Friday, November 24, 2023

Hyrule Blog: Tears of the Kingdom Logo


Writing about Tears of the Kingdom the whole year while sporting a logo based on Breath of the Wild felt a bit wrong, so it was finally time to update it, which has also increased its size. I may improve it later on, but this blog has finally arrived in the next era of The Legend of Zelda.

In addition, I've updated the icon for Tears of the Kingdom, so it matches the one for Breath of the Wild. And I fixed the icon for A Link Between Worlds, while I was at it, because Link's hat from the Mario Kart icon was stuck on Hilda's staff and I hadn't notice until yesterday. (You can view all icons on the games page if you're on mobile.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

A Link Between World's 10th Anniversary


Another anniversary to behold: A Link Between Worlds is now ten years old! I haven't talked about this game in quite some time, so this a good excuse to change that. In the shadow of the overly successful Breath of the Wild, it's easy to forget how this Zelda title acts as a bridge between classic and modern Zelda.

It uses the world of A Link to the Past as its foundation, but tells its own story in this world, very similar to Tears of the Kingdom. And after the Zelda series had become increasingly more linear with games like The Minish Cap, Twilight Princess, Spirit Tracks, and Skyward Sword, it dared to move in the opposite direction, letting the players go for the dungeons in many different orders. For this it also experimented with the idea of giving the player most main items at the beginning of the game, which became a staple for the series afterwards.

The wall merge ability was ingenious, on a similar level to Ascend in Tears of the Kingdom, where it's something that will be easily missed when going forward with the series. It made playing a top-down Zelda game a lot more three-dimensional and let you think around the corner, quite literally.

Going forward, I'd love to see this game remastered on Nintendo Switch, more so than Ocarina of Time. It could probably re-use assets from the Link's Awakening remake, which borrowed from A Link Between Worlds to begin with. The StreetPass stuff with the Shadow Links could be even transformed into an online feature, making this part of the game more accessible today.

And I also hope that a future Zelda game will eventually explore Lorule once more. It's a shame that we probably won't see characters like Ravio, Princess Hilda, and Yuga ever again, outside of Hyrule Warriors, because they felt more meaningful than your usual one-game characters. But to be fair, it was not the most serious addition to the lore, where there is a lot of goofiness involved, especially with the naming. Though, it's not as bad as its multiplayer sequel, Tri Force Heroes.

Overall, A Link Between Worlds is an enjoyable and fast-paced Zelda game, which did a great job at easing the fans into the open world experience that was to follow. And I'm personally quite excited to see what the future will bring for this game and the land of Lorule.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Ocarina of Time's 25th Anniversary

This blog rarely acknowledges the anniversaries of the individual Zelda games, other than the first, but Ocarina of Time always has been an exception, since the game is one of the biggest milestones in the Zelda series. For its 10th and 20th anniversaries we've looked at the game's accomplishments and legacy, so this time let's talk about the future of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

There lately have been rumors floating around that we might get something for Zelda other than Tears of the Kingdom in the year 2023, which led to some speculation about a potential remake of Ocarina of Time, which could be shadow-dropped in the same way as Metroid Prime Remastered. However, this would likely not become a proper remake, but rather a remaster of the Nintendo 3DS version, which was released in 2011.

The timing is also questionable, because Ocarina of Time is always tied to its direct sequel, Majora's Mask. Whatever they are to do with Ocarina of Time now, you would expect Majora's Mask to receive the same treatment later on. But the Nintendo Switch won't be forever, where we will see a successor at some point in the next couple of years. And then it will be preferable to get remakes of both Nintendo 64 Zelda games for that system, with much prettier graphics.

In any case, both Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask will see new remakes eventually. With the release of Skyward Sword HD in 2021, they have remastered or remade each classic 3D Zelda game at least once, where now it can begin all over again. Whether this will happen anytime soon or not, remains to be seen. (If we were to get one more remake on the Nintendo Switch, I personally would prefer Oracle of Ages & Seasons to follow up on Link's Awakening.)

A remake of Ocarina of Time should include all the improvements of the Nintendo 3DS version, naturally, but also come with more detailed maps, similar to what they have done for Majora's Mask 3D. Generally, it probably wouldn't hurt to modernize the interface and other aspects of the game a bit, while staying true to the original, like it was done with the remake for Link's Awakening.

But one nitpick I always had about the game, which finally should be fixed with a remake, is how you need the Fairy Bow at one point inside the Water Temple to get a key, right at the end of the winding tunnel full of vortexes. If this weren't the case, then you would be able to play the Forest, Fire, and Water Temples in any order, highlighting how open and non-linear Ocarina of Time already was, long before Breath of the Wild...

bumping into a firewall at the entrance of the Fire Temple

One thing that Nintendo also could do now, in order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the game, is to add Master Quest to the Nintendo Switch Online library. Outside of Ocarina of Time 3D, this has never been re-released, even though it's technically only a modified ROM, where they potentially could have put this on the Wii Virtual Console. Maybe this would have left a sour taste, because you would have needed to buy the game twice to experience both versions. But that's not an issue any longer with the new subscription model, where you have access to all Nintendo 64 games as long as you're subscribed to the NSO Expansion Pack. So, this would be great timing to get the classic Master Quest back.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Tears of the Kingdom Adventure Log, Entry 26

Link's Awakening Link at Lookout Landing with all four tribe flags behind him

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom has been released half a year ago, so it's about time that I've finally wrapped up this game's story. While I had beaten the final boss "already" in early August, I've went up and beyond to postpone that semi-finale. By now I've done all the temples, completed all the shrines, found all the caves, defeated all the Gleeoks, and ran out of excuses to put a checkmark on those main quests...

