What We Thought Of The New Zelda

The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild was officially unveiled early this morning. I was awake for that reveal, as was Daniel Vuckovic, AKA Vooks of the Australian Nintendo site Vooks.

I thought I'd catch up with him and discuss what we just saw. Is this new trajectory right for Zelda?


Mark: So Vooks. We finally have a concrete look at the new Zelda and um... goddamn. I think it was a stellar unveiling, what are your thoughts?


Vooks: Certainly, the trailer was perfect - I’m still annoyed that they interrupted it with 45 minutes of Pokemon and ruined the hype-train, but what we eventually got to see was amazing. You could see just how much has changed in the game the more they played it - they’ve thrown a lot of Zelda convention out of the window here.


Mark: Haha! Yeah that was so strange. Being bombarded with Pokemon after getting all warmed up with Zelda. Typical Nintendo pacing.

And you're right — so much of what we now recognise as Zelda appears to be gone. I'm genuinely surprised by that. Aonuma always threatens to revolutionise Zelda — we're always given that line in the lead up to new Zelda reveals, but this time it appears as though Nintendo has genuinely followed through on that promise.

The thing that really hammered it home for me — bizarrely — was the existence of RPG stats. I honestly never imagined that Nintendo would add gear stats to a Zelda game. That really threw me. That was the moment where I took a step back and said, "shit, they really have changed Zelda"


Vooks: The thing that got me right away was the fact that Link can now jump. Link hasn’t jumped on button press since The Adventure of Link in 1987 and every 3D title he’s always had auto-jump when approaching the edge of a cliff. This is a huge change, even if it only seems small on the surface.

The RPG stats however, I really like! I think it adds another level of complexity to the series but without going perhaps as-depth as other RPGs might. Some weapons have more points than others, but also the enemies have hit points which you can see through the Sheikah Slate. It’ll come more into play in the open world where you’ll perhaps scan the base or hideout and see if you can take them down or you’ll have to walk around. But the real change for me (and it’s another small but big one) is that weapons are brittle and break. It’s lends itself to the survivor concept they have for the game. There’s no random heart pickups anymore! You have to eat food to heal yourself!


Mark: A couple of things really struck me.

First was the scale. It seems like Nintendo is really playing up on the scale of this new world. Not just in terms of its size, but the space. This game is full of gorgeous vistas and Nintendo seems intent on making us absolutely aware of this. They are saying: this game is big. Very big.

The other thing: this Zelda seems to have completely abandoned the traditional Zelda structure. Aonuma has said most items will be available in the early going, and it's also been said that players will be able to attempt different sections of the game almost instantly. The barrier to entry won't be items like, "oh shit, I don't have the hook shot". The barrier will be *difficulty*, or the fact that your gear simply isn't good enough to fight the enemies in that section. So far it's all sounding a little bit — gasp — Dark Souls.


Vooks: Bigger isn’t always better (that’s what she said). Twilight Princess was huge but completely boring and barren. The good thing is there seems to be something to collect, defeat or explore at every turn here or as you said - just take in the view.

This structure of doing the game in any order was seen before A Link Between Worlds, many will likely agree when I say that was the last truly great 2D Zelda title. Nintendo always seems to try these gameplay experiments in smaller titles, then roll them out in a bigger one later. This is clearly the way forward for the series, I just hope — but don’t think — it will affect the story in anyway. It didn’t in A Link Between Worlds, but it will force Nintendo tell a story in a new way.


Mark: I’m really excited about the new dynamic elements. The Far Cry 2-esque implementation of fire, the fact that weapons break, the always-changing weather mechanics — and how that has the ability to transform how combat works. It all points to a truly dramatic leap for the Zelda series. That’s so exciting.

I’m always curious to see how Nintendo adapts to modern trends in gaming. You saw how they reinvented the shooter with Splatoon. I’m excited to see their interpretation of modern RPG elements with this new Zelda game.

Does anything worry you?


Vooks: There’s a few things, I still want a good Zelda story — I mentioned before that the open ended nature of the game in A Link Between Worlds didn’t detract from a good story but here the game is much bigger. I still want to visit towns and see the Gorons and other races of Hyrule — see how they’re coping in this almost post-apocalyptic Hyrule. Nintendo made sure to mention they weren’t showing any story last night but it’s still there. Some open world games just get boring because you plow through the story in a couple hours if that’s all you do. I want side quests and trials, but I don’t want the main game to suffer because of the open world nature of the game.

The only other thing that worries me is that it’s a Wii U game. I just hope the older system isn’t holding it back from being entirely more awesome on the NX. We’ve already seen Nintendo remove most of the GamePad controls and systems from the game in this latest demo - can the NX version run a little smoother, look a little nicer? I hope so.


What did you think of the new revamped Zelda? Let us know in the comments below.


Comments

    I mean I'm a little concerned about story too, but Zelda has always had the most bare of stories and I've always found that a huge plus, it always grabs me with the atmosphere and the isolation of link as he adventures by himself and only relies on his wits to get by.
    I think it will be unavoidable to sometimes forget the story or have it fade into the background some,it happens in all open world games if you go side questing for too long.
    If there's a navi-esque character maybe they will chirp away that you really have to get back to death mountain or something I dunno.

    I haven't had a chance to really look at the footage yet, but I've quickly seen a lot of Link running around in empty fields, not really doing anything. Do we know what kind of content is going to be in world yet or am I missing that? Hope it's not another Brutal Legend fiasco.

