The Wii U has promised to be all that and a bag of potato chips.  Games for everyone, and games for you, or so they say.  It’ll have 1080p-resolution graphics.  It’ll have high-resolution Blu-Ray-comparable discs.  It’ll have a controller with a hi-res touchscreen in the middle.  And we’re promised it’ll have all the online you could hope for.  And, as if to prove their point, the first thing Nintendo did was present to the hardcore masses, depending upon your viewpoint, either proof in the pudding… or an ultimate peace offering:  the Legend of Zelda in crisp, clear 1080p.  All in all, it’s a buffet of promises presented to us to excite and amaze.  Who could say that there’s anything bad in this?  Who would be foolish enough to dare say that this shouldn’t be what we get?

Certainly not I.

Yet despite knowing that this move to HD was one that Nintendo desperately needed to make, I cannot help but wonder just how brilliant the first ever HD offering from the bounty of Zelda will shine.

Now I’m not saying that Nintendo can’t actually do it.  That would be rather naïve; I mean, the Wii U Zelda tech demo was simply beautiful.  You can see ambient occlusion, real-time lighting, dynamic shadows, high-res textures, shader technology, and other good graphics buzzwords, all of which end up leaving nothing to imagination.  And if that’s not proof enough, you should stroll on over to YouTube where they have managed to emulate existing Wii games at 720p resolution, and the result is absolutely brilliant.  Despite the fact that actual Wii hardware technically taps out at 480p and doesn’t give you a pixel beyond, the fact that the textures still look good upscaled is actually fairly surprising since that is the first thing you’ll notice the moment you make that leap.

So clearly, they’ve got some degree of knowhow over in Nintendo secret code labs on how to get this done.  What’s the problem then?  Why should I be worried?

The problem though is that being able to render a single room in high-res is a very difficult task than running an entire full-length game in HD.  The programmers for both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 have had their work cut out for them this generation, and though this isn’t uncommon when crossing hardware generational gaps, the transition to HD not been without its growing pains whatsoever.  Though the precise details of the Wii U’s processor and graphics chip aren’t entirely public yet, there are a good many things that we know need to be happening—both at the bit level and at the artistry level—to really make a game shine in HD.

First, any game making the jump into HD has to have its code be both concurrent and parallelized.  For those of you who don’t know programmer speak, that’s just geek talk that means that the Wii U will need to run multiple tasks at the same time.  Way back in the day, games only had single threads of execution, and these were fairly easy to make.  (Eventually they have gone to two threads, with one of them simply being a streaming thread to pull data from the disc into memory.)  While this seems easy enough at first, it really isn’t as easy as you might think.  You see, the human brain performs is reasoning logic with just one train of thought; sure, you may multi-task a bit, but you’re usually juggling very different problems or situations, and like all those people on cell phones on the freeway, you tend to not be able to do one of those tasks well at any given point.

But that’s not really enough when it comes to gaming in the HD era.  What we’re looking at now is that the software for any future game is going to have needs to be able to solve related and interconnected problems at the same time, and each of the individual problems need to be broken down into smaller subtasks that can be solved independently from one another (and therefore occur all at the same time) so that they can be combined and packaged together at the end to produce a single frame of video and audio, only to be run all over again.

If you’re confused by all this technobabble, my apologies.  Let’s just say that stuff has to get done really REALLY fast, and simply doing all of the steps one at a time in sequential order is not even close to fast enough.

And this has to be done because, simply put, there’s MUCH more stuff that has to get done on the graphics end just to keep up at 30 frames per second (much less the games that endeavor to go 60fps!).  What that means is, every 33 milliseconds, the game has to figure out what buttons on the controller that you’re holding (and remember, this has to travel through the ether, wirelessly to the console!), figure out what that means for the characters in the scene, figure out the physics of the world to see if the player can actually do what he or she wants, actually do the thing that can be done, and then figure out the color of over 2 million pixels before finally shoving that onto the screen.  And that doesn’t account for other possible things like getting data from over the Internet, pulling data from the disc and storing it in memory, moving the NPCs and AI enemies in the world, activating a bunch of sounds, and maintaining a consistent idea of what state the game is in.  0.033 seconds.  You can’t press the start and stop button on a stopwatch in that span of time.

