As a long time Zelda fan I wanted to share my thoughts on a bunch of rumors that have been brewing over the upcoming Zelda title for Wii U. I’m excited about the incoming re-release of Wind Waker, but the idea of an original title is something much, much bigger. The Legend of Zelda series is one that constantly re-invents itself, and never ceases to surprise its fans while retaining the charm that it’s so well-known for.
The following rumors can be traced back to 2chan before showing up on sites like Gamefaqs. It’s important to note they have not been confirmed by anyone. As such they should not be considered truthful. This article is 100% speculation!
Rumor #1: The game is using the E3 2011 Tech Demo graphics. The Tech Demo was actually footage from a pre-Alpha version.
Well, this would be fine by me! The art style is neat and highly detailed, it could be compared to the way things looked in the Hyrule we saw in Twilight Princess for Gamecube and Wii. It’s a style that would look very good in high-definition – this would make good use of the Wii U’s HD capabilities. However – some fans will remember the trailer that was released at the E3 before Wind Waker made its debut in 2002. The graphics and art style could not have been more different… So we should be prepared for Zelda U to look totally different to what we saw at E3 in 2011.
Rumor #2: The game is a direct sequel to Twilight Princess.
Ah, well this fits nicely with rumor #1. Taking another visit to the Twilight Realm would be pretty cool. I really liked the narrative in Twilight Princess, its characters felt real and the towns and villages we discovered felt very lived-in. It would be interesting to see how a sequel would turn out – would Midna be involved again? Would Wolf Link make a return? I loved the way the Skull Kid was portrayed in this story as well. So if we do get a TP sequel, he better be there!
Rumor #3: The game will be Open World. The player will be able to explore a vast and seamless Hyrule. Around 70% of the development team are solely working on content to fill this Open World. The aim is to make it full of content and have more side-quests, sub-dungeons, and collectibles than any past 3D Zelda.
Holy shit this would be incredible. Sadly, I feel like this one is pretty unlikely. Open World games are absolutely huge and dynamic in a way that would severely stretch Zelda’s storytelling conventions. While I expect this game to be huge, I think Nintendo are a little too conservative to release an Open World game for the Zelda series. Large-scale Open World is basically uncharted waters for Nintendo. That said, I would be very happy to see a considerable amount of content when it comes to side-quests and collectibles. Side-quests were completely awesome in Majora’s Mask, and Skyward Sword had some that were neat as well. I’ll be expecting loads of content for Zelda U, but an Open World setting would be a totally ridiculous surprise.
Rumor #4: Motion controls have been dropped. The game will use the Wii U Game Pad and build off the controls of the GameCube version of Twilight Princess. There will be heavy use of the Game Pad screen in a variety of unique ways.
This sounds a lot more likely. I think the gamepad will be a big part of Zelda U, and I’m very keen to see how it’s implemented. There’s so much potential within the gamepad and it’s the only thing that sets the console apart from its competitors – so we can expect it to be used a lot. I can’t wait to see how it will be used for puzzles and other challenges. It’s also perfect for in-game menus and maps as well.
Unlike most of the internet I don’t have a strong opinion for or against motion controls… But I won’t really be missing it if it’s dropped.
Rumor #5: There are 10 dungeons. You can play the first five in any order, and when all are complete, you can play the latter five in any order. The game now features a term Aonuma calls “Parallel Dungeons”. You will have to multi-task between all 5 dungeons to complete them. Solving puzzles in one dungeon will open doors and change the layout of another. Aonuma states that playing through all 5 dungeons simultaneously will feel like one giant Water Temple (from Ocarina of Time).
Confirmed information has led us to believe that completing dungeons in order is being made a thing of the past – so there could well be some truth in this rumor. The idea of all the dungeons combining to become one giant Water Temple excites the hell out of me. I think a little difficulty spike would be a welcome addition to Zelda U – so this would be awesome in my eyes. Bigger, harder puzzles please!
Rumor #6: Princess Zelda will have a deep involvement in the story. Princess Zelda didn’t get much development in Twilight Princess, but many fans have said they loved her detailed costume design. Aonuma wants to rectify this issue by making her character as complex as her elaborate clothes.
This would be nice indeed. And while she didn’t have many lines she did look pretty damn cool in Twilight Princess. One of the best things about Skyward Sword was the decision to give Zelda a whole lot more character development than she usually gets. This worked to great success. More of this please.
Rumor #7: The game began development in Q1 2010, almost two years before Skyward Sword was released. It was being made by a different team than the one that developed Skyward Sword. However, the staff of Skyward Sword have now joined the development head count on Zelda Wii U.
This could be true – Skyward Sword spent a looooong time in development and was constantly tweaked and re-imagined during this process. I wouldn’t be surprised if Zelda U has been in development for a long time.
Rumor # 8: Online co-op that functions like a 3D version of Four Swords is being included as a separate multiplayer feature. The mode will have paid DLC content. This will be in the form of dungeons, powerful enemies, new items, and unique tunics.
Ok this one is the hardest to belive. It would probably be fun as hell, but this seems way too progressive for a series that prizes itself on a proud history of single-player focused gameplay. Nintendo are not known for delivering the hyper-competitive multiplayer experience that is so popular in modern gaming so this would seem like a very uncharacteristic risk for them to take.
Rumor #9: All the NPCs will be voiced. They will speak in a fictional language that will represent Hylian.
Strangely enough, the “should we let them speak?” debate is almost entirely exclusive to the Zelda series. And it’s actually a big deal. While the series has shown that it can communicate a solid narrative with very minimal voice-acting, many are wondering if it’s time to change this. It could open up a wealth of possibilities, but at the same time it has the potential to turn out really awkward. Personally I’m open to the change but I don’t feel that it’s totally necessary for the series. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Rumor #10: Aonuma states that the game will definitely be announced in 2014. E3 is the most likely venue, not a Nintendo Direct.
This would be nice! Maybe then I can post an article with something a little more concrete than speculation 😉