What awaited me was a bit of mess, one that I've created myself by stalling the story as much as I did and by doing other quests very early. But it's also a mess that makes for a more interesting blog. So, how did my journeys come together in the end? How hard have I facepalmed after certain discoveries? How much am I enjoying those commercials for the next Hyrule Warriors? Read to find out!

Royal Observatory

Ever since completing the Wind Temple I've avoided Lookout Landing, because I was worried that I would trigger some sequence on return, something that I wanted to save for later. I did expect to find a big battle at this place, where monsters are trying to take the fort from all sides, similar to the defense of Gerudo Town, only much more epic with all the different tribes of Hyrule involved.

Sadly, such a sequence doesn't seem to be part of the game, which is disappointing. Why go through the lengths of creating this fort and adding troops from all over Hyrule to it if you won't bother using it for some major battle? Tears of the Kingdom has all the necessary mechanics for some Tower Defense gameplay and it only gets utilized briefly...

Anyway, when you return, you can do as you would normally, but some people are staring at the sky, because they've spotted Princess Zelda at Hyrule Castle. And you can continue the storyline by talking to Purah, who is using the telescope to see what is going.

looking at Hyrule Castle through the telescope

I've mentioned this before, but I really like the parallels to Majora's Mask here, where you are looking for the villain through a telescope. It's only too bad that I'm the only one aware that I'm looking for the villain right now and not for the actual princess...

This is the same problem that I already had when going for the Wind Temple. I know where Zelda is, and I know that the Zelda we see here is actually Phantom Ganon, but for some reason Link does not decide to share this knowledge. And that's not because he has chosen to stay silent, since he shares critical information in other instances.

It doesn't even matter in the end, because you would end up investigating what is happening at the castle in any case, but the dialogues should reflect your current insights and knowledge. Instead of hoping to find Zelda, Purah should warn you about this being a trap, as if this wasn't already obvious enough. I mean, look at this scene:

the Lookout Landing and Hyrule Castle during a dark red Blood Moon

This looks like Dracula's Castle from Castlevania. The Blood Moon isn't even in the right place here, it went back to the Breath of the Wild orbit just to set the mood for the Phantom Zelda sighting... "Oh, no, the poor princess, we need to save her!!"

And I'm not putting the blame on the open-ended story telling for such discrepancies. It could have worked if it was fully implemented. Just alter some more dialogues here and there based on what you should already know from other ends. Done.

An Ode to Kass

Since I knew that whatever awaited me at Hyrule Castle could still wait a little longer, I went off to finish a side quest about repairing the bridge to Rito Village. You need to fetch Karson from Lookout Landing for the job, so I hadn't done this until now. This is when I first met one of Traysi's sisters, who also work for the Lucky Clover Gazette, where I wasn't even aware that they were already a thing in Breath of the Wild. But I have never paid much attention to the generic, auto-generated side-characters...

Penn: "A famous bard once perfected his craft in this place, studying the songs of this land."
He has a name, you know...

Traysi tells you that Penn is off to Washa's Bluff, where this had me excited for a second, because I thought that he might be investigating the whereabouts of Kass. But that's not the case, instead he is just moping about how he is not him...

There are some similarities between these two characters in Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, where both are Rito are your guide in a series of quests. Kass was a lot more substantial, however, because his songs imparted critical information about how to solve a variety of Shrine Quests. Penn on the other hand was more or less just a glorified pointer, making it easy to identify what persons you have to talk to around the stables. But you could just solve all these rumors without him.

This is not to shame the character. He is meant to be different and he also shows some remorse in the end, where he is using Kass's success as a bard as an inspiration to become a better journalist... It's even a bit sad to see him like this and I hope that he will become a famous reporter in the future. Soar long, partner!

Hyrule Castle Dungeon

Visiting the elevated Hyrule Castle was one of the first things that I did in this game (see entry 5) and I've regularly returned there looking for things. So, I was already quite familiar with the place as I now went there in official business, making this less scary than it could have been. But I will never forget the uneasy feeling that I had on my first visit, with only a few hearts and weak armor...

looking at the second gatehouse wearing the Fierce Deity set

While it may not be as epic as in Breath of the Wild, it just captures this atmosphere of a ghost castle perfectly. And for the main quest leading you there, they also added a thunderstorm into the mix, making it all look even more eerie. This is scripted and different from the normal thunderstorms, because this is purely for the background ambience, so there are no thunder strikes targeting your metal weaponry and there is no rain.

