Aonuma Outlines One Reason for Zelda: Breath of the Wild's Delays: A Lack of Compliments

Aonuma Outlines One Reason for Zelda: Breath of the Wild's Delays: A Lack of Compliments

According to an interview with Eiji Aonuma, a bit of praise goes a long way in the world of game development.

Life sometimes brings us in close contact with superiors who believe, for one reason or another, that the only way to improve their subordinates' performance at work, school, or wherever is through harsh criticism. "You don't earn any extra points for doing a good job!" they boom. "I don't believe in this 'Everyone Gets a Trophy' nonsense!"

If you're in charge of a passel of people and this happens to be your outlook: What's wrong with you? You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. If you don't believe it, consider this: Eiji Aonuma, who's currently at the head of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild recently admitted to Edge Magazine that one reason for the game's numerous delays lies with his hesitance to compliment his team on what worked in its early builds.

"This is going right on the fridge."

Edge interviewed Aonuma in issue 296 (via Nintendolife), wherein the veteran producer outlined how some back-patting might've sped along Breath of the Wild's development a bit.

"We have these milestones during development. I play the game, then give staff my comments, my advice on what direction they should be heading in," Aonuma said. "At one of the milestones, the game was fantastic. There were so many great elements. But at the next milestone, that was all gone.

"I'd made a lot of comments about what they needed to add, but I never told them what I thought was good about the game at that milestone. So they added stuff that I'd recommended, but they also added some other elements they thought would work well – and that ended up breaking all the good parts of the previous build."

Aonuma's takeaway is that he should've said nice things a bit more often. "I learned that, when it's good, I have to say so. If I'd managed that we'll, maybe development wouldn't have extended quite so much."

On the topic of listening and talking, the interview also explores how Aonuma has learned from the criticisms he received about The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

"We got a lot of feedback from the people that played Skyward Sword. There were these pockets of worlds that players were able to dive into, but they really wanted to see what was in between those worlds – all the hidden elements they weren't able to see," he said. "I thought that was really natural for Zelda fans, who like to explore, to uncover little secrets. We realised that we needed to make this free, open-air world."

"You sure you don't want to fish for an hour first?"

Aonuma has already confirmed that Breath of the Wild is, in many ways, a return to the Zelda series' roots as an open-ended adventure game. Like the original Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild throws you into its world head-first. You're wholly responsible for equipping yourself and figuring out where to go, and what to do.

Heck, you're even more helpless at the start of Breath of the Wild than you are at the start of The Legend of Zelda. At least the latter gives you a tunic. Link straight-up wakes up in his underwear in Breath of the Wild.

We're not going to see The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Wii U or NX until 2017, so settle in for a bit of a wait. In the meantime, pay a compliment to someone who's close to you. It may change the world.

On that note, I'm sure you all look very nice today.

Got questions about Link's first adventure for the Nintendo Switch? We have answers. Check out all our guides, tips, and articles about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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