A Legend Retold in Different Ways
This year at E3 2014, Nintendo gave us a brief look at their brand new Legend of Zelda project. There was no playable demo available to fool around with, no guided walkthrough, just a demo and the series producer Eiji Aonuma around to answer questions. That being said, there was quite a bit of info for us to sink our teeth into. So what sort of adventure will Link get into on the Wii U?
Well, the buzzword at E3 2014 was definitely open world. Every single game needed to be open world, and Zelda was no exception. Players need to be able to wander the land and travel to where they want to go, even if it’s not the next area that the story takes them to. Aonuma said that this is actually a lot more like the original Zelda on the NES. There, you were able to wander around a massive world with dungeons and items strewn all about. You could easily take on harder later game dungeons if you wanted to, provided you knew where they were. This gave the game an amazing open feel and made it a field day for speed runners.
However, modern day Zelda games don’t exactly fall into that mold. You are only allowed to explore in very closed systems. You may be able to roam the over world, but the only place you can get into is the next place the story wants you to go. You might be able to see all the dungeons, but the next one you can explore is just the one that the plot wants you to go to next. In a way, all modern day Zeldas are just railroading you to a destination.
The new Legend of Zelda project, however, is going to change all that. Aonuma is determined to let people explore wherever they like as soon as the game starts. Players will be able to ride their trusty steed from end to end of the map, taking in all of the sights as they do. They will be able to find their own ways into dungeons, bombing the sides of walls, sneaking in through towers, and otherwise making their dungeon experience different depending on their method of approach. They will also be able to tackle dungeons in multiple orders and complete sidequests even in end game locations if they decide to venture into dangerous territory.
There wasn’t much revealed about the story, unfortunately, however, this isn’t exactly the Hyrule that you all remember. The trailer showed link on a horse, running from what can only be described as a steampunk octopus robot. No, we aren’t kidding. It waved its mechanical tentacles around, fired lasers, chucked bombs, and basically screwed up the place. At the end, Link hopped off his horse, pulled off his Assassin’s Creed style hood, cocked an arrow which appeared to have a mechanical laser bomb attached to the end, and fired. So… yeah… things have changed around Hyrule a bit.
Oh, and I want to put to rest one rumor that has a lot of people’s hopes up. At E3, Nintendo said that the character shown in the trailer may not necessarily be Link. This caused a lot of people to start speculating that the characters was, in fact, Zelda. This is partially because, a few years ago, an artist created a concept game for a Legend of Zelda title where Zelda has to save Link. The concept put the Legend of Zelda series in a distant future, filled with steampunk robots. This combined with the much more feminine design for Link, made people start thinking their dreams have come true and that Zelda finally had a female protagonists. Nooooooope! Eiji Aonuma has confirmed that the protagonist is Link, and is male. Guess Hyrule hasn’t changed all that much.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot more that Nintendo was able to show us. The game wasn’t yet ready to be played and hasn’t even reached alpha status. So basically every single design decision is still up in the air and able to be changed. It’s highly unlikely that the game will even release by the time we hit next-year’s E3, so expect a whole lot more info about it then.