You are told by the Phantom Zelda to look for her in a certain location and this is how they turn Hyrule Castle into a proper dungeon, at least in the context of this game, where you get a series of targets on your map that you all need to visit. The difference here is that this is is entirely sequential, so you're going for these points in a linear order, where Zelda keeps going from one location to the next...

Link and his phantoms opposing Phantom Zelda in a corridor

Instead of activating a number of switches, you will have to defeat monster forces at each place, where things can get a bit crazier, like a Black Hinox appearing inside the library. I was ready for a Gloom Spawn at any point during this, where some of the corridors could have been a death trap. Makes you wonder why Ganondorf didn't set this particular monster loose here.

The Hyrule Castle in Breath of the Wild really made you face your fear of the Guardians, where this Hyrule Castle could have done the same for the Gloom Spawn. It certainly would have made me respect the place more if I had encountered one here during my first visit, instead of seeing it as a way of getting good weapons in the early game. In the least, you have two Gloom Spawns in the ground sections of the castle.

standing in front of the castle top lit by a lighting strike

I actually like the idea of having a dungeon present in the early game, which then comes more important later on, but allows you to take a peek. Most of the temples even work the same, so you can visit them before you have official business there. You won't be able to do much without the respective sage, but you can already explore and loot them for the most part. It's just that they are more out of the way, so you won't necessarily go to any of them until the main quests make you. The only exception might be the Fire Temple, which is quite out in the open inside the Depths, but you still need proper heat protection, which should bring you to Death Mountain first.

After playing catch with the Phantom Zelda a number of times, she will finally lead you into the Sanctum and shows it to you as it used to be in its best days, before the Calamity. That's something that I was expecting, of course, because this was the last scene from the final trailer that I had yet to witness ingame.

Fierce Deity Link inside the sparkling throne room

They really went all-in with those trailers once more, didn't they? At least they only showed very brief parts of the memory that follows, which was the last memory that I had yet to obtain and shows the Demon King Ganondorf in all his glory before the Imprisoning War, leading his army into battle.

That cutscene was fire and essentially a huge appetizer for the next Hyrule Warriors, whose story basically writes itself at this point. They even made a badass horse for Ganondorf for this scene, where I don't think it appears anywhere else, but you can probably expect to be able to ride it in the upcoming spin-off, unless this gets as equinophobic as Age of Calamity. But it would be a waste not to have this haunting horse somewhere else...

Fierce Deity Link next to a Heart Container inside the ruined Sanctum

The Phantom Ganon boss battle was already familiar to me, because I've fought it before, when I went to the final boss "early". And you get another Heart Container for your efforts, wrapping up this dungeon. With this I'm two hearts short, just like in Breath of the Wild after its DLC, where I still don't get why they did it like this and why they have done it again.

Like with the temple dungeons, the music also stops once you've defeated the boss, which is a shame, because I really liked the default music that has played before. I also like how the music is growing more epic with every step, but that it just disappears afterwards makes the places feel dull. There should been an after-boss theme, something more peaceful, but still reminiscent of the dungeon's atmosphere. I would have liked this, because I wasn't entirely done here...

The Elusive Castle Chest

One thing that this Hyrule Castle has in common with its counterpart in Breath of the Wild is its overabundance of treasure chests. Whenever I thought that I had found it all, my sensor+ would go off on the next visit... And it doesn't even point at the hidden chests, where you need to light torches, until they are physically there. By now I should be good, but there was one particular treasure chest that almost made me go insane and is worth talking about...

I had already searched for this chest earlier, but I thought that there might be something happening with the castle as part of the story, like the ground of the Sanctum opening up again, which then leads to new sections. But this wasn't the case and I was left with a mystery.

The sensor kept leading me below the elevated castle, where even in the tunnels of B3 it would point downwards. But if you fly below the castle it points up. For a moment I was afraid that there might be a glitched chest here, but with the ability of Ascend in your hands you would think that the developers were more clean with the overall world design, even with what you can't see. And there is actually a chest there, it's just very well hidden:

Whoever is responsible for filling the treasure chests in this game, needs to be put into a different development team, to work on some game that deliberately trolls and disappoints its players... Well, at least the beeping noise has stopped, so I could move on.

Been There, Done That²

After I let everyone wait at Lookout Landing for hours, because I was too occupied looking for that last treasure chest, we had a big happy family reunion under the Blood Moon.

at the large balcony of Lookout Landing with Purah, the sages, and their advisors

As a neat detail, the Blood Moon sequence now doesn't get narrated by the false Zelda any longer, because the show is over. Makes you wonder if this is something that everyone in Hyrule has experienced, as some sort of demoralization.

Anyway, during my journey through this game I was usually ahead of its story, having done several things before I was told to do them, for side quests, side adventures, and main quests alike. Already got it, already been there, already done that. This now cumulated in a scene, where the four sage descendants share their insights and realize that there was another sage next to Zelda, which then leads to this:

Purah: "What? You already found her? Mineru? The Sage of Spirit!"
Yeah, she's been useful.

