Eiji Aonuma

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Eiji Aonuma
Eiji Aonuma.
Current Position Producer
Game(s) Worked On
Birthplace and Date Japan

Eiji Aonuma (青沼 英二) is one of the Nintendo employees most closely involved with The Legend of Zelda games.


Involvement into Nintendo and The Legend of Zelda series

Eiji Aonuma's first major game creation came with his director role in the 1996 Japan-only Super Famicom adventure title Marvelous, under Nintendo developer Research & Development 2. Marvelous was heavily influenced by A Link to the Past. Shigeru Miyamoto saw the game and asked Aonuma to join him as assistant director on Nintendo 64 development with Ocarina of Time. Aonuma got to incorporate the same assets to that game -- dungeon layouts, enemy placement, and more. Miyamoto was very pleased and permitted Aonuma to be the main director of Majora's Mask. Aonuma's ingenuity and hard work showed in his game, garnishing high praise and acceptance from all Zelda fans. Aonuma resumed his duty as Chief Director with The Wind Waker and later Twilight Princess. Eiji Aonuma is now working as a producer overseeing a variety of Zelda titles in development.

Interestingly, Aonuma was never able to finish the first The Legend of Zelda game, and it was not until A Link to the Past when he was interested on the franchise.[1]

Plans on continuing to work in the series

In a 2008 interview with Nintendo Power, Aonuma commented that he will keep working on the Zelda series until creating a title that surpasses the impact caused by Ocarina of Time[2]; in a 2009 conference in Spain, he said that Ocarina of Time itself has not aged very well, but agrees that a major overhaul in the upcoming games' gameplay is necessary to render the "surpassing" objective succesful[3].

Contribution to the timeline

Aonuma has on several occasions displayed an apparent interest in the Zelda chronology. During the development of Ocarina of Time, he inserted references to The Adventure of Link, naming important characters after towns in The Adventure of Link so that it would appear that the towns were named after the characters.[4] In an interview on The Wind Waker, when asked about its place in the timeline he described the two endings of Ocarina of Time. [5] On another occasion he reasserted it, while explaining it to Miyamoto himself in the years following Ocarina of Time.[6]

With the release of Four Sword Adventures, Aonuma stated his intent of trying to bring the stories of the Zelda games together. He went on to state that the Four Swords was the oldest tale in the timeline, with its sequel, Four Swords Adventures, taking place sometime after.[7] Aonuma also stated after the release of The Minish Cap that it was a prequel to Four Sword Adventures.[8]

Some time after the release of the Twilight Princess, Aonuma would once again bring up the two endings of Ocarina of Time, explaining that Twilight Princess follows the child ending and with The Wind Waker being a parallel on the adult ending. [9]

During the development of Skyward Sword, Aonuma confirmed that a master timeline document did exist, and that only he, Miyamoto, and the director of a particular Zelda game have access to it. He stated that Skyward Sword took place before Ocarina of Time, but stopped short of calling it the first game in the series. A statement like that would limit the timeline placement of future games, he stated.[10]

Finally, Aonuma also supervised the book Hyrule Historia, which (among other contents) includes the official timeline in detail.


  1. Aonuma Never Beat the Original Legend of Zelda - IGN
  2. Aonuma Intent on "surpassing" Ocarina of Time
  3. Aonuma: Ocarina of Time "Not Very Good" Nowadays
  4. "We named them after towns in The Adventure of Link so it would appear that the towns had been named after them." —Eiji Aonuma (2008 Nintendo Power Interview)
  5. "There's also a more complicated explanation. If you think back to the end of The Ocarina of Time, there were two endings to that game in different time periods. First Link defeated Ganon as an adult, and then he actually went back to being a child. You could say that The Wind Waker takes place 100 years after the ending in which Link was an adult." —Eiji Aonuma (Zelda Universe interview with Miyamoto and Aonuma)
  6. "Aonuma: You can think of this game as taking place over a hundred years after Ocarina of Time. You can tell this from the opening story, and there are references to things from Ocarina located throughout the game as well.
    Miyamoto: Well, wait, which point does the hundred years start from?
    Aonuma: From the end.
    Miyamoto: No, I mean, as a child or as a...
    Aonuma: Oh, right, let me elaborate on that. Ocarina of Time basically has two endings of sorts; one has Link as a child and the other has him as an adult. This game, The Wind Waker, takes place a hundred years after the adult Link defeats Ganon at the end of Ocarina.
    Miyamoto: This is pretty confusing for us, too. (laughs) So be careful."
    —Eiji Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto (Gamepro interview with Miyamoto and Aonuma)
  7. "The GBA Four Swords Zelda is what we’re thinking as the oldest tale in the Zelda timeline. With this one on the GameCube being a sequel to that, and taking place sometime after that." —Eiji Aonuma (2004 Gameinformer interview with Aonuma)
  8. "Yes, this title takes place prior to The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, and tells the secret of the birth of the Four Sword." —Eiji Aonuma (Nintendo of Europe interview with Aonuma)
  9. "The Wind Waker is parallel. In Ocarina of Time, Link flew seven years in time, he beat Ganon and went back to being a kid, remember? Twilight Princess takes place in the world of Ocarina of Time, a hundred and something years after the peace returned to kid Link’s time." —Eiji Aonuma (Nintendo Dream interview with Aonuma)
  10. "Yes there is a master timeline but its confidential document! The only people to have access to that document are myself, Mr. Miyamoto and the director of the title. We cant share it with anyone else! I have already talked to Mr. Miyamoto about this so I am comfortable in releasing this information – this title [Skyward Sword] takes place before Ocarina of Time. If I said that a certain title was ‘the first Zelda game’, then that means that we can't ever make a title that takes place before that! So for us to add titles to the series, we have to have a way of putting the titles before or after each other." —Eiji Aonuma (Official Nintendo Magazine interview with Aonuma)