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Nintendo Businesses Entertainment Games

The Reinvention of Zelda 74

Gamespot reports on a lecture at GDC on Thursday, with commentary from Nintendo's manager of software development Eiji Aonuma. Aonuma went through the very long process involved in bringing Twilight Princess to the American audience. Realistic graphics were chosen for the US playerbase, but many other decisions came about via unorthodox thinking and the intervention of a higher power. "It was around this stage that Aonuma was talking to Nintendo senior managing director Shigeru Miyamoto, who told him something along the lines of, 'It's as though the Revolution (later renamed the Wii) was designed just for Zelda! Why don't you try making a Zelda for the Revolution?' In the end, believes Aonuma, the kind of direct control offered by the Wii Remote was exactly what was needed to breathe life into the game."
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The Reinvention of Zelda

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  • MMmmmhhh, I might give it a try to this game, after all I bought it after getting the Wii (because my girlfriend likes playing Zelda games) but after watching her playing a bit, it seemed a bit boring. Catch some fish in order to attract the cat in order to take the cat to the grandma in order to get a token you take to grandpa in order to get some info on how to get the sword. And of course you can not do anything else unless you have done that...

    Dont get me wrong, I loved the LOZ- A Link to the Past (SNE
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There are role playing aspects to Zelda, but they come in the form of new items. and many are used to solve puzzles (and much more)

      You said you likes the older zeldas, why should this be any different?
    • by MemoryDragon ( 544441 ) on Friday March 09, 2007 @09:00AM (#18287672)
      This is purely the beginning... Zelda TP is very puzzle intense, but once you are above the first 5% you have lots of action.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by autojive ( 560399 )

      They are supposed to be a bit "role playing" but are very linear.

      Um, pretty much all of the Zelda games are linear. Go to this dungeon, get this item & defeat this boss, get direction to the next dungeon to get that item & defeat that boss, wash, rinse, repeat. I don't know what games you've been playing to make you think that they were anything but linear.
      • by Have Blue ( 616 )
        The central progression is linear, but pretty much all of the optional quests are independent of both each other and the main branch (not counting earning required items).
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Well, in Zelda, Link's Awakening, and Link to the Past, you weren't forced to go through Dungeon 1 before moving on to 2, for instance. In the original, you had access to pretty much the entire map (all 256 "rooms" of it) right from the beginning - and could do a lot of adventuring before even entering the first dungeon.

        It's become less and less so as more games have been released. And now in TP, it just feels like you're trapped in room X until you're done there, and can move on to room X+1.
        • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
          Only LoZ and AoL were really nonlinear, all the others had some form of mandatory progression with a few sequence breaks available. You can sequence break in some 3d Zeldas but that really breaks the game.
          • True, but the forced sequence in TP feels far more restrictive than any other zelda I've played. In the others at least it felt like there was some breathing room.
    • by Agilus ( 471376 )
      The first hour is a bit slow, sort of tutorial-ish, but then the pace picks up quite a bit.

      It is indeed more linear than Morrowind, but it's a different kind of game. *shrug* It's got a good story, and it's engaging, and it's not so linear that you feel like you're on rails.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fiztaru ( 990211 )
      I see your point about it being linear, but that's not really any big surprise; none of the games in the Zelda series could seriously be considered true RPGs (adventure with a few basic RPG elements mixed in).

      Look at A Link to the Past-you can't just go fight Agahnim; you've got to find your uncle in the castle sewers, rescue Zelda, take her to the church, travel to three dungeons to get all three Pendants to get the Master Sword, etc. So there hasn't been much of a change in that regard.

      Don't get me wr

      • by grumbel ( 592662 )
        ### I see your point about it being linear, but that's not really any big surprise; none of the games in the Zelda series could seriously be considered true RPGs (adventure with a few basic RPG elements mixed in).

        Zelda games are no RPGs, but they never were as linear as Zelda:TP. In Zelda:TP you could literally just solve dungeon, warp back to Thelma's tavern, get hint for next dungeon, warp to dungeon, solve dungeon, repeat. There was no need to explore at all, since everything you had to do was down right
        • by fabs64 ( 657132 )
          Massive Zelda fan and I'll definitely give you that point, Zelda:TP is more linear than previous Zelda's.

