A Journey

June 9, 2010

When all has been said, there´s just one thing that I really hope for: Zelda Wii being an epic, long, beautiful journey.

A journey with lots of stops and reasons for revisiting. That means that the game should not end at, say, 30 hours and that´s it then. Zelda Wii should really feel like you´re stepping farther inside an unknown, mysterious fantasy-world, having you explore its secrets. You grow to learn about all the places you visit, what´s special about them. And even after you´ve defeated whatever final boss, there should remain challenge. Not challenge as in some mini-games that you can play, but stuff to explore and meaningful stuff to do. That can be optional dungeon, optional stories or simply ongoing mission-requests to kill certain dangerous monsters.

I want Zelda Wii to be the true adventure.


Elite Villains

June 5, 2010

I guess I´ll have to apologize right now for such a profane idea, but it is something I had in mind for a very long time. That is, a Zelda-game featuring a group of elite villains.

When talking about elite villains, I mean a group of enemies that isn´t your typical dungeon-boss. Rather, they´d be a real danger to Link. Think of them as a group of slightly less powerful Ganons. I always loved the idea of there being such a group of maybe seven elite villains that hold meetings at some secret place from time to time, getting new orders from their mastermind Ganon. And every single one of these enemies would have a greatly developed character, not just some shallow “I´m evil, I fight that Link-guy!”-attitude. In a perfect world, those seven enemies would be of completely different nature. One silent, but competent sword-fighter, one a cheery girl, another one an energetic loud-mouth, then another girl that´s rather shy. Also, one crazy, mad guy that uses weird magic attacks. Then there´d be one reasonable, charming guy, and, of course, the monster-like guy that is most powerful and gruesome. Yeah, super-cliché, but I like the idea of watching their meetings in cutscenes, how they work together with Ganon, and how the enemies you fight are more than just brainless, unknown, shallow monsters.

I definitely do NOT want to play as the princess herself, to make that clear. However, the title-giving princess should be of greater presence in Zelda Wii.

In Ocarina of Time, we saw Zelda as a child twice, and then at the very end of the game. In Twilight Princess, pretty much the same. I have no idea what role Zelda should play. Maybe they could change her character a bit more towards her Tetra-attitude (The Wind Waker) and have her be a happy girl that, at times, walks around in town. Or that, at least, can be visited at the castle at any given time. No hiding, no secrecy. I´d like to see some deeper conversation between her and my character. After all, they´re both part of the eternal Triforce-circle. But whatever, just give us more Zelda in Zelda.

One of the big complaints about Twilight Princess was how none of the world of Hyrule´s citizens seemed to care about what was going on. That´s something that mustn´t happen again.

Ocarina of did this best, even if it was rather simple. Seven years pass, and the world HAS reacted to its turn for the worse. Hylian citizens fled to Kakariko, the farm was overtaken by that terrible guy, and Hyrule city was now ruled by zombies. The Zora-realm was frozen, the Gorons lived in fear of Volvagia and even Kokiri forest wasn´t save anymore. You really could feel and see the changes. The same has to happen in Zelda Wii, though it´d be nice if it could be done more smoothly, meaning, stuff happens, people start to wonder, more stuff happens, some people wonder more than others, until finally obvious stuff happens and people realize what´s going on. Whatever, just make sure the story that is most times about saving the world is not exclusive to Link only.

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.

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.

I previously wrote about how I don´t want a story about Link, as I think that Link is not a real character but an ingame-avatar for the player. However, that´s not the ultimate truth.

Wake up and the adventure starts - no past story at all

I still don´t want to have some rich story about Link that dominates the game. A Zelda-game is supposed to be mine, the player´s, adventure. What I do want, though, is getting to know what happened to my Link before I take control over him. In an ideally situation, the player could choose from different “lives” at the beginning of the game. Don´t get upset and confuse that with turning Zelda into Mass Effect or whatever WRPG. The consequences of this choice would be minimal. It´s mostly there to give yourself the most fitting attitude for your ingame-avatar.

Anyways, set Link into some believable environment. Ocarina of Time did this best, having Link live with the Kokiri, basically being a Kokiri. Just by talking to other Kokiri or watching them you could get insight into what Link´s past life has been like. The Wind Waker did it a lot worse. You´re a grandma´s boy and that´s pretty much it. No relationships to other people. You step out of the house and it´s as if you´ve never been outside. Twilight Princess actually gave you a background…but it felt weird.  I guess that´s because TP felt weird in general.

Ideally, there´d be two alternatives: Either, choosing Link´s past by yourself, OR having no past at all. See the original Zelda. You wake up and that´s it. However, that´d need some whole different explanation, or otherwise it´d come off as some kind of “sent by the gods”-child stuff, which is not what Link, the brave hero, should appear like. He´s one of us, after all.

The choosing-process

May 13, 2010

I already mentioned that I´d like to see the whole story about the Triforce and why Zelda and Ganon always return.

What I´m even more interested in, however, is what the process of choosing the brave boy works like. Except for a few Zelda-games, we always play a different Link. It´s simply a brave boy being chosen by the Triforce. So, what criteria are used to determine this chosen boy? It´s a bit hard to believe that the one we play as Link is the single one brave, innocent boy on the whole planet, so what is happening behind the curtain? Or even more importantly: The Triforce is made by godesses. What´s with these godesses? What are they doing when no busy creating the world? Maybe they´re choosing the new boy every time? Who knows. But I´d like to.

Hyrule´s History

May 8, 2010

Dramatic story, story about Link and Co., stories about this and that. It´s all nice and/or important. But with all the ongoing story, it´d be neat getting to know more about the kingdom of Hyrule itself.

Assuming that Zelda Wii takes place within Hyrule, of course. Hyrule is an old land. Centuries passed since its founding. And that´s where such a story about Hyrule could begin: Where and when and how was it founded? Who did it? Then, further down time, what political systems did Hylian people have to face? What is daily life in Hyrule like? Do children go to school? Do people attend church on sunday? When there´s no Ganon(dorf), what other dangers did Hyrule have to face?

We always hear about Hyrule, often even visit it, but we never get to know much about it. It´s always just an event-trigger rather than a believable place. But it is a place that has to have seen lots of crisis and events. That´s what I´d like to know more about.

Just to be clear, I am not proposing Zelda Wii to be like Mass Effect. Even though that would be cool to have such a diverse communication model. What I´m talking about now are only minimal changes to the story. Depending on the order of missions.

This is something that I loved in several Zelda-games. In Link´s Awakening, I did couldn´t beat the eagle-boss of the 7th dungeon, so I just proceeded to the 8th dungeon. There, I got the fire rod, returned to the eagle-boss and absolutely pwned him into oblivion. Or in Ocarina of Time, where I could choose if I wanted to do the spirit temple or the shadow temple first. It´s this kind of freedom that greatly enhances the experience. Not to mention the original Zelda for NES. Now, I´d like to take that freedom a bit further and integrate it into actual story-bits.

Ideally,you could do ANY mission/dungeon in whatever order you wanted to. Now, what´s important is that depending on that order, there´d be small changes in how the following story pans out. No, good characters would stay good, evil characters would stay evil, but…just small things. An additional sentence, an additional funny/interesting scene. A hint that you normal wouldn´t have gotten. Of course, there could be made bigger changes, too, but I don´t believe that the Zelda-series is ripe for that. Anyway, inflicting changes to the story by yourself, by your own decisions, would be great and make the game more individual to each and every player.