The lights are on
Nintendo’s new Switch console falls somewhere between a traditional console and a portable gaming device. While Nintendo hasn’t stated whether their handheld-focused teams will shift focus to the Switch, many have speculated that that is the case.
During an interview with The Legend of Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma for our recent Breath of the Wild cover story, we had a chance to talk about this possible developmental shift at Nintendo.
Since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a massive project, we asked Aonuma if Nintendo considered fusing the Breath of the Wild team with the team that worked on the 3DS Zelda titles like A Link Between Worlds and Tri Force Heroes. We wondered if the studio thought this would help speed up development of the upcoming console game.
“The dev pace is not really dependent on how many people are on a team, so combining them would not necessarily expedite the development pace,” says Aonuma. “The 3DS team and the Wii U team have different approaches to game development, so I don’t necessarily want to combine them and have them think together, but rather have each think about what they can bring to Nintendo Switch from their own perspective.”
Aonuma then offered additional clarification, saying “The handheld development team will not be phased out because of Nintendo Switch. Switch will allow the users to bring their home console on the go, but this doesn't mean handheld game development like Nintendo 3DS will be discontinued.”
When we asked point-blank if there was a possibility that the 3DS Zelda teams were working on a new game for the Nintendo Switch, Aonuma said, “Yes, there is definitely a possibility.”
This is good news for classic fans of the series or anyone who worry Breath of the Wild has strayed too far from the original Zelda formula. While we’ve enjoyed everything we’ve seen in Breath of the Wild, we’re sure many fans would also be excited by the idea of seeing a follow up to 2013’s A Link Between Worlds on their television screens.
“There are definitely good things about the 2D world and the playstyles of the 2D world,” Aonuma says. “There are a lot of fans who enjoy that style. This Nintendo Switch style, which is the evolved style of gameplay is not necessarily… I want you to think of it more as an evolved style of 2D style. For the 3DS team, I am trying to make them think in a more evolved 2D-style approach.”
Hopefully, we’ll learn more about this “evolved 2D style” very soon. Since the 3DS team's last game, The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes, released back in October of 2015, we wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo announced a new 2D Zelda not long after the release of Breath of the Wild.
For all of our The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild coverage this month, click the banner below.
Email the author Ben Reeves, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.