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The Legend of Zelda (Wii U) Preview: Zelder Scrolls

by Alex Culafi - June 11, 2014, 9:41 am PDT
Total comments: 11

In which we guess the gender of our new "Link" and analyze the idea of an open world Zelda.

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After a year and a half of promises that the next big game would change series convention, and many months following the ambitious The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, we finally get our first substantial look at what this new Zelda game is actually going to be like. Whether you think Nintendo’s overall showing was amazing or questionable, most of us can agree on this: Zelda looks special.

During the Nintendo Digital Event, series Director Eiji Aonuma started the reveal by discussing his philosophy in approaching the new game. At first, Aonuma started discussing the original NES Zelda game in great detail, stating how great he thought its wide, scrolling world was. Although this seemed to hint at a potential return to the top-down format, this new Zelda game is actually taking inspiration from the original’s open world more than its mechanics and look.

“For example, in Wind Waker, we used various techniques to create a wide world where you could freely explore many isolated islands, but it was very hard to create one large world where everything felt connected,” Aonuma said. “We had to design small, bounded areas with a defined entrance and exit, and putting it all together made it feel like you were playing in a large world. But, you still couldn’t cut through the boundaries wherever you’d like to explore that world.”

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Saying this, it’s clear that Aonuma has large aspirations for this upcoming game – aspirations that are manifesting themselves as, you guessed it, the first truly open world Zelda. There wasn’t much to see other than a distant landscape, though Aonuma promises that the entire map will be entirely open. My sneaking suspicion is that the game map will pull either an Elder Scrolls or Grand Theft Auto in the sense that the boundaries will be un-climbable mountains or an “endless ocean” that surrounds the bulk of the map.

The other potential connection to Elder Scrolls (and many other similar open world action-adventure RPGs) is the world design itself. You can approach the game however you want in even greater fashion than some of the older Zelda games, and that many of the “puzzle” elements are found in figuring out where you want to go, getting there, and doing what you want to do once you get there. And naturally, you will surely run into many trials, tribulations, and enemies on the way to your destinations (in the same way many of these types of games have dynamic enemy placement). All of this tells me that the concept of a dungeon is probably going to be radically altered as a result of this world shift, and that this game will probably incorporate a quest line system to give the world many smaller stories in addition to whatever main one they put in (to actually make use of a less-linear world).

Ending the video, Aonuma showed off a teaser trailer that I can only describe as dreamlike. Everything momentarily looks nice, until out of nowhere, a cyborg-looking octopus monster starts shooting futuristic-looking lasers at what we can only presume to be the protagonist while a quick and light un-Zelda piano piece starts playing. At the bridge, the presumed protagonist lifts his or her veil and starts shooting explosive-tipped arrows from a bow that seems to offer transformative qualities (if not the arrows themselves). As for the visual style, it seems to be like that of Skyward Sword, though environments are a bit more realistic and the colors are more reminiscent of Wind Waker.

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Perhaps most importantly, we then get a reveal of our hero, someone who looks like the Links we know but just a little different. Aonuma stated in an interview with Venture Beat, “No one explicitly said that that was Link.” If it’s not Link, this tells me that we’re either looking at another character who will be playing the “Link” role, OR this will be a character you may play with in a potential multiplayer mode.

Some want a female playable character and some want full customization, but I think a potential third option is to make the playable character so androgynous that the character sounds and looks equally masculine and feminine (as this hero seems to look). So long as the gender is never revealed, we get a character that can truly be everything to everyone while still being a tangible human character. Everyone wins.

As someone who has never been excited for a Zelda game despite playing many of them, I think it says something that I am absolutely over the moon with how this is turning out. In 2015, we may finally get the next true evolution in Zelda. Be ready for it.

Talkback

xcwarriorJune 11, 2014

Alex speaking positive things about a Nintendo game? Wow this really is a good E3 for Nintendo. Hope some of this carries over into the next podcast. Would love to hear you not be a debbie downer for 80% of the time talking about Nintendo games.

