Nintendo, you better be listening.
Although it was on screen for roughly 30 seconds, The Legend of Zelda Wii U was easily one of the best games of E3 2014. Why is this and how could Nintendo do so much with so little? It’s also due to the explanation given by series director and producer Eiji Aonuma. The game will be slightly different this time around but in terms of scale and open world design, it will be the biggest Zelda yet. Somehow, it’s odd to consider that the Legend of Zelda was one of the first open world titles ever created since you could go almost anywhere and do almost anything, an aspect further expanded on with later games.
This time around, we’re hoping for more than an increased scale. We’re hoping to see Zelda as it’s never been seen before, doing things that would have seemed impossible with the Ocarina of Time. Here are 5 new features we hope to see.
1. Customizable Link
This seems like a bit of a moot point considering that Link has often had alternate outfits in other Zelda titles. We’d like to see something similar in Zelda Wii U except in a more nuanced way.
For instance, it would be great of Link could equip different gear for his arms, legs, chest and head. Nintendo could also keep it even simpler and offer different suits with a slot or two for extra perks. This doesn’t mean Zelda has to become Skyrim – on the contrary, it could lend to radically different styles of play during battles. Some gear could allow you to shoot arrows faster; others could increase the radius and length of your spin attack.
Most importantly, we’d like to be able to customize Link’s look based on what we saw at E3. If he’s not going to go with the traditional outfit, though we’re sure it’s in there somewhere, it’d be great if Link could don various different looks.
2. Sandbox Style
The Legend of Zelda series has been very openly open world but there have been very few sandbox elements really implemented in the past few games. Granted, this is more action adventure than Grand Theft Auto but with the increased scale, we’d appreciate the idea of a more vibrant Hyrule this time around.
There could be different residents going about with their schedules and offering you quests throughout the game, and random occurrences that Link could become involved in. Heck, we loved the idea that a random monster can just pop up and engage you on a wide open chase throughout the landscape.
It’s an interesting balance since previous games have had an ample number of side-quests and activities, but this is more about making Hyrule seem like a living breathing place. At least Aonuma is taking cues from A Link Between Two Worlds and allowing players the freedom to tackle areas any way they want.
3. The Evolution of Battle
Let’s face it: the action adventure genre has evolved beyond the fighting mechanics seen in Zelda. Whereas everyone was busy implementing their own style of Z-targeting in the past, it’s now more about the Free Form fighting style of Batman: Arkham City or the counters and combos of Assassin’s Creed. There are still a few games that opt for straightforward hack and slash though.
With Zelda Wii U, it’s a tough decision since the Free Form system would fit so well with Link’s movements. We could see a fusion of this and the traditional targeting system that lets you pick off enemies one at a time. It’s doubtful that the work done on Hyrule Warriors, an epic hack and slash game developed by Nintendo and Dynasty Warriors developer Tecmo Koei, would have any effect on Zelda Wii U.
Nonetheless, if we’re going to go about wishing for things, then why not introduce dual wielding? Have Link wield the hammer and sword for the first time together and introduce different attacks based on this? There could also be different trade-offs such as lacking the shield – similar to using Biggoron’s Knife in Ocarina of Time – to cater to various play-styles. Can you imagine Link only using the bow and arrow to fight, Legolas-style?
4. A New Day in a New World
This goes without saying, especially since every Zelda is set in a new version of Hyrule, but it’s time Nintendo finally retired the Hero of Time story-arcs. If you didn’t know, all the Zelda games are connected with Skyward Sword being the first game in the series chronologically. From there, the game splits off into all sorts of alternating pathways depending on what Link did (and didn’t) do.
And while it’s made for some amazing storylines and memorable games, we’re ready for something new. We’d like to see Nintendo wipe the slate clean and approach Zelda Wii U with a fresh mind.
Various references could pop up to other characters, sure, and they could even appear in the game. But Zelda Wii U should be a new beginning rather than a new chapter and kick off a new chronology that will extend for decades like the Hero of Time arc did.
5. Multiplayer Support
We’d doubt Nintendo’s ability to create a compelling multiplayer experience with Zelda but the last time we did that, they gave us Four Swords. Suffice to say, Zelda Wii U could be the first game in the series to implement online co-op for up to four players.
There are several ways to implement this: There could be a four player party wherein the player’s character always looks like his version of Link while appearing as an NPC or soldier to other players. The customization mechanic and different fighting styles will also help players to differentiate themselves when playing with others. Finally, the overall sandbox style of the game could allow for four-player missions throughout as opposed to simply tailoring the whole game (or a separate campaign) for four players. Maybe have harder 4 player dungeons that net rare equipment?
What would you like to see in the new Zelda Wii U? Let us know in the comments.