The 2000s were clearly an exciting decade for the Zelda series. More than half of the Zelda games in existence were released in that decade—a total of 10 out of the current 16 (if you’re just counting the canonical ones). Unfortunately though, jumping into the next decade would not be so dramatic. 2010 was a rebuilding year – a year “in-between” Zelda games for both the portable and console titles. That’s not to say nothing happened, mind, but Zelda was much more under the covers, getting ready for its 25th anniversary the next year.
It started off with a rather sad note, however. On New Year’s Day, The Hero of Time, the fan-created movie with the fake British accents and a yellow wig that would terrify the Internet, was taken offline as a result of a cease and desist order from Nintendo. In truth, the fact that it stayed up for as long as it did was a godsend from Nintendo, who granted the fan-film permission to stay online for several more weeks until the end of 2009 so that fans of the series at least could see the film. Unfortunately though, Nintendo wouldn’t budge with its order, presumably feeling that having a fan film online cut into their theoretical future plans to make an actual Zelda film, or that the fan film—with a production quality somewhere between professional and amateur—would give the Legend of Zelda a negative connotation to those new to the series. Ultimately we never found out Nintendo’s intentions. In the end, the movie went the way of the graveyard, getting removed from the Internet for good.
As far as Zelda games were concerned, 2010 was pretty much strictly announcements with most of the major focus going onto Mario due to it being his 25th year – there were no Zelda games scheduled for the duration. What was announced though was the Nintendo 3DS. Announced at the March Game Developer’s Conference and revealed at E3, the device’s existence itself was leaked on the Internet several weeks prior to the announcement, something that was actually quite surprising given that Nintendo’s information security tends to be fairly solid. At any rate, with Spirit Tracks having been released relatively late during the year, it wasn’t surprising that there wasn’t a 3DS Zelda announcement at the heels of this; nevertheless, it did cause everyone to begin wondering what a 3D Zelda game might end up being. Up until that point, all Zelda games had used a top-down perspective, something that really doesn’t mandate the use of 3D. Still to this day, we remain in the dark as Nintendo formulates their strategy.
What was actually revealed was a trio of games that would come out in 2011 for Zelda’s 25th anniversary. Link’s Awakening was promised for the 3DS, leading gamers to wonder whether the game would be an actual 3D remake or just a port. Nintendo also announced, to most people’s surprise, Ocarina of Time 3D. Originally Miyamoto and the development team stressed that OoT3D was not necessarily a full title but merely a technology demo in order to prove the gameplay merits of the 3DS. However, either the statement itself was a marketing lie or internal and external pressure forced them to reconsider as eventually the game would later be announced to be “within the launch window” for the 3DS, coming just three months after the console’s release. However, I’m already blurring the lines with 2011, so I’ll stop right there.
Lastly, there were continued details about Skyward Sword. The game was still very much under wraps at this point, though gradually more and more details were beginning to come in. The E3 Nintendo presser featured Miyamoto on stage explaining all of the various items that Link would be wielding in the game, complete with an explanation of how to use them since the game would be the first Zelda title to use the Wii Motion Plus to create 1:1 action sequences. The demo would prove to be a little awkward on stage due to wireless interference with thousands of laptops crammed into the theatre, making many nervous of whether or not the new controls would be a success, but reports from the show floor seemed to paint a much better picture. Ultimately, the gameplay stint that was revealed proved to be a throwaway section of the world and wouldn’t make it into the game, but it did give us our first real look at real, motion-controlled sword-fighting action.
Beyond that, there isn’t really much else to say. No major community projects… no other major news or paraphernalia to go over. Well, okay, except one thing:
MISTER PILGRIM. Yes, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is only loosely tied to the Zelda universe due to its script being heavily referential to videogames, but it does make some good filler in the meantime. Zelda is referenced from time to time throughout this movie about gamers, losers, love, and the League of Evil Ex-boyfriends, but the most well-known placement came from Zelda’s Item Get soundbite being placed prominently in the movie. Everyone seemed to be all atwitter over the fact that the movie producers sought special permission from Nintendo to include that specific sound effect in the game. It may not be much, but it is something.
The creation of the Scott Pilgrim movie brought back the age-old question once again of whether or not the Legend of Zelda could be made into a movie… and more importantly whether it should. With the Internet entering the age of fans being able to make and share their own content (just look in LittleBigPlanet to see how many Zelda stages there are), bigger and more complicated Zelda projects created by fans have become the norm. Already two fan-movies—albeit of questionable genres and movie-worthiness—have been released, and the community generally accepts them because they aren’t official, nor can they be ever made canonical. But fear always seems to spread whenever anyone mentions the old 1993 movie Super Mario Bros. and just what a similar B-class Zelda movie might be like. A good movie would become a beacon and a gateway for a huge influx of new Zelda gamers; a bad movie would cause us all to be ashamed for our love of Hyrule. The real question is whether or not, by our standards, Nintendo could even possibly make a “good movie.” Only time will tell.
Well, we’re almost at the end. Today in Europe, gamers can already clutch their copies of the sixteenth Zelda game with devout adoration. For the rest of the known world, we still wait in anticipation… that is unless Amazon decides to actually ship our copies to us before the street date. So if you’re still without Zelda and need some entertainment tomorrow, come on back as we wrap up the countdown… and then after that take a look into the future.