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How Zelda Can Learn From Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy, and The Sims

The Zelda fan community is well known for being contentious and diverse. Lately, some within our community have criticized what they see as a lack of innovation within the series. This past week, we learned a lot about Spirit Tracks. From what we know so far, the game will feature a linear form of transportation, a companion, and a musical instrument. Sound familiar? That’s because everything listed is either something we’ve seen multiple times before, or a mechanic that was notoriously unpopular. This has lead to some of us having doubts about whether Nintendo has any idea where to take the series. Read More »

About: Noah Glaser

Noah Glaser is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati where he majored in Information Technology with a minor in awesome. Noah has worked in web marketing for over 5 years and has built a reputation that has followed him both professionally and independently. He is the founder and lead content contributor for The Hidden Triforce. In the 5th grade he bought Link’s Awakening for his brother as a Christmas gift. Since stealing it back, he has been hooked to the Zelda series and has never looked back. In his spare time you can find Noah frolicking with his Porygon and Kiwi Birds. He dislikes chocolate, cheese, and bacon.

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  • Daddy

    This is good.

  • farore

    cool, lol its actually a very nice article.

  • avenged

    The entire Zelda series are role playing games. Most people always just think that it has to be turned based to be a role playing game. Zelda is what we like to call, an action based RPG.

    • Chintz

      No. Zelda is an action adventure. It has nothing to do with not being turn based. The lack of character customization or becoming stronger through experience make it not an RPG.

      I realize it's a very specific distinction, and other elements – like talking to people in towns, buying things at a store, etc – are also found in RPGs. But those things are also found in other kinds of games you would definitely not consider RPGs, so they don't really define the genre.

  • Midnafan1

    I enjoyed every second of this article. You, sir, have a gift for writing and it goes without saying that you have a gift for thinking outside the box. I would have never thought about any of this only for the simple fact I wouldn't have been able to connect it to the series. However, I just got a pretty good idea just from reading your article. One thing they can do is add in some massive battles where Link and the Hyrule Soldiers go up against an army of evil. Sort of like what KH2 did and also what Dynasty Warrior tries to do. Also, to pull this off, they should update from the graphical style they've been using. TP has great graphics for what they had at their disposal but I honestly think it can be even better. Maybe one day they'll be able to pull this off but I know right now, they'll just keep us waiting for all the great things that they have so much potential to integrate into the Zelda series.

    Great article….. Keep it up. ==

  • masterlinkace

    yes, some of these are good ideas, however some of these ideas, 1. would not work in zelda, and 2. aren't in any zelda games before now because the devs know it won't work. now i think that what you said about stealth and NPC's are both great ideas, but i don't want zelda games to have pretty much any of what you said in the final fantasy section. i don't want link to start having RPG like partners in a game, i don't want to start combining magic with other characters all the time in combat either. i mean if i want that i'd be playing final fantasy rather tham zelda. as somebody said earlier, zelda is an action-based RPG. it IS an RPG, just it's not your typical JRPG that everyone thinks is the only type of RPG game around. i mean there wouldn't even be RPG games if it wasn't for the original zelda game (as well as some other titles) but you can hardly tell one of the pioneers of a genre to be more liek that genre, it's insane.
    However ranting aside, i did like your article and it's really good to try and throw around loads of ideas for what directions a game should go in. i mean even if not all of them are ideas i find good, some other people may think they are great. and as i said earlier, some suggestions sound really good.
    i would love to see a zelda game with some less restrictive magic in there, i mean the gravity thing would be a bit wierd, but i think it's along the right lines. i mean i hate that most of the magic in the zelda games are just attcks or can only be actually used in very context sensitive moments.
    I also think that they should make custimisation an option in zelda games, even if it's just they give us crap loads of armour and equipment that change our appearance, but link can wear at all times without any downsides. for example i really liked the golden armour in TP however i couldn't wear it just for aestetic appeal because it drained all of my rupees wearing it. what i mean is like in OOT where you could pick from three tunics, three boots (two of them did make life quite awkward walking however) two shields and two swords when playing as adult link. but i wish they would ramp it up loads so that they had like Ten in each catagories, and maybe be able to mix and match pieces of armour, rather than them being just one tunic. just something like that (NOT CHANGING LINKS ACTUAL APPEARANCE THOUGH! i.e facial features etc.)

    • Dark Link

      I like the idea of a partner to a degree. Like you have Navi. But instead of a fairy a magical fairy with some slight power. You can use your magic meter and have her cast spells of some sort

      Midna was loaded with magic but did nothing ever

  • Daddy

    One idea I had for the party was that you could switch control between one party member to another at the push of a button. When you weren't in control, the behavior of that member around enemies would be determined by their personality. I.e. they might be really trigger happy, or they might devote their attention to covering you. I'm not sure if that makes you feel better, but it's an idea I had nonetheless.

    As for the whole RPG definition thing, I tend to follow this definition:

    I don't agree w/ this definition entirely, but I agree that to be defined as an RPG of any kind, a game must at the very least have a leveling up system. As it stands, AoL was the only game in the series that meets this requirement. Thus, tLoZ in general cannot be classified as an Action RPG series. Instead, it is officially classed within the Action-adventure genre.

  • removal of spyware

    WOW. It's so sad more people haven't heard about this place, this covered everything I needed this morning!

  • Sven Izzy

    Very nice article! You kept me reading till the end just to find out Sims could possibly contribute to Zelda.

    From what I've heard, Skyward Sword will have some stealth elements, when Link loses his sword. I love the idea of setting up traps for enemies, that would be incredibly fun and challenging!

    Spire Tracks did have more interactivity and dependence on the sidekick, and I agree that that's great. However, I disagree with your suggestion that Link have multiple companions. I've kicked the idea around myself, but decided that things would get too unwieldy if you had to drag a whole posse through every tunnel and across every field. It's enough that Link has Epona and the occasional monkey or animated statue. The Legend of Zelda is a solitary quest.

    And as for your last point, better NPC interaction, they improve in every game. I was quite touched when Colin (I think that was his name) said in Twilight Princess that he wanted to be just like Link, and during the credits we see him with a wooden sword and shield. By the end of the game, Link has usually earned respect and gratefulness from the townsfolk. To give players more choices as to earn respect is just another wrinkle, and one that they will probably add before too long.

    Overall, excellent article. Fresh ideas, and though I didn't 100% agree with all of them, you made me think. Looking forward to your next work!