I think one of the most exciting aspects of a new Zelda game, and what assures that the series remains a big talking point to this day is that visually, the next game along could look like anything. Zelda, more than any other series is content to play around with as many visual styles as they want. Quite right too. They don’t owe anyone a “realistic” take on the franchise. To me, the novelty of Twilight Princess’s looks wore off fast and I was left with quite a dreary looking Zelda, whereas I can look at the vivid colours of Wind Waker till my eyes bleed. I play video games to escape, I don’t want “real” (but that really is another argument for another article).
Anyway, add the excitement around the visual style to the fact that director Eiji Aonuma has been saying for nearly two years now that they are doing away with the conventions of Zelda, with a renewed emphasis on exploration and non linearity (He’s previously cited Skyrim and the original Zelda as influences in this) and we have a whole truck load of expectations for what we wanna see, fuelled by months upon months of speculation.
Did Aonuma deliver? By God, he did. With a casual click of his fingers, a lush, green, gorgeous Hyrule sprang into life behind him. Mountains loomed in the far distance, cattle grazed, and a lone figure sat on a horse in the middle of it all. “You can walk over and climb those mountains in the distance” Aonuma says as if he’s simply commenting on the weather. The rest of the internet promptly lost its shit. With one simple picture and one quick comment, Aonuma managed to sell me on the vastness of the world within that picture.
No doubt all our minds were racing with thoughts of Skyrim, of a massive open world to explore. But stop and think, and the prospect becomes even more exciting. This is Zelda. This is Nintendo. For all the love I have for Skyrim, I can’t deny it’s packed with bugs and glitches and visually, it does start to drag after a while. Too much grey and brown, with endless snowy mountains. But this, this is Skyrim done by Nintendo, a company who would rather wait until the rapture to release a game rather than let it out with even the smallest, inconsequential bug, a company who ensure their games are colourful, vivid, and full of life and fun.
I have no idea how big the world will be. It’s hard to judge based on one image and a very brief trailer, but I do know that everything put into the world will actually mean something. There won’t be vast stretches of dull open wasteland for no reason, and the dungeons hidden throughout will be proper, Zelda dungeons full of clever boss fights and well designed puzzles.
Then we have the way the game looks. Personally, I can’t see why anyone has anything to complain about here. It’s The Legend of Zelda and it looks like a motherflipping Studio Ghibli movie. How can people not think that that is the most awesome thing that has ever happened in the history of the universe? I’ve said it before, but give Nintendo a HD machine and they don’t just make gritty, realistic looking games. They make games that will still look good five, even ten years from now.
Maybe I’m a tad overexcited, but I can’t wait to explore the world in that picture. I can’t wait to go climb that mountain. I can’t wait to stab the weird tentacle golem fella from the trailer right in the face with my Master Sword (let’s assume it’ll be in the game as a weapon). I can’t wait to have the freedom to accidentally stumble across a dungeon or enemy that I’m not ready for yet and get absolutely destroyed, only to come back later on and get some tasty revenge.
Whether your sold yet on the visual style or not (and odds are, you will come around eventually) I am certain already, from one 30 second trailer and some throwaway comments about climbing mountains; This is the Zelda game we have all been waiting for and dreaming about in since the first Zelda we played, be it the original, Ocarina or Skyward Sword. It’s gonna be awesome.