But what really makes parallelization so difficult?  It’s because parallelizing a very complex task (such as a game) into small, independent subproblems is simply not how the human brain really works, at least, at a conscious level.  Most programmers simply end up being unable to disassemble a game into so many individual component pieces or incapable of actually implementing it, much less figure out how to optimally schedule those tasks so they get done as fast as possible.  That’s not to say it isn’t possible; developers have been doing this since 2006 and before with the advent of the Xbox 360.

But even with the 360 and the PS3, it really did take about a full two years or so for people on both sides of the fence really figured out how to master the hardware and to bend it to their wills.  The launch titles for both consoles were, admittedly, graphically weaker than their eventual predecessors.  And it’s not because there’s new technology or new languages helping the process; consoles really don’t change over time.  It’s because developers had to learn from their own and others’ mistakes, figure out the proper methodology for pumping graphics through the system via experience.

A second performance complication Nintendo might run into is the lack of a dedicated hard drive inside the console.  While the Wii U is allegedly going to have some amount of internal flash memory, it’s not certain whether or not the full capacity of the flash memory will be going towards gave saves or if some of it will be reserved for caching data on the optical discs.  Accessing data directly DVDs in the 360 and Blu-Rays in the PS3 is extremely slow.  However, accessing data from a hard disk cache is significantly quicker, which is why many games require gratuitous install processes before you can play the game.  If you can’t use the internal flash memory as a cache for game data streaming from the disk, it simply adds to the complexity of the problem in delivering content at such a blazing speed.  Games have managed to get around this, but again, it’s all part of an uphill learning curve.

When Wii U launches in 2012, Microsoft will have had a six-year head start, and Sony will have had five, and knowing that it took developers roughly two years to really find their stride means that they’re now beginning to fully master the sheer power of their mighty consoles.  While admittedly it is a little odd to say this, thankfully, Zelda will likely be in the boat of being one of the later new titles to be developed for the new console due to Skyward Sword coming out so late in the Wii’s lifetime.  It means that Nintendo will have learned from mistakes and will hopefully by then have a much more established process for parallelizing their game engine, which will (or so we hope) deliver on the promise of a rich Zelda experience.

Second, the next potential problem area that Nintendo will be facing is being able to create high-fidelity environments.  The tech demo looks pretty sharp and slick, but again, this is just one room, a single room polished and perfected to incite your imagination to go wild.  Making an entire game of the same graphical quality takes a lot more time, effort, dedication, programmer coordination, and—of course—money.

Looking backwards through time, it’s actually pretty tempting to hold up Twilight Princess as a pretty decent standard for how graphically advanced Zelda games have become.  After all, TP’s scenes actually look fairly well oiled and polished by comparison to the likes of Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker.  But a more detailed inspection of TP—for better or worse—reveal that, just like its predecessors before, the game still heavily relies upon abstraction of a world to sneak by with less detail than a totally “realistic” world would have.

For example, Link’s house and Rusl and Uli’s house in Ordon Village don’t have any beds in them.  Hyrule Castle doesn’t have a legitimate way to reach the second floor from the first (and neither are there impassable door façades along the walls to mask the fact that there are more rooms elsewhere).  The world relies upon placing you within a deep valley so that you cannot possibly escape out the sides of it. Eldin Bridge passes over a seemingly bottomless pit.  And somehow Peak Province is covered in snow while the similar or higher altitude Zora’s Domain is not.  And of course, if there’s ever a treasure chest or a clay pot inside a house, you can open or break it without anyone getting upset.

Nintendo does a lot of hand waving over many incongruous elements of the game in order to reduce the sheer amount of detail that would be necessary to portray true realism in games.  When compared to games such as Assassin’s Creed with its accurate-to-history environments and crowd simulations and Grand Theft Auto IV with its fake radio broadcasts and real-time traffic, the detail of Zelda pales in comparison.  Perhaps this is merely a thing, and Zelda has the power to skate by with its abstractions just based upon the power of its name alone, but I really do think that Nintendo will need to up the ante just a little bit if they’re saying that HD is now the future.

