The following article is one I wrote for a series of weekly editorials that appear on my blog called Epic Disasters in Video Game History. As the title suggests, the articles examine some particularly… dubious situations in the history of the video game medium to determine exactly what went wrong and the long term ramifications of these blunders. While most of them don’t deal with The Legend of Zelda in particular, this one did, and I thought that some of you guys out there who take a sick pleasure in reading about these cringe-worthy situations would enjoy it! Without further ado,

 

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

The way that a developer announces their game to the world can go a long way towards making or breaking the success of that game. Games that have just a quick press release from the developer saying “coming next year!” are probably going to be met with little fanfare as little fanfare went in to making the game seem like a big deal. Conversely, a game that’s had a bombastic reveal, maybe a huge trailer or a press conference dedicated to it, will seem like a much bigger deal than it maybe is. It’s all part of the hype game. Get people excited. Get people talking.

There can perhaps be no better example of how to properly reveal a video game than E3 2004. That year, Nintendo had a solid, if somewhat dull, press conference, showing off games like Metroid Prime 2, Resident Evil 4, and Baten Kaitos, while introducing the Nintendo DS. However, towards the end of the conference, Reggie struts back on stage with a sly look on his face and the swagger of someone who’s got an ace up his sleeve. “Before you leave” he starts “I’d like you to step in one more world…”

Cue this.

Crowd goes absolutely wild. Grown men are crying. Start the engine, cause the hype train is rolling. THAT, my friends, is how you reveal a video game.

So how did it all go so wrong just six years later?

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword should have been a crowning achievement for Nintendo. The next massive Zelda title on their most successful system that would usher in the Wii Motion Plus and finally show how tight motion controls could be. It could probably even give the Wii a bit of a boost in its final years too, since the console had been slagging a little bit in recent years. Nintendo must have thought that after the success of Twilight Princess, and with even more Wii consoles in people’s homes, they had another touchdown throw on their hands.

Unfortunately, they not only fumbled the ball, but they picked the ball up, ran, and scored a touchdown for the other team while they were at it.

Conventional wisdom says that the big problem was the tech demo of the game, which it was, but the problems started much earlier for Nintendo that day. Whereas Twilight Princess had its trailer at the tail end of 2004’s conference, giving it that main event aura, Skyward Swords’ trailer kicked off proceedings in 2010. Right off the bat, Skyward Sword feels like a lessor deal than Twilight Princess was. Likewise, where as the Twilight Princess trailer had more of a cinematic narrative to it and left fans wanting more, Skyward Swords’ trailer was built ENTIRELY around the motion controls of the game. Nothing about the trailer is particularly exciting, except ironically for the intro, where you see shades of Zelda past before the trailer proper starts off.

So what we have so far is an bad trailer in the wrong spot kicking off the show. This would probably be survivable, until the infamous tech demo happens.

First and foremost, it’s incredibly boring, with Mr. Miyamoto and Bill Trenin, who after about a minute in starts to realize nothing is working and looks like he wants to run to the nearest bar and order a double whisky sour, standing there giving us a slow, plodding demo of Link’s sword movements.

This is where the s*** really hits the fan.

Instead of Link swinging his sword in tune with Mr. Miyamoto’s Wiimote, Link looks more like your great aunt waving her cane around after she’s dipped into the liquor cabinet on Christmas. This bungled demo goes on for fif… teen… minutes. The crowd, silent and confused, seems to breathe a sigh of relief when the demo finally ends, as I’m sure everyone at Nintendo did that day.

We would later learn that infrared from the cameras had made the Wii Motion Plus sensors go bonkers, thus the shaky performance, but the damage was done. Skyward Sword carried that stigma for the rest of its shelf life, and indeed, carries it today still.

Skyward Sword is probably my second favorite Zelda game, so I don’t want to be misunderstood as attacking the motion controls here. I think they worked fine and well. But the selling point of Skyward Sword should have been the origins of the Master Sword, the beginning of Hyrule, and not how the game controlled. To this day, “motion controls” is a dirty word to a lot of Zelda faithful. I also don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Skyward Swords’ sales were impacted by it. Look, I know that it came at the tail end of the Wii’s life cycle, but this is a system that sold one hundred million units. 3.95 million units sold is nothing to scoff at, but it’s a soft number for such a big franchise with such a large install base, especially when you compare it to Twilight Princess’s 7.15 million units on the Wii alone.

Revealing a game can be a tricky art. Do you wait until it’s playable? Do you just let your fans know you’re working on it? Do you you slowly leak details until it’s ready to go? Far more qualified people than me can make those calls, but one things for sure: whatever the proper way to reveal a video game is, it was the opposite of Skyward Sword.

And that’s a wrap! Get ready as next time we’re going to examine the troubled history of a game that lived in developmental hell for years, finally saw the light of day, only to be dragged back down to hell after it’s release! Until then!

 

If you’d like to read more Epic Disasters in Video Game History, click here. Andy Spiteri is a Senior Editor / Podcast host for Zelda Informer. You can check out his blog for more video game ramblings or follow him on Twitter.

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  • Blake Wigert

    Why do I get the feeling that this ‘Epic Disasters in Video Game History’ is gonna focus on Nintendo? Because it is cool to hate on Nintendo, he answers himself.