Purah: "AND you have the Master Sword already? Why didn't you mention this sooner!"
Oh, I don't know, Purah... Maybe because the game didn't let me! Also, it's right there on my back...

At least the game has no choice but to acknowledge your early achievements at this point. You even get a pat on the back by Riju for it:

Riju: "Heh, I don't what else to say except well done!"

Well, maybe she says the same thing in any case, since I haven't seen how this plays out normally yet. But the sages go home and wait for you to locate Ganondorf, which is yet another thing that I already had achieved, because I've also completed the Depths exploration quests, where you hunt down Kohga. Not that you would need Kohga to tell you where Ganondorf is hidden, since that's more than obvious at this point.

Purah: "Whoa... So the Demon King is in the deepest reaches of the Depths... Far Beneath Hyrule Castle."

Ganondorf didn't even move an inch during the entirety of the game, as usual. He didn't had to, because he had his Phantoms. And with this "mystery" solved as well, I was good to go for the finale, just like that...

But wait! I'm still missing a main quest here, Purah... And there are these weird dragon statues in the Zonai Ruins that I haven't figured out yet. Don't you want to tell me to investigate things in Kakariko Village now that we know that we shouldn't listen to any ghostly appearances of Princess Zelda? You can't just start paying attention to my actual progress now and leave me like that...!

The Secret of the Ring and Zonai Ruins

Well, I was left in a weird spot, where I already had found Mineru long ago. In fact, she was my second sage (see entry 14), where I simply flew into the Thunderhead, opened the ten-heart-door, and then was greeted by Mineru. But I was still missing the quests leading up to finding all this in the first place...

looking at the floating Ring Ruin in Kakariko Village at night

Luckily, you can just go to Kakariko Village and initiate this on your own, retroactively. Now that it is common knowledge that the Zelda appearances were in fact just Phantom Ganon trolling everyone, the evil Calip holds no power over you any longer and you can finally explore the floating piece of the Ring Ruins.

At least Calip makes himself useful for once and points Team Tauro at the Zonai Ruins, which is where I had been left with a mystery around the large Farosh dragon statues, when I was searching for the Charged armor set previously... Well, by initiating this main quest this problem solves itself, because once Tauro goes there the doors at the bottom of the dragon statues all have opened up. It's almost like he's the legendary hero or something...

This leads into small caves, which don't count as actual caves on your map and don't have a Bubbul Frog, but they do have the individual pieces of the Charged set. This was the last armor set that I was missing and Tauro explains that this is needed in a ritual, where you have to wear it and throw a Zonai Charge into the bowl that I had already seen before.

Tauro: "Next it says... Offer a Zonai charge at the altar at the tail."

So, I could have never figured this out on my own, no matter what I would have tried. You need to find the other four sages first, initiate this main quest at Kakariko Village, and then you can proceed. You can already do everything that follows after, so this main quest got completed for me after the ritual, but in the Adventure Log it mentions Mineru's voice and the laser from her mask pointing towards the surface, which is what I had experienced months ago.

The critical part, which I was missing here, is that the purpose of this ritual is to reveal the sky island hidden inside the thunderhead...

four lightnings from hitting the four dragon statues

the Thunderhead Isles visible from the top of one of the dragon statues

Wait, what now? You can make the thunderhead go away after all? But I've explored the whole thing already...

Thunderhead Isles Sightseeing

Okay, this discovery makes me feel equally proud and stupid. Part of me was hoping that you can dissolve the thunderhead somehow, like you can with the Sand Shroud around the Gerudo Desert, because it's not much fun to explore the area when you can't see anything. But since I made it my goal to find all shrines before wrapping up the story, I explored it anyway, mostly by exploiting Riju's thunder ability (see entry 24).

at the Thunderhead Isles after the thunderhead got dissolved

But now you can just see normally and you can also see everything on the map... There is still a thunderstorm present on the Thunderhead Isles, but it's not as ridiculously dark as it was before, where you couldn't even see your own hands. In fact, now it's even easy enough to spot that not-so-hidden shrine that I was looking for:

looking at my last shrine from the outside

It's right there, behind the grate, making it very obvious what you have to do... I swear that you could not see this with the thunderhead in tact. And even if you can, it is very hard to miss. But this makes me all the more proud that I was able to find this shrine before making it so easy. It made for a much better story and it was a lot more satisfying experience. I never will do this again, though...

And I seemingly was very thorough at the time. I could now only find one piece of sky island that I hadn't already set foot on. And I wasn't able to find any more Koroks. So, there was nothing left to do here... Except that this is a great place to search for Thunderwing Butterflies and Electric Darners. You need 15 of each to enhance the Charged set and I was able to find those very quickly here. It's useful to have an area with eternal thunderstorms for whenever you need one.

at the large temple on Dragonhead Island, wearing the Charged set

There is no thunderstorm on Dragonhead Island any longer, however, not even any rain, so you can marvel at the whole thing. And on the map it also actually looks like a dragonhead, with the Thunderhead Isles forming its tail.