The last big thing that I feel is currently lacking in the Zelda franchise is to make the player emotionally invested in the story.  In my personal opinion, the two best games that Nintendo has achieved when making rich characters and a story that touched players were Link’s Awakening and Ocarina of Time, both of which are old hats when it comes down to it.  Now I’ll be fast to admit that all of 3D main console Zelda games since—Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, and Twilight Princess—have come close to the mark.  MM was phenomenal in actually creating a living, breathing city of Clock Town, WW gave the Sage of Earth and Wind live by having them troll through dungeons with Link, and TP allowed the player to have a deep attachment to Midna.

But outside of each of those concentrations, it doesn’t take much to see that Nintendo started skimping a bit on the detail.  None of the other Majora’s Mask cities had anywhere close to the same attention to detail as Clock Town.  In Wind Waker, the game stiff-arms the player once they’ve fully restored the Master Sword by forcing them to flail about otherwise insignificant islands to find the Triforce pieces.  And in Twilight Princess, even the Resistance fails to really gain the screen time they deserve to properly make them as truly as significant as Midna (or even Ilia) were.  And let’s face it, it would have taken extremely little effort at all to make a proper love story out of TP; Nintendo just didn’t dare chance the wrath of their fans.

Certainly, not every character on the stage gets the opportunity to have the spotlight, and similarly not every NPC gets to have his special interaction with the character.  (I mean, how many “NPCs” do you pass every day in your life?)  But with heavily cinematic games like Heavy Rain, Uncharted, Mass Effect 2, and Halo: ODST telling vivid stories that make the player frequently pause and reflect upon the situations they’re experiencing, the bar for storytelling and character development in games has been significantly raised in this past console generation.

The problem is that the Legend of Zelda has never really claimed to be the pinnacle of storytelling or immersion.  The actual plot of each Zelda game is just a thin veneer of eye candy overlaying a thick helping of solid gameplay mechanics.  Ocarina of Time really doesn’t tell all that deep of a story; it’s much more fairy tale in nature, full of tropes and MacGuffins to help drive the player to complete all of the objectives before him or her.  Yet it had just enough spice in several of the main characters—Zelda, Malon, and the Sages—to solidify an emotional appeal within the game.

Provided Nintendo wants to compete head-to-head with the likes of the 360 and PS3, Nintendo is going to be forced with the tough decision of not skimping when it comes to golden opportunities to elicit emotion in players.  While I’m not convinced that Link himself should get VO treatment, I do believe that it’s beyond time that Nintendo finally pay to hire voice actors for all of the major NPCs in the story; they really need to do away with Midna’s babblespeech and the occasional “hmm,” “ahhh,” and “hehe” sound effects and give proper voice and intonation to the characters we’re supposed to care about.

An added bonus would be for Wii U’s future Zelda game to take a bold risk with a character or two by perhaps either not letting things resolve “happily ever after” or by allowing the various characters to actually show deep, heartfelt emotions towards Link (or vice versa).  After having played Tales of Symphonia, I am still an ardent proponent of a Harvest Moon-like system where you, the player, can eventually choose the relationship Link ends up with at the game’s end.  I’d also be in favor of the total surprise of Nintendo actually killing someone that Link was close to (and not just at the beginning of the game when it has no real meaning yet), especially if there’s actually a way for the player to prevent it.

Now none of these obstacles and pratfalls are impossible to work around.  In fact, so far this generation has brought about some very interesting developments both in the art of the story and in the engineering finesse it takes to achieve 1080p/30fps.  So in all good theory, it’s very likely that Wii U’s future Zelda game could be the shining pinnacle of what the franchise has ever delivered.

But so many of the decisions as to whether or not this will happen rest squarely on the shoulders of the Zelda Team’s producers.  I can’t fault Shigeru Miyamoto for being a very creative individual and for being able to design some truly amazing labyrinths and game concepts, but the more I hear about what it’s like to work with him in the interviews with other Nintendo employees, it often sounds like Miyamoto will frequently—as the story is told—upend the tea table and force everyone down a different path.  Were the ideas that Miyamoto rejected ones that could have really helped Zelda?