    • Chance LeBoeuf

      Probably not because I assume the teaser for the next installment is referring to Duke Nukem Forever. Even so, people give Nintendo criticism for a reason because they do quite a bit to deserve it. It’s not being a “hater”. It’s just being realistic. Good fans shouldn’t make excuses for, or try to justify the screw ups. You should call them out on it.

      • Blake Wigert

        I get what you’re saying, but Nintendo doesn’t deserve anywhere near the amount of shit they take. Gamers and 3rd parties alike shun them, for what, making high quality games? I won’t turn this into my 1 millionth tirade on 3rd parties and the injustices they impose on Nintendo, that’s not what this is about. If you are interested in my views on that matter, just ask. Anyhow, this example, is neither a disaster or a screw up, it was wavelength interference from the cameras recording the E3, nothing that Nintendo could prevent. All I’m saying is that Nintendo often is the butt of the jokes in the industry, either them being ‘behind’ in technology, which is utterly false, how could they stay in business if that were the case, if they couldn’t physically receive ports of games? Or the falsehood that Nintendo is just for kids.

        • Greenbeans

          What in the holy name of me are you talking about? Do you even know?

          Third parties shun Nintendo because Nintendo has a long history of mistreating their third party developers and running third party software development like a dictatorship. It has nothing to do with them making good games. See, Nintendo isn’t only a software developer, they also make hardware. And that hardware has been abandoned by third party developers since the PS1 came out for many completely justified reasons, because Nintebdo deserves it. These aren’t “injustices”.

          Second, utterly false? Uhhh… Do you know what you’re actually saying, or are you just typing cluelessly? Nintendo hardware is behind the times, and their consoles have failed because they physically can not recieve ports of games. This is a fact. The Wii was last gen hardware, as was the Wii U, as is the Switch, and they all suffered the same problem of missing out on big name releases because they legitimately can’t ru the games. N64 and GC suffered from clueless issues of their own. Because hardware Nintendo is incompetent.

          Injustices though, that was a good laugh. Lol Nintendo is the butt of jokes because for the last 20 years, aka before you were born, they have been a joke.

        • Chance LeBoeuf

          When it comes to making arbitrary moves, Nintendo is king so yes, they do deserve the criticism they get. And honestly, Nintendo fans don’t give them enough. I’ve lost count how many times you see the fanboys always playing defense for this company that still showcase their lack of ability to learn from mistakes, do shady things like the rest, and keep doing things without real rhyme or reason.

          I may also enjoy their work, but fanboys need to stop pledging ridiculous loyalty to them. I’ll never understand that for any company and their particular hunk of plastic to play games on. Don’t be that ridiculous fanboy.

          These video game companies are like a stripper, they don’t actually like you, they just pretend to so you give them all your money.

        • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

          Except a GOOD chunk of that criticism IS PERFECTLY JUSTIFIED.
          How they have handled some stuff, like Youtube, is just a** backwards to the point you can’t for your life being just say “it’s not that bad”(they’re restricting and charging what most sane companies embrace as free publicity and try to charge money on that stuff).
          And good grief, 3rd parties are so mean!…no, f*ck that. How can you justify THAT train of thought, when there’s some rocky history with 3rd parties where NINTENDO is the offender(their relationship with Rockstar games is in bad terms and it’s NOT because of Rockstar, the old time debacle with Argonaut games is there as well, and they lost so much support from Square not because Square was mean to them).
          And given this DAMAGED a lot the image of the game(little matters why, in the eye of the public if something fails to deliver it’s first impression…it IS a disaster)
          And that’s not entering the realm of how, YES, many Nintendo consoles can’t for their life being run the same crap as the other consoles, how counter-inductive their console architecture has shown to be for 3rd party developers, and so on(not supporting certain engines, forcing their formats on these companies, and many, MANY other questionable practices have been common problems since the N64).

          Oh, the fan boyish speech(Not kidding here, you DO sound that bad, kid)

    • Andy Spiteri

      Articles in the Epic Disasters series (So far)

      The NES Classic (So one)
      Too Human
      The Sega Saturn
      No Man’s Sky

      I try to switch up between the big companies every article

      • The Gamer of Legend

        Oh please do,
        Philips CD-I Hotel Mario, Faces of Evil, Wand of Gamelon,
        Microsoft’s Purchasing of Rareware
        Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, Behind the Scenes
        Fire Emblem Fates: Censorship Edition
        Konami, just Konami as a whole
        The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Almost Marked The End for the Zelda Franchise?

        I think, that’s all I got. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your articles. Thank you for the content.

      • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

        My, the Sega Saturn was such a burn.

    • Greenbeans

      It’s not a matter of being cool, it’s a matter of being completely justified.

  • spacefan1993

    Back when I still had a Wii (before it got fried when our house was struck by lighting last year), I liked to lay on the futon in our basement and play the Wii that way (I was a bit of a lazy gamer). Given the design for the motion controls in Twilight Princess, it was much easier to play in a sitting down or laying down position.