All the Armor

As already mentioned, I should now have all armor pieces, 135 in total, where the Charged set came with the last three missing pieces. Well, technically, I have 136 pieces, because I keep a second version of the Hylian Hood around, where it's pulled down. But if you do this, it re-arranges a part of the armor inventory quite nicely:

You get all the different monster masks from Koltin in one row, as well as most of the jewelry. The Divine Beast helms get pushed one off, though, where I probably would duplicate the Zonaite Helm instead if you could change the Hylian Hood via the menu. Give it a fancy color or so, where so far I haven't dyed a single piece of armor.

It would also be nice to have the former DLC masks all in one row, but you can't color any of the three blue tunics right before them, so it wouldn't make sense to have duplicates of them.

You have space for 15 additional pieces, where the menu allows for 150 in total, so there is a little bit of room for duplicates in different colors. It's not much, but it's already a lot better than in Breath of the Wild, where you didn't even have space for everything it in the end.

Curiously, the Charged Set has a higher armor value than the Frostbite and Ember Sets. Each piece can go up to 20 for the Charged, while it's only 16 for the other two. Since these sets are all equal and even require similar materials to enhance them, this doesn't make much sense.

There is a lot to play around with here and it's fun to get different reactions based on what you are wearing, where for example Purah notes when you're equipped with the Well-Worn Hair Band or the Champion's Leathers. There is one armor set that is particularly interesting to test, where I just had to see what Impa has to say about it:

Also, Impa was nowhere to be found until now. After you've discovered all geoglyphs, she tells you that she will return to Kakariko Village, but she doesn't actually go there until you're done with the "Secret of the Ring Ruins" quest. I've checked her house regularly and she also didn't stay at the Forgotten Temple, so I suppose that she was somewhere up in the air for weeks, just like Mattison. But it's funny how she went back to her old role, obsessing over the Calamity.

True Finale

It felt a bit anti-climactic to leave Lookout Landing like that, after having everything resolved, so it was time to face the final boss again and see what changes. I was especially curious about there being a post-credit scene, like in Breath of the Wild...

That What Remains

Don't worry, I'm not done with the game yet and I will still keep playing this for a while until I've reached the true 100%. This is still on my list of things to do:

  • Collect all Old Maps and find the Hero's Shield
  • Earn all medals
  • Finish all Side Quests
  • Assist Addison everywhere
  • Fully enhance every piece of armor
  • Complete Hyrule Compendium
  • Fill the Recipe Book
  • Find all Korok Seeds

Some of these go hand in hand, e.g. by defeating more bosses I will earn more materials needed for enhancing all armor. And by looking for certain things I will inevitably stumble over more Koroks. I have rarely used the Korok Mask until now, but I will have to wear it more often eventually... So far they seemed to be much easier to spot, but there are probably some tricky ones left everywhere.

Link's Awakening Link at Lookout Landing, near Purah and Josha

Now, it's been quite the ride and I'm motivated to finish things. I have fully completed all Zelda games so far and I won't let this be the first one that I leave undone, even though I have lost motivation a couple of times over the year. But this is clearly meant to be a game that can keep you entertained for a very long time, where it certainly will take years until the next one.



  • Main Quests: 23/23
  • Side Adventures: 59/60
  • Side Quests: 121/139
  • Memories: 18/18
  • Korok Seeds: 618/1000
  • Old Maps: 25/31
  • Recipes: 101/228
  • Map Completion: 85.07%

Remaining Medals:

  • Taluses: 73/87
  • Hinox: 56/69
  • Flux Constructs: 33/35
  • Froxes: 35/40
  • Gleeoks: 14/14

Friday, November 17, 2023

More Thoughts on the Zelda Movie

Hyrule Castle in Age of Calamity render sequence

With last week's announcement of a Zelda movie I was left skeptical, probably like many other Zelda fans out there, who would prefer to see something like a Studio Ghibli movie or nothing at all. Now, a video by Zeltik gave me a new perspective on the matter, which turned my stance from a cautiously pessimistic view into a cautiously optimistic one.

It all starts with a tweet by Wes Ball, the director of the upcoming The Legend of Zelda film, which he made back in January 2010. You've probably seen this already, but here is what it states:

Since I could never even hope to have the chance to direct it... the next big mo-cap Avatar-like movie should be... THE LEGEND OF ZELDA.

So, not only was he both passionate and humble about the prospect of a Zelda movie about 14 years ago, he already had a vision for it: extensive use of motion capture.

And this makes a lot of sense, because with all the different tribes in Hyrule, like the Gorons, Zora, or the Rito, you don't want to put actors under silicone masks. Even with larger-than-life characters like Ganondorf you most likely want them to be computer animated.

There is a reason why many Zelda fans, including myself, would have preferred an animated movie, because in a live-action film many things could end up being very uncanny. But Nintendo has chosen a director, who became an expert in using motion capture and computer generated imagery, where we probably can expect the Zelda film to make heavy usage of CGI.

At the same time, by making this based on live-action, it has the chance to become really different from The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which is what you want for Zelda. The original The Legend of Zelda was the anti-thesis to Super Mario Bros. in gameplay and likewise you want the Zelda movie to be a very different experience from the Super Mario movie.

