Zelda U may be a long ways off, but
it’s almost a certainty that Eiji Aonuma and company are going to
take inspiration from the Zelda series at large and then try to
expand upon it and/or break some of the common molds. When
discussing anything in terms of taking aspects away for a new game in
the Zelda series you simply have to start with Ocarina of Time.
Regardless of my own feelings that
place the game outside of my top five, it’s undeniable the impact the
game made not only for the Zelda series, but the gaming industry at
large. That is why I firmly believe there are given aspects of Ocarina
of Time that Zelda U should absolutely take advantage of.
Implementing a Fairy Companion
Over the years we have seen several
different companion types. Be it Navi, Tatl, King of the Red Lions,
or even a princess (be it Midna, or even Zelda herself). One constant
image always seems to stick in people’s minds – Link running around
with a fairy helper.
That isn’t to say it should stick with
the simple lock on system Navi provided and her basic text of “Hey,
Listen!”, but you could turn a fairy-like character into sort of a
moral compass type. You have to know this is on Nintendo’s mind,
because despite the fact Twilight Princess never featured a fairy,
Link was seen with one in the Zelda HD Experience. This naturally
leaves you to understand the importance such a companion has to both
the fans and the developers.
Sense of Wonder
At this point, Ocarina of Time is best
remembered because it was the first Zelda game to appear in a 3D
world. It was magical, it was special, and it perfectly transformed a
2D top down game in a fully encapsulating experience unlike anything
seen before it.
That’ s a hard feeling to recapture,
given it was specifically possible due to the advancement in
technology. While HD in that of itself isn’t nearly the same
technical achievement, it does open the door for us to be left with a
massive sense of wonder… depending upon the given art style.
It won’t be the first Zelda game we get
to see in HD – that honor belongs to the beloved The Wind Waker –
but it will be the one that will leave us with a lasting impact from
this generation. With the proper art style combined with the HD
resolution, Nintendo has that unique chance again to make us feel
like we are traveling Hyrule in real life. Something that many
haven’t felt since they first booted up the launch screen in Ocarina
Magic Obtained through Fairy Fountains
Magic returning in some form to the
series has long been a calling card of the fans, and Ocarina of Time
was far from the first game to feature magical related feats.
However, it was the first to do it in a 3D world, and sadly the last.
There is no denying the unique
potential reintroducing magic could provide the overall experience.
It doesn’t need to be anything over the top, but even a simple fire,
ice, and water like ability is appreciated. The prospect of obtaining
it through Fairy Fountains was also an intriguing aspect in Ocarina
The reason the fountains are brought up
in general was to point out that I think magic in Zelda U should also
be one of those optional, side quest style, experiences. That yes,
magic is in this world and you can use to accomplish a copious amount
of tasks, but only if you’re willing to explore it and find the
hidden wonders within.
It truly did add a reason to explore,
even a little bit, and provided a very unique benefit. Magic, it
needs to return, and it needs to follow in Ocarina of Time‘s
Ultimate Evil’s Ever Involved Presence
One thing that has irked many fans in
the latest two console games was the fact that the main villain
wasn’t present as a threat throughout the entirety of the experience.
We know that in Skyward Sword, it’s technically true that Demise is
present through the imprisoned, but we don’t fully grasp or
understand that presence until the end of the game. While we may
repeatedly reseal the beast, we aren’t even sure what the impact
really is if the beast does get free, since technically he is so easy
to put back down with the Skyward Sword (and later, the Master
Ganondorf in Ocarina of Time is present
very early in the game. When you sneak into the courtyard in order to
speak with Zelda, you are shown Ganondorf bowing before the king, and
suggestions of his evil plight are instantly recognizable by the
player. There is the main bad guy, right in front of you, seemingly
acting innocent. He’s present, he’s there, and Zelda gives you this
fear of what he is capable of.
Later, we seem him racing off with
Zelda as a captive, smiling, looking creepy, and clearly up to no
good. Fast forward, and eventually you skip seven years ahead, and
the first thing spoken to you when you wake up is the wrath Ganondorf
has put upon Hyrule… and then you get to see it first hand. He
might not have been present in character, but he was present in
speech and affect.
The fact is, we haven’t gotten that in
the last couple console games. Both times we got to see sort of the
“resurrection” type story first popularized with A Link to the
Past. It’s time we return to when the final enemy, be it Ganondorf or
whoever, is actually present and giving off a threat throughout the
entirety of the game.
Multiple Villages and Towns
Ocarina of Time wasn’t the first with
this, but it was the first to have it in a way that presented
multiple cultures and hubs for Link to deal with. He had Kokiri
Forest, Kakariko Village, and Castle Town – three distinct villages
he uses as a hub during certain questing. This had begun to vanish
over the years with more recent releases – where the home town is
all but forgotten and there isn’t much outside of the one hub world.
What really made Ocarina of Time seem
like a living and growing world were the constant expansion of people
you got to see in various situations. It’s not enough to just have
say, the home of the Zoras at Zora’s Domain, but what about a second
outlying Zora village? What about some new towns outside of the
starting area, Kakariko Village, and Castle Town? What about some new
lore that leads to new villages?
There is a lot to be said about having
more than one place to go. Also, in Ocarina of Time, they managed to
keep each place interesting with unique things to do, so be sure to
carry that over as well.
That completes my overall thoughts on
what Zelda U should take from Ocarina of Time. Are there any other
aspects you would take and use again?