Nintendo Should Let Players “Do It Themselves” in Zelda Wii

Guest Article By MYK1217

The upcoming Legend of Zelda title for Wii is expected to be the result of a significant makeover to one of Nintendo’s signature franchises. We have already heard director Eiji Aonuma make it clear that Zelda Wii will be drastically different from previous titles. Specifically, Aonuma has stated that the pace of the game will be different and that the “field to dungeon to field” layout will be altered. I think this is the perfect opportunity for Aonuma to bring back the high emphasis on exploration that the earlier games before the 3D era had.

I don’t mean to bash the beloved Ocarina of Time. It will always be a classic and is very deserving of the “best game of all time” title. But ever since Ocarina of Time, the Zelda games have nearly dropped the emphasis on pure exploration. Progression through those games includes what I call “hand holding,” where the game tells you exactly what to do and where to go, and all you have to do is follow through. I’m not saying this has made the games bad; I’m simply pointing out that Nintendo has seemed to forget about what made their classic adventure series so great to begin with: the adventure part of it.

Which way should you go? The game doesn't tell you because it's an adventure!

Aonuma has even said he wants Zelda Wii to make the gamer feel like “they’ve really been on an adventure.” If that’s true, allow the player more freedom to explore Hyrule (or as rumor has it, somewhere other than Hyrule) and make their own discoveries. Allow the player to make their own decisions based off what they discover and what little information they are given. Don’t tell the player that the next dungeon is in Death Mountain; let the player discover it for his or her self.

Here’s an example of what I’m looking for:

All you’re told by the game is something like, “You’re looking for Dungeon X.” You’re not told where it is or how you access it- you just know you have to get there. You eventually find out that the dungeon is located along the river, but you cannot travel by simply swimming in it. (Yes, I am suggesting the return of Wind Waker’s swimming system.) You figure out that you need a canoe, either by catching sight of an NPC fishing in one or just by the use of pure logic. You assume that the town nearest to the river can help you find a canoe. You find a carpenter who can build you one, but he needs a specific kind of wood to build it with. You explore in search of the specific type of wood, bring it to the carpenter, and he builds the canoe for you, charging you x amount of rupees. Finally, you are able to take the canoe to the river and set out in search of the dungeon.

The topic of NPCs will probably come up in this conversation because they often give you clues or straight up tell you what to do. I am not suggesting that they should be removed from the game or that they shouldn’t have anything useful to say. Just don’t make their clues (if they have any to share) so blatantly obvious. The NPC’s clues should be more vague and less straightforward, and the highlighting of key words and phrases has to go. Everybody knows that words highlighted in a different color are clues. They’re just dead give-aways and make exploring less fun.

Bottom line: Zelda Wii needs to give more control to the player. Allow the player to make their own discoveries and use their own logic while piecing together their journey. Allow us to embark on a true adventure, Nintendo!

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  • Deku_Scrub

    I agree with this one. Nobody telling me where to go or how to proceed was what made Aol really annoying, but that was mainly because of the high difficulty, where I had to check out every piece of land for a spot where the thing was hidden, while running into enemies every time I moved one square, while the nearest town was too far away.(same thing for Loz, second quest, the next dungeon could be under any bush, or in any wall, and there was no old guys in the dungeons hinting where the next one was, so searching for the place went from an interesting challenge to plain boring.) But since the difficulty of Zelda wii is obviously not gonna be that hard, I might actually enjoy it.

  • Gary

    i really hope they take a retro approach with this new zelda game and bring back the birds eye view like zelda 1 or link to the past…and since the retro style of the new super mario wii sold so well maybe such a new zelda game could do just as well.

  • Joey

    I still want my Zelda game to feel like a Zelda game. I don't want them to take away everything that worked but I do want them to change the amount of Temples in exchange for a huge overworld and boss battles that are sudden and could be like, at a certain point on Death Mountain or in Lost Woods. New races would be good too I'm not sure if I'd like the setting to be placed somewhere instead of Hyrule, although it is just a name. Online play would be amazing, being able to meet up with my friends in Hyrule would make me the happiest person in the world.

    • zelda lover

      YA great idea

      • Devin

        omg imagine 3d co-op dungeons!!! Zelda isn't a series i expect much innovation from, but if they're totally revamping the series i think that they should seriously consider having multiplayer options. Zelda wii should define what next-gen games are all about.

  • ChainofTermina

    Yeah, I think NPCs should smarter too. all of them. ad they should be more realistic. I'm not trying to bash either, but the fact that you can't talk to everyone in TP's Castle town is….well, it just seems lazey. why didn't they program dialog for all the towns people? it could even be some useless and pointless. I hope the NPCs are all a lot smarter and realistic. and not "error"

    • ZeldaGurl_

      Lol, ya that would kinda funny though.

      I just hope that this Zelda is going to be more in depth and more detail-oriented. I want to see the trees blowing in the wind, and I want to see the grass actually lay under your step. The base has been laid down with TP, it's time now to really put some detail into this. Also make the characters more diverse, and have a lot more styles for the NPCs. I can't tell you how bad a case of Deja Vu I had in castle town in TP :/ . Anyway, put more animals in the game too. More horses at the ranch, along with chickens, pigs, some cows, and sheep and goats. Anything to make it more realistic like a village would be great. I don;t what the people in Ordona ate, besides goat. Hmmm….