          I'm not sure if it really detracts from the game though... Zelda:TP has a much stronger storyline than previous incarnations and hence the more strict storyline. As far as "Zelda Moments" go, the bits with Llia in them are right up there for me.
      • by Snowgen ( 586732 )

        none of the games in the Zelda series could seriously be considered true RPGs

        I'll go you one better: no computer/console game ever could seriously be considered a true RPG (and what you defined is not a "true" RPG). It peeves me to no end how the software industry has co-opted the RPG term to describe something where you don't actually play a role with any degree of freedom. It's not a role-playing game until I can say "screw the plotline... I'm establishing Ordona as my base of power to take over the

    • Majora's Mask was the most non-linear Zelda game made. All the mini-quests were a great break from the typical dungeon to dungeon routine, but the main storyline was lame. Any time the third day rolled around, you could march up the tower and stare skull kid in the eye, but you could not hit him with any weapon. All in all, it would be nice if they would bring back the sheer number of side quests Majora had so long as it did not take away from the main storyline.
    • by Fiver- ( 169605 )
      Twilight Princess makes sure you know how to use the game's mechanics before you can progress. Wind Waker was like that too. I never had an N64 so I can't speak to those. Pretty much every piece of equipment you find in the "dungeons" requires you to use it in order to go the next room. The dead knight/golden wolf requires that you successfully execute the moves he teaches you once before you can leave, and once again before you can learn a new move. I think it's a great design feature, so 30 minutes down t
    • by VTMarik ( 880085 )
      That beginning section is a tutorial. It's so seamless in the execution that it looks like the gameplay itself. Trust me, the moment you get past all that is the moment you find the best Zelda game you've ever played. I love it, and I've just now gotten to the first temple.
      • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
        I disagree with "best Zelda game", TP had the potential but it was way too easy for the title. Later on you have tons of hearts and potentially potions but enemies still don't do much more damage than they did in the early game and just by spamming your "occult" moves you can avoid most hits while your shield will deflect loads of attacks you failed to dodge.

        Aonuma stated he never finished the earlier Zeldas because they were too difficult so he decided to lower the difficulty. I don't get this aversion tow
  • And I still wonder what Zelda for my Wii would have been like if it wasn't tacked on in the middle of the GameCube development cycle. A few spastics flicks and fishing isn't exactly earth shattering sorry no. In fact, the onscreen fairy cursor is just annoying (does it serve ANY purpose apart from making me keep the thing aimed off screen most of the time?), and the already complex play proceedure brought over from the N64 and GC are made - even - more - complicated with the Wii. I don't know how many times
    • Actually it is not really tacked on, the floating fairy is a matter of taste, I could live without it, but the motion sensing in combats is definitely a huge plus as well as the aiming via wiimote. If the graphics are improved I rather doubt it, the textures are way to washed out for a wii game, which is the main problem the game has graphicswise. (Btw. I hate the zoning system, this is definitely a huge design flaw and not really that necessary anymore)
    • You can turn off the fairy cursor. I made this one change, and the playability of the game improved about 100%.

      It could be worse. You could be damned to the Hell of eternal "HEY LISTEN!". At least the fairy knows she's best seen and not heard in this game. (Though really, I'm still scarred for life from "HEY LISTEN!")
  • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Friday March 09, 2007 @08:54AM (#18287634) Homepage
    I'm left-handed, and I already notice that I have to play Rayman Raving Rabids differently to the way they show you on the screen. I was wondering about Zelda, which I understand has Link being right-handed in this instalment.

    Now, this isn't a fanboy "Link should be left-handed!" rant, it's a question about whether a left-handed person can play it at all. Are there any settings for left-handers?