And while an anime production by Studio Ghibli or alike would have been beautiful, it's also a bit more niche and therefore wouldn't have the same impact as a big Hollywood production. This announced live-action Zelda movie, if done right, could become absolutely epic, something that amazes the audiences, like the Lord of the Rings movies once did. It could even fill this gap today, because Nintendo has proven that they don't want modern politics in their productions with The Super Mario Bros. Movie, while they still want all their characters to shine in a way.

As for the actors, it completely depends on the role. For Link and Zelda they really need some young, fresh faces. If you know the actors' names already, then they probably shouldn't be hired, where you certainly don't want Tom Holland and Anya Taylor-Joy to play Link and Zelda, for example. They are simply too established, which can take you out of the immersion, and they probably would be too old anyway. However, with the characters that get entirely motion captured, it probably doesn't matter as much. They could have Dave Bautista play a Goron or whatever...

As for the story, they should just make their own thing and not retell the story of a specific game. Those stories got all developed around gameplay anyway and therefore wouldn't be the best material for a movie. It should cover the basics, like the Triforce and such, but really explore its own interpretation of Hyrule, like every second Zelda game does. This would also keep things fresh for the fans. You should want to explore the movie Hyrule as much as you want to explore a new Hyrule in a new Zelda game. It should be a fresh experience, not a conversion of something that we already have seen.

But I'm already getting too hopeful here, so it's best to wait and see what they are cooking up. In any case, we can look forward to a big year for Zelda when the movie comes out... Just look at this year, it was supposed to be huge for Zelda with the release of Tears of the Kingdom and it certainly was, but Mario has been completely stealing the show after the release of his movie. They are throwing out new Mario games left and right, where the movie has driven sales according to Nintendo. And maybe it will have such a positive impact on Zelda as well (not that this is needed at the moment).

Thursday, November 16, 2023

The Legend of Zelda in Mario Kart X

artwork of Link in Mario Kart on the Master Cycle

Mario Kart 8 opened the gates for other franchises to join the kart racing madness, where the next Mario Kart game could explore this even further. This would mean more courses, vehicles parts, and characters from the existing guest franchises, while even more franchises get thrown into the mix. A key change for this "Mario Kart X" would be the return of special items for all characters, like in Double Dash!!, which allows to feature items from a variety of other franchises, next to the Mario Kart core items.

Now, since this is a Zelda blog, let's use The Legend of Zelda as an example of how things could get expanded for the franchise in the next Mario Kart game in all departments. We're bringing back everything that was already there in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, of course, but we'll add some more drivers, courses, and vehicle parts on top.


  • Link (Skyward Sword) – Clawshot
  • Link (Breath of the Wild) – Remote Bomb
  • Zelda (Skyward Sword) – Goddess's Harp
  • Zelda (Tears of the Kingdom) – Recall

Both Links from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe would return here, but they would also be more different from each other thanks to the different special items. The classic Link would go with the Clawshot, which lets you easily get past an opponent in front of you. It may also be used to bring yourself back on track or to take shortcuts.

The Link from Breath of the Wild (and Tears of the Kingdom) on the other hand doesn't even know what a Hookshot is, so it makes sense for him to have something different. The Remote Bombs were already a good choice for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and they would work similar to the normal bombs from Mario Kart, but with the difference that you can detonate them yourself.

This time Link will also bring Princess Zelda with him, where she also could come in two different variants. The classic Link is mainly based on Skyward Sword and that Zelda would also work really well in Mario Kart with her outfit. She could even bring some music into this, which is something very traditional for the series, and play her lullaby on the Goddess's Harp to make nearby drivers fall asleep. Alternatively, we could see a Zelda from a different game, who has the Bow of Light as her special item. So, there are lots of possibilities here and this is just one.

Last but not least, we have the Zelda from the newest Zelda game, Tears of the Kingdom. She could wear the Zonai dress for karts and her outfit from the beginning of the game / from Breath of the Wild for bikes. Her special item would be Recall, which acts defensively. You can use it on yourself to undo mistakes, like driving off the track. Or you can use it when you are about to get hit to send the incoming projectile back to its sender. Yes, this would even work with Blue Shells, but these special items tend to be stronger, so it's not something that you would get front-running.

While it's easy to imagine that both Zelda and Link would join the karting fun, Ganondorf on the other hand might come off as goofy and out-of-character. But if Nintendo wants to make him work, I'm sure that they could pull it off.


  • Wii U Hyrule Circuit
  • Death Mountain Driftway
  • Zora's River Ride
  • Lost Woods Wrong Turns

The Hyrule Circuit from Mario Kart 8 would simply return and function as the basic circuit track for the Zelda franchise, which mainly covers Hyrule Field and Hyrule Castle. For the new courses we could be visiting other signature locations from the series, like Death Mountain, Lake Hylia, and the Lost Woods. All of these would be designed specifically for Mario Kart and not come from a certain Zelda game.

You would drive all around the treacherous terrain of Death Mountain and maybe this course could also take inspiration from the Goron Racetrack in Majora's Mask, where in the very least we should got lots of excited Gorons as spectators. And a part of the course should go right through Goron City.