      Either way though, I'm still pumped and ready for the new Zelda!!!

      • Deeoh/Crazyzeldafan

        I'm pretty sure they ate pumpkins aswell. Lots and lots of pumpkins.

  • DayDreamer

    And another thing, dungeons and temples and whatnot shouldn't look specifically like they've been designed for someone…make a goddamn temple like a normal place of worship where any other NPC could go. Not have the dude unable to do anything unless he has certain items that are found in other dungeons and temples.

  • FUJI

    I so much agree to this idea and i really hope Nintendo has considered this during the game´s development !!!

    I mean the reasoning behind this idea is nothing but the originally concept of the Zelda franchise. And the only Zelda titles that makes you feel so (that is to explore the playable world) are the older one or at least some Hand-Held Zelda Games (don´t no much about the DS-Zelda-Games) such as Link´s awakening or Minish cap ….

    Therefore its time for Nintendo to return to the roots of the legend of Zelda !!! And if you think about , there´s actually nothing new about it , isn´t ? I guess Aonuma just wants to put on a show or something to make it more sensationalll! xD

    Sincerely , FUJI (greetings from Germany !)

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  • GEH

    I think they should do something about the hint system. For the most part this is where most of the problem lies. You should be able to set how frequently you would like hints. If you don`t want any at all or if you want the game to hold your hand through the entire game, you should have a menu where you could set the frequency yourself.

    • GorCoronSumo

      That would probably cause production to increase drastically in length, as there would need to be two or three sets of dialogue created.

  • mr dent

    This would be interesting, but that still follows the dungeon-field-dungeon formula.

    • MYK1217

      I never said that pattern should remain constant. The Dungeon X example only included one dungeon. Maybe after the dungeon, you'll have a non-dungeon objective. Majora's Mask did this quite often. It had more than just mere chores you had to do before you could access the next dungeon. There was the Pirate's Fortress before the Great Bay Temple. The Deku Palace mission beofre the Woodfall Temple. In Ocarina of Time you had the Ice cavern before the Water Temple, the well before (I think) the Shadow Temple, and escape the Gerudo's hideout before the Spirit Temple.

      I don't see how else to can mix up the field-dungeon-field-dungeon formula other than non-dungeon missions such as those. And I definately encourage that in Zelda Wii.

  • Michael

    I liked this. Tp was a very good zelda game, and did set up the ground works for the next zelda game. What i’d actually like to see is no loading screens for entering towns. Sure they got rid of them in hyrule field, but required them in castle town and other villages. This probably won’t happen though because it’d probably take a lot of power to do.

  • John

    I like the idea, but I don't. I tend to lose my patience if I don't know where I'm supposed to be heading, so I like to know what's next & how to get there. Exploring was fun when I was younger playing OoT, but nowadays I prefer to explore in my second playthrough, so that I know what to do & where to go but I can play around a bit before doing so.

  • I agree that I would like a little more "adventuring" in the next Zelda but I think one of the reasons there was so little hand-holding in the first game was because there were only two buttons and a D-Pad to worry about. Compared to controllers on a new console, there's a little more of a learning curve.

  • Cukeman

    TP was very hand-holding in it's exploration, but I did not feel that way about OoT or MM.

  • Odin

    I agree to 100 percent. This may be what the recent zelda games have been missing and Ive never even thought about it before.

  • Sense of interesting!

  • I couldn't agree more.

  • MYK1217

    You know what I just thought of that I wish I included here? the idea of a difficulty curve. I actually think the game should start off holding your hand, then slowly start letting go. The original Zelda was simplistic enough that you could be thrown into the game without any knowledge of what you must do and where you must go. It's unrealistic to expect this in Zelda Wii without it being a turn-off, especially to those new to the series. After all, this is going to be a completely different game with controls that nobody will be familiar with.

    Maybe at the beginning of the game, you get that traditional sidekick character who helps you get used to the controls and takes you through somewhat of a tutorial dungeon will you do get your hand held, just so you get a feel for how the game works. Then something related to the storyline happens that causes things to go all wrong, the main plot begins to develop, your companion has been captured, and now you're on your own.

    You need to get used to the game first before you can be on your own, I think.

    • GEH

      You can always use the trial and error method. The original games did not have any kind of hint system. And there was no internet too. You had to rely only on yourself.

    • Bendi

      that won't happen in skyward sword, your sidekick is an incarnation your sword. i like the idea ecxept for the getting captured part.
      good article though

  • Seke

    While this isn't something that's particularly bothered me about the Zelda series, i'd love it if they managed to drop what i've always called "bubbled" maps. That is, a bottleneck entrance to an area, then the area itself, then another (one or more) bottleneck exits. I think a more open (yet not at all MMORPG-like) worldmap would make exploration both more complex and interesting, and it'd feel more like an actual adventure as we wouldn't be feeling like we're in "area A" and going towards "area B". A wider and more open map would also mean we would have to get really familiar with the world map and tracing a course to wherever we go wouldn't be quite as easy as it is now (and i'd love that).

