Nintendo has previously indicated that the Switch’s fusion of handheld and console gaming could lead to the system taking on certain aspects of both mediums such as mid-lifespan hardware upgrades. Now, they are even indicating that the Switch’s handheld pedigree could lead to the development of two different kinds of Zelda games.
In an interview with Game Informer, The Legend of Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma talked about the upcoming Breath of the Wild. When asked whether or not Nintendo ever considered merging the 3DS Zelda development teams with the Breath of the Wild team in order to expedite Breath of the Wild‘s development process, Aonuma had this to say:
“The dev pace is not really dependent on how many people are on a team, so combining them would not necessarily expedite the development pace,” says Aonuma. “The 3DS team and the Wii U team have different approaches to game development, so I don’t necessarily want to combine them and have them think together, but rather have each think about what they can bring to Nintendo Switch from their own perspective.”
Aonuma later elaborated on that statement by stating that the 3DS team will not suddenly be “phased out” by the Nintendo Switch or that Nintendo will cease to make 3DS Zelda games. However, Aonuma did state that “there is definitely a possibility” that the 3DS Zelda team could work on a new Zelda game for the Nintendo Switch.
“There are definitely good things about the 2D world and the playstyles of the 2D world,” Aonuma said regarding the differences between 3D and 2D. “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.”
It’s not entirely clear what Aonuma means by an evolved style of 2D, but he could be referring to something along the lines of the 3DS’ Link Between Worlds which slightly altered the gameplay staples of 2D Zelda games as well as the series’ visual perspective. With any luck, we’ll hopefully know more about this potential project in the months following the release of Breath of the Wild on March 3rd.