GameXplain has posted a zoomed-in version of last night’s gameplay footage of Zelda U, which premiered during The Game Awards.  When watching the gameplay in fullscreen, there are some very interesting details that weren’t immediately apparent when viewing the footage in its original form.

The first thing that instantly jumps out is the lushness of the world. It’s vibrant and filled with color, as opposed to the look of Twilight Princess, which was very muddled. The terrain of the map is very impressive and not only shows off the vastness of the world, but also the vertical nature of the newest Zelda’s Hyrule, filled with cliffs and large towers that appear off in the distance.

ZeldaU-world-map

Speaking of the vastness of the world, this image of the map, displayed on the GamePad, shows just how large this iteration of Hyrule is. Link can go into first person mode from any location, “mark” that location by looking around using gyroscope controls, and the location will appear on the map. You’re also given the ability to zoom in and out while viewing the world map, with the time of day/night appearing on the top of the GamePad. As you can see in the video, the time is currently marked at 19:00, which would be 7pm, just as the sun is setting as shown in the footage.

ZeldaU-Link-cloak

One of the most intriguing things shown in the HUD is the return of the Magic Meter. The Magic Meter has been absent since The Wind Waker (over 10 years!), so its return would be a pleasant and welcome surprise. There also appears to be instructions on how to control Epona on the bottom right part of the screen, but as it is in Japanese (aside from the word “go” next to the A button), it’s difficult to truly decipher what it’s saying or referring to. As Epona now requires very little control from the player, avoiding trees and obstacles on her own, it may be instructions on how to combat enemies while riding on horseback, or it could refer to both.

There are several aspects of Link’s character design which also become much clearer while watching this full-screen version. First of all, Link is wearing a cloak while riding Epona, which is the same garb he wore during the E3 trailer. The cloak does not appear in later footage on horseback, so could it be an equipable accessory of some sort? We also get a better look at Link’s shield, which shares similarities to the initial shield that Link started off with in Skyward Sword.  Both share the same approximate size, shape, and material, but they differ completely in their exterior design.

ZeldaU-wild-horses

While it is mentioned that there are edible apples growing on trees, insects, and wildlife present throughout the overworld, the first time we can actually catch a visible glimpse of this is near the end of the gameplay footage, with several wild horses roaming about. It definitely helps make this vibrant and colorful world feel alive, as well as show us that Epona isn’t the only horse in town!

One thing that is apparent in this new gameplay footage is that the Zelda team has achieved the look and feel of the Japanese animation-inspired world that Eiji Aonuma was striving for. It has a magical feel to it, similar to something out of a Hayao Miyazaki film. While this was only a small glimpse of what looks to be Link’s biggest adventure yet, there are a lot of little snippets that give fans a hint of what to expect in the upcoming Zelda game for Wii U, which is still slated for a 2015 release.

  • 17Haru17 .

    Try the newer video, it’s better: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HF9xDrQ9gKQ

    • Morgan

      Thank you! This wasn’t up when I was doing the post.

  • Chad

    It’s hard to read but the bottom right corner says break by the stick which makes since with the dot at the bottom of the icon and the word by the A button icon is not in japanese it says “Go!”. I can’t read what’s next to the r-trigger. The picture is too blurry. So yes those are Epona’s controls.

    • 17Haru17 .

      I don’t think the UI is final, but a magic meter is very interlaced with the systems of the game, so we know there’re magic items and abilities (unless it’s for stamina).

  • Looks like the Wii-U will have better games than it’s predecessor. I just don’t got the dime and time to upgrade nowadays.

  • Redgoblins

    If one were to break the normal Zelda conventions, it would be interesting to have Link survive by eating… if he doesn’t eat apples or bugs or provisions then his hearts ran down…

    • Martin Toney

      That, my friend, would be a dreadful idea.

      • Anthony Moseley

        Apparently you never played Fallout: New Vegas on Hardcore mode.

        • Martin Toney

          Oh I totally have! I prefer Skyrim with the survival mods though, the realistic needs and diseases mixed with a couple other survival mods makes for a frikken awesome game! 😀

          But Zelda isn’t, nor should it be, a survival simulator. That would defeat the purpose of a fantasy, it would make healing potions pointless, it would make Links (and every other characters) choice of clothing seem ridiculous. And a stamina meter was tested before in Skyward sword and people just complained lol. Stick to the established formula and iterate upon it, don’t inject new elements that are contrary to the norm just for the sake of being new.

          However, pic related, I would like to see Link carry some more of his gear. Once again, like in Skyrim with some mods. Little cosmetic things like that can do wonders for the overall feel of a game.

    • Kaliospectre

      Or make it like MGS3 Snake Eater where his stamina meter goes down at an extremely sloooooooow rate.

  • Dr Doak

    Anyone else notice how much the map resembles the geography of the original LoZ’s Hyrule layout?

    • chocobo9

      i did, in the center must be hyrule castle and main city, left bottom corner the lost woods, left top corner gerudo dessert, right top corner death mountain and right bottom corner both kokiri forest and zoras domain

      • Martin Toney

        Skyward Sword sequel confirmed?

    • Anthony Moseley

      You know, I’ve looked at it multiple times and I’m just not seeing it.

      That said, I noticed that there’s a crescent-shaped island in the southeastern part of the map. Maybe Labrynna will be making another appearance? The map is definitely far too large for the entire land to be Hyrule, so I’m wondering if other countries will be featured as well. Maybe the southeastern part of the map is Labrynna, the northeastern is Holodrom, and the rest is Hyrule. I doubt it as it’s probably just a passing reference, but I’ve always wanted a Zelda game to feature multiple countries instead of just Hyrule.

    • Ryan Haney

      It reminds me of Zelda II, where LOZ’s map is a quadrant of the ZII map.

      It looks huge. I bet I could spend 400 hours exploring it.

    • ECHenry

      The map builds on the geography in Twilight Princess. You can see Lake Hylia with Zora’s River going northward. But instead of ending at Zora’s Domain, it continues north, where we see it’s broken off from another river that comes from the sea.

    • Logan Mitchell

      I see it for sure!

  • Cortney Reber

    Is it just me or do the rock surfaces look like they need some work? Still the world looks amazing… Just up close the hard surfaces look less than stellar. I’m sure they are in the works!

  • B. Chaos

    anyone elso notice the gras bending away where link and epona walks?