    Skyward Sword, on the other hand, required you to either be sitting up or standing up. Instead of just flicking my wrist to swing my sword, I had to move my whole arm, something I couldn’t do laying down. While the concept was a novel idea at the time, it wore thin for me pretty quickly. As such, I prefer the motion controls of Twilight Princess over those of Skyward Sword.

    • Johtoboy

      Are you me? I love to game laying down and that’s why the Wiimote+nunchuck is my favorite controller of all time.

    • Kevin

      I was able to lay down just fine playing Skyward Sword.

      • Chance LeBoeuf

        Only if you’d go out of your way to position your sensor bar somewhere that allowed you to, and even so you’re making more movement than necessary to play a game when the most comfortable way to play while you’re laying in bed, is just holding a controller. Tons easier now since every almost all are now wireless. You’re not kidding anyone.

        I can tell you how I was able to find enjoyment in StarFox Zero after getting used to the obtuse control scheme, but that doesn’t change the fact the controls were objectively pretty awful and annoyed a lot of people for good reason.

        • Kevin

          I didn’t have to love my sesnor bar at all from where I had it previously. I had mostly no problems with the controls. Only thing I had to do was recenter occasionally. The big problem mainly for Skyward Sword was that it was linear. The controls for the most point worked fine.

        • Skyward Sword doesn’t require a sensor bar, lol.

          It’s literally not used for anything in the game. It entirely uses the gyro to read movements and point.

          This comment shows a lack of understanding how motion controls in Skyward Sword even worked.

          I can’t argue on obtuse control schemes though. The reality is that the devs choose to use a tech that the average person doesn’t know how to work and as such are prone to mess it up or handle it improperly. Making it harder for players to grasp how to execute commands. Ultimately making the experience less enjoyable for many and give up the game.

          That said the controls did in fact work perfectly. Again though this comes down understanding the actual controls and the devices used in the game.

          • Chance LeBoeuf

            Um, did you just never have a Wii? Because you needed your sensor bar to play everything concerning the remotes. Your comment shows a lack of understanding of how the Wii worked.

          • Where did I say the Wii main menu screen? I’m talking about the game Skyward Sword. Start it up, unplug your sensor bar and see what happens. It makes no difference, IR aiming isn’t used in Skyward Sword, as such you don’t need the sensor bar.

  • Randroid

    The motion controls on Skyward Sword worked about half the time for me. The other half of the time, he’d be swinging the sword in some random direction that was not even close to the motion I made. That wouldn’t be such a big deal except that many of the enemies and puzzles required you to swing in a specific direction. I still enjoyed the game as a whole, but the motion controls were one of its major downfalls.

    • Vados

      Never had that issue. The motion controls worked almost flawlessly for me. The only time it actually misread my input, was in the Tentalus fight, when you have to waggle the Wii Mote really fast in order to cut your way through the snakes…but that’s not at all bothersome tbh.

    • Joe Barber

      I might have been one of the few to figure this out but you can literally recalibrate in less than 5 seconds. You point the wii remote right at the sensor, hit pause and then down on the d-pad. unpause and it’s all better.

      • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

        Means jack.
        The very fact you have to recalibrate is immersion breaking, proof of unstable controls, and recalibrating doesn’t fix how the 8 directional system CAN mix up commands at specific angles. There is a design fault in the control design(it’s not unplayable, but it IS concerning how unresponsive some commands are).

        • Joe Barber

          Nintendo controllers have never been perfect. :/ And they probably never will, that’s what happens when you experiment with something new every time you create a system.

      • Randroid

        If you do that every 5 seconds, yeah, you might be alright.

        But also, that only re-centers the pointer. That doesn’t fix the issue that when I move my Wii remote from right to left, the sword swing from right to left at an upward diagonal. Or it swings left to right instead of right to left, or whatever. The Wii Remote Plus aspect is what failed to work properly.

        • Joe Barber

          re-centering the pointer fixed all of that for me.

  • Christian Beach

    With the way they’ve improved the motion controls for the Switch, an HD remake of Skyward Sword would certainly be welcome.

    • Rikard Holmgren Alarcon

      Absolutely

    • Chance LeBoeuf

      No, because the controls are not the only problem. It’s still a very bare bones, obnoxiously designed, and pretty boring Zelda game. Leave this game in the past. Besides, we’ve been getting more than enough remasters at this point.

      Like geez, the excessive cries people have when demanding buffed up ports of older games on newer consoles are almost defeating the entire point of a new console generation.

      • Christian Beach

        See, here’s the thing: Skyward Sword HD doesn’t have to be a “buffed up port”. It can be an entirely new game all on its own, so long as the story remains virtually the same. All Nintendo has to do is fix the motion controls, design the world to be more open and more fun to explore, make the story a bit less linear, fill the world with more things to do apart from the main quest, etc. They could take a totally different approach to the game and make it more enjoyable than the Wii version ever was. And it would probably feel less like a “buffed up port” and more like an entirely new game – the game that should have been.

        • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

          That beats the point of the game though. It was designed around the use of the sword.

        • Joe Barber

          no, keep it the same game.

      • Vados

        Dude if freaking Wind Waker got a remake, then Skyward Sword can get one too.

        ”very bare bones, obnoxiously designed, and pretty boring Zelda game” fits Wind Waker MUCH better than Skyward Sword.