    • by grumbel ( 592662 )
      How you swing the Wiimote has no effect on Links sword movements at all, so if you swing with left or right doesn't matter at all. Most people just shake the remote to trigger a sword move, since swinging it doesn't make a difference.
    • by Tofof ( 199751 ) on Friday March 09, 2007 @09:04AM (#18287716)
      No, there's no "left-handed mode" setting or anything like that. However, unlike in, say, Wii Sports, the actual swinging motions you make have no effect on Link's action. Instead, it's basically a direct port from the GC version - instead of pushing a button to attack, you waggle the remote. The actual angle and speed of the swing don't matter - you can't aim the sword with the remote. Instead of the old 'hold b, then release' scheme, you waggle the nunchuck, and Link does his spinning move. The lock-on and jump attacks are all button presses even on the Wii. Bottom line - I'd be shocked if handedness affected it for anyone at all. The only places where you actually do any aiming are the ranged weapons (bow, hookshot equivalent, etc), and those zoom in to a first-person mode with a crosshair - again, Link's handedness shouldn't affect your ability to put the crosshair on the spot you want to shoot.
      • just for s*** and giggles i tried playing with the wii-mote in my left hand and navigating with nunchuck in the right and i must say the only problem i had playing this way was my lack of coordination between my cerebral lobes. i caught myself waving the wiimote in the direction i wanted to move in and link was running around a bit drunk looking. otherwise, once i got used to it the mechanics were unaffected. i could slash and aim just fine.
      • Yeah, as a lefty, I can report that Zelda is perfectly playable by southpaws. I hold the nunchuck in my right hand and that seems to work well. There is a bit of an adjustment because the analog stick (used to control Link's movement) is then in the right hand and thus backwards from every controller I grew up with. The Wii system is actually great for lefties because you get a choice.
    • by hal2814 ( 725639 ) on Friday March 09, 2007 @10:32AM (#18288404)
      You do have to go out and buy the left-handed nunchuck attachment.
    • Being left-handed myself I was wondering the same thing when I bought Twilight Princess. I found out pretty soon though that your 'handedness' doesn't make any difference to how you control the game. I never had any problem doing any of the moves and honestly don't even think about it anymore.

      I haven't had any control problems that had anything to do with my being left handed at all though I have had some sensitivity issues with swinging the remote to swing your sword (mostly me just being too lazy and jus

    • by Omestes ( 471991 )
      Actually when I got TP with my Wii I was amazed that I could actually play lefty, I think playing lefty on a console for the first time ever was a bigger deal than the whole motion thing. On all previous consoles all f the movement was for the left, and all of the button mashing is for the right, and as I learned with the silly "chase the Orc and knock of his clothes while on the horse" quest, this leads to drastically underdeveloped D-pad muscles in your right thumb. Thanks to being ambidextrous I can sw
    • It's playable left-handedly. I'm right handed, but sometimes I've picked up the Wii-mote and "Nunchuck" attachment backward, i.e. Wii-mote in left hand and nunchuck in right hand, without even realizing it until I've played for a while. I like the fact that the controls in games can be swapped this easily and unconsciously... Plus it's great that your hands don't have to be so close together all the time, I found myself using armrests sometimes.
    • Being left handed, I thought it might be easier to just play lefty and do things differently so that I was more comfortable. However, I found that it was far less awkward to play righty than I expected and I just played it righty. Considering that we have to adapt a little bit at times to do some things as lefties anyway, I would suggest giving it a shot playing righty. A little bit of ambidextrousness never hurt.
  • Interesting... but.. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I smell bullshit as the wii port was a last minute decision.
    Twilight princess for the GC is great without the wii-mote.

    What makes Zelda such a great series in the first place, despite the basic retelling of the same story over and over again (with some variations) the gameplay is somehow fundamentally changed in each game, the dungeons become more complex, the environment becomes bigger and more complex, and the characters are unforgettable. Charismatic dialogs and every notable character you come across ha
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I hoped to see more complex combat in TP (as in requiring skill, not more token special moves), particularly with the wiimote's potential. Unfortunately, the wiimote's introduction really only means waving it around in time rather than pressing buttons in time, which isn't much better than button mashing. I'm not sure if this is the result of the wiimote/sensor not being accurate enough for real swordplay, or if the developers decided to keep it simple for the lowest common denominator (or maybe it seemed t
    • by fabs64 ( 657132 )
      It's amazing how many people don't get this.. but can you imagine how badly Zelda:TP would sell if half its fanbase weren't "skilled" enough to play it?
      I love single player games, I love Zelda, but if you want an actual test of how good you are, that's what online is for. (NB: you will be dissapointed in yourself :-P)
      • by Eccles ( 932 )
        It's amazing how many people don't get this.. but can you imagine how badly Zelda:TP would sell if half its fanbase weren't "skilled" enough to play it?

        You could have multiple difficulty levels. Granted, this takes away some of the mojo from beating it, but would still give skilled gamers something extra out of the game.

        I love Zelda, but if you want an actual test of how good you are, that's what online is for. (NB: you will be disappointed in yourself :-P)

        I'm not; they must be cheating somehow! Gotta be
    • The game was (more or less) finished by the time it moved to the Wii ...

