Friday, June 8, 2012

Zelda Wii U still in Experimental Stage

Miyamoto in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:

What we continue to ask ourselves as we have over the years is, “What is the most important element of Zelda if we were to try to make a Zelda game that a lot of people can play?” So we have a number of different experiments going on, and [when] we decide that we’ve found the right one of those to really help bring Zelda to a very big audience, then we’ll be happy to announce it.

With the last game, Skyward Sword, that was a game where you had motion control to use your weapons and a lot of different items, and I thought that was a lot of fun, but there were some people who weren’t able to do that or didn’t like it as much and stopped playing partway through it. So we’re in the phase where we’re looking back at what’s worked very well and what has been missing and how can we evolve it further.

With Skyward Sword we had a long experimental stage. It took five years to make the game, mostly because they experimented for a long time. There was even a phase, where they experimented with a first person perspective, which spawned Link's Crossbow Training. It took them five years to make a streamlined Zelda game with spot on intuitive controls. When the game was released half a year ago, Nintendo acted like the controls were the perfect way of playing Zelda. Aonuma even told the ONM, that they can't go back to button controls. But now it seems like anything is possible. The Wii U is a game system with multiple control layouts. You can use the Wiimote and Nunchuk, the new pad or a typical dual analog gamepad. But in case of Zelda I'd say stay with the Wiimote controls.

The problem with Skyward Sword were not the controls. But how the fighting felt unnatural. Suddenly all fights revolved around "swing in the right angle" puzzles, which wasn't much fun. Stalfos were holding their swords in weird ways just to offer an obvious week point. I think the controls were great, but the fighting and all the motion control puzzles sucked ballz. It would have been much more fun and satisfying to use the new controls in more natural fights. However, I fear that Nintendo doesn't see the flaws in the ways how modern Zelda games tend to work and just keeps throwing new input methods at us, which won't change anything.

Nintendo shouldn't focus on the controls for once, but on the game. They lost track of what a good Zelda game has to look like. Their experiments hopefully will focus on what made the classic Zelda games great. The ones on the NES, A Link to the Past, Link's Awakening, Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. One might blame me for being blinded by nostalgia, but there are reasons why many people favor the classic Zelda games over games like Skyward Sword or Spirit Tricks. Those games were about exploring and discovering secrets. The fights were tougher, the worlds were more open and dungeons used to be more non-linear and maze-like. Discovering hidden stuff and getting better items felt more satisfying. Modern Zelda games got very linear, too easy and too focused on gimmicky puzzles. Modern Zelda games are bloated with stuff like cut scenes, long tutorial phases, annoying sidekicks and are full of gimmicky gameplay elements like Silent Realms, which shouldn't be part of a Zelda game to begin with.

If they want Zelda to be successful again, they have to strip it down. Down to the very NES basics. Down to the core of what Zelda was supposed to be. And this is were they should start.

1 comment:

K2L said...

I just want the franchise to die.