But with Nintendo is going down the road of HD finally, it’s fully acknowledging that the “blue ocean” strategy Nintendo has been on the past five years is over; now they’re sailing full speed ahead into the shark-infested waters they so sought to avoid with the Wii.  The question is whether Nintendo is fully prepared to lay arms upon the enemies just off the port bow or if they’ll end up retreating to the kiddie pool, thereby furthering the conception—whether true or not—that Nintendo focuses exclusively on gaming for the younger generations.

Source for the Comic: Dorkly
  • heroofmasks

    no voice acting i always said that zelda was better than most things becouse 1. no voice acting so people had to read instead of being lazy and listening also many people can take there time reading 2. zelda makes you use your brain so you can get alittle smarter with puzzles much better than (hey fred heres a gun go kill people and hijack a car and if you get stuck on a puzzle go kill more people then use a gernade or boozuka on the thing)

    • As much as I agree with what you said there, it would have been more effective if you'd used correct grammar.

      'No voice acting, I've always said that Zelda was better than most things because:
      1. There is no voice acting, so people have to actually read rather than being lazy and listening, and without voice acting you can take your time with reading.
      2. Zelda makes you use your brain! You can actually get a little smarter, what with the puzzles being much better than 'Hey Fred here's a gun, go kill people and hijack a car. And if you get stuck on a puzzle, go kill more people. Then use a grenade or bazooka on the thing.''

  • #1 Zelda Game Lover

    I think a Zelda game will be awesome for the Wii U. It would be a new way to play and epic graphics!

  • Z-MAN7

    I love that picture!

    • Nichyevo

      I know, right? Miyamoto+Troll Face.

  • From what information we have, the graphics will be powered by AMD GPU(s) and dedicated RAM. The SDK should be much easier for developers to work with than Microsoft's or Sony's.

  • mikeypizzalover

    Heh, I love that comic to peices!!!! I could not find the origanal comic, but it was titled "greatest prank in the world" on at least wiiublog.com. AND THOSE GRAFICS ARE AWSOME!!!

    • john

      It's from dorkly.com

      • mikeypizzalover

        Oh. But on wiiublog,it had a link to dorkly, but now it is not woorking. Also, I did not see the "link to the comic" part.

  • LionHeart717

    First of all, great article. You really spent a lot of time thinking this through. Secondly, in an interview with Nintendo, they stated that the Zelda HD tech demo was put together rather quickly and very close to E3. Having read that, i suspect Nintendo will be just fine contending with its competition.

    I aslo agree with your point that Nintendo should up there game on character development. Midna is, by far, my favorite character in the Zelda series. This is largely due to the fact that her personality and opinions were so much more realistic than any other character. Giving npc's more personality and greater realism does wonders for the emotional aspect of the game and will definitely improve the series as a whole.

    • zeldaman69

      don't forget we want great music that matches the situation!

      • TheMaverickk

        I have to argue against Character development. Some of the best characters and best stories told in video games are the kinds that are under the surface and not shoved straight into your face.

        Video games aren't movies, so the method of story telling needs to be different. People tend to forget that though, so instead we get video games trying to mimic movie experiences.

        Look at Majora's Mask, there's some deep narratives and character development going on in the game. The only things is you don't have to get into the characters if you don't want to. It's your choice to get involved with peoples lives… and very rarely is it mandatory. This is kind of the perfect example of developed characters, but where gameplay still comes first.

        Metroid Prime is another great series that does well in developing story and narrative, but it's all under the surface. Through logs, and scanning things… you can choose to care about the story of the Chozo, and the tales of Samus Aran, but again it's at your choosing.

        I've never been more connected to characters in a video game, then ones where I take the time to discover things about these characters. Getting involved and such. When characters are shoved down your throat though you can't help but feel like I'm being forced to care.

        One other example of good character development in video games is Half-Life 2 mind you… with each chapter usually introducing you to a character you follow and learn about, but again only as you are going along… no cut scenes, no forcing of story. Anyways, the truth is it would be great to see developers stop trying to turn video games into movies. Cause they aren't. If I want to see a movie I'll go to the movie theater.

        • LionHeart717

          "Under the surface" character development is still character development. Giving NPCs more realism doesn't mean that their character will be "forced down your throat."

