After the storm of information that was Nintendo’s E3 press conference, we learned about as much of the new Zelda title as we could have hoped. Everything from the graphics to the music to the basics of the story! There was such a wealth of information made available so quickly that it was tough for even us to process it all in one go.

As such, we felt it would be a good idea to collect everything (yes, everything) we now know about Skyward Sword into one simple, easy-to-read list. Be warned, however: there may be spoilers in this post! So read at your own risk.

Here’s a list of everything that we know so far:

2010 is so last year. Skyward Sword will be released in 2011 (possibly early on).

Yes, you heard right. During Nintendo’s E3 media event, Shigeru Miyamoto stated that the Zelda team needed more time to work hard on Skyward Sword to “create a few more dungeons, and create some more challenging bosses.” He said that they were in the “final stretch” and that they could “put it together relatively quickly.”  He then announced that the release date would be sometime during 2011. In an E3 interview with GameSpot, Mr. Aonuma said that they expect Skyward Sword to be released pretty early on in 2011.

The game utilizes an Impressionistic art style rather than the cel-shaded style of The Wind Waker or the “realism” style of Twilight Princess.

Moving painting

Originally Aonuma had intended to reuse Twilight Princess‘s graphics, but Miyamoto upended the tea table early on and demanded they try something new. Miyamoto himself was a huge fan of The Wind Waker’s cel-shaded art style, and was apparently so enthused with the proposal of an Impressionistic style for Skyward Sword that the approval process took but a single step. Described as a “moving painting,” Skyward Sword introduces an entirely new art direction to the Zelda franchise. But don’t be too quick to judge–they still may polish the graphics slightly before the game’s release.

The game features 1:1 sword battles and item controls, but that wasn’t always the case.

At one point in development Aonuma had decided 1:1 sword battle with Wii MotionPlus wasn’t really working and had Zelda Team remove that feature. Miyamoto was an advocate for 1:1 swordplay and asked the director for Wii Sports Resort to convince Aonuma that 1-to-1 motion control was the right way to go. Since then, 1-to-1 motion has been re-added to Skyward Sword, and all of the new and old items in Link’s arsenal have received MotionPlus control upgrades, enabling players to use them as if they were the real thing. Specifically the bow, which is held more like a real bow rather than pointing and firing.

The whip from Spirit Tracks makes a return.

Whip it! Whip it good!

When work on Spirit Tracks ended, some of the team who worked with Aonuma on that handheld title moved over to join him on Skyward Sword, and as a result the Whip weapon was brought over as well. It seems to work identically to the Spirit Track version with the ability to hit enemies, retrieve items, and swing Link over pits and other obstacles.

Accessing the inventory has been streamlined.

Is that an item in your pocket?

The Wii controller acts as a mouse which you use to select your item by pressing “B” and selecting the item from the circle of items, called the Item Pocket. Rather than having to point and click, you simply move the Wii controller to the general area on your body corresponding with the inventory circle.

The Nunchuck is used for the shield as well as moving Link.

While the Nunchuck does control Link, thanks to the addition of Wii MotionPlus, now you can thrust forward with it causing the shield to bounce projectiles back towards enemies. You can also shield bash enemies with this technique.

Link’s sword charges up with a sword beam when you hold it towards the sky.

Making a return to console Zelda not seen since A Link to the Past, the sword beam returns! This idea came from a desire to streamline the gameplay and avoid button presses, and also from an iconic image Miyamoto had in his head of Link holding his sword high above his head while riding Epona.

The Skyward Sword can seek treasure. (added 8/14/10)

While he wouldn’t go into specifics, Aonuma dropped the bomb that somehow we can use the Skyward Sword to find treasure. Whether the blade glows brighter and brighter the closer we get, or the personification girl says “cold, colder, warm, warmer! Hot! Dun dun dun dun!” remains to be seen.

Zelda gets orchestrated – for the first time ever.

Seeming to answer the outcry of fans, Skyward Sword will feature orchestral music rather than the MIDI and sampled instrument fare we’ve experienced before. Miyamoto felt that after Super Mario Galaxy introducing orchestral music in a Nintendo franchise, Zelda would have to follow suit.

The “demo area” seen in the E3 trailer is a field in the game. . . and is Hyrule! (added 8/14/10)

While many thought it was simply a “sandbox” created for the E3 demo and trailer, Aonuma explained that it was an actual section of the final game, but would be changed around a bit and that the bosses and some other enemies seen there would be in different places within the final game.

Potions can be used on the go (no need to stop while running!).

