Wishlist for the New Zelda Wii

At E3 2009, there was a picture released that was supposedly a teaser for the next Zelda game. In my E3 blowout that I wrote, I decided to ignore it…because it was just a picture. Apparently, I am an idiot–there are now posts in forums all over the internet with speculation on what the picture means, ranging anywhere from half-baked gameplay guesses to full-scale plot analysis. The most prominent one I have heard thus far is that, because there is no sword shown in the picture, the girl-zora creature is actually the sword. The Master Sword. It didn’t make sense to me either. How would that work, exactly? For instance: swinging.

Anyway, I figured since there is a gamut of speculation anyway, I may as well give my own two cents on what direction the new Zelda should take. Shigeru Miyamoto has stated that Twilight Princess is the last Zelda of “that kind (whatever that means),” so I will keep this in mind when formulating this list that will amuse one or two of you and infuriate the rest.

1. A Jump Button-Believe me, I have whined about the people who have whined about Link not being able to jump just as much as you have. And I maintain that the absence of a jump button was a great strategy for the previous Zelda installments. Nintendo was able to design more complex and strict dungeons because of the limited functionality of the protagonist (if there is a high ledge or obstacle in the way, Link couldn’t just jump over it), and maybe more importantly, it cleared up room on the controller.

However, keeping in mind that Miyamoto wants to present some radical gameplay change to the series, I wouldn’t be against Nintendo implementing something as simple as the ability to jump. This could not only add another layer to the combat, but the dungeon design as well. The Zelda series possesses the most riveting and clever dungeons in gaming, hands down, but by the end of Twilight Princess, I was starting to feel the fatigue of designs. Adding in a jump button, and building dungeons with the idea of a more mobile Link in mind could really spice these dungeons up, and open the doors for some fresh new ideas. Just please, Nintendo, no complex platforming sequences. I don’t want Mario Link, and I sure as hell don’t want Tomb Raider Link. I mean the frustrating platforming sequences in Tomb Raider, not Link with…never mind.

2. Don’t rip the magic pockets-What are magic pockets, you ask?  Magic pockets are what allow Link to carry all of his five hundred pieces of equipment at once, of course. What, you thought it all just fit under his shield? Between the bombs, the ball and chain, the fishing rod, the claw shots, and whatever other crazy weapons Link gets his hands on throughout his adventure, that’s just unrealistic thinking. Shame on you.

The problem with believing in magic pockets is that even I am having trouble suspending my disbelief at this point. Twilight Princess did a lot of things right, but their inventory for Link was not one of them. Sure, the ability to mix items (like the bow and bombs to make explosive arrows) was cool, but there were way too many weapons introduced in Twilight Princess, and far too many of these either overlapped with other items, or worked in situations that were way too specific. What is the unbelievably unwieldy ball and chain going to realistically do that my bombs can’t? Why do I need a rod that controls owl statues if there are only three owl statues in the entire game? Sure, the top-gizmo that Link rides on made for a cool dungeon, but offered little functionality in the rest of the world. For the next Zelda, I think they need to keep it simple; stick with the classics, and only offer new equipment that can be both unique and useful for more than two scenarios. This way, his magic pockets can fit a relatively believable amount of equipment again, and I don’t have to see Link lose his dignity time and time again by swinging that ridiculous ball in circles over his head.

3. A Link to the Somewhat Future-Speaking of items, I think it would be a great move to set the next Zelda a little bit in the future. I am as terrified as you are of Link riding space horses and wielding a master sword composed of laser beams, but a little bit further in the timeline, like the industrial age, could be really engaging, for both setting and gameplay. Not only would this introduce players to a Zelda world that they have never seen before, but it could also breathe new life into the equipment. For instance, we could get boots that offer propulsion in certain spots for higher jumps, or the ability to run electricity through the hookshot to harm enemies, or even…(and this is where the article makes fans hate me) a pistol.

Here me out. I’m not saying I need Link to be a cowboy gunslinger, and I agree that nothing can replace arrows for long-range combat, but the ability to wield a powerful, extremely slow loading, old fashioned pistol could be great, for both puzzles and limited combat. Think about it.

4. No Ganon/Ganondorf/Dream of Ganon/Resurrected-but-only-for-a-brief-moment Ganon-The whole “Ganon stealing the princess thing” is getting a little old at this point, and I think it’s time we saw a Zelda without Ganon as the major nemesis. They’ve tried it before–both in Minish Cap and Majora’s Mask–and the result in both cases was awesome. Especially in Majora’s Mask. So what’s the problem, here, guys? Why do we need Ganon resurrected three million times? Hasn’t Zelda reached the point where we can move past him? It’s his sex appeal, isn’t it? I knew it.

5. Link Talks-Again, I have traditionally been fine with the silent hero types; both Link and Crono are two of my favorite protagonists of all time. However, what I think the next Zelda needs is a really well done, mature storyline (referencing the dual-timeline theory would be nice), and the only way to really achieve this is to have Link utter more than grunts and really horrific screams when he falls off of cliffs or into lava. Link needs some kind of character arch and development, and it is really hard to achieve this without him talking. For example, I want him to struggle at times with his destiny as the hero. Does he even want it? Are there times when he wishes he could pass the torch to someone else? Or does the power he attains tempt him to the darker path at times? Whatever it is, I want to hear it. However, please don’t make him a whiny (expletive) who cries all the time, and whose only want in the world is a kiss on the cheek from the princess. In other words, don’t fashion him off 99 percent of the other protagonists in gaming.

6. The Fire Rod-A rod that shoots fire, and comes with the bonus of actually being able to kill those God-forsaken chickens…by lighting them on fire. Bring this back. Immediately.

7. Advanced Combat-I feel like I have been pretty reasonable thus far, but no wish list is complete without something a little radical. In this case, I think the next Zelda should offer an overhaul on combat. First of all, I think the game should go the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time route, and make “enemy encounters” a separate mode from “exploration.” This means that when Link encounters a group of enemies, the buttons and presentation change to suit the situation. Not only would this offer more flexibility with the button layout, but it would give the options for some more advanced fighting options.

The simplistic combat options of previous Zelda games always appealed to me, but imagine a game where you one-two combo the enemy with the sword and shield, and as he is reeling back from the pain you just delivered to his face, you fire your hook/claw/chainshot at his forehead and bring him back before leaping up and delivering an arrow to finish him. Again aimed at his face. After the battle, the combos could be scored, ala Batman: Arkham Asylum, and the player could be rewarded with things like items and hearts (hearts as in health, not love).

Furthermore, I think it could be ingenious to take advantage of Link’s arsenal and magic pockets by providing the ability to change fighting styles completely, like in Devil May Cry 3; approaching enemy battles with a sword and shield could, and should, feel dramatically different than a megaton hammer and clawshot combo. These are possibilities in gameplay that I would love to see, and it would ramp up Zelda’s combat potential to another level.

So, there you have it. I know–it has masterpiece written all over it. I’m going to start on it now, actually, and with my current programming knowledge, coupled with my Dell laptop computer, I feel the chances are great that I should be able to have a pretty crazy looking title screen for it by the time I’m forty.

Chris Gibson
Chris Gibson

I like this list a lot and i agree, a slow loading pistol would be GREAT! If you've ever played fable, you'd know how great that'd be. Maybe a cross-bow if not that. Clever ideas! (9/10)