Thoughts On: The Next Zelda

The day was January 23rd, 2013 when Nintendo was having another Nintendo Direct Conference on some announcements focusing on the Wii U. They announced some cool stuff like a new Yoshi title, a new RPG from the Xenoblade developers, an actual HD remake of Wind Waker, and talked about a new 3D Mario, Mario Kart, and showed a trailer for The Wonderful 101. Besides all the hype and discussions that got started with this Nintendo Direct, a lot of people started to speculate on what they were going to do with the next game in the Zelda franchise. I also decided to think of what they were possibly doing with the next entry in this amazing franchise. Some things they said made me think that they were going to do something amazing, but some things they mentioned kind of irked me a little and made me worry. Here are my thoughts about what they discussed and what I would like to see in the next Zelda game.

Let us talk about the first thing they mentioned, which was that they were thinking of making the next game more open-ended, where you wouldn’t have to go through a linear path to complete all the dungeons. I like this idea since even though I love Skyward Sword with all my heart, I did wish there was more to explore. I think they should make it more open-ended, like the Rockstar games or Dragon’s Dogma, to tackle the dungeons in the Zelda games however you want to. I think however that they need to make the dungeons more mainstream like they did with Skyward Sword, and not make every dungeon a set of small rooms. A huge open world including sky travel, ocean travel, and land travel would be rather cool, as would making Hyrule one gigantic world with multiple continents that you need to travel and not just one big continent. I also think every item you find in dungeons in the next game need to be useful in any situation, rather than in just one dungeon, like that spin top thing from Twilight Princess was fun to use in the dungeon you found it in, but you couldn’t really use it for much else.

Now, I am going to talk about the thing that irked me a little, it’s about their talk about multiplayer. They didn’t say multiplayer specifically, but they said they would want you to play with friends. I always liked my action adventure games solo play only, but I then thought of something they could do with multiplayer. They could have a separate mode where players can make fan-made dungeons using different rooms, puzzles, enemies, and bosses. Maybe make certain bosses exclusive only to this dungeon-making mode. After you make the dungeon to your liking, you can put it online and you can have a group of four people tackle the dungeon together, like in Little Big Planet-style. I just don’t think multiplayer works for the main story mode for Zelda.

Let me share my thoughts for gameplay. I think it’s fine, but maybe Link can have a more varied move list, like a combo list or something. Then again, if they did give Link a new set of moves, they would have to redesign everything from the enemies to the bosses to make said changes work within the game’s overall design. I liked the motion control combat from the last game, but maybe they could have the option, like in Pikmin 3, to either play with the Wii Motion Plus attached Wii mote or with the Wii U Gamepad. If you use the gamepad, maybe you can have your entire inventory placed on the small screen on the Gamepad, and have the main TV screen free of the clutter of health and icons, thus immersing you in the game’s world more. I also think if they are going to make the game more open-ended, they should have secret dungeons with secret bosses that don’t tie in with the main quest, but are a good reward for players who find said secret dungeons. Oh, and keep the bosses huge and interesting. I also hope they keep both halves of the game interesting since Twilight Princess had a bit of a slow first half with you having to go from human Link to wolf Link and back to human Link, and while I liked the Silent Realms in Skyward Sword, they were a bit of a bump in the road of pacing throughout the second half of that game.

Moving onto the art style, I really enjoy the art style used in both Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword so they can do either for the next game. Maybe do the “realistic” version with the bright cel-shaded art style, like in Skyward Sword, or use the dynamic lighting and shading used in the Wind Waker Wii U Remake. Either way, I think what made Zelda fun for me is when they weren’t doing something totally realistic looking, like in Skyrim. I think its colorful art style worked well to give the game its identity. A lot of people have talked about giving the Zelda character voices, and I have mixed feelings about that. Sure, voice work would be nice so you don’t have to read text, but you can easily pick the wrong voices for the job. For me personally, if they keep going with this more developed Zelda character, like from Skyward Sword, they should get Tara Strong to play Zelda and maybe Josh Keaton could be Link. However, that is just a thought.

In the end however, I am excited to see what Nintendo will do with this new Zelda and I will probably be buying it, since I’m a huge Zelda fan. I know that they will always bring something unique and memorable to the formula and the design of the overall game, but it is always fun to think about the good and maybe troublesome thoughts about what the next Zelda might bring. I hope they don’t change too much of the overall design, but I’ll make sure to be first on the list to preorder the next entry in this amazing franchise.