A permanent pet

March 18, 2010

It´s likely that the sword-girl from the one artwork will be together with Link on his journey, supposing that she indeed either transforms into a sword or at least grants Link certain powers akin to those of the Master Sword. However, I´d like Nintendo explore the theme of friendship a bit deeper this time.

Games like ICO started to awaken feelings for NPCs. Starfox Adventures had a little Triceratops following you, Fable 2 featured a dog. And long before all these, Secret of Evermore also had you traveling alongside your dog. And don´t we want to forget Epona from the 3D-Zelda-games. However, none of these games really succeeded in creating a real partner. It´s either someone you feel for, but helpless, or someone that´s useful, but lacks personality. This is where Zelda Wii could set a new standard.

When I´m talking about a permanent pet, I´m thinking of whatever small animal that walks around with Link. You can interact with it and it will help you with your surroundings. But you have full control as in calling it back, so enemies don´t spot you or for other reasons.  Think of it like Navi that you could call back by pressing the A-button in Ocarina of Time. It´d be preferably an animal that Link can somehow carry on his back so it doesn´t magically disappear and reappear whenever needed or not needed.

Depending on how much effort is spent on developing the pet, you could train it so it becomes more useful. Teaching it offensive maneuvers or exploration-skills. Or just something that´s fun. In the end, it´d develop a feeling of companionship and work against the feeling of isolation that many Zelda-games suffer from. And there´s also space for comic relief relating to your pet doing silly things at times. I wouldn´t want it to become an integral part forced on the player, though. Therefore, it could be part of one of the non-linear elements, so you either can have a pet or not. If you take one and train it well, it´ll make combat and puzzles easier. But you can totally ignore it and still solve the same puzzles, only without any help and maybe later in the game (i.e. the pet is capable of flying). But you also miss out on a strong theme. Optionality is, generally, something the Zelda-series needs more of, and such a pet-feature would be a great start. And, to hell, I want a little flying baby-dragon that I can call Volvagia.

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