Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma believes linear entries are "games of the past"
Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma has responded to fan requests for the series to return to the more linear structure found in games before Breath of the Wild, stating that he believes those types of entries are now "games of the past."
In a recent interview with IGN, Aonuma expressed his thoughts on the subject, stating that games "where you need to follow a specific set of steps or complete tasks in a very set order" are "kind of the games of the past" when compared to the new open-world structure of the last two mainline Zelda titles.
The producer was then asked about fans who have asked Nintendo for a more traditional Zelda game in the vein of Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker, to which he responded that nostalgia may play a role in those requests. “Well, I do think we as people have a tendency to want the thing that we don’t currently have, and there’s a bit of a grass is greener mentality,” Aonuma said. "It's interesting when I hear people say [they prefer the old entries] 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."
Despite the open-world structure of Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, Aonuma asserts that there is still a "set path," just that it is now "the path that they chose." Given that both titles have gone on to become some of Nintendo's most successful releases in terms of both commercial and critical achievements, it's likely that the concept of player choice will continue to be emphasized in future entries.
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