In the world of gaming, there are certain individuals whose contributions have made a significant impact on the industry. One such individual is Hidemaro Fujibayashi, the director of the Zelda series since 2001. Fujibayashi’s talent and dedication have earned him the recognition he rightfully deserves. Recently, he was honored as one of the most influential business leaders shaping the global media industry in the seventh annual edition of ‘Variety500’. Let’s delve into the remarkable journey of this visionary director and explore his contribution to the Zelda franchise.

It is undeniable that Fujibayashi has played a crucial role in the success of the Nintendo Switch and, more specifically, the Zelda series. As the director of new mainline games for the franchise, Fujibayashi has worked hand in hand with Eiji Aonuma, the longtime producer of the series. The synergy between these two industry veterans has been instrumental in shaping the future of the Zelda franchise.

Fujibayashi’s journey with the Zelda series began even before his tenure at Nintendo. He initially collaborated with Capcom on several handheld Zelda games, showcasing his talent and passion for the series. His association with the franchise deepened when he joined Nintendo and directed the critically acclaimed “Skyward Sword” for the Wii in 2011. This marked the beginning of his reign as one of the primary visionaries behind the Zelda games.

One of Fujibayashi’s most significant accomplishments came in March 2017 with the release of “Breath of the Wild” as a launch title for the Nintendo Switch. This groundbreaking game not only achieved instant success but also revolutionized the open-world gaming genre. Fujibayashi’s meticulous direction and attention to detail resulted in a gaming experience that captivated both critics and players worldwide.

Following the triumph of “Breath of the Wild,” Fujibayashi continued to showcase his talent with the release of “Tears of the Kingdom” in 2023. The game broke records, selling over 10 million copies within the first three days of its release. By September, the sales had reached nearly 20 million, solidifying its position as the ninth bestselling Switch title since the console’s release.

The year 2023 proved to be an exceptional year for the Zelda franchise, largely due to Fujibayashi’s directorial prowess. “Tears of the Kingdom” emerged as one of the top-selling games across multiple regions, garnering immense praise from both players and critics alike. The game’s success was further recognized at prestigious events such as The Game Awards, where it won the coveted “best action/adventure” title. Additionally, it also claimed the “Nintendo GOTY” at the Golden Joystick Awards.

Fujibayashi’s previous work on “Breath of the Wild” established his understanding of the essence of the Zelda series. This expertise translated seamlessly into “Tears of the Kingdom,” reassuring fans that the franchise is in capable hands.

A Team Effort

While Fujibayashi’s talent is exemplary, he doesn’t carry the weight of the Zelda franchise alone. Other notable Nintendo employees, such as President Shuntaro Furukawa and Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser, have also contributed significantly to the success of the company. These leaders’ collective efforts have propelled Nintendo to new heights, making it a force to be reckoned with in the gaming industry.

Hidemaro Fujibayashi’s journey as the director of the Zelda series has been nothing short of extraordinary. His dedication, creativity, and attention to detail have earned him the recognition he deserves. As the mastermind behind critically acclaimed titles like “Breath of the Wild” and “Tears of the Kingdom,” Fujibayashi’s visionary direction has shaped the future of the Zelda franchise. Fans worldwide eagerly await the next installment, knowing that with Fujibayashi at the helm, they are in for another unforgettable gaming experience.


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