Mr Aonuma tired of the Zelda Formula. Good news – I have some ideas for you
I enjoyed Skyward Sword immensely – so much more than Twilight Princess. Skyward Sword introduced many new elements into the Zelda formula such as upgradeable weapons, the dash button and the motion controls. However, not all is good the game, with Skyward Sword they took one step forward and then two steps back for the series – no exploration, dumb fetch quests, uninspired storytelling and the dreaded handholding – it was a great game but it could have been so much more.
We are at the point in the series illustrious history where something needs to give – it is a case of innovate or perish into the realm of irrelevancy. It will be hard to argue against the notion that the home console games have stagnated. I don’t particularly blame Nintendo or Aonuma san. You have to ask yourself, what can you do with a series that has reached the pinnacle of quality? Do you attempt to fix something that is not broken? Let it continue to be a quality game without any change? Or do you try something totally left wing and risk the chance of failure? Nintendo’s dilemma is exacerbated with the expectation of Zelda fans. In my opinion, Zelda fans are up there as the most rabid fan group that the industry has to offer.
Like with every new game in the series, Mr Aonuma has gone back to the drawing board looking for that one breakthrough idea. Aonuma has hinted that Zelda Wii U will be a departure from traditions. Aonuma confirmed they are challenging conventions of dungeon orders and are drawing exploration from Skyrim.
Just recently, in an interview with herocomplex – Aonuma has revealed that he has gotten tired of the Zelda formula.
“It’s not that anyone is telling me we have to change the formula,” Aonuma said. ”I want to change it. I’m kind of getting tired of it.”
Talking about the progress of the next game Aonuma has told herocomplex that they are still in the experimentation stage – explaining that he is open to new ideas.
“There is an essential ‘Zelda’ I feel we need to stay true to. We are still testing things, exploring our options. We haven’t landed anywhere at this point. We’re still seeing what we can do.”
It is encouraging to hear, Aonuma accepting the grey hairs of the Zelda games. Mr Aonuma has two options: 1. Accept Zelda is reaching it’s golden age or 2. Try everything possible to get a new advent in life. I know which option I would go to.
More importantly, he is still open to ideas. Thank goodness! Then there is enough time for myself and Zelda fans alike, to input our ideas and criticism for the next game before it is too late. So here is some of my criticism and ideas that could help the series feel fresh again.
Besides Skyward Sword, combat in the Legend of Zelda has been too simple. Press a button to slash wildly with your sword, press a button to block and then wait until the enemy to attack then press another button to parry. Skyward Sword with the motion controllers made combat an engaging affair. However, the problem with motion controls is that many people absolutely hate them. Nintendo will be foolish to force motion controller down our throats in the next game.
That said; Nintendo could do a lot more with the combat in Zelda games. For starters make the enemy AI more challenging. The enemies in Skyward Sword were decent – they would block according to your movement and it involved a bit more strategy. It is certainly better than the pea brain moblins of Twilight Princess. The key to engaging players in combat is providing a worthy adversary.
I just finished Batman Arkham City – so my expectations for combat have grown. Mr Aonuma and the Zelda team should aim for the complexity and depth of modern action games. Perhaps, combat can involve more of links equipment and less of the Sword and Shield. For example, string a combo using the Sword, fire your boomerang to stun, grapple the enemy towards link with the clawshot, and then for the finale, finish the enemy with a stab in the face. If it is another button mashing affair, then I will no doubt slam the game.
Get rid of that predictable story structure
One serious problem with the Zelda games is the story. Just like the game the story is structured to the point where you can make a formula out of it. Check it out below.
1. 1st Major Event- Story begins
2. Link is tasked to collect 3 items
3. 2nd Major Event – A major revelation, Story turns.
4. Link is tasked to complete a number of set challenges, as a result of step 3.
5. Once conditions in step 4 are met, climax of the story is achieved, and finale occurs.
For all the Zelda aficionados’ out there – look at the stories of the recent home console Zelda games. Don’t they fit this template perfectly? Coincidence? I don’t think so. The only game that does not fit this formula is the only game that does not follow the traditions of Zelda, it is the game that has the darkest and most complex story, it is the dark horse of the series, and it is the game that strayed so far to the left it became a cult classic. Guess which game that is?
At this day and age, storytelling is almost as important as gameplay. Nintendo needs to move away from this ancient form of storytelling. Add some voice acting but keep Link silent. Nintendo should take queues from of their own, by drawing inspiration from Monolith Soft the developers behind the sublime RPG – Xenoblade Chronicles. Xenoblade is in my opinion, is one of the greatest stories told in video games. It is a beautifully story packed with heartfelt moments. If Nintendo can recreate the same emotions I felt during Xenoblade, the same heart wrenching story, then I can confirm Zelda Wii U will be perfection on the TV screen.
Deeper RPG’s elements
What I enjoyed in Skyward Sword is the light RPG elements. Ideas such as customizing potions and upgrading weapons would be great in the next Zelda game. Take what was used in Skyward Sword – then integrate it further into the core of the game. What I mean by this – is that forging upgrades were optional and were not pertinent to finish the game. I would like to see Nintendo add an extra level of complexity into Zelda Wii U – I honestly believe the experience will be richer for it.
Here are my ideas – what are some of yours?