Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Future of Zelda: Zelda Wii

Nintendo announced for this year's E3, that they won't disappoint us again after last year's Wii Music disaster and present at least one major core title for the Wii. Sounds great and we all hope it's not going to be Animal Crossing in space, but Zelda Wii.

About that one I still have the same opinion like last year. Wii MotionPlus powered controls + first person perspective = new way of experiencing Zelda. I'm still convinced, that this formula is the right thing to do and simply a way to push Zelda into a new dimension, just like Ocarina of Time did ten years ago. I won't harp on about the first person perspective too much again. But the Wii MotionPlus is definitely the future. The controls of Twilight Princess were gimmicky at best, you can do so much more. Start with 1:1 sword controls, throwing the boomerang or bombs, basic stuff. But you can go much deeper, imagine putting a key in a keyhole and twisting it with the Wiimote or opening a treasure chest by pushing both the Wiimote and the Nunchuk forward. Or think about Twilight Princess, how many times have you thought "why doesn't that work with motion controls?", for example while swinging the Ball & Chain or while rowing on a canoe. Motion controls could lead to a completely new way of experiencing Zelda and that's exactly what made Ocarina of Time special in the first place. However, some might say, that if you overdo it with motion controls, the game will be annoying. Good point, but on the other hand this is not Smash Bros. or Mario Kart, multiplayer games where the motion controls might get in your way. Zelda should be a deep singleplayer experience, where you get dragged into the world of the game. And this is definitely a way to drag you into something, as long as it's done well. If the controls don't work correctly and you fail to hit the enemy or even to open a treasure chest, because the movements aren't correctly recognized, the game won't be fun. But according to EA the Wii MotionPlus really is fantastic, so we don't have to worry about that, do we? I guess, Wii Sports Resort with its fencing and archery will give us some good impressions, how MotionPlus can work with Zelda.

Another idea, that is crossing my mind for a while now, is a Zelda in the sky. In Zelda Universe Forums one fellow recently discussed this possibility and I like some of the ideas, that are mentioned in this thread. Especially that the sky islands should be connected, so this games doesn't end up as a The Wind Waker in the skies. And think three-dimensional here, the sky islands wouldn't be in one plane, they could be one above the other. But a sky world is a pretty cliché fantasy theme, it was even done in Zelda before. All the Four Swords titles including The Minish Cap had some area in the skies and Twilight Princess got the City in the Sky. So, you have to think about, if it is a good idea to make an entire game in this style. And I think a Wind Waker in the sky would be unavoidable, if we get a sky world, there's no way, that Nintendo wouldn't make Link fly, may it be on a giant bird, a friendly dragon, a pegasus version Epona or even an airplane. And I'm not sure if I want to get another ocean world like in The Wind Waker again.

But the point is, that the theme is important. They have to try something new, another "let's have Hyrule Field, Hyrule Castle, Kakariko, Lake Hylia and Death Mountain" style Zelda environment already didn't work so well for Twilight Princess and is getting very, very boring. Also, the sea travelling is overdone by now, so they need something new. A cell-shaded Hyrule in style of The Wind Waker's underwater world seems to be the choice of Spirit Tracks, so that's not an option either. Saturo Iwata mentioned at some point, that he likes the idea of a Western Zelda based on the old Kakariko shootout in Twilight Princess... well, maybe that's where the idea with the steam train came from? Well, as long as they don't make a Sci-Fi Zelda (we can play Metroid, if we want that) I'm open minded for any ideas, as long as we don't end up in the Great Sea or another boring version of Hyrule again. I have enough of boring Lake Hylia, boring Kakariko and boring Hyrule Castle. If it has to take place in Hyrule again, why not there where Zelda II took place with all those nice villages?

To sum up, Nintendo really has to come up with something unique here. Twilight Princess is not the way a Zelda game should look like on the Wii, gameplay and controls need to be revolutionized and the choice of theme for next big Zelda game will be important as well. But it's very hard to predict anything at the moment, so let's hope - like last year - the E3 will shed some light on this one.

Castle in the Sky artwork by kimag3500
Key Nintendo game coming
EA about Wii MotionPlus


Dizzy said...

i guess this is true. i finished four dminish cap however with the upmost luck instead of skill. Vaati or whatever his face just wouldn't cooperate until what i remember what a glitch? yeah but it was fun nonetheless. Another zelda is being released on DS by the way

TourianTourist said...

"Another zelda is being released on DS by the way"

If you mean Spirit Tracks, I know. I even mentioned it in the article, you've commented on and talked about it earlier on my blog.