Thank the maker! Legend of Zelda Producer Eiji Aonuma has finally caught on to the idea that we do not want forced tutorials in our games.
I had plenty of reservations about being forced to herd rams in the opening portions of The Twilight Princess, but nothing compares to the slow and dragging tutorials of The Skyward Sword. The game would be a masterpiece if it would just let me go on about discovering how to play on my own, but no. Aonuma is going to hold my hand through this quest whether I want him to or not.
Backtracking on this line of thinking, he admits that he might have gone a little overboard in an interview with Kotaku and won’t do so again in the newly revealed Legend of Zelda for the Wii U.
“When we created Skyward Sword, I really felt the need to make sure that everyone playing the game understood it,” said Aonuma.
“But I also understand now, in hindsight, that when you go out and buy a game, you buy the game because you want to play it, and you don’t want to have any obstacles in the way. And I guess it was received as a bit of an obstacle.
In a game, it’s when you get stuck, when you want that help. And I kinda frontloaded all that in Skyward Sword, and it doesn’t really help to get that information when you don’t know what to do with it. So that was a real learning experience for me. So I’m going to be careful not to do that.”
It’s always been the irony of Legend of Zelda. You make a tutorial to get players past obstacles, but the only major obstacle in the game is the tutorials themselves. This goes all the way back to Link’s Awakening when I got a ten page scroll of text explaining to me the functions of the compass each time I picked one up. I’ll never forget that a chime will tell me when a key enters the room in that game, that’s for sure.
Luckily, Aonuma is already making good on his promise. A Link Between Worlds was a decent step in allowing players to explore at their own pace, and it is this sense of exploration and discovery which Aonuma promised would be the driving force in this Wii U game. I want to uncover the world on my own, not have a fairy tell me how to do it. Could you imagine getting a tutorial every five minutes in Skyrim?
Tutorials are important to have in a game, especially with Nintendo games that appeal to all ages. All the same, it is just as important to let experienced gamers skip them. Please, stay true to your word on this one Aounuma.