Previously we’ve done Wish Lists for Modern Warfare 3 and for Bully 2, two games that we hope to see but haven’t been announced yet. This week, we decided to tackle a game that’s already been confirmed to exist: the next Zelda for the Wii. We heard at E3 last year that Link’s next console adventure is already in development, and we heard in December that it’s pretty far along. Now we’re just waiting for news on what this one will actually be like. What better way to pass the time than dreaming about the elements that would make a perfect Zelda game for us?

Wouldn’t it be cool if the next Zelda game had…

More Interesting Characters

Hyrule has always presented gamers with a unique and often beautiful world full of character in and of itself. Too bad that personality is so lacking in the individuals inhabiting that world. If Nintendo really wants to draw us into the fantasy it should work on creating some fascinating citizens for Link to talk to, interact with, and run quests for. I’m not talking about some lame item-trading mini-game. I mean a family ripped apart by Ganon’s latest attempt to rule the kingdom or an old friend of Link’s showing up to beg a favor from the Master Sword-wielding warrior. And, hey, while we’re talking about the game’s NPCs…

Voice Acting

I get it. Nintendo wants to keep Link as the silent protagonist. That’s totally fine. But plenty of games have had a mute main character while providing a fully-voiced supporting cast, including Fallout 3, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the Half-Life series, and more. The simple truth is that Nintendo has no hope of creating more interesting, fleshed-out characters if they’re trying to keep the number of text boxes you need to click through to a minimum. Instead, why not give the characters voices and help make this game the true fantasy epic that it deserves to be?

No Vehicle-Based Gimmickry

The boat in Wind Waker was a unique idea, but it quickly ended up annoying a lot of gamers. It was even less worthwhile in Phantom Hourglass, where a lot of the control was taken away. And don’t even get me started on the uselessness and boring nature of the train in Spirit Tracks. Even the whole wolf transformation thing in Twilight Princess, while not technically a vehicle, was kind of unnecessary. Ocarina of Time did just fine with Link traversing the overworld on a horse. We don’t need our already-awesome hero to have some elaborate means of getting around the world unless Nintendo is planning on making the world a whole lot bigger.

Motivation For Link

Game Informer executive editor Andrew Reiner called for this one specifically, but I completely agree with him. We’ve been playing as Link in a ton of different games since the ‘80s, but how much do we actually know about him? How many times has he had a reason for stepping up and becoming a legendary hero? In A Link to the Past, Link’s uncle dies is seriously wounded and passes on his sword, granting the protagonist both something to fight for and the weapon to fight with. Likewise, in Wind Waker, Link’s sister Aryll is kidnapped early on, providing momentum for the first half of the game. In general, though, the Zelda games tend to just push Link toward Hyrule Castle until he meets Princess Zelda and discovers that she is in distress and must be rescued. This step goes hand-in-hand with making more interesting characters, but if Nintendo can craft some compelling reasons for Link to set out on his journey, it will matter more to us playing through it in the end.

A Changing World

Stuffing a game full of binary good versus evil choices has become a cliché, and let’s face it: Nobody wants a grim-and-gritty, heartless version of Link. That’s not what I’m suggesting here at all. But how about if instead of just saving the world, Link’s actions actually change Hyrule as the game progresses? Perhaps completing certain sidequests for specific characters could open up new shops, move characters around, or even unlock bonus areas. Or maybe there could be a couple different factions in Hyrule with differing ideas on how to defeat Ganon that would have unique results on the world overall.

Better Combat

Darksiders borrowed plenty of elements from Zelda; now it’s time for Zelda to borrow back. While I don’t think Link needs to learn swordplay as complex or intense as the God of War or Devil May Cry series, it would be great if we could get beyond the three-hit sword combos of most 3D Zelda games. What if the Master Sword split into three separate legendary weapons, each with their own strengths and weaknesses? And if we’re going to be forced to dig up the boomerang and hookshot as dungeon tools yet again – and we will – let us toss them out in the middle of a combo chain to inflict even more damage onto our enemies.

A Master Quest

This is a pretty massive request and not terribly likely to happen, but remember the whispers of anticipation around the schoolyard when kids first started realizing that the original Legend of Zelda had a complete second quest packed into the game after you completed it? Ocarina of Time also had a Master Quest, although it ended up not being released until it was offered as a preorder bonus for Wind Waker. But if Nintendo really wants to blow us away, they should offer up a second quest that makes the dungeon puzzles, bosses, and enemies more difficult. Maybe it’s unlocked after beating the game, or maybe it could even be sold as DLC a few months after release. Whatever the case, there’s nothing that could keep us in Hyrule longer.

No Relation To Majora’s Mask

I understand that some people really love Majora’s Mask, and even as someone who couldn’t really get into it, I respect what it was trying to do. That said, the idea of the new Zelda being a sequel to this N64 spin-off is dumb. Majora’s Mask is nearly 10 years old now, and it’s probably the least approachable Zelda game ever. If Nintendo wants their first Zelda game made from the ground-up for their uber-popular console to sell anything coming close to New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Wii Fit numbers, avoiding weighing it down as a sequel is essential.

Your turn! What would you like to see in the new Zelda?