theft Auto 3. Ocarina of Time gave the illusion of a 3d open world. Nintendo misinterpreted Ocarina of Time’s success to be about the ‘puzzles’ or ‘NPC stories’ or the ‘formula’. So with each new Zelda game copying the formula, the success of Zelda was tepid at best.

Zelda has been broken since then. The ‘good sales’ of Zelda weren’t really good when you knew Zelda could be making a phenomenon like it used to do. Zelda wasn’t selling the hardware either. Wind Waker? Poor Gamecube! Poor Wii U! Wind Waker is so great, it destroys every console it is on.

Ignoring Ocarina of Time and Link to the Past formula and focusing on Zelda 1 and 2’s formula (or LACK of formula) has blown up Zelda skyhigh. Breath of the Wild is not only selling well, it is selling Nintendo hardware. Not just Switches, it is selling Wii Us too! Wii Us are such a disaster that no one wants the hardware, and it isn’t even available in retail anymore, yet people will still go for the Wii U to get to Zelda.

“But I want more story in Zelda. This is not possible without Open World.”

WRONG. I will show you how. It has been done before with Open World and can be done so again. You must go back in gaming over 30 years. The solution is there. The recipe is already done. Does Nintendo have the courage to cook it?

I am still amazed Nintendo went ahead and was bold enough to make Breath of the Wild the way it is. Maybe it was Miyamoto climbing trees all day that sealed the deal.



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