The "Zora's River Ride" will be a sectioned course, like Big Blue, where you start at Zora's Domain and drive down the Zora's River all the way to Lake Hylia. It will be a different journey through Hyrule with lots of underwater gameplay.

Finally, the Lost Woods could become a course where you can take multiple pathways with some indication of what's the right one. If you take the wrong route, it will bring you back to the starting line. Now, this would probably become the meanest course in Mario Kart history, but we could also make it look similar to the Lost Woods in Ocarina of Time and turn this into Zelda's entry for the Battle Mode.

Vehicle Parts:

  • Master Cycle
  • Triforce Tires
  • Hylian Kite
  • Master Cycle Zero
  • Ancient Tires
  • Paraglider
  • Sailcloth
  • Zonai Sled
  • Zonai Wheels
  • Zonai Wing

Both Master Cycles and all their parts need to return, without a single doubt. In addition, the Sailcloth from Skyward Sword could serve as an excellent glider for the respective Zelda, where possibly they could also design a trike based on a Loftwing.

But they don't really have to invent something crazy like the Master Cycle again, because the Zonai Devices from Tears of the Kingdom were practically made for the vehicle customization system, which was introduced in Mario Kart 7. You could use a smaller version of the Big Wheels as wheels and make a glider based on the Wing, where this is already perfect.

A new kart could be something glued together with the Ultrahand, like a Sled with a Steering Stick in its middle and a light at the front. For underwater parts a Fan could appear in the back. It would be ugly and basic, but that's how vehicles built with the Ultrahand are meant to be and it's a good representation for Tears of the Kingdom.

Mario Kart X – The Next Mario Kart?

Mario Kart X fake logo where the X looks like a star

It's apparently Mario Kart Month on Hyrule Blog, where the release of the final wave of the Booster Course Pass for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has brought a lot of things up. At least this time we'll slowly return to the topic of The Legend of Zelda...

After Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and its Booster Course Pass, every fan is probably wondering where Nintendo will go with this series. With 96 courses and 48 characters Mario Kart 8 Deluxe became a behemoth of a game, so how are they going to surpass this? One answer I keep seeing and hearing is that they should just keep all those contents and simply add to them. To compete with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe it needs to become "Mario Kart Ultimate".

But there is a problem with this idea: the next Nintendo console and with it the next Mario Kart game will likely have much better graphics, where you can't just re-use things from a 2014 title. A lot of time and effort will have to go into making the assets for the next game, which is probably already happening as we speak. Meanwhile, they've remastered contents from Mario Kart Tour for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, because here they were able to achieve a lot with lower effort and without a massive discrepancy in quality. For a new Mario Kart title this wouldn't have been so "easy".

So, a new Mario Kart game won't be able to compete with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe when it comes to its sheer amount of content, at least not right from the beginning. It needs a different selling point, something to create excitement and interest. And here I'm putting my money on the "Mario Kart X" idea, which is based on the rumors by Zippo from last year, but I came up with some thoughts of my own about this and it's an interesting idea to talk about.

The "X" stands for two things. It's "Mario Kart 10" for starters, where Nintendo will be inspired by Microsoft and skip the 9. For real, if we count Mario Kart Tour, as Nintendo seemingly does, then the next game will be the tenth installment in the Mario Kart series, so there is that. But the "X" will also stand for "Cross" or "Crossroads", as in crossing over with other franchises.

Of course, this isn't a new idea... Mario Kart DS had R.O.B. as a first guest character and the arcade games featured several characters from Bandai Namco, mainly Pac-Man. Mario Kart 7 featured Wuhu Island from Wii Sports Resort as a setting for multiple courses, which was also a home for the Mii characters introduced in Mario Kart Wii. And finally, Mario Kart 8 experimented with adding contents from several Nintendo franchises in its DLC, where we saw The Legend of Zelda, Excitebike, F-Zero, and Animal Crossing.

It was only a bit for each, though. For The Legend of Zelda you get Link, the Master Cycle and Hyrule Circuit. F-Zero has two courses and the Blue Falcon, but no playable character. Excitebike only has the Excitebike Arena. And the big winner was Animal Crossing with a course, three characters, and two vehicles. It was likely an experiment from Nintendo to see how people would react to this type of content in Mario Kart.

artwork of Mario fighting Inkling Girl on karts

And the result seemed clear... With the launch of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe then also came Splatoon into this mix with characters, karts, and Urchin Underpass for a battle course. And later we would get Link and the Master Cycle Zero from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as a free bonus to add more for the Zelda fans. The crossroads were green from all sides and Mario Kart wasn't just about Mario any longer.

But it returned to being only about Mario shortly after... Since 2018 they did not expand on the crossover idea any further, where Mario Kart Tour and the Booster Course Pass didn't feature any more guest characters, vehicles, or courses. This is mainly due to the direction of Mario Kart Tour, but it may also be because Nintendo had already planned to keep any additional crossover contents for the next Mario Kart game, "Mario Kart X".

