We know what Zelda U looks like. We know it is based on an open world concept. Beyond that we know very little, and that is what leads into today's wishlist. We all love various aspects of Zelda, but what do we really want out of the game? That's for you to decide for yourself, but below I present my 10 ideas and concepts I want to see implemented into Zelda U.
10. Return of the Bombers' Notebook
No, I don't literally need to see the same notebook return, but what that notebook represented. It was the catalyst for what became the most engaging set of sidequests the Zelda series has ever had, and it really helped make the world and the people in it connect with the player. For this reason, the entire concept of the Bombers' Notebook should return for Zelda U, just as a function to help enrich the content within the world we are playing in.
09. Multiple Modes of Transportation
Epona is great, but why must that be the only way we can traverse Hyrule? The series has explored other methods of transportation in the past, but it has never combined multiple forms of transportation into a singular game. Imagine riding Epona in a wide open Hyrule Field, but hopping into a flying machine to reach the tallest peak on Death Mountain. I think there is a ton of explorative opportunities here.
08. An Expanded Item Upgrade System
Upgrades are nothing new to the Zelda series, but most of the time it has only used it in a very minimalistic type of way. In general, most games have you outright replacing your sword with a better one, and Majora's Mask let you physically upgrade your existing sword; Skyward Sword took this further and A Link Between Worlds applied it to every item. I would love to see this expanded into a full blown upgrade and crafting system, even letting us make adjustments to Link's traditional garb.
07. Transformation Masks
The three transformation masks in Majora's Mask added more gameplay variety than any combination of new and usable items have ever done in the past, and I would love to see them return in some fashion, either in the traditional sense or even with some additions. Whatever the case may be, the added gameplay depth could really be a big boon for Zelda U.
06. More Expanded Technology
I wasn't exactly sure how to word this, but the mechanical arrow we saw during the reveal is one example of how I want to see this pushed further. Technology has been part of the series for awhile, and I would love to see it get expanded upon even further. Done right, it can really bring some needed freshness to the whole experience.
05. Literally Hundreds of Characters We Can Interact With
We know we're getting an open world, but what is the point of having such a vast world without interactive NPCs? I don't mean just a few dozen either, but several hundred. Even if they don't provide quests or missions, I would love to have a fun conversation with any and all locals in a given area. I want to actually be able to talk to any character I see—not just have them be backdrops like they were in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess.
04. A Complicated Story That Isn't Forgotten
Let's be honest: the Zelda series isn't exactly known for it's engrossing story telling. Sure, we've written at length about the impact the story has and the lessons it can teach, but a lot of that is us reading way too much into something that is, at the core, rather simple in nature. As our Rewriting Twilight Princess series reminds us, a lot of what happens in a Zelda game is quickly forgotten and the impact is lost, or some things are simply rushed. I would love for there to be a keen attention to detail in Zelda U when it comes to story telling. If certain story arcs are concluded, the conclusion should feel natural and final.
03. A More Engaging Ganondorf
Look, we don't know if Ganondorf is going to be involved, but almost every story that takes place in a traditional Hyrule involves him in some way. If he is involved, I want to feel his presence throughout the game, similar really to the impact he had in The Wind Waker. We understood his motives and they weren't just pure evil in nature. I could almost feel sorry for him, and that is the side of Ganondorf I love the most. One where he isn't pure evil and has good intentions, even if the means to those intentions are inherently wrong.
02. A Customizable Link
This is a point of contention among many fans, but I personally want Link to be 100% customizable. It is easy enough to let Link be male, female, long hair, short hair, black hair, green eyes.. or whatever people want and still keep much of the traditions going—like the green garb. As long as the usual Link design remains as the default avatar, I see nothing wrong with offering players the choice. If Eiji Aonuma is serious about Link just being a vessel (as he puts it), then letting us get even more personally invested into the character feels like a natural progression.
01. Voice Acting for All But Link
What wishlist is complete without this? Voice Acting is long overdue for the series and can even be made optional for those that don't like it. For others, it helps engage them into the world and greatly increases immersion by not needing to read text boxes. For others, it doesn't bother them. As long as Link doesn't talk—every other character in the game has a personality it tries to present, one that is easier to present with voice acting. It can, and should, be done. I think even the naysayers will enjoy it once it actually happens. Get on it, Nintendo. Even Mighty No. 9 is trying to add it, and that's a 2D sidescrolling indie game.
What's your wishlist?