Legend of Zelda games. In fact, he's been in a managerial role on the franchise ever since the series' arguably most popular installment, The Ocarina of Time. So when Mario creator (and his boss) Shigeru Miyamoto asked Aonuma and his team to develop an "Ura Zelda" (a flipped version of Ocarina of Time -- what would eventually become the Master Quest), Aonuma protested. Miyamoto's compromise, though, instead turned out to be a much greater challenge -- produce a sequel to OoT within one year.
"We were supposed to make its sequel in a year ... at first, we had absolutely no idea what sort of thing we were supposed to make, and we just kept expanding our plans," Aonuma told Nintendo prez Satoru Iwata during a recent Iwata Asks column."in the beginning, it was all trial and error ... ultimately, we adopted the 'three-day system,' and made it so that, if you couldn't clear the game inside of three days, the world was destroyed." Aonuma claims this concept was what allowed Majora's Mask to be created and released just 18 months after OoT came out. He also adds that lessons he learned from the development of Majora's Mask -- from having to remember a sequence of events in order to proceed, to "deep, compact play" -- helped to shape the development of the most recent Zelda release, The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks.
We'd like to say that Aonuma will have a break from the series after serving as producer on Spirit Tracks, but he's the man in charge of the upcoming LoZ game for the Wii. We're sorry, Mr. Aonuma! Keep on truckin'!