Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Zelda and Project Café

You've probably all heard by now about the upcoming Wii successor (if not check at IGN). It features next gen graphics and a new controller, which has two analog sticks and a touch screen in the center. But it will still use the famous Wii remote and Nunchuck as another controle scheme, the system will be fully backwards compatibly with all Wii games. It's dubbed "Project Café" for now, a lame name that probably gets replaced by something fancier (like "Nintendo Stream", see here), according to Nintendo it will revolutionize online gaming, and it will be playable at E3 2011 and ship in 2012.

The Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii were revolutionary systems, featuring innovative and intuitive control schemes, opening a new market and attracting many new people, who never have played games so far. Values shown by Sony's and Microsoft's system, like next gen graphics, online gaming or games for the gamer demographic of young males, who dig video game violance and big boobs, became irrelavent. Both systems were a full success and were sold out at many occasions. Nintendo printed money in the time of recession. But what's this now? They're falling back into old schemes, it's Nintendo 64 and GameCube all over again. Nintendo 3DS might be fine with the 3D and all, but it's all about the visuals again, it's too expensive and still doesn't offer any interesting software. And then Nintendo wonders why the sells dropped so fast. And this Café thingy doesn't sound any better. In fact, this is nothing new at all. They're aiming for the values of XBox and Playstation, graphics and online gaming, and this while the "inferior" Wii outsold those two systems nearly all the time.

The only new thing is the controller, but actually this is nothing new at all. It's the GameBoy Advance to GameCube connection all over again. The only main difference is that they ship a GameBoy as a standard controller, which makes this playing style somehow more affordable. They even experimented with the Nintendo 3DS as a controller (source), but this would be one hell of an expansive controller, so they probably decided to go with the much cheaper touchscreen Gameboy variant.

Well, the most important question here on Hyrule Blog is: What's in it for Zelda? The first thing that comes into mind are re-releases or even remastered versions of the Zelda games, which used the GameBoy Advance to GameCube connection, namely The Wind Waker and Four Swords Adventures. Well, The Wind Waker only uses it for the Tingler Tuner and works completely fine without such a connection, you would only miss the Knuckle figurine and the five golden Tingle Statues, no big loss. But Four Swords Adventures is a different case. I always thought that Four Swords Adventures will be the first Zelda game to die out, because it heavily relied on such a big gimmick. But I guess, I was wrong. In fact both of this games could be already remade for the Nintendo 3DS, you could use its touchscreen for the Tingle Tuner and to emulate the GBA connection in FSA multiplayer matches, while the 3D screen shows the main environment much like the TV screen.

But Project Café makes things even easier. One of the main problems with Four Swords Adventures (and Four Swords) was that it's really hard to set up a multiplayer session in this game. Every player needs a GameBoy Advance and a GameBoy Advance to GameCube connection cable. I never had any friends, who buy Nintendo hardware or games, so I had to buy another GameBoy Advance, so I could at least play it with two players. It's by far not as easy as setting up a New Super Mario Bros. Wii match with four players for example. Four Swords Adventures on the Nintendo 3DS would be essentially the same as Four Swords on the GameBoy Advance, if you don't have any friends, who like Zelda and who have a Nintendo 3DS system, you're screwed. Unless of course they would add online multiplayer, this would change everything. But since Project Café's default controller features a screen, it would make setting up a Four Swords Adventures match much easier, if buying a second controller isn't too expansive.

And if they remake or re-release Four Swords Adventures for Project Café they could add Navi Trackers to the Western versions this time. Would be a selling point for some fans.

However with this new controller in the background you can expect to see The Wind Waker and Four Swords Adventures reappear on the new system.

As for a new Zelda game, it will probably just keep using the Wiimote and Nunchuck controller. Aonuma already stated that he wants Nintendo to keep the controller, so they can use it for future Zelda games. But the new controller could be used for some gimmicks like a Tingler Tuner 2.0. And we all know how much Aonuma loves gimmicks.

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