The lights are on
Zelda is beloved amongst gamers, and for good reason. The series has delivered many defining video game experiences for many players. It’s a series fans hold to a high standard, demanding evolution with each entry, but continue to insist that it not stray too far from what made them fall in love with the franchise in the first place.
Nintendo has said little in the way of a new console entry for the series. Other than showing off a tech demo for what a Wii U Zelda could look like when the publisher announced the Wii U, we know nothing. But that doesn’t mean we can’t express our hopes for the future of the series.
Let go of my handFi in Skyward Sword was overbearing. She rarely had anything of value to say, and she made sure to say it constantly. Navi, Tatl, Midna, and the King of Red Lions from Wind Waker offered similar frustrations, which could lead a Zelda fan to demand that these types of characters be removed, but I don’t want that. Going on an adventure with someone by your side adds an important element of personality to your journey. I don’t want that character to be eliminated – in fact I would like to see that character more visibly present. What I don’t want are constant interjections of information we already know. Instead of the removal of this character, I’d like an option in the beginning of the game to let the player say, “I have played a Zelda game before and would like as little direction as possible.” It’s a system that worked remarkably well in the recent 3DS A Link Between Worlds, but I did miss having a partner along with me for the ride.
A truly open worldAn argument can be made that the original Zelda was one of the first truly open video game worlds. Every Zelda game has offered an impressive level of exploration and freedom, but ever since the series moved into the third dimension, the world has been separated by walls and doors requiring loading – except Wind Waker. Link’s ocean adventure presented the most seamless point-to point exploration, and I would like to see that brought forward to a new generation of Zelda. I want to travel without barriers, and if I can do that from the seat of a bird looking down on the world below, that would make me happy.
Non-linear dungeonsOne of our favorite aspects of the A Link Between Worlds was the option to tackle dungeons in any order. Choice is a nice option, but more impressively, it made the world feel more alive and grounded. It wasn’t a place with a series of checkpoints put in place to guide you along an adventure – it was a world you could tackle from any avenue. I wouldn’t complain in the slightest if this system, or an equally creative system, was brought to the next console flagship entry.
This system could also afford the opportunity for Link to end up in areas he shouldn’t with enemies outnumbering or overpowering him. Areas of Hyrule (or wherever a future Zelda would take place) should be dangerous and scary, and a good way to do this might be to open everything up rather than blocking off areas until you’re ready to explore.
More side-questsOne of my favorite things about Majora’s Mask, likely the Zelda with the most sidequests, is the way interacting with the characters opens up the personality of the world. Games like Grand Theft Auto offer an incredible sense of realism with their living worlds and seemingly motivated pedestrians, but I don’t know if I have ever felt as connected to a video game’s cast as I did in Majora’s Mask. I knew every character’s backstory and day to day schedules because of all the side quests associated with them. I love learning the often tragic stories of the characters that live in Zelda’s worlds, so I hope Nintendo isn’t scared to offer more side quests for every person we can interact with.
Head to page two to read more of our hopes for Zelda on Wii U.
Email the author Kyle Hilliard, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.