Tears of the Kingdom director reportedly "already has plans" for the next Zelda
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom director Hidemaro Fujibayashi is apparently already thinking about the next game in the storied franchise.
That's according to Zachary Small, a New York Times writer who recently published an interview with Fujibayashi as well as series producer Eiji Aonuma. The NYT story itself focuses more on the design challenges Tears of the Kingdom faced during development, but in a tweet, Small added that: "It seems likely that Fujibayashi already has plans for the next Zelda game — though he hasn't even told Aonuma about it yet."
While the future of the franchise doesn't come up much in the interview, Aonuma did hint at potential story themes around Ganondorf: "It’s very possible from here on out that we will be able to see further character development and changes to his personality as the series continues. Ganondorf is an ingredient that we use to supplement gameplay."
In a separate interview with Polygon, Fujibayashi discussed ideas that didn't make it into Tears of the Kingdom for one reason or another. "I have a few in mind, but I'm not sure if I can share them here," he joked, adding that he "wouldn't want to ruin the surprise for people."
Aonuma was quick to note that, "Yeah, no, that would cause trouble for me. So please don't."
Fujibayashi also touched on the changes Tears of the Kingdom makes to Breath of the Wild's formula in another interview straight from Nintendo. He and Aonuma acknowledged that the sequel felt similar to the original game even deep into development, to the point that many leads and designers experienced "strong deja vu." Aonuma also commented on what deliberately wasn't changed, even if the team had alternate ideas, and this leftover design space could ultimately contain mechanics and features that may resurface in a future game, though we're once again lacking in specifics.
"We were supposed to be making something different, but the various things we made gave off a similar impression to what we'd done previously," the producer said. "But as development went on, we'd look at the game as a whole and sometimes discover that those things suddenly took a different shape because of the new elements we'd added. Until then, we were anxiously trying to change things up, but at some point, we realized that some of them were already as they should be."
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Aonuma commented on another possibility that fans have been asking for: a playable Zelda. Will the princess ever take center stage in a mainline title? Aonuma unsurprisingly didn't commit to a hard yes or no, but did acknowledge that "if it turns out that the particular gameplay we’re trying to bring to fruition would be best served by having Zelda take that role, then it’s possible that that could be a direction we could take."
Tears of the Kingdom isn't Fujibayashi's first or even second Zelda project, and Nintendo certainly isn't going to let the series rest, so even if it is a soft lead at best, it's no surprise to hear that the director is actively thinking about what comes next. Of course, with Link's latest adventure fresh out of the oven, we likely won't see or hear anything about a new Zelda for several years to come. And that isn't much of a problem seeing as how even that may not be enough time to puzzle out everything possible in Tears of the Kingdom.
Check our Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom review for more on what makes this staggeringly massive sequel so great.