Monday, June 13, 2016

Free Climbing View

That's excitement right there!

And I don't mean Link's adrenaline infused hobby of free climbing, but what he will be able to see in full glory, when he reaches the top of that rock. That's the kind of teaser that I want for a Zelda game. Show me some artwork of a landscape and let me marvel on it, study all the details and let my imaginations run wild on how it will turn out in the game. An artwork of Koholint Island was what got me into the Zelda series to begin with...

And you don't get this kind of feeling with Zelda that often anymore. Back in 2009 the EU cover of Spirit Tracks got me excited for its landscape or with Skyward Sword you got these amazing landscape artworks of the three main regions, but the 3DS Zeldas didn't offer much of this, because you knew what to expect from their game worlds. Exploration is the most important thing about a Zelda game and if you show me a well crafted fantasy world to explore, you have my attention. It might also backfire, because the reality of the game won't meet your imaginations.

The good thing is that they can do this ingame, like they basically did in the Game Awards 2014 footage. They can just let you start somewhere near a hill, where you have a good view over the entire world. Like you have in this classic The Legend of Zelda artwork scene with Link looking all over Hyrule and Death Mountain in the background. And you just mark a point in this scenery and say "that's where I want to go first!".

The castle for example. You kind of could see some castle structure in the E3 2014 footage in the far background and some people (including myself) speculated that his could be Hyrule Castle. Whatever this is, it doesn't really look like Hyrule Castle now, more like some cursed version. It looks really dark and you can see this whirl of dark flames surrounding it. I wonder, if this will be one of the four main dungeons, if that rumor was true. It also doesn't have to be the only castle in the game.

Well, my timeline theory was that either this game takes place right after Skyward Sword, where Hyrule basically got founded in this huge world on the ground, or it takes some time after Zelda II - The Adventure of Link in the Downfall timeline, where you had the largest Hyrule up to date. And this dark castle might as well be the cursed Northern Palace, after Link from the TV show screwed up so bad that he didn't get excused anymore. Maybe we get to explore a Hyrule that has fallen into ruins, which would be a good spot to start over (without rebooting the franchise).

You can also spot some houses and a church, which looks decayed, but this might just be the artwork. And there's a big bridge over a lake, which is reminiscent of the Great Bridge of Hylia, only longer. And we also got a very long bridge in the world of Zelda II. And it all gives me the vibe that these are remains. It could be whatever was built, before Hylia let her people ascend into the skies, or it could be some fallen Hyrule from the past. I'm excited to learn more about the story and hopefully the timeline placement tomorrow.

Death Mountain (let's just call it that) also looks quite eerie with being an active volcano and all these sharp rock formations. I would really like this game to return to classic Zelda traditions, where Death Mountain was called DEATH Mountain for a reason. The most dangerous and deadly area of the overworld and not some Goron amusement park that it had become ever since Ocarina of Time.

But the most noteworthy sights are probably the glowing sword pillars. You can detect four of them in this artwork and they strike me as way points. It's one of the repetitive elements that will fill this world for sure, but at least it looks like something important and more interesting than the many lookout towers from The Wind Waker. Though they do look like the lookout towers from the previous footage, only with some magic light inside them. Hopefully this won't just be like the radio towers from Far Cry, because this would be highly unoriginal and kind of boring.

Tomorrow is the big day and this teaser artwork certainly got me excited! Show me more, Nintendo! (But not too much!)

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