Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Future of Zelda: Retrospective

11 months ago, before last year's E3 I wrote an article called The Future of Zelda on this blog, which dealt with the possibilities of future installments of the Zelda series. With the next E3 happening on June 2nd I want to reflect on my predictments last year and do some more. I will divide this in three articles, the first one being a retrospective. So, let's take a look at what possibilities I had considered last year:

  • Zelda Wii obviously, discussed first person gameplay
  • a second NDS Zelda in the style of Phantom Hourglass made by the NDS Zelda team
  • a retro style Zelda game for WiiWare
  • Majora's Mask on Virtual Console (and maybe even Master Quest)
  • another spin-off title in the style of Link's Crossbow Training ("Link's Fishing Adventure" as a joke example)

Interesting enough, two of those predictments actually became reality. The Nintendo DS gets with Spirit Tracks a second Zelda game in the style of Phantom Hourglass. And the Virtual Console finally got its newest bestseller with Majora's Mask, well at least outside the US. However, both of this wasn't very hard to predict. I'm just glad it actually happened, I had a lot of fun playing Majora's Mask again and I'm looking foward to this very bizarre game with the train in it.

On the other hand I still would like to see a WiiWare Zelda becoming reality. You know, in the style of A Link to the Past and Four Swords Adventures. MegaMan 9 has proven that the WiiWare system is perfect for new games in classic styles. I would love to see a Super Mario Bros. 4 or a second A Link to the Past. However, this is probably not, what Nintendo wants. For Nintendo itself both the WiiWare and DSiWare services are meant for marketing tests. It's perfect, because it's cheap. Market testing with $50 titles is risky, so they use these platforms to test new game concepts without any potential loss. That's why you see a lot of weird games or applications from Nintendo on both services, instead of oldskool Mario and Zelda games. Some people say, Nintendo doesn't create any classic Mario or Zelda games for WiiWare or DSiWare, because this gives the young, new development teams on those services too much competition. But the truth is, they're already competing against oldskool Mario and Zelda games, those on the Virtual Console. They're competing against games like SMB3 or A Link to the Past, because you can download those for the same price. Which is why WiiWare games have to be innovative. I'm not sure, what WiiWare could have in store for Zelda. Maybe the small Zelda team, who made Four Swords Adventures and both NDS Zeldas will explore that option, as soon as Spirit Tracks is finished.

About "Link's Fishing Adventure" or other spin-off Zeldas for that matter, I can live without that. But right now it's unknown, what Vanpool currently is working on. Rumors say, it's a sequel to their first Zelda related game, Tingle's Rupeeland. I would be interested in this one, too. Wether Master Quest will ever make it to the Virtual Console or not is still difficult to judge. But it was nothing more than an emulated Nintendo 64 game anyway and after the release of Majora's Mask, the conditions are looking much better. But I doubt, that this will happen in the near future.

There are two more parts of "The Future of Zelda" coming on this blog soon. One will focus on Zelda Wii and the other will deal with the question, what a Virtual Console on the Nintendo DSi could offer. So, stay tuned.

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