I love The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but I know that not everyone is a fan of the open-world. If you prefer a more linear Zelda game, you may be saddened to hear that Nintendo probably isn't going in that direction anytime soon. In an interview with Famitsu (translated via NeoGAF user SerenityNow), Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma admits that the next major Zelda will likely retain the open-world of Breath of the Wild.
"Making the next Zelda game might be more difficult if you choose to make it an open-air game. What will evolve open-air? How will you make future dungeons? What will the next Zelda title be like?" asks Famitsu.
"I think that, in the future, open air games will be the standard for Zelda," says Aonuma in reply.
If the "open-air" gives you pause, that's how Nintendo has been describing Zelda's open world for some time now. It's the company's way of trying to differentiate itself, though everyone else is just calling a spade a spade.
"From my perspective, I look at a lot of open-world games and the world is a setting for the story the developers want to tell in that space," Nintendo senior product marketing manager Bill Trinen told IGN during E3 2016. "I look at this game and I see a world that is fully integrated into the exploration and the adventure. It's not just a world that you're passing through. It's sort of a world that you're a part of. So much of the adventure and exploration is in this outdoor space, and the theme of wilderness collectively seemed like 'Open Air' was the right fit for it."
I always expected that the next Zelda game would be open-world, because you don't build something like Breath of the Wild's Hyrule and not take at least one shot at a Majora's Mask-style spin-off. Whether that comes through DLC for the existing game, or a new standalone title, I don't think what Nintendo has made with Breath of the Wild is done-in-one.
There is still some hope for linear Zelda fans. Aonuma previously admitted that the handheld Zelda teams behind A Link Between Worlds and Tri Force Heroes are still on their own and could be making their own projects for the Switch.
"Yes, there is definitely a possibility," said Aonuma, when GameInformer asked about the 3DS Zelda team working on the Switch. "There are definitely good things about the 2D world and the playstyles of the 2D world. There are a lot of fans who enjoy that style. This Nintendo Switch style, which is the evolved style of gameplay is not necessarily... I want you to think of it more as an evolved style of 2D style. For the 3DS team, I am trying to make them think in a more evolved 2D-style approach."