Friday, July 17, 2015

The Ultimate Zelda?

On ZeldaEurope we have some rumors about Zelda U going on from an "inside source". Some of the stuff sounds more like wishful thinking and other things appear to be quite obvious to come up with, but from what I've seen the source seems to be very believable. (Update: in fact after some back and forth with the guys I have no reason to doubt it and those are probably the most solid rumors I've seen in all these years. Not that any of this gives away anything specific, but it's still nice to get something about Zelda U in all this silence.) However, you should still take it with a grain of salt, while I try to write a summary:

Fake or not, what caught my attention was the general approach of creating a Zelda game, where they would bring together the best gameplay ideas from past Zelda games, instead of focusing on a specific new idea, all in a large world, which combines many aspects from past games as well. After Skyward Sword I had this fantasy about a "perfect Zelda" going through my mind. It was mainly based on the world of Zelda II, which is a lot larger than the worlds in any other Zelda game. So, you get a world in a much more massive scale, where you ride on a horse and visit many different towns. But one third of the world would be also an ocean, where you travel by boat. Later you could also fly around. And you also would have had access to other kingdoms like Holodrum and Labrynna, the ability to change seasons like in Oracle of Seasons, a gigantic main dungeon like in Spirit Tracks, and many other things and connections from past games, all coming together in one giant, epic, open-world Zelda adventure. But I never really shared these ideas, because they were out of scope...

In a sense they already tried this on a smaller scale with Skyward Sword, which had easter eggs and connections to most of the previous Zelda games, even some bigger gameplay stuff like the boat part in Lanayru Sand Sea, which worked like in Phantom Hourglass. But overall the game focused too much on the motion controls, the story became a mess and they came into linearity deadlocks with those level-like overworld sections.

Zelda U doesn't seem to struggle with these things, but it appears that they are back at the "empty world" problem, which they also had with the Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. In that sense it's a good thing that they take their time and maybe my fantasy from three years ago might come true. Still, I don't want to get too excited, which is why I will put my focus on Hyrule Warriors, TriForce Heroes and replaying past games, until Zelda U comes closer and we know more for sure.

But in general the Zelda series needs the next big thing after Ocarina of Time. All the game ever since were based on experiments. Very different art styles, motion controls, Link as a wolf, Link on a train, multiplayer Zelda, etc. This kept things fresh and turned the Zelda series into the most versatile gaming series there is, but it also never came to a big leap forward, a game that really defines an entire generation like Ocarina of Time did.


K2L said...

HA! I knew the whole "delayed it to implement new ideas and horizons" was a lie! They just couldn't have the game ready in time and delayed it. The "ultimate game" excuse had already been used for TP and SS, with little success. So I knew there was something fishy

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

Speaking of release dates, Triforce Heroes has an official launch date! October 23.