Quote from: xcwarrior

Alex speaking positive things about a Nintendo game? Wow this really is a good E3 for Nintendo. Hope some of this carries over into the next podcast. Would love to hear you not be a debbie downer for 80% of the time talking about Nintendo games.

Focus on the 20%!

TheXenocideJune 11, 2014

Zelder Scrolls: Skyward Rim....

Leo13June 11, 2014

Have any of your NWR guys that are there had a chance to play Xenoblade Chronicles X? That game actually excites me more than Zelda U. We know how expansive it's world will be (at least all of us that played the Original Xenoblade do)

Quote from: Leo13

Have any of your NWR guys that are there had a chance to play Xenoblade Chronicles X? That game actually excites me more than Zelda U. We know how expansive it's world will be (at least all of us that played the Original Xenoblade do)

Not on the show floor unfortunately.

steveyJune 11, 2014

Quote:

but I think a potential third option is to make the playable character so androgynous that the character sounds and looks equally masculine and feminine (as this hero seems to look). So long as the gender is never revealed, we get a character that can truly be everything to everyone while still being a tangible human character. Everyone wins.

Worst possible option. Far too girly to be a man, not cute enough to be a girl.

Quote from: stevey

Quote:

but I think a potential third option is to make the playable character so androgynous that the character sounds and looks equally masculine and feminine (as this hero seems to look). So long as the gender is never revealed, we get a character that can truly be everything to everyone while still being a tangible human character. Everyone wins.

Worst possible option. Far too girly to be a man, not cute enough to be a girl.

I guess we play games from different perspectives. I enjoy games where I can identify as the player character as easily as possible and don't really care about aesthetic character design so much. If they won't do customization and don't want the same old Link, I would prefer this far more than a female Link personally. Just male enough to appeal to people like me who want to play as men and just feminine enough to appeal to people who want to play as women. To me, it's a proper next step in the blank-slate nearly-silent protagonist.

superyoshi128June 13, 2014

Sorry guys, this is just not good.  Seems like wind waker with the cel-da graphics again. Not excited until they change the philosophy  and not keep making the same cookie cutter games.  We had a realistic zelda at space world 2000 and got the cell shading a year later. We had realistic zelda last year, and got this new zelda this year. Everything down to the box art for the game cube and the wii u seems to show that they are going in the same direction.  I love Nintendo, but they need to take a break from zelda to make a REALLY GOOD zelda game, and not just 1 every 3 years.

I'd be a lot less interested in it if they went for realism. I've never been a real fan of that look for the series, and the colorful, cartoony look is more true to the original style of the series. Then again, Skyward Sword had a somewhat cartoony style and I still haven't played my copy of it.

AdrockJune 13, 2014

I was one of those people who originally hated The Wind Waker style, but I gained a greater appreciation for it over the years to the point where I find myself disappointed when it's not used (e.g. A Link Between Worlds). Realistic Zelda just doesn't appeal to me as much. Nintendo tends to use drab colors when they go the more realistic route. Sure, they can use more color for realistic Zelda, but until I see it, I'll prefer the less realistic look whether it's toon shaded or what we have here. I like that Nintendo tries to give Zelda it's own unique style. It's hard to confuse the games for anything else.

marvel_moviefan_2012June 13, 2014

I personally love the Wind Waker toon shading at first, it was after I got to playing the game I started to dislike it. Actually I just couldn't get past that first mission it took too damn long to turn into a Zelda game. But I think the art style in this game looks amazing too.

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Zelda no Densetsu: Breath of the Wild Box Art

Genre Adventure
Developer Nintendo
Players1

Worldwide Releases

na: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Release Mar 03, 2017
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone 10+
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Release Mar 03, 2017
PublisherNintendo
eu: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Release Mar 03, 2017
PublisherNintendo
aus: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Release Mar 03, 2017
PublisherNintendo
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