        • Lord Lemmy

          I very very strongly disagree with you on that Wind Waker statement. I can see how you find it obnoxious (even if I disagree) and I can see how you find it boring (again, even if I disagree). But I can’t possibly understand the bare bones part.

          • Vados

            It’s bare bones, because the world is ridiculously big, while also managing to be devoid of any sort of meaningful content. It also only has 5 dungeons and in terms of their quality, they’re among the worst dungeons in the entire franchise.
            So on top of being an insanely boring experience that forces you to press A and wait a couple of minutes to get to your destination, said destination is also never interesting or fun.

        • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

          The point he’s making is that Wind Waker itself shouldn’t really have gotten that remake to begin with.

          And both are rather unpolished and lacking sir(the sky is barren as hell in Skward Sword, and there’s just less side content when they outright decrease the heart pieces).

  • Greenbeans

    They should’ve just shown a logo years before they planned on releasing it. People would’ve lost their minds for some reason.

    • Joe Barber

      Prime 4 anyone?

      • Greenbeans

        Ding ding! Somebody get this man his prize!

    • Jose Rosenbluth

      But they did… they showed a single picture of link back to back with phi a year earlier and people lost their mind with hype (and then the trailer screwed it all).

      • Greenbeans

        History repeats itself itself itself itself itself itself itself…

    • Andy Spiteri

      To be fair, Prime 4 being made at all is a big deal and that’s why people went crazy. There was never any doubt another Zelda would come along eventually.

    • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

      Yeah…Zelda wasn’t at an all time low position when Skyward Sword got hinted. Like, people thought the Metroid series was outright DEAD before that announcement.

      • Greenbeans

        And?…

        • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

          That said detail makes such a massive, MASSIVe difference you may as well be comparing different companies’ IPs?

          • Greenbeans

            Who said I was comparing anything?

          • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

            You weren’t. but you poked fun as if it was absurd or anything on that line, when there IS a reason why just revealing a long for Metroid is exciting compared to Zelda

          • Greenbeans

            I never said anything about Metroid. I don’t get why you’re making these assumptions.

  • Squirrel on crack cocaine.

    I remember seeing this all those years ago and thinking “The motion controls are gonna be awful”. Then it came out and I was wrong!
    It had terrible motion controls AND was a boring Zelda game.

  • Marandahir

    The controls were great, and I was still stoked about the game, but a lot less so than I was before E3 that year. When they revealed the more Wind Wakery style graphics I was upset, as was hoping from the poster for a darker, more mature Link (as the original poster with Fi indicated). And then the tech demo was terrible. No wonder Nintendo no longer does tech conferences at e3. They can film it all ahead of time and make everything work as it’s supposed to rather than run into trouble on the floor. Then later the Treehouse Live team can play it too for folks watching at home through the event. It’s a better, more cautious format that allows them to hit the highs without the lows.

  • Joe Barber

    :/ You SS haters sicken me. It’s your fault we got a game with crappy dungeons, bosses and story called Breath of the Wild.

    • uhuh100

      Two words: Screw you.

    • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

      So we get what many considered a natural evolution of the series And a new audience…and you assume the stagnant design was for the better.
      NOPE

      • Joe Barber

        It had a nice overworld, but a nice overworld to cross just to get to a disappointing dungeon with a disappointing boss fight to progress in a disappointing story doesn’t do much for me. A Bokoblin was more difficult to kill than beast Ganon. The overworld is the only good part of that whole game. It almost makes you wonder if there was different reason they kept everything else hidden until release.

        • pedrobrvs

          Here’s the problem. Breath of the Wild doesn’t have an overworld. It has a world.

          The difference lies in the way you perceive the game’s world.

          You see the world as something that only serves to put some distance between dungeons. For you the meat of the game, the exploration, has to lay within the dungeons themselves, the world is just some sort of breather while you go to the next part of the game. It’s just an “overworld”, what matters is what lays under it.
          And sure enough, Zelda has been heading in that direction since it’s conception, until Breath of the Wild.

          But that doesn’t mean that direction was right. In fact, it was betraying the core idea that created the franchise in the first place.

          The first Zelda was all about the world itself. It’s focus was exploring the world and finding all it’s secrets. It’s dungeons were compulsory, but they were also secrets. They complimented the world, not the other way around.

          Breath of the Wild is the first game since the NES to put Zelda’s focus back to where it was. The world exploration. It’s a game about a living, breathing world where you have to survive and grow stronger. Everything else compliments the world and makes part of it, rather than the other way around.
          It isn’t about hopping on a horse as soon as you can then do one dungeon after another as the plot pushes you towards its end.

          And from here on, I hope Nintendo pushes that idea further rather than “compromising” and bringing back some of the old 3D formula because of some salty people. A world where the dungeons don’t necessarily bring attention to themselves and instead blend naturally with the world and do feel like part of it rather than something “alien” like the Shrines did.
          Dungeons that you simply stumble upon rather than actively pursuing, and that don’t feel disconnected from the rest of the world, like they’re two separate gameplay segments.

