What to Expect in Zelda 2008/2009
Written by: The King of Hyrule
A little while ago, in an interview, Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator and the mastermind of the Zelda series, stated that Phantom Hourglass was not the last Zelda game. He guaranteed us that the great series that we all know and love will be continuing.
So with all of the new hardware and technology available, what kinds of things can you look forward to in the new Zelda? Graphics are the first thing I’ll speak on. Zelda has dabbled in most every graphic type known to man, including everything from 8-bit to cell-shaded to realistic. However, Miyamoto did state after the release of Twilight Princess that it was going to be the last game of it’s kind. Is Nintendo going to try a cell-shaded Zelda game again? I doubt it. When Nintendo revealed the graphics style of The Wind Waker, people were mortified. But when The Wind Waker hit shelves, people loved it. The Wind Waker was followed by Phantom Hourglass, which also featured the same cell-shaded graphic style. Two games of the same exact style are only featured in sequels, and I personally don’t think that a sequel is coming.
I think a more realistic graphic style is what we should be expecting. Nintendo really needs a game that hardcore fans of the series will love. Nintendo needs to do some catching up to games like Halo and Call of Duty in terms of graphics and overall gameplay. Nintendo needs to prove that its hardware can produce and maintain stunning games, and they know it.
I once said that graphics cannot be measured in terms of how realistic they look. Instead, the graphics must be measured in relation to how they make the game feel. When making The Wind Waker, Nintendo did not try to make realistic graphics and fail miserably, they chose cell-shaded graphics because they knew it would fit the emotion of the game better than anything else. Nintendo has already created a game dealing with dark and light (Twilight Princess), and the realistic style was perfect for it. But this time around, if Nintendo chooses realistic graphics, it will be because they knew they would compliment the game. Nintendo is actually very good at choosing graphic styles, so I don’t think anyone has to worry here.
If Nintendo does choose a realistic graphic style, it will in no way be the same as Twilight Princess (I hope). The graphic style worked for Twilight Princess, and Twilight Princess only, which is exactly what Nintendo aimed for it to do. However, new game: new aim. The realistic graphics will either be stunning beyond belief, or will take the form of a more artistic realism. Either way, Nintendo will make it work; despite their flaws and their inability to listen to the fans, Nintendo has always chosen right, even when the fans say they are wrong (as evidenced by The Wind Waker).
So what console will it be on? At the time of writing this article, Nintendo has still not announced any details on the new Zelda, but most people assume it will be on the Wii. It’s pretty obvious that Phantom Hourglass was not specifically for the hardcore fan; its goal was to draw in new fans, younger ones. As seen by games such as Nintendogs, Nintendo’s plan for the DS game system is to appeal to children: new gamers. However, Nintendo accomplished that, so it is safe to say that the new Zelda game will be for the Wii console.
Storyline-wise, I think we can expect something totally new and different. I’m betting money on new magical relics, new items, and definitely the Triforce. I don’t want to go too deep into this topic though, because nothing has been revealed yet, and so everything is nothing but speculation.
I want to touch briefly on the possible new items and the direction Zelda is taking subconsciously through its items. In the past few games, more and more advanced items have been showing up, many mirroring common day items. Take the cannon for example. Though not a common item now-a-days, if Nintendo had announced cannons in a sequel to the original game, people may have rioted, claiming that cannons destroyed the magical aspect of Zelda. However, no one protested cannons in the latest games. This topic is a deep one, and I’ll rant if I go on longer, so I may just write a separate article about it later. But, somehow, I think Nintendo may have realized that the magical and mystical aspects of Zelda are no longer the same. I’m pretty sure we can expect the return of a magic meter, and maybe even spells, in the next Zelda, especially because it was so close to being a part of Twilight Princess. I think the items may stay realistic, only because Nintendo would lose its new, younger, gamers if it transferred the series in a new direction so rapidly.
Next on the list is difficulty. If anyone played through the original Legend of Zelda, and then played Phantom Hourglass, you would have to be really dumb not to notice the difference in difficulty. Zelda has progressively gotten easier and easier. This is because, as I said earlier, Nintendo is starting to appeal to a younger audience. Games cannot be too difficult or the six year old with a Wii will not play, and that doesn’t fit into Nintendo’s plan. Despite this, I would be surprised if Nintendo now produced a game that was as easy as Phantom Hourglass. I see a challenge in Zelda fans’ future, though not a great one. This also ties in with hours of gameplay. Twilight Princess was somewhat lengthy, but only took me 23 hours to beat my very first time through. Ocarina of Time, on the other hand, took me probably close to 50 hours my very first time, just because there was so much to do. However, that was the past. Present Zelda games? Five hours. That’s right; I beat Phantom Hourglass in just over five hours. It was just that easy. Although there has been a drop in overall gameplay time, I expect at least a solid 20 hours out of the new game, if not more.
What I hope and pray Nintendo does not do is included tons of side-quests that total, with the main quest, 20 hours. Side-quests are great as long as they are in addition to the 20-hour main quest. Majora’s Mask is a perfect example of this: quality side-quests that are optional but enhance the already long main quest.
My final rant will be about controls. Twilight Princess was a rare case in which a game was released for two systems (the GameCube and the Wii), therefore requiring two different control setups. This allowed for people to choose the most comfortable control style. Recent Nintendo games, such as Brawl and Mario Kart Wii, have taken this need into account and provided gamers the option to use other controllers beside the normal Wiimote. Although there is genius behind this movement, I’m pretty sure that this will not be the case with Zelda 2008/2009. The control style will most likely resemble, if not mirror, the Twilight Princess controls. The controls in the Wii version of Twilight Princess were adequate and comfortable. The only problem was the swinging of the Wiimote to swing Link’s sword. While this was fun at first, it quickly grew boring and rather tiring. I know I’m not the only one to make this complaint, so I think the A button may be changed to allow to you swing your sword, among other things. Overall, the controls should remain about the same.
So all of that is what I feel is in store for the new Zelda game. Of course, most of it is just opinion and speculation, but much of it is logical and reasonable. I’m sure I will be wrong on some accounts, but I do feel like I have hit the nail right on the head as to what I, and the majority of the Zelda community, would like to see, and as to what Nintendo may, and hopefully will, do.