      Obviously they are going to be showing the starting areas, so green fields are usually the 'east starter' section. I also recall reading somewhere that they stripped out towns and other story elements for the e3 build, so there is probably a fair bit of stuff missing. Also, you need to have a bit of distance in places to make the horse worthwhile. Hopefully there will be some awesome horseback combat and you need a bit of space for that.

    Over (this Australian) night tonight, we may find out the answers to some questions we have, but no doubt we'll probably have more. I don't have a run-down or agenda handy, are they even doing anything further with Zelda during the next live show?

    I was up and did watch a fair chunk so all I've got are random tired thoughts right now:

    I don't like the title. Straight up.

    'Zelda should be Dark Souls' is too close to and indeed has kind of become 'Dark Souls does what Nintendon't' now. That's crap, you can play and love both for what each game is.

    The story does seem mysterious and intriguing, but giving us what amounts to a teaser trailer to the plot this far out from release is dangerous. What, we are expected to pick up dribs and drabs of the story between now and then from Nintendo Directs? Not even a Zelda game should be allowed to get away with being this coy.

    These games are NEVER open-world, and they shouldn't be classified as such. This game, however, looks that way. So call it for what it is, western-influenced.

    If it sounds like I'm too down on this, I'm not, I'm just reserving my judgement. I actually loved Skyward Sword and its best qualities were skimmed over many. Its story, for example, was compelling and made you want to push forward.

    Oh, thank goodness you get right into the game straight away. That's an absolute highlight nowadays.

    Short answer? I'll believe it when I see it.

    Once upon a time Nintendo were able to wow me and convince my inner kid that nostalgia was enough, but I've played enough Forest, Fire and Ice temples at this point.

    The fact that's it's essentially the death knell of the Wii U is also worrying - the same thing happened with Twilight Princess, which also promised a lot of the same kinds of elements (although much less directly that in this newest video).

    I dunno, call me jaded or cynical but I've lost faith that Nintendo can actually innovate like they promise. They're inherently structuralistic and legacy driven, and the inside info seems to be they're terrified of the new.

    As a side note, I REALLY hope they hire a real UX designer because the menus in their latest games are horrendous from a hierarchy and flow point of view.

    /nintendorant

    Last edited 15/06/16 5:00 pm

    You've been able to jump using button presses in any of the Game Boy Zelda games that use Roc's Feather.

    The art style looks great, but I'm not nearly as excited as Kotaku seems to be. The game play footage looks dull, the environmental combat options are clearly canned (like rolling the boulder down the hill), and I just hate the idea of RPG-light stats being added. I honestly hate RPG-light stats - it's a totally arbitrary gate keeping method in almost all instances.

      I don't like 3d action adventure platformers, so for me this is a massive step up and I am very interested.

        Which is fine - but seriously, aren't there enough games with RPG-light mechanics. Most AAA titles have them now!

    To be honest this has blown me away more than anything else I've seen at E3 this year, and there have been some things I'm pretty bloody excited about e.g. Forza Horizon in AUS, God of War reboot and new angle for Resident Evil VII ... but this! I don't know what it is about it, but it seems to have wrapped up some things which I really like, being the animated 'Ghibli' art style, the increased RPG elements, the exploration (climbing, gliding, 'shield boarding') it just looks awesome.
    E3 has really delivered this year IMO.

    The barrier will be *difficulty*, or the fact that your gear simply isn’t good enough to fight the enemies in that section. So far it’s all sounding a little bit — gasp — Dark Souls.

    Video is of clambering around on tiny ledges on the roof of a cathedral? Story checks out. Yup, that's Dark Souls.

    The story that has been teased by the world is already bigger than any other Zelda game. And I am sure they are waiting eagerly to show us the first NX footage to blow everyone away and get a lot of people to preorder the new system.

    I was disappointed that they showed off the Wii U version instead of the NX variant but I am interested and it seems they have reworked combat quite a bit. I still wouldn't get this for WiiU but only the NX.

    Maybe it's the nostalgia talking, but when I saw that you had to eat food instead of collecting hearts, something in me snapped. Everything became another thing to complain about.

    The graphics don't look as good as Skyward Sword. Weapon durability has no place in this series. Link should wear either a green tunic or a zora/goron/magic armour instead of this weird equipment system. There's not enough buildings around. Axes and spears should be considered unlockable tools instead of just collectable items. The chest with the bow in the temple of time doesn't go "Duh nuh nuh NUH" and just gives a short jingle.

    Is it just me? I feel like this game is turning into a weird Dark Souls/Skyrim mashup with a Zelda coat of paint. Again, maybe it's just the nostalgia. But I am curious to know if anyone else has an opinion on this.

      No it's not just you. I am still eager to play the game, but your points are valid.

    It's just beautiful. Adore the art style and the vistas in the trailer are truly beautiful. I can't wait to play this.

    I also love the name. To me it really seems to embody the new, bigger direction that they are taking Zelda. Day one NX purchase here.

    One thing that has me a little disappointed, though not by much, is my understanding of the music system in the game. From what I could tell, there is hardly any music happening as you play and the music only happens when certain events occur. Gone is the constant musical backing track.. is that correct?

    I really have always enjoyed having those constant backing tracks going in JRPGs, particularly series like Dragon Quest... if it's just atmospheric sounds with brief musical events.. I don't think I'll feel the same way about the game as I did previous JRPGs

      That's straight out of the Dark Souls playbook! (No soundtrack save for boss fights)

        I was hoping for something along the lines of "Flower" on PS3, where there's this unobtrusive piano track playing in the background that never gets too overpowering etc

    Surprised you didn't pick up on the fact that this is NOT the first time Zelda has featured RPG stat systems- way back in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link you had experience points and level-ups (which was also the first game that allowed Link to jump on command).

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