2011 was a wonderful year to be a Zelda fan. With the series celebrating its 25th anniversary along with two major game releases, Nintendo pulled out all the stops to ensure that its fans would be left feeling overloaded with goodies.
Here are my favorite highlights from 2011.
Zelda turns 25
The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony
Skyward Sword Released
Skyward Sword was the first major console Zelda release in five years. Expectations for the game were high, and overall for most gamers it did not disappoint. In fact, I’ve seen several fans declare it to be the best Zelda ever. Skyward Sword also changed Zelda gaming as we know it, with the introduction of motion controls via the Wii MotionPlus. Despite the controls taking a little getting used to, most agreed that they were great. Those who pre-ordered the game received a special gold Zelda Wii Remote and a CD with music from the 25th anniversary symphony.
For me, this was a real surprise packet that came along at the very end of the year, after I’d assumed all of the 25th anniversary celebrations were finished. This 274-page book was released to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the series and contains artwork, manga, stories and a Zelda timeline. The announcement of an official Zelda timeline caused a lot of stir among Zelda fans who have spent years theorizing about the placement of each game in the series. The one downside about Hyrule Historia is that so far it has only been released in Japan and is in Japanese, so let’s all really hope that an official English translation is made.
Ocarina of Time 3D
2011 saw the re-release of the Zelda game considered to be the all-time greatest. Ocarina of Time 3D took the 1998 classic and gave it a graphical overhaul along with a conversion to 3D. This meant that fans of the classic could enjoy playing it again with its new look, and those who may not have played it when it was new back in 1998 had a chance to experience it like any other new game. For a limited time those who purchased the game could also get its official soundtrack.
Ocarina of Time wasn’t the only Zelda game to see a re-release in 2011. Link’s Awakening DX was also re-released, as was Four Swords with a special anniversary edition. Those who were part of the 3DS Ambassador program also received The Minish Cap, The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link.
Zelda Anniversary 3DS Console
A special limited-edition Nintendo 3DS console was produced to commemorate the 25th anniversary. This beautiful 3DS was black, with gold markings which included the familiar Royal Crest.
A Look at the Future: Zelda on Wii U
At E3 in June, Nintendo unveiled the successor to the Wii: the Wii U. In order to demonstrate the capabilities of the new console, they showed a tech demo which used scenes of Zelda gameplay. Although this was created purely for the demo and is not part of any Zelda game in development, it gives us a look at what Zelda might look like on the Wii U and in HD for the first time. It certainly was pretty. There’s also no doubt that we’ll be seeing Zelda on the Wii U, the only question is whether or not it will look like what we saw at E3.
25 Years in 25 Days
We at Zelda Universe also did something special in celebration of Zelda’s anniversary. In the 25 days leading up to the release of Skyward Sword, we took a look back at the last 25 years of Zelda history. Read all of the articles here.
There’s really no denying that 2011 was the year of Zelda, and that Zelda fans around the world, including myself, are very grateful to Nintendo for what they have given us. I’m not sure if 2012 will be able to beat it, but you can be assured that Nintendo will be continuing the series for many years to come. We at Zelda Universe wish you a very happy new year and look forward to bringing you all the latest Zelda news, insights, articles and fandom in 2012 and beyond!
Also, let us know what your own favorite Zelda moment of 2011 was in the comments below.