          I understand your desire to have more immersive games, but not every game needs to offer the same experience. There are many people out there that enjoy cut scenes and pre-determined character development. Not to mention that the professional writers that create dialogue for those scenes are making an attempt to convey a certain message that not all players would readily derive for themselves. If you do not enjoy those type of games, then simply don't play them.

  • I think it would be a nice touch to add voice acting to the game, it would give the NPCs more depth to their personalities. Even if it were just in short cutscenes. However I'm TOTALLY against giving Link himself a voice, because 1) there's the old Zelda TV show to blame and 2) The fans already have a sense of what Link is like in their minds, and that shouldn't be changed.

    Looking forward to what Nintendo will add to the HD Zelda in the oh-so-near future 🙂

    • Zorathan

      no. no voice acting. that… that just ISN'T Zelda.

      • Aivatrix

        I agree voice acting isn't Zelda at all. I like to have a voice in my head for how each character sounds. Voice acting forces you to have one voice for the character. Without voice acting there a hundreds of voices you could come up ith for each character it makes the game much more interesting.

  • angelink_1995

    I think that if Microsoft and Sony pulled it off Nintendo can too.

  • Zorathan

    First HD Zelda?

    Back in the day, Ocarina of Time was HD.

  • Kiante

    Very nice article. I hope you don't mind a bit of comment.

    Firstly, I would think that Nintendo would be able to learn from Microsoft and Sony's mistakes in graphic design. Surely, if they've learned how to do it better, Nintendo can find a way to look at what they've done, observe their technique. From there, they do similar things, and probably build off of it. Right?

    As for story and character development, you have a great point. From what I've read of Miyamoto, the problem is that he just doesn't care much about story in a video game. Several quotes showed him talking about how it was gameplay that was important, story was a minor issue, or not even important at all. However, from some of what I've seen recently, I think either people are beginning to change his mind, or the other devs are just deciding to focus more on story even if he doesn't like it. Which is a good thing.

    Voice acting; I think I'm in favor of it. Obviously, that doesn't mean EVERY single conversation has to be voiced, but at least some of the major ones deserve a good voice over. Even from Link I think. I'm kinda with Cody on that issue, either make Link NOT a character at all, or make him a more fleshed out character, a character with a metaphorical, and literal, voice. People's argument is always "Well, the player has this idea of what Link is, and if we give him voice acting, they'll have to change it!!!". However, I simply don't think that holds true. They've already given him a TONE of voice, they've given him grunts, yells, shouts. So, in general, we all probably agree on what his voice should sound like. The only real difficulty is to stay true to that impression that we all hold of Link with the voice actor. And I don't know why people are so afraid. It's not THAT hard to find a voice actor that matches a character well.

    On the other hand, if you go the route of not making him a character at all, then the player needs to be his voice. We should get dialogue options, real ones, we should get to make choices. Maybe even design the look of our Link. He the vision is still for him to be simply a Link between the player and the game, then we should have the power to decide how he acts. It's rather ironic, really, that Zelda 1 was, as far as I know, the first game with an open world. And yet, they've come so far away from that, while other games have gone towards it. I just think Nintendo needs to make up their mind and go one way or the other. I would vote for the "Fully fleshed character" path. That would be truer to what the franchise has been I think, instead of being something like KOTOR or Mass Effect. But, maybe that's just me.

    Now, I think, in general, I must disagree on some of your examples of how to elicit more emotion from the player. It sounds like you would vote in just copying the tropes used in more "mature" modern games. That will accomplish nothing. Zelda has, and must retain, it's unique charm, environment, world, feel. We want the series to progress without sacrificing it's core nature, even story wise. If there's a legitimate reason to kill a character, go ahead. But don't do it just in a vain attempt to make the game more "mature". That's ridiculous. Though it's always difficult, originality in story is important. Nostalgia is great, but it must be held in balance. Originality is the same of course. A perfect blend of the two will do wonders for any game.

    Letting us choose Link's lover is not an awful idea. It offers an important choice, with inherent emotional impact, without, in my opinion, being quite so deliberate. I think, in Zelda especially, it would feel rather natural. After all, Link's had quite a few girls after him over the years. As far as we've actually seen, he's never won the hand of a single one. Oh sure, he saves them, day in, day out, but he never forges a particularly meaningful relationship with them. Probably cause he never speaks. After all, communication is important in any relationship.

