Well, that would explain Skyward Sword.
Zelda games have been wildly different over the years- look at Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, and Skyward Sword. Each game plays differently, has a different structure, and has a different take on the Zelda formula. Sometimes, the games stick the landing, and other times, they… do not.
The reason that each Zelda game has such a different interpretation on the Zelda template is that its two primary creative heads, creator Shigeru Miyamoto and present series custodian Eiji Aonuma, cannot seem to agree on what the ‘essence of Zelda‘ actually is.
“It’s indeed always a source of debate with Mr. Miyamoto, simply because we both think about what defines Zelda and we’re not always on the same page,” Aonuma said to GameKult (via Nintendo Everything and Nintendo Life). “We eventually agreed this year, when we went to New York for a promotion tour. As we were talking, Mr. Miyamoto found the right words by saying that the essence of The Legend of Zelda is an environment where Link evolves and gains power, which the players will directly feel through the actions they can take as the story goes on.”
I personally think that the essence of Zelda is the joy and wonder of exploration and discovery, but Aonuma and Miyamoto’s take is close enough, too. Just… as long as we don’t get another game like Skyward Sword, I should be good.