Possible Futures: What’s In Store For The Zelda Franchise?

Possible Futures: What's In Store For The Zelda Franchise?

When I think of the Zelda franchise, I think of the good old days of The Legend of Zelda, a game that defined a genre and showed gamers a way of playing video games that they’d never seen before. I think of A Link to the Past, when the game exploded into an expansive dual-world adventure with a myriad of weapons, items, and upgrades, many new gameplay features, and more individual dungeon areas than gamers could have hoped for. Finally, I think of Ocarina of Time, a 3D video game experience that, at the time, was unprecedented and nearly unimaginable, but still a faithful rendition of Hyrule, seen in a completely new way.

Since Ocarina of Time, however, Zelda games have been great, but have never achieved that same blow-me-away factor of the aforementioned “triforce” of masterpieces. Now that we’ve reached into the third dimension of gaming, what can be done besides changing the artistic direction of the series? Wind Waker and Twilight Princess essentially just took the Ocarina formula and tweaked it to make something “new.” Don’t get me wrong, I loved the island-hopping exploration of Wind Waker, but it didn’t change the foundation of the series’ game design. Twilight Princess, while incredibly enjoyable, was basically Ocarina of Time for the new millennium.

To really excite me, I want to see something new. I want to see a story that goes further than the respectable attempt at novelty made by Twilight Princess. The idea of other worlds, realms, or dimensions has always been a part of Zelda lore, so why not place the Hero of Time in a story where he must venture to different worlds to complete his journey? Why not make these worlds all run on unique sets of rules that make the experience within each one completely fresh and memorable? Why not make the gameplay change depending on where Link finds himself, but still maintain that overall “Zelda” feel?

Taking that idea further, why not give the player more choices? Let there be a branching story, let the game change with each playthrough, and let the player decide in which direction (s)he wants to guide our hero. Will he go here or there? Will he help him or her? Will he do this or that? Then, what are the consequences of those decisions? What opportunities will open up as a result of those choices and what roads will forever be blocked? Let’s give Link some free will.

Finally, let’s not rescue Zelda. Maybe we can make her the protagonist, even, and give Link a rest…

…okay, she can have a supporting role.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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