    Well anyway, that's my two (or more) cents.

    • gward

      The problem with voice acting for link is that he would then have dialogue, and he can't have dialogue because that would give him a set personality and take away from much of the imagination

      • Aivatrix

        Yes it will take away of lots of the imaginations of who link is. Like in Metroid Other M they gave Samus a voice and a personality and it ruined her whole character I dont want link to end up like Samus.

  • crazymallets

    For those who want Link to start talking, keeping in mind that Samus now has a "personality and voice," and it really ruined alot of people's interpretation of her. Do people really want Link to end up like Samus in Other M?

    • CodyDavies

      Samus already had a personality – the reason people were angry is because they CHANGED it and made her a more traditional crybaby feminine female who needed a male authority figure, whereas what a lot of people liked was that she was a tough and independent female that broke gaming's "spoiled princess please rescue me" stereotypes for female characters.

      Obviously if people change Link to no longer be brave etc people aren't going to be happy, but that's not necessarily the same thing as developing him more.

  • rageagainst

    Nintendo is the leader in making innovations which make games more accessible. They haven't been making innovations which makes games deeper since freaking gamecube. If that. TP was OoT rebottled 10 years later w/ better graphics, there was basically no new innovations in that game to speak of.

    OoT however was GROUNDBREAKING stuff, like, you see in the interviews that the team had to make all the architecture for the game they were making b/c nothing like it existed before.

    Look at brawl, that was anything but Nintendo making innovations which enhance the gameplay. Heck, it was melee rebottled with depth REMOVED to make it more noob friendly. Bar that Melee could have been played casually as well as competitively, but lets not mention that.

    Basically, I have lost faith in nintendo a long time ago, but OoT touched my heart 😛

    • Keimori

      *eyeroll* I honestly have no clue what you are rambleing on about?
      Yes, OoT was and still is, the cream of the crop, must play Zelda game, but they have done planty of good games since it too, Brawl , in my opinion had MORE depth to it, with near endless amounts of content and a huge charater, level, and music selections, plus the space emisary mode, how is that not more depth?

      It's a four player 2.5 D fighting game, theres not alot of room to improve on such a well extablished game formula, so if you're saying that you're disapointed that the gameplay didn't change all that much, then i can understand, but theres not much to be changed.

      as for "noob friendlyness" …can i just say i've come to hate the term noob? It's a very arrogant term and mindset, everyone needs to start somewere and if giveing new players a helping hand is whats required to get new fans to play games, then I'm all for it, we're fans of video games for petes sake, not and elite order of nobles.

  • Kierra

    I think the Midna gibberish was fine. If it was done for all the characters in the future, nintendo could just say they are speaking Hylian, and then we still can have the classic text boxes for "translating," the made up language of Hylian 🙂

    • Seen

      Has anyone here ever played Klonoa? The characters speak in gibberish and nothing else, and the result is wonderful; with the acting of the characters still filled with emotion. I think that if any voice acting was put into the game, "Hylian" would be the best option.

      • Keimori

        Wach them write thier own language for the game now, and soon we'll be speaking it left and right and makeing even nerdyer inside jokes, spoken in "Hylian"

    • Blizzeta93

      don't forget simlish

  • Elzo

    Remember how we used to argue who Link should get together with after OoT? What happened to our imagination since then that makes us need official relationship choices within the game?

    A bland main character (Link) and many interesting and likeable, but not fleshed out, NPCs is a good way to force the player do the storytelling, thus making him or her emotionally invested in the game world in a way that is uncommon these days.

  • lootic

    all I can say is functional programming(or at least use the paradigms strong points of being very modular and easy to extend) and double buffered graphics, you make it sound unbelieveable hard when we dont even know what hardware they will use. Not that I'm a super experienced programmer but things tend to get easier once you start. The problem I see is that the graphics artist must do a lot more work and quicker, more polygons better textures and so on. That will take some time.

  • Keaton

    "Yet despite knowing that this move to HD was one that Nintendo desperately needed to make."

    Yeah, because lack of HD is the reason the Wii sold less than the PS3, amirite?

