Considering how many titles in the Zelda series are currently available on the Nintendo Switch, it’s surprising that Twilight Princess has yet to see a Switch port. Like Wind Waker before it, Twilight Switch was the recipient of an HD upgrade on the Wii U, and with how many Wii U titles have already come over to the Switch, it makes sense that Nintendo will bring both of these beloved Legend of Zelda titles to its hybrid console at some point. Zelda: Twilight Princess is one of the best-selling 3D titles in the series prior to the gargantuan success of Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, so it seems like Nintendo is leaving money on the table by not bringing the grimdark Zelda classic to modern hardware.
Interestingly, the team responsible for the HD remasters of both Wind Waker and Twilight Princess admits that there were further changes they were planning for each release. Nintendo ultimately chose to limit the amount of new features for fear of the projects going over time and budget, but there’s always potential for some of these changes coming about in a Switch port of each title. If fans do indeed get a Switch port of Zelda: Twilight Princess, the following features are practically must-haves.
Zelda: Twilight Princess – Differences Between the Original and HD Versions
Before diving into the must-have features for a Switch port of Twilight Princess, it’s important to examine the differences that already exist between the original version of the title and the HD remaster on the Wii U. First and foremost, the HD version of Twilight Princess features HD upscaling and higher-resolution textures, as well as some improvements to character models and assets and more advanced in-game lighting. Additionally, the version of the game that serves as the base for the HD upgrade is the GameCube release of Twilight Princess rather than its Wii version, meaning it’s a direct mirror of the Wii’s launch title (including having Link hold his sword in his left hand).
The Wii U version also offers additional support via the Wii U GamePad, including the ability to have the screen act as a mini-map and quick inventory selection. Perhaps most important in the HD version are the subtle changes made to streamline the game and speed up certain aspects of gameplay. In addition to only needing to press a button to shift between human and wolf form with Link (which previously required speaking to Midna), players have to collect fewer items during collection quests and have a brand new piece of equipment to aid in the search for Poes.
The HD version also features a brand-new dungeon exclusive to the title, The Cave of Shadows, which requires using the Wolf Link amiibo to unlock but features a brand new experience for returning players along with a new reward at the end of the dungeon. This version also has full amiibo support and a higher difficulty setting known as “Hero Mode”.
Upgraded Visuals and HD Textures
The first new feature that a Switch port of Twilight Princess needs to include is further resolution upscaling and new models for most of the major characters and NPCs. Zelda: Twilight Princess is still a great looking game and was incredibly impressive for its time, but on the Switch it could stand to receive the same kind of visual polish that was given to the re-release of Skyward Sword. Twilight Princess on the Switch would definitely need to run at 1080p while docked and 720 while in handheld mode, which is practically standard for most AAA releases on the console.
Another area that should see a major visual overhaul is the world of Hyrule itself, with new assets such as trees, rocks, and other environmental features going a long way toward increasing immersion and making Twilight Princess feel less like a product of its time. Again, Tantalus Media (the team working in tandem with Nintendo on the Wii U release of Twilight Princess HD) notes that the original plan for the HD release was to more comprehensively overhaul the game’s visual assets, and a Switch port could give the studio a chance to bring Twilight Princess more in-line with the polish of modern Zelda titles.
Seamless Transitions Between Sections of Hyrule
Considering the sheer size of Twilight Princess‘ version of the iconic kingdom of Hyrule, it’s impressive that the GameCube could render the massive semi-open world. Still, the limitations of the hardware Twilight Princess released on (especially as a cross-gen title) meant that Nintendo needed to implement a way for the game to transition between the larger sections of the game world. The solution was that the map of Hyrule exists in sections, with traversal between these sections triggering a fade-to-black and momentary loading delay.
The Switch is undoubtedly a more powerful piece of hardware, meaning that a Switch port of Twilight Princess could potentially do away with these transitions and make Hyrule one seamless map. Being able to travel between each of the world’s sections without loading screens or any fading-to-black would help make the game’s world feel more connected and also help to point out some of the brilliance in its tranquil design. If Nintendo can make worlds as massive as the Hyrule featuring in Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom these interconnected spaces, it stands to reason that a Twilight Princess Switch port could do the same with an overworld map a fraction of their size.
Multiple Control Schemes
This almost goes without saying, but not every Zelda fan enjoys motion controls. Upon the original release of Twilight Princess, many players opted to purchase the GameCube version so that they weren’t locked-in to using the Wii’s motion control scheme to play the game. Still, there are plenty of players who enjoy the motion controls of both Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. The solution is simple: Nintendo needs to implement multiple control schemes into a Twilight Princess Switch port.
Just like 2021’s Skyward Sword HD, the Switch port of Twilight Princess could offer two distinct options for controlling Link’s sword. Players who enjoy the original motion controls could use one of the Switch’s JoyCons as if it were a Wiimote, while those who prefer a tradtional button-and-joystick control scheme could choose that option instead. Some aspects of Twilight Princess feel better with motion controls even if players don’t enjoy them as a whole, so being able to seamlessly switch between the two would be a nice bonus as well.
Make Zelda: Twilight Princess Run at 60 FPS
The Wii U version of Twilight Princess features improvements to its visuals and lighting but still retains the original framerate of the title that players can experience on Wii or GameCube (30FPS). If Twilight Princess comes to the Switch, it’s time for the title to finally run at 60FPS to make it the definitive release of the game. Skyward Sword HD‘s ability to run at a stable and buttery-smooth 60FPS on the Switch automatically makes it the definitive version of the game, as every aspect of gameplay feels better at the higher framerate. If Twilight Princess comes to the Switch and isn’t running at 60FPS it will definitely feel like a missed opportunity.
Replace the Miiverse Functionality with Other Online Components
One of the additional features arriving as part of Twilight Princess HD‘s release was the implementation of new chests in each of the game’s dungeons containing miiverse stamps. These stamps could be used to communicate with other players online and helped to add an element of community to what was otherwise a solitary, single-player experience. Since the miiverse is no longer a part of Nintendo’s online features on the Switch, a port of Twilight Princess to the console could implement something new with these chests rather than do away with them completely.
One potential option would be to have these chests contain useful items for upcoming puzzles or combat challenges, subtly providing players with hints as to the right items to use in particular scenarios. Another option, and one that would continue the online community-building spirit of the miiverse, would be to replace the chests with a Dark Souls-style messaging system where players could leave notes for one another on bulletin boards to warn of incoming danger or provide details regarding puzzle solutions.
Boss Rush Mode
Another feature that Tantalus ultimately had to cut from the Wii U release of Twilight Princess HD is one that should absolutely make a return in a potential Switch port — a Boss Rush mode. The Zelda series is synonymous with creative and engaging boss fights, and the big bads of Twilight Princess are some of the most inventive in the entire series. Being able to challenge a gauntlet of the game’s bosses without needing to invest the time for an entire playthrtough would be a major bonus to any fan who loves Zelda‘s combat and wants to experience it at its peak. And, with the flexibility of new control schemes, players might find that certain encounters are no longer as challenging as they once were. Add-in the ability for players to post their times to a global leaderboard, and you have a recipe for success.