With Skyward Sword being out for just over two months it may be a bit premature to start thinking about the next Zelda title. However, after the incredible E3 tech demo for Zelda Wii U I just can’t help but think of what potential that game has. Nintendo took a gigantic step forward with Skyward Sword and progressed the series in ways unseen since Zelda went 3D in Ocarina of Time. And judging by comments made by Zelda developers, during the entire process, this was just the beginning.
The Zelda Wii U tech demo has left fans wetting their mouths wanting more. Seeing Zelda in stunning HD visuals was an incredible feeling, and a vastly improved Twilight Princess style graphics only helped to bring out its beauty. This graphical representation of our favorite green-garbed hero combined with the innovative new technology of the Wii U, helps to bring the anticipation for the next Zelda to an extraordinary level.
With such a high level of anticipation I cannot help but think of ways that Nintendo can continue to advance the Legend of Zelda series.
This may bring out some rage with hardcore gamers, but I personally did not like the graphical style of Twilight Princess. Though I appreciated the effort from Nintendo to create a realistic Zelda, I just felt as if it was improperly executed, and did little to provide support to the overall game. In my opinion The Wind Waker was an overall much better game, and the cartoon visuals helped to propel the game in many different ways. For the first time in series history, Link and his counter-parts were emotionally expressive thanks in part to the graphics which allowed characters to express emotions in a rich and vibrant way.
With all of this in mind, I could not help but get excited after seeing the Zelda Wii U tech demo. I am a believer that graphics should be used to enhance a game, like it did with The Wind Waker, and with Zelda Wii U I think this realistic style of graphics could do so. The realistic graphics of Twilight Princess served no purpose beyond being a way to please the fans. With Zelda Wii U, realistic graphics, albeit upgraded, could really bring out elements never seen in the Zelda series.
The Wii U is of course Nintendo’s first HD console which brings out tons of visual possibilities. One of my biggest complaints with Skyward Sword is how dated the game looked. Graphics normally play a minute role in my reviews, but with Skyward Sword I could not help but feel that the Wii did not give the game what it truly deserved. In Skyward Sword edges were rough, scenery from afar blurry, and textures were all over the place. For a game in which Nintendo touted graphics as being a major role in the game-play, it was sort of a letdown.
However, with a HD console Zelda can finally get the visuals it deserves. At CES of this year, the Zelda tech demo made another appearance. This time however the presenter had much more control over what was happening as it was more than just a prerecorded video. Using the Wii U controller he was able to change the scenery from night to day, change angles, and switch the view from television to tablet. During the demo every aspect of the environment stood out in some way. The lighting and attention to detail was by far one of the most impressive bits I have ever seen on any console.
If Nintendo is able to give its best franchise a game with a superior attention to details like this, then I totally support this visual style and hope to see it put into place. With this in mind, I would also like state that I would be open to any other graphical style pending it can bring something to the Zelda series. The Wind Waker’s created a vibrant expressive world. Skyward Sword’s highlighted and improved the use of the Wii Motion Plus controls. And perhaps a realistic Zelda Wii U can finally bring the fantasy to life in ways that Twilight Princess failed at doing.
Word on the street is that Nintendo is finally warming up to the idea of allowing downloadable content for their games. Japan has already received a game that supports this feature and it would be insanity for Nintendo not to follow through and bring DLC to America as well.
The Wii and 3DS eShop have all been good starts to Nintendo’s virtual services, but a fully supported DLC platform on the Wii U would be icing on the cake. Every other console on the market has embraced downloadable addons to their games, and gamers eat this additional content up as fast as they can. The potential is there and enabling downloadable content only brings forth another platform in which Nintendo can make some money.
Now Zelda on the Wii U could be the perfect cash cow for Nintendo’s DLC market. Zelda games always score highly in reviews and despite the open exploration that the series provides, fans are often left begging for more. Skyward Sword was just released and fans are already highly anticipating Zelda on the 3DS and even on the Wii U.
Typically speaking Zelda games have a very long development cycle which leaves a large gap in series releases. This problem could be fixed by offering simple extensions to the games via downloadable content. The lore and history of Hyrule itself offers up tons of side-quest possibilities alone. Developers could add on new game modes, new areas to explore, extra dungeons, extra content similar to what we saw with the Oracles (via game linking), and much more.
To get an idea for what I mean just look at the Fallout series. For a fairly low price, gamers are able to acquire several more hours worth of game-play brought via new quests and areas to explore.
I know I would love to see some downloadable Legend of Zelda content. Matter of fact just say the word and I will throw ten dollars towards the download now.
Nintendo Needs to Get it Right
When the Wii’s motion controls were announced many envisioned immersive 1:1 gameplay that would innovate the series for the first time in many years. The Wii was released in 2006 and little did fans realize it would take 5 years for the Wii’s first Zelda game to even be released. Yes Skyward Sword ended up being a wonderful entry to the Zelda series and yes one could say it was worth the wait. However, when looking back one can realize all the wasted time and potential. The Gamecube saw 2 full-length Zelda adventures and Four Swords Adventures. Both The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess were fantastic games that changed the series in their own unique ways.
On the Wii, Skyward Sword was supposed to be the game that would innovate the Zelda series. There was going to be a drastic overhaul of the overworld to dungeon formula and many other staple elements from the series were supposed to be revolutionized. However in the end Skyward Sword was not able to bring this change to the level that was expected.
The motion controls were almost flawless and I cannot imagine playing a 3D Zelda game without them anymore. However, Skyward Sword has taken its fair share of criticism for the small overworld, its abundance in fetching quests, and for not pushing the envelope far enough.
With Zelda Wii U, I would like to see things done right. Nintendo cannot take 5 years to push out a product that was barely better (up for debate) than the two previous Zelda games. Nintendo needs to use the Wii U’s unique tablet controller to its advantage and get things done right, the first time.
Have another idea for Zelda Wii U? Something else you would like to see? Let us know in the comments. Also do not forget to check out our latest video from our Skyward Sword Walkthrough.