Aonuma: Hand Holding In Games Isnt That Fun U.S. Fans Are More Passionate

#1StickMen1090Posted 10/12/2013 9:04:38 AM(edited)
Than In Japan

In a new interview with Polygon that took place after his presentation at the New York Comic-Con, Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma discussed A Link Between Worlds, Zelda fans in the U.S., and the pervasiveness of “hand-holding” in recent video games. After acknowledging that complaints of hand-holding have been leveled against recent Zelda titles like Skyward Sword, he said that he has come to believe recently that a game with too many hints to guide the player along “actually isn’t that fun.”

He went on to mention that there was a section of A Link Between Worlds where he argued with his director over including a hint, eventually winning the standoff and ensuring that the hint would be left out of the game. Additionally, Aonuma discussed the huge response he received from the crowd in New York during his presentation, saying that he thinks the fans there are “even more passionate than the fans in Japan.” On its release date of November 22nd, gamers will be able to decide for themselves whether A Link Between Worlds includes too much hand-holding. Here are Aonuma’s comments:

On New York fans: “It was kind of crazy, the way I would say one little thing and get this huge reaction from people. It really made me realize that man, the fans here are so passionate. I think they’re even more passionate than the fans in Japan.”

On hand-holding in games: “I think that one thing all game developers worry about when they’re putting something into a game is, ‘Will people notice it? Will people realize what they’re supposed to do?’ And we kind of have a bad habit of hand-holding, trying to make things easier for everyone. But more and more, I start to think that that kind of isn’t actually that fun.”

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#2MilesTeg420Posted 10/12/2013 9:07:02 AM
It would have been a shame for a sequel to ALTTP to be all about handholding. Good call.
#3NovaeGamerPosted 10/12/2013 9:11:33 AM
So, all these reviews and complaints about Zelda-SS having too much hand-holding came though to Nintendo.

I am hereby happy to hear him say these things, and will be even happier if the next Zelda returns to the former "not-so-much-hand-holding".
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#4LaManoNeraIIPosted 10/12/2013 9:22:41 AM
Aonuma has been kicking ass and taking names lately. Makes me feel good for Zelda U. I think Link Between Worlds will be more than a worthy sequel to LttP.
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#5GodofLazinessPosted 10/12/2013 9:28:45 AM
Great to hear that from him. I can't wait till LBW comes out.
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#6nonexistingheroPosted 10/12/2013 9:42:56 AM(edited)
A game having a lot of hints or a hint system isn't the problem. The problem is developers forcing the handholding on the players every step along the way. And the bigger problem is the majority of gamers actually liking it. The average modern gamerdoesn't know how to figure things out on their own.
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#7Shadowbird_RHPosted 10/12/2013 9:55:44 AM
Good to hear, though some of the Fe style hand holding was pretty amusing, and I hope they do at least a little obvious stuff just to tease people.

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#8manmousePosted 10/12/2013 10:23:16 AM
nonexistinghero posted...
A game having a lot of hints or a hint system isn't the problem. The problem is developers forcing the handholding on the players every step along the way. And the bigger problem is the majority of gamers actually liking it. The average modern gamerdoesn't know how to figure things out on their own.


there's definitely a "renaissance" of appreciating difficulty now though. i mean just look at how much resentment Skyward Sword generated from fans.

and look at all the most popular recent indie games from the past few years, the more insanely difficult and unforgiving, the more explosively popular they become. Super Meat Boy, Spelunky, Cloudberry Kingdom, Rogue Legacy, etc. not only is difficulty appreciated in those games, it's a SELLING POINT, where they're selling hundreds of thousands (past a million in Super Meat Boy's case) because people want to experience that.

much like how we've gotten to the point where there's no longer as much of a fear of 2D games and a stigma of "not being modern and 3D," the gaming community's gotten to the point where a large, no longer tiny niche audience wants some challenge back in gaming.
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#9Lord_FroodPosted 10/12/2013 10:31:48 AM
Shadowbird_RH posted...
Good to hear, though some of the Fe style hand holding was pretty amusing, and I hope they do at least a little obvious stuff just to tease people.

Master, a door. I calculate a 97.1% chance that if we go through it, we will be in another room.


There's a 3% chance that by going through it that I won't be in another room?
That's scary.
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#10nonexistingheroPosted 10/12/2013 10:41:28 AM
That's just a few games. There's still a ton more games with a lot of handholding and even worse... a lot of scripted sequences (that are basically just cutscenes where you walk around, listen to boring dialogue and can't do anything else) and autoplay (press A to Awesome). They are experience focused, but in return you're not the one that decides how to play the game. The developers decide it and usually merely give the player the illusion of having control.

I've recently been playing Sleeping Dogs, a game that received a lot of praise. What do you do in the game? You pretty much go from marker to marker and watch cutscenes. Yeah, you're free to explore a bit, but there's nothing that's not shown on the map. Okay, some things. But you'll just go on dates and after doing all of them everything is shown on the map. So the game really just gives the illusion of freedom, but there really isn't any since everything's basically the same.

And the same can be said for a game like Mass Effect. Different dialogue options, but the only thing that changes is the dialogue. In a replay the game itself is pretty much exactly the same, aside from a few differences, but since every bit of gameplay feels pretty much the same it just feels like you're doing a repeat. You're not exactly learning anything new or really improving skillwise in a way that feels like it matters.

Meanwhile, a game like Mega Turrican is just fun to replay for the hell of it and feels different on different playthroughs, despite going through the same paths in the same levels.

Modern game design is all about making games look pretty and realistic (for most part), but what is lost is the actual talent required to design good and fun areas. Areas that you just want to revisit and replay, simply because it's fun. I think most developers rarely sit down with their own games, pick up the controller and ask themselves... "am I having fun?" A game where you actually think back about the fun gameplay sections, rather than just the intense story moments. Nintendo and a few other developers do it, but sadly, not a whole lot of others do that.
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