Two of Nintendo’s flagship franchises The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario have been around for over 25 years. Although both series were born in the 1980s and have seen releases on all of Nintendo’s major consoles, Super Mario trumps The Legend of Zelda in terms of the number of titles developed. The reason for this is, according to The Legend of Zelda series producer Eiji Aounuma, Zelda games require a longer development time. Plus, while the Super Mario series has two producers – Takashi Tezuka and Yoshiaki Koizumi – Aonuma is The Legend of Zelda’s sole producer.
We see Nintendo franchises come and go. Some aren’t updated for long periods of time. Zelda is not one of those. And yet Zelda, it’s not as if it’s a 5, 6, 7 million seller like a New Super Mario Bros.. It’s not one of the huge franchises. So what does Zelda mean to Nintendo? What is the importance of Zelda in the Nintendo world?
Aonuma: You said that Nintendo releases Zelda games regularly. We do release them regularly, but we don’t release them that often. Mario games, if you push to get it done, you can finish it in a year. Zelda games take at least three years to complete. At the same time, I’m getting pushed to release them quicker but the users are expecting bigger experiences. And those things don’t match up. So I struggle with that all the time. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do to meet both of those demands.
With the Mario series, there are two producers, Mr. Tezuka and Mr. Koizumi. With Zelda, it’s just me.
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