Snipping at the heels of the Skyward Sword release, rumor season has sprung again with bold reports detailing the Wii U edition of our favorite game set to be released in 2014, according to wiiudaily.com. An alleged reliable, anonymous source in Nintendo of Japan has told wiiudaily, among other things, that the new Wii U Zelda will retain the graphical style of Skyward Sword, with the developers feeling they have reached a “sweet spot with Skyward Sword, and they’re continuing this approach with the Wii U Zelda game”
However, there are many good reasons why the details of this rumor don’t check out. Our resident game developer The Missing Link gives reasons why. Click on to see more of the rumor and TML’s thoughts.
Along with keeping the same artistic graphical style as SS, it’s reported that Wii U Zelda has the biggest development team ever, saying: “They got hundreds of people working on the new Wii U Zelda game” being headed by Eiji Aonuma, who have been working on the game since 2010. The source goes on to say;
“It’s a 4-year development cycle with a new console, new technology, new engine etc. It’ll end up being the most expensive game they’ve made to date. It’s a huge investment for them [Nintendo] in money and manpower, this is Rockstar/GTA territory”.
Lofty claims, indeed. If this story is to be believed, this would be a major departure from traditional Zelda games that don’t ever match the scale of sandbox games like Grand Theft Auto.
Further details include a brand new orchestrated soundtrack and a lack of knowledge about the story, saying;
“I really can’t comment on that [the story] because I have no idea what it is. I dunno where it’s set in the Zelda timeline. I’ve seen a grown up Link who looks like a much higher detailed Link from Skyward Sword. I haven’t see [sic] any cut scenes or boss fights either at this point. I’m not sure they’ve made any of that yet”
There are details about a dungeon, said to be a large Forest bigger than Hyrule Field in Ocarina of Time.
“Its scope and details are unlike anything you’ve seen in a Zelda game”
As for utilizing the online features in the Wii U, wiiudaily says not to look forward to online multiplayer, but more of a system within the Wii U social network to share hints with friends.
HD graphics is another point the anonymous source touches on, albeit sort of obvious, although do not expect anything like the Zelda demo we saw at E3, something Nintendo themselves said, clarifying that it was only a tech demo.
Innovation with the gamepad is a feature in the new Zelda, the source explains;
“Everything in the game is built around the controller and its unique abilities. Every single feature in the controller is used to its full potential. Some of this stuff is still in early stages of development, but they’ve already implemented enough to show just what’s possible with the new controller. They showed some of this stuff to key third party devs behind closed doors last year to get them to realize the possibilities of the new tech.”
That’s the bulk of the details given, however, with most rumors, this should be treated with a good dose of skepticism. ZU staff member The Missing Link (TML), a game developer with years of experience explains why:
If the game is scheduled to be released in 2014, that likely means that they don’t even have their First Playable build up — that’s the point at which point the game has a vertical slice working in engine (which means that they have one piece of everything they hope to do working). And certainly if there was pieces playable, they’d be in draft stages. Whatever they’d be drawing upon would be a lot of concept art and concept designs… the likes of which can certainly change between here and there.
“He added that the Wii U Zelda game is so big, it wouldn’t be possible without the 25 GB Blu-ray based storage that the console uses.” — I worked on a game that needed a 25GB Blu-Ray. (Incidentally, it originally needed 26, but I was one of the two devs that crammed it back under 25.) The reason we needed 25GB was because we were localizing for 11 languages… and the audio for all that took 11GB.
“At least one of the hardware features added to the GamePad were solely implemented because the Zelda team figured out they could do something cool with it.” — Note also that they didn’t say which feature it was. To know that detail while still omitting it is pretty… dodgy.
I’m also finding the stuff about the entire-forest dungeon particularly unbelievable. Just the way they describe it seems… kind of silly. “The hardware was buggy and broken… but man they made an entire forest dungeon. And it’s awesome!” When it comes to pre-production, you start small and work your way bigger. To some degree, if you’re trying to come up with massively large levels, yes, you do push the envelope, but not in all vectors simultaneously. Granted, it could have been an R&D project. Push the envelope and see how much you can do. But if it were, it’d have run using Skyward Sword assets more or less. It’d have been sketched out using their old engine first. And all in all, it could very much be throwaway. The earlier years will have a lot of throwaway work because you’re exploring possibilities.
To conclude, I am not saying that this is impossible. But it sounds like [a] someone who is making up a bunch of stuff or [b] someone who doesn’t really know game development at all and possibly just saw little snippets. Of the two, the first is much more likely. Yes, there will be a Wii U Zelda. It will probably look really pretty with HD graphics. And it will probably use the unique features of the Wii U.
Whether or not it’s as it’s described here… that’s another story.