The Legend of Zelda will forever be remembered as the launch pad for a now legendary series. It was this free and open world with lots of live action to the point that many had never experienced anything like it before. It was difficult, but not so difficult it was impassable. It had hidden items, hidden rooms, upgrades… it was really a game perfectly suited for the mid 80’s.
Zelda U is coming, and it’s coming at some point in the next… three years? I think that’s a rather safe time table, and as such it’s time to see what aspects it should simply inherit from the very first game released in its native series.
One thing I will always remember is how the game thrust you into the world the moment you started it. Unlike practically every Zelda game after, this is the one that truly stands out with a sense of loneliness. You are thrust into the world, not knowing what is going on, and openly unaware of where you came from.
Traditionally, Link literally “wakes up” in his house that is based in a hometown world full of life. It’s definitely a tried and true method, but what if Link instead woke up in the middle of events that are already happening. What if he was lying on the ground in the middle of the lost woods, dreaming, and a Kokiri or some other character finds him, wakes him up, and you’re stuck trying to piece together what exactly transpired?
How neat would it be to be thrust into the world of Hyrule without actually grasping what is going on? Your memory is unclear from being knocked unconscious. You don’t appear to have anything on you but the clothes on your back. You don’t know where you are from.
This to me opens a whole new world in not only storytelling, but it’s a beautiful nod to the original game, where you found yourself in a somewhat similar predicament.
While it was slightly due to system limitations at the time, one of the things many gamers grew to appreciate in The Legend of Zelda was the fact that any tree, any rock, and any bush could lead to some hidden secret. It wasn’t so obvious something was breakable… bombable… or able to be cut down with your sword. Often times when things are hidden… they are actually hidden. Not made blissfully aware to any on looker that “something is off”.
I would love to see this return. There are plenty of ways they could offer hints as to wear to drop that bomb (such as “three steps east of the yellow flower with 5 pedals in x area”) without giving away, just based upon appearances, where things are. It would also really add to the exploration factor, as we return to “there just might be something anywhere we can reach in this world”.
Speaking of exploration…
You could go anywhere you wanted in the first game, whether you were ready or had the proper items. It didn’t matter. Do the dungeons out of order; go explore all corners of the map. Go anywhere. You won’t always be able to progress without first obtaining certain items, but at least you could explore the area if you wanted.
Too often, games these days restrict what, where, and when you can explore an area. Why not just let us go anywhere and just have a story line sort of guide us back on the right path if we happen to forget what were supposed to be doing in the midst of exploring? In many ways this suggests a truly open world, but at least I should be able to go to any corner of the map right out the gate. What better way to encourage exploration?
You can argue that we got this in the release of Ocarina of Time 3D with Master Quest and in Skyward Sword with Hero Mode, but wouldn’t it be something if after beating the game, there is actually an entirely second game we can play in the same world? That would just be masterful, especially if you can tie in some different storyline elements or possibly expand the world. I know it’s a two games in one package concept, but what’s wrong with that?
He needs to return. Not just because he’s practically iconic these days, but because there was so much mystery surrounding him we never really did see how he played out. Who is he? Is it some mystical Wizard? Why does he know so much?
I would love to see a story that built him out as a true guiding spirit and a nice side character with a lot of personality.
Are there any other aspects of the first Zelda title you want to see brought over to Zelda U?