Though The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD only took about six months to develop, it's easy to forget there was a time when three Zelda games hit home consoles in four years. Zelda series director Eiji Aonuma told Shacknews that the series briefly flirted with annualization, but it doesn't fit with mounting expectations.
Aonuma said Shigeru Miyamoto himself proposed that Majora's Mask could be released just a year after Ocarina of Time, which debuted in 1998 on Nintendo 64. It ended up releasing two years later, then Wind Waker hit GameCube two years after that.
In the intervening decade, only two home console Zelda games—Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword--were created, though several portable titles did fill the gap.
"I think before, we did maybe try to make Zelda games come out faster," Aonuma said. "But there's so much expected of Zelda titles now, so you have to reach a certain level of quality, so that's why we started to take a bit more time now."
A Link Between Worlds is set for release in November. Its 3D, top-down take on the world of A Link to the Past may make it the most tempting portable title yet for longstanding fans of the series, but the untitled Wii U Zelda remains unseen and undated.
"It's not like we feel like we have a duty to get one out a year," Aonuma said. "Right now, we're able to split ourselves between the handheld and console games and have two teams. I think we're pretty efficient in getting games out on a regular interval."