Zelda Wii U Speculation


November 15, 2015

StewThePoo

So this month there was the long awaited return of Nintendo Direct. I watched the European edition and was happy to see Satoru Shibata after the long absence.

shibata

If he keeps up these kinds of wacky hijinks I think we’ll grow to like him.

I feel he did a serviceable job, he`s a cheerful enough guy but he has some pretty big shoes to fill after the untimely passing of Satoru Iwata.

That young lad showing off the indie games however, sounded like he was nervously performing an audition for Harry Potter. He had the Harry look down pat as well. Shame there’s no new Harry Potter games releasing on Nintendo systems. That would have almost been funny.

Most people are talking about the announcement of Cloud from the eponymous Final Fantasy series making his debut in Smash Bros.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the winner of the previously announced Smash Bros ballot. But we will found out more in December at the final Nintendo Direct for Smash!

But the Zelda Wii U teaser trailer got my rumor mill churning. And I want to spend an article speculating on the games possible structure.

Visually the game seems slightly different then previously shown. The colours seem extremely saturated. Possibly drowned out by the (extremely strong) bloom lighting. In the same Nintendo Direct they featured Twilight Princess HD which features very heavy bloom lighting. (A trend among a lot of Wii games. When post processing was a choice between bloom lighting and anti aliasing, you can bet developers went for the option that obfuscated the lack of raw graphical horsepower)

zelda compare

On the left is the games initial reveal, and on the right the newest trailer.

Comparing the new trailer to the colours on display for the first debut trailer its clear there’s been amendments. But it could also be a distortion form the lens flare and direction of the sun. But this clip seems closer in colour quality to the off screen gameplay footage. Hopefully playing the title and seeing the characters up close will resemble the initial trailer moreso.

So aside from the vibrancy being offset, the cell shading rendering has had a substantial boost. It’s not as stylistic and abstract looking as say Killer 7, but it also looks more intense then initially shown.

zwu-panorama

Screenshot taken from the off-screen gameplay demo. Time of day in-game could also be a factor for the bloomy appearance.

Regardless of what the visual style is like in the final product, it will still be gorgeous. I love what little we’ve been shown so far. I would honestly love to see a variety of environments in this style.

clearing

Imagine a twilight princess style dark world area with these graphics.

For a while now Shigeru and Aonuma have been talking about changes to the Zelda formula. Particularity the open world design. Zelda has been the progenitor of open world design (see the original Zelda on the NES. Or the freedom afforded by the great sea and Hyrule field) so it’s hugely interesting to speculate how it can reinvent its core design.

NES

Speaking of which, the original NES Zelda allowed the player to tackle the dungeon in any order they wish. (to a degree) and so did the recent release Zelda A link between worlds.

Surely Zelda Wii U wont nab this structure verbatim. Likely there would be some other kinks in the design. Aside from just allowing you to tackle dungeons in any order maybe their placement on the map could be randomly generated? A typical organic sandbox world would allow for some displacement and randomized placement. If it couldn’t be done for main dungeons then surely this could be applied to mini dungeon instances. Meaning everytime you restart the game it would be a semi-new experience. And your experience through Hyrule would be different to someone Else’s. Essentially making walkthroughs and guides redundant. Could be cool right?

One rambling thought I had regarding dungeons would be the sequence of them. Not that there would be a sequence but that the order you choose to tackle them in could effect their content.

For example, the first dungeon you ever enter would have scaled difficulty to make it easiest out of all of them. Maybe seal off a few rooms and lower the enemy count etc. And by the time you make it to the last available dungeon from the initial available batch it would be fully unlocked with every item needed to tackle it and more rooms and obstacles then if you had tackled it first time round.

So in theory, there could be up to 8 variations on each dungeon. And of course you could only tackle one dungeon as the last one in every playthrough meaning it could take up to 8 playthroughs to see all the game has to offer. Interesting no?

Offering such a ludicrous amount of replay value may not sit well with a open world design. which usually already has a fair amount of things to do. Still, cant turn your nose up at inventive design.

triforce heroes

Just so long as we don’t get a level/zone based structure like in 4 swords or Triforce Heroes. That works better for handheld & multiplayer titles. Plus, nothing breaks immersion like arbitrary level menus.

The distribution of items could also be mixed up. A link between worlds had a rental system which allowed you to borrow items to help you through dungeons of your choosing. Dungeons could be designed more organically instead of having a specific item tied into a single dungeons core design. Its a bit formulaic to be fair. But the alternative is to not need any items to make it to the end of all the dungeons, meaning item required puzzle solving would only lead to bonus rooms and supplemental rewards. A strange way to go about it.

Plus, having to backtrack dungeons would be a epic timesink/waster. Backtracking on the overworld doesn’t slow the pacing as much.

One thing I think will return for certain though. Is the item upgrade system seen in Skyward sword. It’s hugely compulsive and addictive and perfectly suited for a open world game focused on exploration.

swyward shop

This guys shop had the best music in the whole bazaar.

Another possible twist on the games design could be implementation of Miiverse or passive style multiplayer.

I can only vaguely speculate on what this could mean for Zelda, but these are innovations Nintendo have shown an interest in lately. Miitomo has a interesting design. I like how you can learn brand new things about your friends.

Perhaps a Miiverse system similar to how messages in bottles worked in Wind Waker? Only instead we could get notes attached to birds legs or even sign posts. Or hell, even characters spouting out user generated content.

creepy face

I dread to think

Perhaps they will get rid of dungeons altogether and combine the design of the overworld and the dungeons. That would turn the game into an actual Metroidvania. The dungeons in Zelda are pretty iconic and they serve the pacing gracefully, I cant see them giving dungeons the boot.

One last aspect which I’ve given way more thought then I should have is the grass. It’s literally everywhere, and its insanely lush. Just look at how it bobs and sways. It even crumples and folds under Eponas feet. If grass is still chop-up-able then I shudder to think how many hours I will waste away trying to strip that entire Hyrule field.

 

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