          • Joe Barber

            That would be really cool! I do like the open world and optional exploration, I never said I wanted them to go back to the old formula, I like that nintendo tries new things. But if the world is the game’s only reward then the only fun in the game comes from exploring. Boss fights should be fun, challenging, exciting and rewarding. Dungeons should have different difficulties so they don’t all feel like the same thing. And the story should be engaging, not only something that already happened, but something that happens! The side quests were all mostly dry fetch quests too. What is the point of having a world to explore be fun when everything you can discover isn’t?

          • pedrobrvs

            I do believe that things can be done better, I just vehemently disagree that the solution is back in the older games.

            I believe that Breath of the Wild put great effort in pushing forward not only the Zelda franchise but the Open World formula as a whole too. It just didn’t push it far enough, and had some shortcomings. Undoing the changes it did is not the solution though.

            I’d elaborate my thoughts about it but that would take a looooong time, so maybe someday I’ll make a text on tumblr or whatever.

          • Joe Barber

            I agree completely.

          • Bro, go replay the first Zelda. The world has next to nothing in it. The meat of the game is the dungeons, stop viewing everything through your rose-colored glasses.

    • Christian Beach

      No, Breath of the Wild was actually a good game.

      • Joe Barber

        I never said it wasn’t.

      • Sir Linebeck

        but the story* was bad.

        *just for the fact it was so limited. it was actually played out well.

      • BOTW is a good game and so is SS. The only difference between the two is that SS actually has dungeons and a story, while BOTW has,

        “You see those mountains in the distance? You can actually climb them.”

        • Christian Beach

          K that is true.

    • zelduck

      So true!

    • Nonsense, boring repetitive trash Shrines totally make up for boring repetitive trash Divine Beasts.

      But hey at least we get to play the “here’s a picture, go find the story” game. BOTW is soooooo great, such a amazing evolution that was soooo needed.

      I shouldn’t have to say this, but this is sarcasm. BOTW failed in nearly every way that past 3D Zeldas succeeded which is just astounding. But that’s apparently fine, because it has a huge boring world to wander around in.

      • Joe Barber

        Amen, Mango. Amen.

      • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

        Except the old formula was utterly stale, with decreasing sales each new title, obnoxious hand holding, and a LOT of padding.
        And well, a good world to explore is a little more exciting than just hit and miss bosses after a dungeon. I mean, hell, Zelda stories have never been that great(character development is rather non existent in a MASSIVE chunk of characters. And BotW seems to be aiming in the right direction there). Also, shrines rock. More puzzles to find than just dungeons is a good thing to me. Because, yes, I love dungeons, but they were KILLING the franchise by not allowing it to evolve.

        • Ok…how can you say that the old formula was killing that series when the last Zelda game to really hold on to said formula was TP and it’s one of the best selling games? SS had a lot to it that could easily push people away (controls, being put exclusively on a deader then dead console), as did the DS games, so it’s incredibly disingenuous to look at a graph and think “lol Zelda sales be decreasin’.”

          Also, please stop with the “Zelda never had good stories anyway” nonsense, it’s the same crap that people do when trying to deflect criticism at a new Sonic game or even when people were trying to deflect criticism at 3D Land and 3D World.

          “Sonic was never good anyways”
          “Nonlinear Mario was never that good anyways”

          It’s really easy to not want to say anything bad about a shiny new game you just got, but the reality is that in a attempt to fix the issues that series had, Nintendo destroyed what was good about 3D Zelda. BOTW should have had actual dungeons and an actual compelling story, instead we literally got

          “You see those mountains in the distance you can actually climb them…you’re probably not gonna find anything besides a Korok, but hey you can climb them.”

          Which is just bad, seriously I’m capable of admitting that SS had too much handholding and was too linear, that doesn’t mean the solution is to obliterate the story and replace the dungeons that were good which 120 garbage, put together at the last moment, shrines.

          • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

            Considering Twilight Princess sold a lot because of the timeframe(launch title for the most successful and intriguingly marketed Nintendo console in history) to get a lot of negative rep as time went by, and given Skyward Sword other than the motion controls DID stick to the formula in many levels(you still have to go to a certain number of dungeons before A or B key plot element happens, which forces linearity in a game that supposedly has open world traits and elements)…I stand by what I said.
            I mean, the lost appeal is very blatant with Skyward Sword not just because it was on the Wii with motion controls, but because it’s sales just had this big opening spike and then flattened. It hyped the already established fans and nearly no one else. And it’s not like it had poor marketing, as I still recall all the events and paraphernalia regarding the event(and this IS an important factor beyond just the control scheme, as Marketing has sold unsalvageable ideas before). The choice to reinvent the series wasn’t done on a whim, the overall interest in the series DID decrease with time since good ol’ Ocarina of Time since it started to become predictable and formulaic, which just KILLS a lot of interest in having new experiences.
            Also, it’s not a way, but rather pointing out the lackluster execution of an idea than on itself already presents progress(the way they approached the characters, not how they distributed the story on itself) is better than to stick to the poorly executed hero centric story when the hero’s silence limits the range of interaction of the npcs.
            Also, I said before but…shrines rock. Some of them have utterly superior puzzles than any other game in the franchise.

