Don Mattrick set the Xbox brsnd on a downward spiral. That E3 2013 will haunt them for a long time. Zelda and Mario are not a valid comparison. Breath of the Wild shook up the formula, as did Mario Odyssey. Critically speaking they are amongst the 10 greatest games ever made.
Microsoft hasn't been as lucky with their IPs. Halo stopped being a great game since Halo Reach. Believe it or not great part of Halo's appeal was it's wonderful single player campaigns, it matters. Gears of War seems to have found its stride again with this last installment.
But Microsoft still lacking quality exclusives in comparison to Sony and Nintendo. Microsoft lacks an open world game that can compete with HZD and BotW for example. They have Fable but they haven't touched that franchise on this gen. Last Year Sony Had God of War, Microsoft has nothing to compete with that, or with the upcoming Last of Us 2. I haven't even mentioned Death Stranding, and the FF7 Remake. Microsoft lost a lot of ground this gen, they better come out with some new IPs (That Garner critical praise) next gen right out of the gates if they want to catch up.
Which is why I said, "...almost thirty years." Yes, they changed with BOTW and Odyssey, but each game until then had the same blueprint, setting, items and so on, with a couple odd gimmicks thrown in to change things up a tiny little bit. How many times have we rescued Peach and Zelda now? How many times have we pulled out the Master Sword?
Dude. I am not going to go back all they way to the NES. I will start at the N64. Ocarina of Time didn't only made a perfect transition of Zelda classic action RPG gameplay into 3 Dimensions, but it created and revolutionized a few genres in the process. It was different from any other game that had ever been made. It introduced many gameplay elements that would later find their way into GTA, and other action advebture games.
MM it's direct Sequel couldn't have been more different under the same play style. The 3 day cycle has yet to be replicated since. There was no master Sword pulling or Zelda saving in that game. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Then came Wind Waker, a game that was panned upon reveal because it didn't live up to the realistic looking space world trailer. The game would later be extremely well recieved. Hyrule's land was replaced by a giant Sea, and while the game followed OoTs progression and control system, OoT was (and is) regarded as the greatest game of all time why would Nintendo shake up something that had been commercially and critically successful?
Then came Twilight Princess, The Ocarina successor everyone asked for and finally got. While Zelda and Link make an appearance so does Midna, Links wolf form, Zant and the Twilight realm. Once again introducing a new twist into a proven formula. TP was still the greatest action adventure world of its time. The formula worked everyone loved it, why would it change? TP was different from WW as WW was different from MM as MM was different from OoT.
Then came Skyward Sword, my personal low point in the series thought I still think it is a 9/10 of a game. SS introduced the sky, and motion controls at its maximum expression (at least Wii wise) at the time. I wasn't a fan of it, and truly became more engrossed with Skyrim at the time. But people did complain in forums.
Finally this takes us to BotW, a game that fully dove the series in the the modern open world trend with spectacular results because Nintendo once again innovated with in a genre that was starting to fatigue people. The physics system, the elimination of themed dungeons (some people are still angry about this) replaced by a Shrine system. The ability to randomly tackle the game any way you wanted. The ability to climb, over every surface, temperature affecting character and gameplay, etc. Every main Zelda game has always brought something new to the table. Just look at the Metacritic ratings .
I won't go into Mario because that is the one series in which Nintendo has truly experimented with each entry and to mostly spectacular results. Nintendo has always innovated. You are complaining about Story elements. No one plays Mario for story elements. Zelda has a decent story as far as action RPGs go.