  • Demma10

    [..] I think they should do something about the hint system. […]

    Agreed. Bring back Old Man Ulrira from Link's Awakening. If you were really stuck in the game you could go to a phone booth and call Old Man Ulrira and he'd give you a clue about what to do next. Granted there was quite a bit of hand-holding in LA but at least you could skip these hints.

    Implementing something like this would give the best of both worlds. The hints and hand-holding are there for the people who want them but people who want to explore and don't want any hand-holding can ignore the hints.

    • GEH

      Now that I think about, they should also do something about the difficulty. TP was way to easy. The only dungeon I had trouble with was City in the Sky. Hoping the next one with be more difficult.

  • Seke

    That was also implemented in TP with the fortune teller in Castle Town as well.
    That'd be a good workaround indeed. Let adventurers have their (our!) adventure, and those who have no such patience can go buy hints.

  • Linksoer

    I agree with this article!

  • TheIceman2009

    It would be cool if they make little villages in the middle of a dungeon, like the old gorons who lived in little houses of the death mountain dungeon in TP.

  • Tnzski

    There’s also fish and chickens in ordon that people could eat, not to mention pumpkins

  • Moochy

    I agree with this 100%!! We should be "lost and engulfed" in Hyrule, or wherever, instead of being held by the hand and taken step by step through what to do next. This would make Zelda so much more entertaining and the experience would be way more realistic. This would be a fantastic turn for the series.

  • whatever

    i guess none of you have lives.

    • Bendi

      i think they have lives, that's just mean!
      they are just speculating, that might have really hurt their feelings.
      geez, people who just go to a site like this and complain are just a pain in the ass.

  • Tim

    Some of the things that I want in the new Zelda are difficulty choices and the ability to trace your route, a la DS Zeldas. Your could draw your path on a map, and then be able to bring the path up in real time (like how the ASE in The Conduit showed you where to go). And a difficulty setting would satisfy everyone. Why do we have to be limited to just one difficulty? Beginners could have an easy setting, and vetern Zelda gamers could select harder ones. It just makes sense.

  • toaster

    I think it’s good they are planning on shaking things up for the new Zelda, and I agree with this article. I find Midna to be too informative and pushy, as well as Zelda in Spirit Tracks. And yes the highlighted words in speech is too obvious. A setting option would be nice.

    I also think they should switch up the temples ( aka.. something differen’t than forest, fire ect.) to something more story based, more involved in the Zelda lore to give emotional weight to them. I’d like to have a sense of consequence or ( too much to hope? ) fear. Also make it more interesting to find them (forest temple is usually in a forest, fire in Death Mountain… it’s too obvious usually).

    I’m happy they are taking their time on this to get it right, and I’m willing to wait. Let’s hope they nail it!

    • Chad

      As long as they have the water dungeon they can switch it up all they want! Gotta have my water dungeon.

      • GorCoronSumo

        If the Forest Temple wasn't in the forest it wouldn't make much sense.

  • Ksbizzle

    Alot of people have some great ideas here, the main 1 that stands out to me is difficulty. Nintendo should attempt to make this game as accessible as possible without crippling the experiece for the zelda hardcore. 3 difficulties are needed in my opinion: Normal, Hard and Die Hard. Having these setting and a few alternative endings might persuade fans to explore Hyrule more then once in search for new items and cut-scenes.
    I was also thinking about what direction Nintendo could take if they chose to make it a first person adventure. Well it seems obvious to me to try create a 4 swords experience on wii all we’d need is a reason for ganondorf link and zelda to work together or fight each other plus an extra Ip.

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  • Jupiter

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! This is exactly how I feel.


    Non-linearity, that is what we want. In the most recent game it is the worst: you are on rials! I've said it before: a rail Zelda is an abomination.

  • ZeldaNoob

    you guys have good points but having the ability to chose which dungeon you can go to would contradict your statement that every item should be used in the dungeon. Because someone might chose a dungeon to go to and end up not having an item.

  • Anonymous

    I think having it like LoZ will cause it remove a lot of the story. I liked how OoT was… an EXCELENT story compared to LoZ. Come to think of it, I didn’t notice ANY story in LoZ.

    Most non-casual games nowdays are story-based.

    I don’t think taking the old approach will exactly help, but difficulty levels sound nice (creatures could react faster or smarter on higher difficulties).

    i am a user who might not come back to this fan site due to not thinking about it.

  • Link-182

    Thats the whole fun of turning around an exploring even more!

    Anyways, less hints, difficulty settings, less linear, open world, they've made enough freaking zelda games for people to gwet into the series, now make a zelda game for everyone who loves the series, like ****!!!

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  • CEObrainz

    I think most of the ideas here are really good, now if only nintendo spies were here…………

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  • I’m simply pointing out that Nintendo has seemed to forget about what made their classic adventure series so great to begin with: the adventure part of it.