          • TP sold great and had a huge build up in hype for years it was also marketed as a launch title just like BOTW. Really I’m personally starting to think that the truth of it all is that:

            “Size of the world = size of public interest”

            As both TP and BOTW have been games that were touted as being the “largest Zelda games.” As for SS, you have bad memory because it wasn’t advertised nearly at all. It had one commercial, that being the one where the various master swords fell from the sky, and while it did appear at the various expos, it launched at the very end of the Wiis life cycle, in a year where basically nothing else released at all for the wii, and it required that you bought a separate add on; it’s literally the same situation as MM, which is ironic as SS is the most underrated game and MM is the most overrated. Also, how the heck did Link limit the story in SS? Link limits the story in BOTW by being a blank of wood, in SS he’s a full blown character who just doesn’t speak.

            Also, name one shrine that “rocks.” I dare you, because I’ve played them all twice now and they’re all pretty darn boring.

          • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

            Well, ignoring that the Shrines conjunction is one of the strong points of them(you explore, get rewarded with puzzle, and repeat with a different puzzle), and that at times it takes a mini quest to reach them(like Eventide Island or the Stolen Heirloom) there’s Maka Rah, or Shora Hah.
            Secondly, I wasn’t talking about Skyward Sword alone, but rather the franchise in general beforehand. Ocarina of Time? Super limited because of it. Twilight Princess? Midna did carry most of the story, while Link’s interactions around many of the kids of Ordon being rarely fleshed out(even her relationship with Ilia, which involves the so romantic act of…staring. It gets awkward by the end game). And Skyward Sword is far from perfect in that regard either, because it seems to explain some of the basic exposition we need ms exposition fairy there. Funnily enough it’s also the closest they got to give the player control over Link’s words, so it has kind of an identity crisis there(and though it worked on a basic level, it gets annoying each time to have endings of “okay, but what do you think, Link?” just to have a goofy smile for an answer).
            Thirdly, all the ruckus around the 25th anniversary WAS part of Skyward Sword’s appeal. And there was a LOT about that anniversary.

    • Jebradiah Drake

      I hope that one day we still keep getting games like Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess with cool dungeons and items.

      Breath of the Wild was pretty good, but it would sort of sadden me if Nintendo gave up the classical Zelda formula in favor of making them all open world. For me personally open world isn’t very important.

      Oh well, maybe I’m just an old geezer…

      • Joe Barber

        I think that the open world part was the only job well done in that whole game. That game was pretty much the complete opposite of Skyward Sword. Everything I didn’t like about Skyward Sword was better in that game, but everything I absolutely loved about Skyward Sword was lame in that game. I think they should try to remake zelda 2 in a 3D world. That would be fun because most of the boss fights are a sword duel.

        • Jebradiah Drake

          I miss complex towns. Breath of the Wild had lots of towns, which is good, but then the towns themselves were small, most of the buildings looked the same, and it didn’t have any of those cool hidden secrets other towns had. At least not ones with intricate building designs to help you discover them.

          I think a huge mistake in the game was getting rid of Heart Pieces for the shrine orbs. And not just that, but in the end every chest reward I got, be it rupees or a weapon, felt extremely repetitive and pointless because they would be gone soon enough with nothing I acquired giving me any new strengths or powers since I left the Great Plateau.

          • Joe Barber

            Dude, I feel the same way. I think if they would’ve put a clawshot in that game and had darknuts chasing you down on horseback and maybe even climb after you up cliffs and made stuff I could buy besides arrows, armor and food. BOTW was a good start, but it is not the ultimate Zelda because it fails in so many places where the others rock. The other games had towns that you could spend hours in finding secrets! And give me a single flippin decent boss fight! PULLLLLLLEASE!

          • Jebradiah Drake

            Imagine a version of the Hookshot that could penetrate rocky surfaces. That would be great for getting over walls during the rain, or at least getting a head start.

          • Joe Barber

            Exactly! Clawshot up the mountain, clawshot up Hyrule Castle, clawshot onto a Steppe Talus or a Hinox to stab it in the eye!

  • The Gamer of Legend

    All Nintendo had to do was do what they did for Breath of the Wild at the Game Awards. Record Miyamoto and Skyward Sword in a secluded room while he’s playing the game and show off the mechanics without all the distractions. It would actually have been a smart move on Nintendo’s part. If they constantly did rehearsals and retakes to make sure everything was on point and made a video recording as if it felt like a live feed of Miyamoto playing the game, they could have minimized any accounts for error and technical difficulties/failures, while at the same time, fooling their audience into believing the illusion that the “live” production was really flowing with their E3 presentation.

    In a sense it’s all about THE presentation and first impression. Most people got turned off of an interesting experience because of a mishap that Nintendo should have overseen ahead of time because it’s their product. Nintendo seems to have learned from that ordeal, I guess. Even though Skyward Sword may have gotten a bad reputation because of the E3 event and the over exaggeration of some of its flaws, it’s still a worth-while experience and a great game in my book. If people are willing to overlook Breath of the Wild’s many flaws and questionable design choices and mechanics while still claim it to be *ahem* “Objectively better than every game in the franchise”, then Skyward Sword is definitely a great Zelda game.

    Thanks for the article by the way.