Also in effort to streamline the gameplay, Mr. Aonuma made sure that using items such as potions could be done without Link having to stop. He feels this is much more natural and keeps the energetic pace of the adventuresome Skyward Sword.

Link can now run and jump up walls.

Link can finally run! And without the need for Pegasus Boots, it would seem! Also, when you are close to a wall with a ledge within your reach, you will be able to run and jump up it, rather than slowly pull yourself up like in past games. This change is also due to Aonuma wanting Skyward Sword to have a quicker, more action-packed pace. However, you can’t make Link just run forever, because…

Hang on for your life! Link’s climbing and running abilities are limited.

Tick tock... don't fall, Link!

If you liked all of the vine-climbing in Twilight Princess, don’t get used to the way it works – in Skyward Sword Link no longer has the ability to endlessly cling to vines and walls. As Link climbs onto vines, a circular meter appears showing Link’s remaining strength. After the meter runs out, Link will lose his grip on the vines and plummet to the ground. This applies to any of Link’s usual tricks that consume a bunch of stamina. In the final game, this may not be limited to just running and climbing.  (Thanks to Corey for this one!)

The Beetle makes its first appearance.

Beetle mania

Sure to be a reappearing item in future Zelda games, the adorable Beetle item is introduced in Skyward Sword. Similar to the Hyoi Pear/Seagull combo in The Wind Waker and the blade of grass/falcon combo in Twilight Princess, Link now will have the ability to send a Beetle off to unseen areas and heights as a scout and as a way of retrieving items and activating switches. Controlling the Beetle takes advantage of Wii MotionPlus with easy-to-use, accurate control.

Swordless dungeons and weaponless puzzle solving.

The structure of modern Zelda games has become a bit predictable, and to break out of that, Aonuma promises that the structure has been shaken up quite a bit. There will be field areas that operate like dungeons with puzzles and bosses and such, and there will be dungeons where you go in and you lose your sword and you have to flee from the enemies and solve puzzles.

No voice acting. (added 8/14/10)

Sorry, voice acting fans. Aonuma confirmed that there will be no voice acting in Skyward Sword. He feels that since Link has always been (and will always be) “silent” (to us, not to the in-game characters) it would create a strange combination if we never heard Link speak, but we could hear others speaking to Link.

Skyward Sword’s story takes us high above the clouds… and down below them.

Skyward Sword‘s story is among the most intriguing of any Zelda game ever produced. Link begins his journey as a young boy living in a floating land high above the clouds called Skyloft. Unbeknownst to Link, and everyone else living in Skyloft, there is a land below the clouds ruled by evil forces – also known as Hyrule. The Skyward Sword, which Link finds in Skyloft, calls him to plunge below the clouds – that’s the scene were Link jumps off the cliff in the trailer – in order to vanquish the evil forces inhabiting Hyrule. Which brings us to our next point. . .

The Skyward Sword is actually the young lady from the concept art of 2009’s Roundtable.

The Skyward Girl

Yes, it’s true! Many speculated that the woman in the concept art was the personification of the Master Sword (see our point below for information about that), and it has been confirmed that she is the physical form of the Skyward Sword, which Link retrieves in Skyloft. She will accompany Link on his journey “searching for a lost or valuable friend.

At some point in the game, the Skyward Sword… becomes the Master Sword!

The Skyward Sword is the Master Sword, and at some point during the game it will make the full transition. We don’t know how this will happen, or if it will simply receive a new name instead of a physical transformation. But for those of you speculating that the woman in the concept art was the spirit or incarnation of the Master Sword, you were indeed correct!

The Princess makes an appearance! (added 8/14/10)

But she is definitely not the personification of the Master Sword. Aonuma was quick to clarify that. He joked that the series is named after her, so she would have to make an appearance.

This game takes place before Ocarina of Time! (added 8/14/10)

Being that we knew right from the get-go that Skyward Sword was about the origin of the Master Sword, this seemed obvious, but to abate any possible timeline confusion, Aonuma made it clear that this game absolutely takes place before Ocarina of Time. . . which brings us to. . .

“No comment” on Ganon. (added 8/14/10)

Rather than simply replying: “How could he be in this game? It takes place prior to his first appearance in Ocarina of Time.” Mr. Aonuma would only say that he had no comment on whether or not Ganon would be in Skyward Sword. We will just have to wait and see. . .

News & Articles about Skyward Sword from Zelda Universe

Media, Guides and More

And more that we don’t know…

As we eagerly await more info from Nintendo, we at least have this list of things to ponder over. This should keep us busy for a while!