Another year went by, much has changed, much was announced, but one thing is for sure: this was another good year for the Zelda franchise despite the fact that we're all still waiting for the main dish. Ever since Aonuma had announced the next big The Legend of Zelda game for Wii U in early 2013, Nintendo and friends made it their mission to keep us Zelda fans entertained as much as possible in the meantime. New handheld games, remasters, spin-off titles, DLC, merchandise, concerts... The last four years always gave us something new to look forward to and 2016 was certainly no exception. Here's an overview of the most important things that we got throughout the year:
- Twilight Princess HD + Wolf Link amiibo
- Twilight Princess Picross
- Hyrule Edition New Nintendo 3DS XL
- Hyrule Warriors - Legends
- Hyrule Warriors "Legends of Hyrule" DLCs
- Breath of the Wild E3 Demonstration
- Twilight Princess Manga
- 30th Anniversary amiibo
- 30th Anniversary Game Music Collection (in Japan)
- Hyrule Graphics (in Japan)
- Symphony of the Goddesses 2016 Master Quest Tour
It's also been the year of the 30th Anniversary, however, Nintendo had been a little late to the party and when compared to their efforts of the 25th Anniversary, it felt rather rehashed and unexciting. New books, more concerts, some amiibo... Because Breath of the Wild had been pushed to 2017, Nintendo probably didn't want to go too far with the marketing, but it's great that they at least acknowledged the 30th Anniversary with a nice logo and devoted some goodies and events to it.
Interestingly enough, the month right after the anniversary date (February 21st, 2016) featured a total of three different game releases, but none of it was officially linked to the 30th Anniversary in any way. We got The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD together with the Wolf-Link amiibo, My Nintendo Picross - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and also Hyrule Warriors - Legends, all in March 2016. That's one strong month!
Hyrule Warriors - Legends was also the real star of the year and of the 30th Anniversary. Koei Tecmo really was celebrating 30 years of Zelda with this game by making all sorts of different characters playable. It kept the fans entertained throughout the entire year with new DLC packs releasing every two months until the end of October. You can easily spend hundreds of hours on this title and it can keep you playing Nintendo 3DS on a daily basis. Other than what was already achieved with the Wii U version, the game set its focus on the Wind Waker at first and and afterwards on various Zelda handheld titles with the DLC. And with Linkle there also has been a new original character, where the whole discussion around a female Link has seen quite some controversy this year, but she's overall a very cheerful addition to the game.
While Breath of the Wild wasn't released in 2016, it was finally shown again after one year of silence with a huge demo at E3 2016, where for the first time Nintendo devoted an entire E3 just to one game. That's how big it is. And it certainly made the Zelda fans talk. Could there be a female Link? When will this game take place in the timeline? How big is the world really? Rarely a new Zelda game spawned this much discussion upfront and we will see, how it will hold up next year.
On Hyrule Blog
With the 30th Anniversary at hand, it's only natural that this was one of the strongest years for Hyrule Blog, in fact with a total of 222 post it's the second strongest year only after the 25th Anniversary in 2011. This is not a coincidence and isn't just due to the anniversaries, because between these dates I've been writing news, reviews and guides for the German fansite ZeldaEurope.de, which took its toll. Earlier this year I decided to stop and leave the site, which I haven't regretted. Now, when it comes to Zelda, my entire focus lies on this blog (and a little on GameFAQs), so it's getting a lot more attention.
But on the other hand this also has been a very eventful year. Replaying a majority of the Zelda series, playing lots and lots of Hyrule Warriors - Legends, talking about Breath of the Wild and doing some other fun stuff, like watching the Animated Series, led to an eventful year on this site. I can't promise to keep this up, but I will certainly try, because my love for this franchise is stronger than ever.
Dawn of a New Year - 2017
Ready your Sheikah Slates! We expected this game in 2015, we expected this game in 2016, but now it's pretty safe to say that we're going to play Breath of the Wild in 2017. Finally! This is what we've been waiting for and this looks like the next big step for the Zelda series. There doesn't have to be anything else in the year other than that...
But there will still be some additional goodies with the rest of the 30th Anniversary, like the Hyrule Encyclopedia book. Breath of the Wild will also have its own small amiibo line, as well as a nice Piggyback Collector's Guide (goody bye, Prima!). And there will probably much more stuff, for example a Zelda Special Edition of the Nintendo Switch wouldn't be surprising.
It would be nice to learn something about a potential Hyrule Warriors 2 in 2017 as well, though it's probably too early for this. And at some point there has to be a new Zelda Picross game, right?
Happy New Year, everyone!