Zelda producer on why money matters in A Link Between Worlds

By Andrew Yoon, Oct 15, 2013 9:00am PDT

In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, you'll be able to buy and rent any weapon you want. It eschews a long-held series tradition, which had you earning new powers and abilities through a chronological series of dungeons. So, how did this new direction come about? We asked director Eiji Aonuma.

"Collecting rupees have always been a big part of Zelda games. But there was always a point in Zelda games where even if you collect rupees, there wasn't that much left to do with them. Making a game where there was a reason to continue collecting rupees was a big challenge for us on this game," he explained to us. "One idea there was to make you purchase all your items, and obviously that would give you a reason to collect rupees."

"But, that would make it very difficult to get items in the beginning. So, we made a rental service so that you could pay less money and rent items," he explained to Shacknews. "The downside there is that if you have items that are rented, if you Game Over, you lose them all. We wanted people to feel like they want to save up their rupees and buy all these items and buy them forever."

Making the collection of money so important made us think of yet another Nintendo handheld game: New Super Mario Bros. 2. However, Aonuma laughed at the suggestion.

One could cynically look at Zelda's new economy as inspired by free-to-play games. Obviously, purchasing in-game currency is something that many modern mobile games do. Aonuma insisted that the inspiration didn't come from there. "The idea of the rental system actually came from my own experience by getting into a hobby by first renting something and then deciding to actually buy something," he said. "But I can totally see how that kind of system would be a good business model, and I think that character in the game is a great businessman," he added, laughing.

A Link Between Worlds will be available on 3DS on November 22.

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