Returning Through the Dark
The first time I encountered a Zelda game was Christmas 1998, when I played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but one of my most exciting Zelda-related experiences happened on December 11th 2006 when Twilight Princess finally arrived. I’d waited the extra 22 long days to get my hands on the canonical GameCube version, you see, and, I kid you not, from the moment I got off the bus from school, several blocks from home, I literally ran like the wind to catch my Mom before she went out so she could drive me to Toys R Us to get it.
Now, I know the Zelda series has never been too hot on direct sequels– we’ve only had a few (Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, Majora’s Mask, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks) in its long twenty-five year history– but I think Wii U would be the perfect platform to continue the story of this 2006 hit. With its next-generation graphics and trusty GamePad, it would have enough power and wit respectively to make sure Nintendo does not drop the Bombchu with this one.
Storywise, Nintendo went completely backwards with Skyward Sword‘s origin tale, but this time we’d go to the complete opposite end of the spectrum with a Twilight Princess sequel that takes place one-hundred years after Ganondorf was defeated. With Toon Link being a better fit for 3DS, that leaves an opening in the official timeline after The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures. Now, I think drama is something we don’t see enough of in video games, especially Zelda, but if Nintendo continues to shun the advantages of voice acting then there are other ways it can create a dramatic atmosphere, and Wii U’s tagline of “Together, Better” could be directly implemented into the Zelda franchise by focusing on family.
Sometime after the conclusion of Twilight Princess, Link weds Zelda, and the couple of destiny becoming King and Queen of Hyrule. An age of peace engulfs the country and Link’s son enjoys leading a normal life while being inspired by his father’s past heroics. In this new tale, you play the role of the grandson, who must continue his grandfather’s legacy and destroy the oncoming storm: Majora. Ganondorf should not be present in this sequel, only appearing after the end cutscene in a surprise cliffhanger, hinting at his return in the next game. The reason I chose Majora as my villain of choice is a simple one. He has only appeared in one game and is very popular amongst Zelda fans. Magic could play a larger role in this game and give Link a more powerful arsenal against Majora, thus upping the ante.
Link… Hurry up and return to your true self…
I mean, no one can deny the fact that after seeing the Zelda Wii U tech demo at last year’s E3, realism is the way to go on Nintendo’s next-gen console, but I think they need to find a better balance between light and dark. We need a visually realistic Link in a Hyrule that blends Camelot with the grittiness of Twilight Princess. The perfect example of this is BBC’s current television series, Merlin. This new Zelda could be a colorful wonderland yet showcase intense horse and sword combat at the same time, especially since one of Twilight Princess‘ innovations to the series was horseback combat.
Three sets of control schemes should also be implemented, including the GamePad, Pro Controller, and Wii MotionPlus. The Gamepad could allow the player to easily access all menus with the swipe of a finger, the Pro Controller could offer only traditional controls, and MotionPlus could be all about the sword play mechanics found in Skyward Sword. The main issue I had with Skyward Sword was that the story took place too far in the past. I wanted to see more visual connections made with Ocarina of Time, like the beginnings of the small towns we all know and love. Most of all, I wanted to at least see Hyrule Castle, even if it was not yet completed. A Twilight Princess sequel could bring back familiar locations from the original but with the one-hundred year leap and Nintendo’s mantra of not sacrificing gameplay elements over story, this Hyrule could be greatly expanded while retaining continuity.
All in all, whether it’s an all new game or my own Twilight Princess sequel, I think the next Zelda needs its own Triforce of objectives: realistic graphics, Hyrule Castle, and depth. On May 11th 2004, E3 erupted with perhaps the biggest E3 reaction of all-time: the surprise reveal trailer for the then forthcoming Twilight Princess. Nintendo needs that again– and soon. If E3 2012 proved anything, it was that Nintendo’s seriously lacking in the surprise department these days, so I think they could really do with a similar Zelda reveal trailer at E3 2013. Here’s hoping Nintendo delivers the goods.