This isn't about making a "Nintendo Kart" or a "Smash Kart", though, where Mario will be just one of many franchises. In its heart it will stay Mario Kart, where the majority of courses and characters will still be from the Mario universe, like in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Mario is the host and everyone else gets invited to his kart party. It's just that the crossovers will see more focus this time to attract as many Nintendo fans as possible and to create the necessary fanfare for the next game.

This will be achieved by adding more to what was already there, like finally featuring Captain Falcon as a driver, but also bringing more franchises into the mix, like Star Fox, Kirby, Metroid, Kid Icarus, and ARMS. Heck, maybe there will even be Fire Emblem, because Tiki riding a kart would be hilarious.


The Basics?

48 courses seems like a good number to start things off, where this may become the new standard going forward. It used to be 16 with Mario Kart 64 and Double Dash!! and then got doubled with the introduction of retro cups in Mario Kart DS, but 32 courses will be too low if any future Mario Kart wants a chance at competing with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

The next Mario Kart should also implement the Reverse Mode from Mario Kart Tour and ditch Mirror Mode. It's just so much more fun and interesting to drive the courses backwards, where they feel like completely new courses in some cases. And with 48 courses present, Reverse Mode will make it seem like there are 96 courses already. 200cc then will be available in both the normal and the reversed variants.

We could still see the four traditional cups, filled with new courses for the Mario franchise, including your obligatory Mario Circuit, Bowser Castle and Rainbow Road. The remaining eight cups on the other hand could offer a mix of guest content and retro courses, where for the latter they will likely bring back tracks like Hyrule Circuit or Mute City.

The core items will also still be from the Mario universe for your typical bananas, mushrooms, and shells, but the game could bring back the special items from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Kart Tour, which can only be obtained and used by specific characters, to offer something from other franchises as well. For example, Link could have a Hookshot or a Clawshot, which lets him quickly pass players in front of him. Or Samus (who would likely race in her Zero Suit) could obtain a Metroid, which latches onto a nearby player. This way we could experience items from all guest franchises, while keeping the typical Mario Kart item set.

It's similar to the currencies from other games in certain courses, like the Rupees in Hyrule Circuit. This could also get explored a little further, where the prime example are Banana Coins on the Donkey Kong tracks.

Apropos, the courses based on Donkey Kong Country Returns and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island are also good examples for how Mario Kart can explore the Mario-verse and its related franchises a little further. Why not also make a Super Mario Land track or some crazy WarioWare course? If we can have Hyrule in Mario Kart, then certainly also something from these games...

The New?

What's missing in this concept is some novelty, something that no Mario Kart has done before. Well, getting items from other franchises could fill that role, but character-specific items in themselves aren't a new idea. And we're talking about a big, new gameplay idea, like bikes or gliding.

A common suggestions is drilling as a new driving mode, but this would probably work better with the Drill Mushroom item from Super Mario Bros. Wonder and won't be as groundbreaking as it sounds at first. It might be an option to dodge attacks and take certain shortcuts at the expense of speed.

Drill Mushroom and Wonder Flower artworks

The Wonder Flower on the other hand could be an item that truly changes things, where they could do all sorts of crazy things to the courses. Flip everything on its head, add new hazards, or make you go in reverse. Hyrule Circuit could turn into Lorule Circuit with this. The potential is limitless and could add a unique feature to every course, both new and old. It could also get very annoying and detract from the usual driving, so it may not be the best idea... It's also the most obvious idea at the moment, where Nintendo usually isn't that predictable.

Another idea that you will see quite often is a course creator. And while this could indeed be fun and interesting, it would likely become its own game, a "Mario Kart Maker", just like Super Mario Maker did.

Ideally, with a Mario Kart game focused on crossovers, you would get a new gameplay mechanic that let's things cross over. One idea could be "course merging", which lets you throw two or more course into a mix, where then the courses are connected with each other via portals. You could start on Mario Circuit, but after the first curve a portal takes you into Hyrule Castle from the Hyrule Circuit and at the end of the castle another portal takes you onto the Rainbow Road. These portals would stay fixed for a single race, but you never know what you will get with the next race.

Weird portals connected different worlds may even serve as an explanation how Mario and co. suddenly ended up racing in Hyrule or in Mute City... It's a new mechanic that wouldn't distract from the crossover aspect, but rather lead into it.

And this could also be something that simply wasn't possible before on the Nintendo Switch and older systems due to hardware limitations, because it needs to load multiple courses at once and change between them seamlessly. It would also prevent the game from ever getting stale, because the possible combinations of courses is countless.

The problem with this idea is that this isn't something that would work well within the normal cups. First you want to experience the courses as they are and not in slices. This would have to be a separate mode, which then doesn't make it something that really defines the entire game from start to finish.

So, I don't really have the one idea right now that will revolutionize Mario Kart, but luckily I'm not a director at Nintendo, so I don't really have to and I will be happy to be surprised in the end. But I'm still convinced that the next Mario Kart will dive deeper into crossovers and make this one of its big selling points, where in a follow-up post we will look at what this could mean specifically for The Legend of Zelda.