  • I think everything about Skyward Sword, including its presentation was a success to me and I love that Breath of the Wild is based on Skyward Word. I think these two titles are the most true to what The legend of Zelda is about.

    I really don’t understand why so many people don’t like Skyward Sword, the motion controls in particular. You can freely swing a sword and you have to think about how to hit the enemy (swinging heavy weapons might have been a problem), which adds another dimension all together. The only arguable statement I can partially agree on is that Skyward Sword is linear and this has clearly been fixed in Breath of the Wild.

    Just my two rupees on the matter.

  • JoJo

    This is a little off topic, but after the success of the non-linear BotW, I want Nintendo to make this epic linear Zelda game, just to show that they can. SS was amazing, and I consider it my favorite Zelda game, but, for some reason, the motion controls turned people away. Even if they go back to basic controllers, I’d be fine.

    • Sir Linebeck

      for some reason lol.

      • JoJo

        Well, I know people had issues with the motion controls, but I, along with those whom I know have played the game, have never had those issues.

        • uhuh100

          I never had issues with the motion controls either.

  • Ikewise

    Eh, the final game was the bigger disaster.

  • Sir Linebeck

    I don’t know why you guys slam motion controls so much :/

    Skyward sword is my third favorite zelda game.

    the story was great. (not some barebones shit like the most recent title.)
    The motion controls work amazing as long as you calibrate the remote correctly. AND HAVE THE REQUIRED WII REMOTE PLUS.
    and it certainly isn’t boring if you actually explore the world and talk to the people in it. Do some side quests. ect.

    (seriously, this game is hated on way too much)

    • uhuh100

      Agreed.

    • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

      “I don’t know why you guys slam motion controls so much :/”
      Because the controls are objectively flawed? It’s not subjective, people have found even SPECIFICS in how they usually fail(like blind spots where the inputs get mixed), problems with recalibration(you can calibrate it right initially, yet there’s stuff that de-calibrates it with ease), and many other things that were just plain immersion breaking.
      “” When that barebones story has the best character development for the character of Zelda in the history of the franchise….well, yeah.

      “it certainly isn’t boring if you actually explore the world and talk to the people in it.” Really? Skyloft has not much people, and the rest of the sky is pretty darn barren!

      “seriously, this game is hated on way too much” It isn’t. Sure, to say it’s pure rubbish would be unfair…but the more you see it with a critical eye, the more evident is how flawed it is in nature.

      • You could argue that BOTW is just as flawed as SS though. Ironically in all the areas where SS and past 3D Zelda succeeded.

        • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

          Not entirely. Other than bosses(that weren’t particularly exciting in Skyward Sword even if there are a few gems), there’s a lot more in that game. It has better if brief writing for some characters instead of padding the crap out of the main storyline(half of Skyward Sword’s main quest is dead air), it has interesting dungeon concepts(executed not as great, but the idea behind the Divine Beasts can actually work really well), and it’s just better overall at conveying info to the player(Skyward Sword outright objectively SUCKS in the matter of hand holding. The amount of obvious info, at times repeated within SECONDS of being given to the player, is outright obscene).

          • Dude, the first Ghriahim fight is far more interesting then any fight, including the overworld bosses, in BOTW. Every Blight Ganon, which are the most generic bosses I’ve ever seen in a game, can be bombed to death in about five seconds with a lynel bow and some bomb arrows. Bar of course the cheaper then cheap Thunder Blight Ganon which isn’t hard, but just happens to be unnecessarily quick and stuck in a chamber where the camera of BOTW consistently wants to give the player a shot of Links face or bottom.

            However, even ignoring how cheap that boss is, he’s not hard or even compelling, as it’s literally just the same pattern as the Lynels, YOU JUST KEEP DODGING AND SHIELD BASHING. Plus, all of this is just in comparison to the first Ghirahim fight, I mean nothing in BOTW really compares to the unique fun feeling found in the fight against Scaldera, Moldarach, or Koloktos. Granted, I’ll agree that SS didn’t have the greatest bosses, the imprisoned sucked bad and there didn’t need to be three Ghirahim fights, but at least there was variation.

            As for the story, who, tell me who, in all of BOTW is written better then in SS. Yunobo, Teba, Riju, or Sidon? How bout the champions who get maybe five lines total? Or how about Zelda who’s story will get incredibly muddled by the fact that you can find any of the pieces in any order? I mean, SS doesn’t have the best characters in the franchise, but heck at least I actually felt invested in some of them. I mean I actually went from hating Groose to wanting to see him succeed at his own thing, and I actually went from thinking Zelda was just a cute girl to feeling bad for her and Link. While in BOTW, my initial opinion on all of the characters, including Zelda, never changed. Sadly, it easily, EASILY, could have been great if they just allowed the game to have the same amount of story as the past Zelda games, but no because clearly the only thing that matters in Zelda is being about to go anywhere, because that’s soooo amazing, who’d want a good story and good dungeons when you could go straight to Goron City right at the start.

            As for the divine sores, conceptually, I’ll argue that there’s a lot that could be done with the concept of rotating the entire dungeon, however it never reaches a point in BOTW where it feels amazing or inventive, despite the fact that they crammed it into all of the divine beasts. I mean heck the least they could have done is stick some enemies in the divine beasts, but no, instead all we got is eyeballs and floating skulls.

          • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

            Scaldera? It’s another rethread of Dodongo! Let alone on their own, by virtue of difficulty the Lynels already trump Skyward Sword(not a single boss in SS compares in challenge, nor in the satisfaction of bringing the bastad down)
            As for who is better written, Zelda. Like, objectively so. Seriously, she’s one of THE narrative highlights in the entire franchise, given that she was well rounded and humanized (Zelda in SS? Came across a LOT like a smitten schoolgirl in the first half and not really much else. It’s until the Hylia aspect rise that the character gets more complex, and even then, not by much. I mean, even that feels a little forced, as it’s not a very natural flow NOR designed as proper character development…and if anything makes Hylia look rather manipulative in hindsight).
            Also, how would you structure a story in an open world game like in past Zelda games? Because no, even if you don’t admit it, the overbearing linearity HAD to be scrapped, it was slowly killing the franchise(you can’t just keep getting more niche with each entry, to branch out is a NECESSITY for franchises like this one to survive).

          • Zelda is a snobby brat in BOTW who cares more about her own interests then saving her own kingdom. Seriously, at the end she turns around and sees the ghosts of all her friends and then makes a joke about finally accepting her own shortcomings, while standing on the OBLITRATED ruins of her home. She’s about as human and rounded as a psychopath.

            As for the story, well let the darn thing be linear. The dungeons can be nonlinear but the story can still be linear. I mean if this is the future of Zelda stories then I’m good, as I like actual stories with actual cutscenes, not garbage that’s forced to be garbage just so we go anywhere we like. I mean heck ww allowed me to do that while still having a linear story, future Zelda games should be able to do the same.

            Also, lol, you actually think Lynels are hard? They’re damage sponges. The hardest thing about them is caring enough to widdle them down to death.

          • Oscar Yasser Garcia Juallek

            Well, for once, Wind Waker didn’t exactly give anything remotely decent for an over world. It was barren as hell. It wasn’t any different than past over worlds, with all the restrictions of “you just can’t go in there yet as you lack the tools”, just with more blank space in between. And that’s the thing, with a gargantuan open world like structure, forcing too much of those limitations IS counter inductive. You either give them full freedom or restrict their exploration a bit too much(there’s no sweetspot in there. And they wouldn’t sacrifice an opportunity to explore that appeal for keeping the dungeons)

            Secondly, a psychopath wouldn’t give a crap for their friends and people dying because of them(and no, it’s not because she failed, she FEELS remorse for them dying because she couldn’t unleash her power before they were all struck down). Let alone, that’s the thing. Normal human beings aren’t solely focused on one thing. The fact this Zelda defies the “perfect princess” archetype others had is not only refreshing, but just way more three dimensional(let alone, her personal stakes don’t change she DID stop Ganon in the end, so while 100 years later, even for that new generation she did save Hyrule from impending doom. And considering if she failed and Link hadn’t awoke the results would be more catastrophic than ever since there wouldn’t be anyone to stop him, that on it’s own is worth celebrating). Having flawed characters is good writing, sorry the sugar writing of past games spoiled you(snobby brat my a**, when you can’t reach into something you have tried HARD for 9 F***ING YEARS OF YOUR LIFE at least, you’re bound to be bitter about it).

            Three, it’s not just being damage sponges, but the aggressive attack patterns. They attack fast, they hit hard, and they will chase you a LONG distance before levying you alone(also, the near equivalent of homing arrows).

      • Sir Linebeck

        now that i think about it there is a pretty bad lack of NPCs…

        but you put up a good argument. But every system that uses wireless connections has at least a slight flaw in design. Hell, even the switch has a hardware failure on its left controller that interrupts its ability to function.

    • Because it’s a bad game and you should feel bad.

      (The Zelda fandom is way too insular in reality, it’s the same reason why a average at best sequel to OOT is praised as one of the greatest things since sliced bread.)

      The motion controls never in all like six playthoughs of SS of mine, messed up. In fact it wasn’t until my brother tried to play the game and aimlessly flailed around with the wii remote that I ever saw someone actually have issues with the controls. Plus, SS at least has dungeons and a engaging story, unlike Breath of the sleep medication.

      • Sir Linebeck

        +Mango, ikr.

  • randompissedoffchick

    I loved the story in skyward sword but that’s about it.
    The art direction was ugly and the motion controls just sucked the fun out of it for me imo. Having to recalibrate constantly and swing my arm around was pretty stupid and would make me want to stop. Only the story alone was the only reason I kept playing. The dungeons never stood out to me, and many bosses were unmemorable. And this game has the worst companion. Her character is ok, I don’t mind, but Fi ruined the journey completely for me. I hate handholding and it was beyond obvious in this game.

    This presentation’s cringiness just makes my memories of this game even worse.
    I did enjoy some things from this game besides the story, but overall its a negative experience compared to other Zelda titles.

  • zelduck

    Epic Disasters in Video Game History: Creating BotW…

    • Andy Spiteri

      That’s on the list actually!

  • However, it’s an epic thing.