  • Vic George

    I'm not sure we'll ever get a BioWare-ish Legend of Zelda game out of Nintendo even if it goes no further than getting the T rating like Twilight Princess did. The only company that can do a Legend of Zelda game in the style of BioWare is BioWare, and that's only through totally different circumstances, like if BioWare wasn't owned by EA and wasn't so focused on the Dragon Age and Mass Effect series, and if Nintendo would even consider such a partnership, not to mention dealing with all the potential bugs that could crop up from such a title.

    But all the same, the Legend of Zelda series could stand to see some maturity as far as its storytelling and its getting players to actually care about Link, Zelda, and all the NPCs they have to interact with in their universe. And while I don't mind playing games that take my mind off reality, maybe having something in the story that reflects the reality I'm living in would be a good idea to implement, like the effects of the godless capitalist system of Bioshock's Rapture or the religious persecution of other groups of people with Dragon Age's Andrastianism.

    • Keimori

      The problem with that is that In hyrule the people already have one base religion of the godesses and the triforce, and every other religion i know of exist in a alternate dimention, so I don't realy see that hapening in the zelda serries unless they made it the most recent timeline wise.

      but in all honesty, I don't realy see zelda as a "super dark and gritty" serries, you need a story thats still rather lighthearted to fit the zelda serries, otherwise, you'd lose the "flavor" of the serries.

  • Jean D'oe

    Wind Waker Link's "Grandma" was the most emotionally powerful character of the series.

  • Sage of Hyrule

    Reading your analysis and comparison of Twilight Princess' physical land to that of Assassin's Creed, I feel cheated. I was so immersed in the game/story, possibly even setting a blind eye to the game's imperfections simply because I was so happy to be playing a new Zelda title that I failed to realize during the game how utterly empty it was. It really wasn't until after I finished the story did I recognize the feeling of longing that still remained after the end.. Longing for something.. more, something bigger that could be found in other games I didn't realize was there until my eyes were opened.

    Nintendo has such great potential to do something amazing with the Zelda series that the fans have never seen before and have been clamoring for ever since the stories became so much more developed. I think they are afraid to take that first step into something that seems so unlike Zelda for fear of failure, but as it is fans are already complaining that the stories and challenges are becoming stale… Really, you would think they could only improve at this time.

    I would love nothing more than to see in a Zelda game what you suggested: I want Link to face real<i/> trials, to be presented with realistic, heavy challenges that go beyond the puzzles in the dungeons. I want to feel that emotion, that agony of losing a beloved character, of finding the courage to keep fighting when all you want to do is give up. It may sound absurd and seem as if I'm asking for a dark Zelda game, but that isn't it at all. Really, I just want Zelda to return to its roots. I feel that Nintendo is so afraid of deviating from the franchise's original feel that they have inadvertently done it anyways by overdoing the same peace -> bad guy -> dungeons -> fight bad guy -> peace scenario. Someone once said "there is no Courage without fear…" I want to see Link afraid. I want to see him swallow his fears and summon his courage and do what needs to be done.. I want so badly to see it rather than just imagine it for myself. I feel that isn't too much to ask.

    Sorry for going off on a rant here. But your insights really made me realize what I felt was missing from Zelda all this time, but didn't realize because I was so caught up in it holding the "Zelda" title. I think the games are perfectly capable of reaching the level of emotion and sheer amazement that many games these days showcase. Nintendo should capitalize on this; I don't know why they haven't.

    I should really write a separate post for this…

  • Trolldad

    Didn't i see this on Halolz?

  • Digga809

    I agreed on everything you said in your article, except for the voice acting. I don't know why people keep forcing upon voice acting when true Zelda fans will always tell you "NO VOICE ACTING." People will have their own imagination on how the character talks rather than hear an actual voice. The producer of Nintendo are doing a good job of making the player use their imagination, which actually satisfies the player on how the character is. If they've decided to put voice acting, it MIGHT ruin the character at least just slightly. One last thing I'd like adding; if I hear one more person making an article and complaining about how there's no voice acting, can I slap you in the face for trying to ruin Zelda?

  • Vio

    Screw voice acting. Nintendo have a TERRIBLE track record on English voice acting. It says something that Zelda has the best voice acting in the series despite supposedly not having any (which is a lie, Ganon has been laughing and sneering his way through the series since OoT, thats still voice acting), and thats because its done by decent Japanese voice actors who know how to do decent maniacal laughter. The fact that Midna can convey tone and meaning despite not using actual words is genius.

