So, yesterday I read an article about why zelda should be handed over to Retro Studios, and well, it got me thinking about what I want to see from Zelda games in the future. I’m personally a massive Zelda fan, it is my favourite gaming series of all time and as much as people may moan about it being stale, I think that Skyward Sword was one of the finest Zelda games to date. However, I understand why some people are beginning to find it boring, the last few games in the series have clearly suffered from the near perfect formula which the games have stood by for years. Not to say that the formula is a bad one, it’s just that us as gamers are so used to it now that we want more, we want that feeling of awe that we got from Zelda all those times in the past. So hopefully, here are some ways that Nintendo can freshen up Zelda for us all to love for another 25 years.
Now, I’m not planning on throwing any spoilers into the mix, but I felt like the story for Skyward Sword was great. There was anything you could ask for from a Zelda game, with magical legends, kidnappings and stories of an almighty power, known as the triforce. Not only that, but I genuinly felt for the characters of Zelda and Link, as well as the relationship they had between them.
So, you might be wondering what I’m going on about then. Well, quite frankly, Zelda and Link were some of the only characters I cared about in this game, there was an occasional side character that stole the lime light once in a while, but generally speaking, I felt like most characters were very dull in comparison to the two protagonists. I feel like in a game like Zelda, this shouldn’t be the case. Majora’s Mask managed to have a world full of complex characters that changed throughout the course of the game, so why shouldn’t the newer games too. Nintendo always put so much time creating a living, breathing world with these games, but they won’t ever feel truly alive if the characters don’t too.
Many people say that the way to achieve this is voice acting, but I can’t be too sure, I mean, what use are talking characters if they still have nothing to say. What I’m hoping for is a wider focus on what goes on outside the main quest. I realise that in Majora’s Mask they had three days for the game to easily change the characters through, but the same thing could be done using major points in the plot to seperate character behaviours.
I know that everybody loves Hyrule, myself included, but I feel like some of the more magical moments in recent Zelda history haven’t actually taken place in Hyrule itself. For example, one of my favourite moments in gaming, ever, is being let out on to the Great Sea for the first time. Almost nothing can beat the feeling of being opened up to a massive world thrown upon you to explore, and Wind Waker, for me had one of the most interesting, inventive places that I have ever seen.
I mean, as great as it is to see all of our favourite places, recreated and reformed over time, I feel like it can at times limit the creativity of the team, because although Hyrule changes from game to game, it always holds the same basic structure to itself, meaning that reinvention is the only option. Again, look at Wind Waker, it managed to involve Hyrule, but because it was under the sea, it gave the team a whole new world to develop, without limitations. I want to see an ocean in the sky, a volcano under the sea and a temple made entirely of sheep…not another rendition of Lake Hylia.
New Art Styles
As much as I love some of the art styles of past Zelda games, I actually think they should continue along their same trend of revamping the art style for pretty much every game they release. Unless there is a direct sequel to an existing game, I say change it up again. None of this silly ‘realistic’ crap either, I want my Zelda to look more like Wind Waker, or Skyward Sword.
Now, I’ll explain myself here, as great as I thought Twilight Princess looked at release, it very quickly got outshined by all those lovely HD games, and really didn’t stand the test of time, the more artistic games however, they have passed with flying colours. Besides, in a game with no voice acting, you really need to squeeze every bit of emotion out of your characters visually as you can. Wind Waker and Skyward Sword had emotion blossoming out of every little detail, and the stone walled faces of Twilight Princess can’t compete with that.
Now, I love nintendo, probably more than most gamers, but I do feel like many of their team can be stuck in their ways creatively, it’s hard to explain really, it’s like they always create awesome new things, but it’s always in the ways you expect them to. Going back to the article I mentioned before, why not throw a proven western studio like Retro a Zelda game to deal with? I mean, yes, capcom have made a few games previously, but again, they’re a japanese studio, and seemed to do things in a very similar way to usual. Maybe getting a western perspective on an eastern classic might be the exact bit of unpredictablility that Zelda has been craving of late.
My theory on this however is to at first hand over development of a 3DS game to a studio like Retro. They may be a proven studio, but at the same time, Zelda fans can be very stubborn, and they know what they like. Maybe a great way to usher in a new age is to transition style through a handheld game or two, see how the audience like it. If we do, then we can see what they can do with a fully fledged release.
So, that’s a short version of what I think The big N should do with the fabled franchise, what do you guys think? does the franchise need some crazy innovation, or are we happiest with what we’ve become comfortable with? Whatever Nintendo decide to do with Zelda, I’m sure they will have the best in mind for the series as a whole, heck, they’ve managed for 25 years to give us consistent awesomeness, I know I trust them for the next 25 years too.