Leaving marks

May 31, 2010

It is probably not possible with the Wii´s current hardware, but I´ll post it anyway: The ability to leave scratch marks anywhere in the world.

What that means is that you take out your sword, approach a house wall or tree or whatever surface, and scratch something into it. Why leave such marks? It´d be both a fun feature to mess around with, as well as what the Nintendo DS-Zelda games already did, noting something that you need for later. The most simple example would be: You´re inside a dark, confusing labyrinth. You have no idea which way to go. What do you do? Well, scratch signs into the wall, showing yourself where you have already been. That way you could work your way out of the labyrinth. At the end of the game, you could look back at a game, completely individualized by your marks.

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Haha, okay, think of this as a mobile, accessible at all times, place where Link aka the player can try out all of his abilities and items.

I have no idea how to visually present it. Maybe it´d look like those challenge-levels in Super Mario Sunshine, with quiet, moody sounds. It´d be a very artificially looking place, full of environments that let you make use of your items. In an advanced concept of that idea, you´d even be able to summon certain enemies as means of your training. Maybe a good comparison would be Super Smash Bros.´ target-test, where all your skills are required without actually playing the game´s main mode. So, it´d be much more than a tutorial. It´d be a place to train and to instantly access fun fighting or moving around, because, after all, you don´t have these things at your hand all the time while following the story.

The Claymore

May 30, 2010

I ´ve never been a fan of the idea of letting Link have several different kinds of swords. It would cheapen the Master Sword as you´d simply look for the most damaging sword. But what I liked was the Biggoron-sword from Ocarina of Time.

My real reason for wanting a Claymore like the Biggoron-sword (or even bigger) is because of how great and satisfying it most likely would feel to swing such a huge weapon with MotionPlus. And swinging it fast. I always wanted a game about the great BERSERK-manga series, so imagine swinging such a sword, and just as fast as character Guts does.

Stealth-gameplay

May 30, 2010

I already mentioned having the Invisibility Cloak from A link to the past, but that´s just a 100%-way of hiding yourself. Stealth should be part of the normal gameplay, too.

What I´m talking about is that enemies don´t automatically spot you once you´re close enough, even when they weren´t facing you. I want to sneak by them or do surprise attacks. But have some complexity to it: I also want to be able to hide again AFTER I have been spotted. So, let´s assume an enemy saw me, so I jump into high grass and crouch. Now I slowly walk within the grass, while crouching, away from where the enemy saw me last. And he will not automatically spot me or keep track of me. Think of the game Mini Ninjas. As I wrote in that other article, stealth-elements allow for a great deal of more gameplay-options and creating freedom. And they´re fun.

Okay, I got this idea from these recent, ridiculous “leaks” about Zelda Wii. Also, it kind of overlaps with one of the earlier updates in this blog. But there´s so much that could be done by featuring time-travel…again.

In Ocarina of Time, time-travel was a fairly simple, but, at that time, revolutionary feature. Seven years to, seven years from the future. Another use of time-travel would have to introduce some more, complex layers to it. The most incredible idea I can think of is seamless time-travel. I have no idea if that was technically possible on the Wii, but imagine being able to…fast-forward and fast-rewind into and from the future – without some kind of loading screen. Or keep the loading screen but let the player choose whatever date he wants to go to. No limitation to just two time-dates, also no limitation to a couple of time-dates like in Chrono Trigger, but a complete, limitless choice of dates.

This, obviously, would be a great chance to create some more than awesome scenes…like meeting other, former heroes (Links). Imagine going back in time and seeing the OoT-Link. Maybe even engaging in helping him (uh, paradoxon!). And that´s just one cool example. Time-travel has a lot of interesting ideas that come with it, and I wouldn´t be unhappy about its return. And…one has to admit that the Zelda-series has a thing for time-related gameplay features. A link to the Past had that one sidequest where you had to time-travel to dig out a certain item. OoT…well. Majora´s Mask had you travel in time for three days, as well as focusing the whole game on time. The Wind Waker had the frozen Hyrule castle that suddenly awoke to live. Twilight Princess is the only oddball, but at least it heavily referenced OoT. So, really, the 3D-Zelda games have a certain affinity for time-related stuff. We´ll see how that turns out.

Beautiful Water

May 28, 2010

When people mention “water” and “Zelda” in one and the same context, some fans are thinking back in horror to The Wind Waker. But water-areas can be done right.

There´s no need for another Waterworld-Zelda like TWW, but beautiful lakes or a coast are always beautiful places. With both Endless Ocean and Monster Hunter Tri featuring gorgeous underwater-life, I´m really looking forward to what Zelda Wii can add here. Twilight Princess´ swimming-controls felt very clumsy and unresponsive, so there´s hope that Zelda Wii succeeds in making swimming and diving more fluid and smoother.