    Metroid Other M proves that Nintendo's English voice acting will ALWAYS gain enough people hating the hell out of it, and Other M's voice acting isn't actually that bad (its the dialogue thats been far too literally translated in particular that lets it down).

    Voice acting also falls into the exact problem that CG sequences do, and why Miyamoto doesn't like either, because it stops him from adjusting and tweaking things right up until release. If the voices have all been done and recorded, he can't go and change dialogue and NPCs right up to the deadline.

  • falconfetus8

    Am I the only one who thinks that the Wii U is focusing too much on graphics and HD than on gameplay and innovation? It seems like the exact opposite of the Nintendo we've come to know and love.

  • Kare

    Zelda should stay the way it is in terms of voices and stuff. Changes can ruin alot.

  • Guil.

    I see the difference that realistic HD games have to Zelda, but why should the series have vice acting, romantic relationships or alternative endings? I don’t want to play Grand Theft Auto IV or Assassins Creed games because I don’t like the type as much as I like Zelda games. This is the simple reason I have been a Zelda fan for so long. I embrace advancing and new ideas to this game but I still want it to be a Zelda-game not something else. I don’t understand why people demand it to be made to somethig it’s not when they can simply go and pick up the kind of game they want and not try to make some other game to be a copy of something else.

    I would love to see Zelda in HD but I would still want it to be loyal to its roots. This late to the franchise adding thins like Link’s romantic relationships or voice acting would not be taken kindly by older fans.

    I see the series as iteractive fantasy story. It has a plot and its up to you to read it by playing the game. This has been the style of the game always and although the likes lf paper Mario was liked by many in terms of alternate choises there are many who prefer to have the base of their favourite game series to stay the same. I wouldn’t change Final Fantasy games into platform jump games nor would I bring violence into Harvest Moon games. Chnanges like voice acting and a personality and an official paring for Link to have in him is like taking all the puzzles away from Professor Layton games. Don’t change the structure of the game, find a new game to play and leave this series in it’s own cathegory.

  • KaporaGabora

    Maybe this is why they did Skyward Sword as they did. They can't really make a game cel-shaded and "unrealistic" for a console like Wii U, where the whole concept behind it seems to be really realistic and beautiful graphics shown in the HD demo. The way i see it they simply took the chance to be playful when creating Skyward Sword because it would be the final Zelda game for the Wii. And thank god they did, look at the great game thats almost in our hands now.

    But does this mean that the games coming for the new console won't ever be in the same art style as Wind Waker and Skyward Sword? Isn't that what they kind of want to tell us, "Look at our great new HD Zelda! Isn't it looking just fantastic and realistic? Buy Wii U now!"
    I love how it looks, i can't deny that. But have Nintendo really become so shallow about their games?
    Part of what i think will be so great about SS is that its unique. You don't see games like that these days, and when you do you can almost be sure that they come from Nintendo, who dares to do what no one else does.

    Have Nintendo failed us? 🙁

    • Guil.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m on the same lines as your comment. Why would Zelda-games need to be realistic even if they are in HD? It can bee HD quality even while being in a nonrealistic style of art. I’m greatly exited about SS and love how much the graphics have improved from TP yet are not realistic. It’s a legen, a fantasy story not real life. Zelda does not need to look like our normal reality to look good. It’s a fantasy game not a GTA IV or Assassins Creed.

  • somecrazyguy

    voice acting n zelda???? BLASPHEMY! lol. i agree with what someone else has commented. make them speak a gibberish language, and call it hylian, with the text the translate it for us. ive been thinking they should do this for like two years now. the reason i would say this is better is becuase localization would be terrible for zelda. you would have to find all different language speakers, from german, to english, to japanese ect. then there is animation. i really dont want to see an english dub for a japanese game. it doesnt look very nice, ive seen it before. the gibberish (or, if nintendo was up to it, the creation of a hylian language) would be much better, since you could get the mouth movements to match the speech, and there would be no need to go through all the hassle of getting all these languages, and all the animations of mouth movement for these languages.