Tons of new footage, great use of a familiar Zelda tune… so much to love in less than two minutes. Read on for the trailer and details from Aonuma’s GDC session.
Fresh from GDC – the spiffy new Phantom Hourglass trailer. New enemies, locations, gameplay… you know, everything we’ve been waiting for.
UPDATE: AONUMA AT GDC
Aonuma has spoken… and while the world wasn’t quite rocked, he did open the door a bit on Phantom Hourglass. This summary is cobbled together from notes posted on both The Hylia and 1Up.
Though not as famous as his tea table upending boss, Aonuma has been the guiding hand on the good ship Zelda since Majora’s Mask. In his GDC session he talks about evolving the series to keep things fresh, and details some of the turns TP took on its way to completion.
Since the Japanese reception of TP wasn’t as what he hoped for, Aonuma decided to answer with Phantom Hourglass. Balancing the concerns of a ‘drifting’ Japanese gamer base and the needs of North American hardcore players, he calls it the first major innovation in a Zelda title since Ocarina, and goes in depth with the multiplayer battle mode to let loose some juicy specifics.
In the WiFi enabled battles, players are pitting against each other in shifting roles. While one player takes on the mantle of Link, and other controls three Phantom Guards. Between turns the roles are reversed, and the longest a round can last is twelve minutes.
When playing as Link, the goal is to collect Force Gems and return them to your mat. The larger the Gem the slower Link moves, but larger Gems are worth more points, adding an extra dash of strategy and variation to this capture-the-flag scenerio. Link is controlled with the stylus on the touch screen, while the top screen shows a map of the area. You can only see the Phantom Guards on the map when you have a Force Gem in your hands. The Guards attack automatically; Link has no defense but to stay out of their reach.
Control of the Phantom Guards works much like plotting ships in Star Fox Command – the map is moved to the touch screen and players draw paths for the Guards to follow, aiming for an interception. There are ‘safe zones’ in each area (including Link’s mat), where the Guards can neither touch nor see him.
Aonuma ends the session with an anecdote about his wife (rapidly becoming a Nintendo theme), and five-year-old son playing Twilight Princess – and states success comes when seeing someone playing a game makes you want to play too.