Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

What will the gimmick be this time? Like time-traveling or transformation into a wolf?

Aonuma: It's not a gimmick that runs throughout the whole game, but as the title states, there's an hourglass. It functions as a key item, and you'll use it to clear one of the dungeons.

One criticism of Wind Waker was the dull sailing sections. How have you avoided the same pitfalls for Phantom Hourglass?

Aonuma: Because Phantom Hourglass is played on a handheld system, we've decreased the travel times. Navigating the seas has been simplified. You still sail through the seas, but the sailing method is different because of the stylus. The player actually draws lines on the touch screen, much like the captain of a ship would plot his route.

If you had the opportunity to make your absolute dream game with no budget limitations, no time limitations and you don't have to worry about whether the audience will like it or not... what kind of game would you make?

Aonuma: I'm a designer, and designers always start with a concept that they have to work from, and the concept always comes from a theme. You can only arrive at a theme when you know who you're delivering something to, and who the ultimate user is going to be, so if I don't take the user into consideration at all, that isn't something I would even attempt to do.

Throughout the years that I've worked on Zelda projects, I've always thought about the users, and what they would want to see, or what would give them the ideal experience. So when I receive negative feedback, it's something that really hurts me personally, and I definitely take that information with me into my next project. I'm always keeping the user in mind.