What I also really hope for are some places with shallow water. Remember the first Twilight Princess-trailer? We saw a river that was shallow enough to walk/ride through it. I want that. And I want the water to realistically splash when I run through it or when I throw something into it. I want big boss-battles  with monsters that slam their tail into the shallow water, causing an enormous water fountain. There´s two things to improve upon or not to do: Do not simply remove underwater-areas like TWW; and make it feel alive and meaningful, unlike TP. Water can be such a beautiful part of a game, and there´s no reason for Zelda Wii not to have it.

One of the key goals for Zelda Wii should be creating a lively, naturally feeling world. That isn´t only done by adding animals, nicely animated trees and clouds. It´s also being done by adding stuff like the Hylian News.

Instead of maps, he could sell newspaper. But, actually forget that, have a normal person sell the newspaper

Or more simplified, a newspaper. Maybe not even really a newspaper, but some kind of item you get to read that features newspaper-style information. Think of stuff like the board in Animal Crossing, where other animals would post news. It´d be like that, but more fleshed out. You´d enter a town and there´d be a guy selling newspapers. On some days, there´d be only trivial stuff to read, like “Malo painted his shop in a new color!” But other days, you´d be able to read stuff like “Malo was eaten alive by a giant fish. The local police force is looking for help”, and you could go to the police and engage in a completely optional sidequest.

So, think of the Hylia News as a mixture of sidequest-engaging, fun stories and actual interesting information about life in Hyrule. It´d be a great way to more naturally hand sidequests to the player as well as given a more in-depth impression about the game world.

Memorable music

May 26, 2010

This going to be a rather vague blog-entry, but I feel the need to mention it: Nintendo, have Zelda Wii feature a soundtrack as memorable and unique as Ocarina of Time´s!

Everyone knows the famous Zelda overworld-theme. It´s memorable and easy to whistle. But no other Zelda-game than Ocarina of Time had a soundtrack that was that perfect. Literally every melody was memorable. Proof being myself, who has no problem to remember every single one. To this day, I consider OoT the epitome of musical achievement in video games. Following Zelda-games grew weaker and weaker in terms of music. Majora´s Mask had some nice tracks, The Wind Waker had 2-3 nice tracks, and Twilight Princess´ soundtrack was completely forgettable. Not saying that its music wasn´t good while playing, but I honestly can´t remember a single melody.

The other thing I´d like to see for Zelda Wii is a theme-song. Yeah, as mentioned above, there is the famous overworld-theme, but I´m talking about a theme for that specific Zelda-game. A song that makes you remember THAT Zelda-game. A song that´s firmly tied to this game. Break free from using old songs over and over again, Nintendo. Sure, I love it when I hear a known melody, and I want that, too. But for the important scenes and tracks, let it be something knew. Prove, that you still have “it”, Kondo-san.

The Air Cutter

May 25, 2010

Time for a rather cool item. Or should I say upgrade. The Air Cutter is an upgrade for your sword. What it can do? Well…

The Air Cutter would basically be the modern version of Link being able to shoot “laser beams” from his sword when at full health. Only that it isn´t “laser beams”, nor is it limited to full health. To use the Air Cutter, you simply somehow activate it by pressing some button, and now with every sword slash you do, a visible, cutting air wave is sent out. The way you have to imagine that shouldn´t be too hard, as it´s quite the common imagery, used in a lot of anime. One more prominent, popular example would be Ichigo´s Getsuga Tenshou from Bleach.

The fun thing about the Air Cutter would be both its functional use for doing long range-fighting with a sword and its visual presentation. And depending on how you swing the sword with your MotionPlus-enabled wiimote, the air wave would fly in a different way.

Find youself lost

May 24, 2010

In celebration of the end of LOST, the most fine tv-show I´ve ever seen, I´d like to mention one key-aspect for Zelda Wii: The feeling of being lost.

Remember The Legend of Zelda 1 NES. The game starts…and you can go just about anywhere. No instructions, no hints, nothing. You get you sword and that´s it. Go out there and see the world. That´s really all that is there. Ever since A link to the past, that feeling of being lost has becoming weaker and weaker. Story grew more of a focus and you always got enough hints and help to know where to go next.

This feeling of being lost was also a big part of the Zelda-series´ sense of wonder. When you explore an unknown world all by yourself and stumble of miracles and secrets, it feels like a hundred times better to find out about stuff. It´s the mystery that is missing in recent Zelda-games.

Or in other words: In today´s Zelda-games, you know that you will find something. In past Zelda-games, you believed you´d find something. Don´t tell the player what he can´t do. Let him find out by himself.