By default, Eiji Aonuma, the Zelda series producer, rarely gets to talk about much else beyond Zelda, especially in an interview setting. This makes sense, given that he has been intricately involved exclusively in the Zelda series dating back to Ocarina of Time. However, in an interview with French site Gameblog, Eiji Aonuma expanded upon what makes Nintendo games stand out, while additionally talking about how the video game industry has changed.
“I do not know if it fits perfectly, but I will say that … it’s difficult to answer, because I never created video games other than Nintendo. On the other hand, I play a lot of other games, other than Nintendo. The specificity (essence) of Nintendo, although it is not valid for 100% of our games, but compared to other games, we go directly into the heart of the matter … It is true that our games do not take long to start, not full of cinematic intros, explanations that drag on and that we are told ‘well, we play when?’ And which give us rather want to turn off the console.”
“What has changed the most I think, and that’s a good thing, the average quality of games. A few years ago, the technical quality of the Western games was still below that of the Japanese games. While today, it is also high, sometimes even higher than Japanese titles. This raised the overall average. So you can not afford to do worse than the current average. Doing as well or even better, requires a lot of time and money.
I obviously can not laugh, since the last Zelda took a lot of time in terms of achievement. When you have a lot of money and you take a lot of time to make a game, you can not afford to have a miss and see bad sales because that would put you in real danger. Most of the video game companies who will invest a lot of money in developing their games will take less risks and make sequels and series … and I do not want to give lessons because with Zelda I’ve been doing this for quite a few years.
This is where the video game industry has changed: we can take fewer risks than before, although I think Nintendo has found a good balance between sets of existing franchises and new IPs such as Splatoon.” – Eiji Aonuma