      Completely re-doing combat at that point in time would have been impossible. I suspect you will see greated Wiimote usage in the Next Zelda game which should be released Q4 2008 (as a guess).
  • by Metasquares ( 555685 ) <> on Friday March 09, 2007 @10:16AM (#18288232) Homepage
    I bought the Gamecube version of the game and can attest that the game still has plenty of "life" without the Wiimote. This would make sense, considering that the game was originally designed for the Gamecube.
    • by AusIV ( 950840 )
      Same here. I've played through the game on my Gamecube, and played a few parts on a friend's Wii. I didn't feel that the game on the Wii was really any better. I think there are lots of things they could do with Zelda on the Wii, but making it compatible with Gamecube as well was rather limiting.
    • Definitely have to agree on this. After playing the gamecube version for a while now, I have a feeling the Wii's dependence on body movements would only end up becoming a distraction from the gameplay. There's no odd disconnect between the controls of the gamecube version and the user, despite the Wii version being the first version to launch.

      I would be interested in hearing more on how the controls from both versions feel relative to each other, though.
    • I just recently beat the game on the gamecube and I was pleasantly surprised with how well it played. The first hour or two of game play is linear but that was fine with me because I needed that time to get familiar with the controls (which get explained during that linear portion). After that short period the game expands rapidly in both sheer map size as well as available tasks. Personally, I didn't feel as thought the side storylines were developed well enough to hold my interest very long but I do fe
  • by WapoStyle ( 639758 ) on Friday March 09, 2007 @10:57AM (#18288642)
    I have enjoyed my time with Twilight Princess so far, I'm just past the "intro" dungeons. (First three) The more I play it, the more it seems like Ocarina of Time with a different story. Perhaps that's not too bad of a thing, that game is fondly remembered for good reason.

    My experience with the Wii Remote control system in Zelda is not a very good one. The big problem is the motion detection on the nunchuck attachment. Pushing it forward to do a shield block is an exercise in frustration as it never seems to work. I'll often end up shaking it violently for a few seconds before Link will perform a spin attack. This issue only crops up in Zelda, I never have an issue with motion sensing in Wii Sports.

    The only work around I've come across is exploiting line of site with the remote. I discovered the nunchuck is a lot more responsive if you drop the remote down by your side, out of line of sight of the when doing nunchuck movements.
    • I second the difficulty learning to do the shield block consistently. Any time I had a problem doing the spin move ended up being because I was shaking the wrong hand.

      I don't think the line of sight stuff you're talking about makes much sense. As far as I'm aware, the nunchuck itself does not communicate with anything other than the remote that it's wired to. Maybe just adjusting the position of your body allowed you to make movements closer to what the game was expecting?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I had difficulty with the shield block at first but then I realized I was doing the motion wrong. Instead of moving your hand forward in the thumb+index finger direction, think of the nunchuck as the handle of the shield and move your hand straight forward in the direction of your fingers (which is usually down, depending on how you hold the nunchuck).
      • by JoshJ ( 1009085 )
        Excellent point. I wish games indicated how you were supposed to orient the controllers. To use warioware terminology, it appears that Zelda wants the Nunchuck in "The Diner A" whereas it wants the Wiimote in "The Diner B" (or "The Remote Control"). This makes sense from a 'sword and shield' perspective.

        Madden '07 wants it in "The Diner B"- both wiimote and nunchuck horizontal, otherwise you end up doing a tackle boost when you want to jump to catch a ball.
    • I had a lot of trouble doing the shield block, until I discovered that it works much more reliably if you dip the front of the nunchuck, as though you were cracking a whip (just not nearly as violently). Works like a charm.
    • by Shippy ( 123643 )
      I had trouble with the shield block for a while, but I found that if I just slow down the thrust and keep it a single, smooth motion it works perfectly.
    • by Zeussy ( 868062 )
      Agreeing with the people above.

      Its not a violent jerky motion I have found. More of a slower smoother push fowards.
  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Friday March 09, 2007 @12:35PM (#18290076) Homepage Journal
    I guess I'm one of the minority that thought Wind Waker's style of graphics and game play was the best thing Zelda has ever seen. I'm fine with alienating teen gamers, they have no taste. :)
    • by Rycross ( 836649 )
      No, I loved Wind Waker's graphics. I just hated the game. The sailing aspect really killed it for me. I'd love to see a Wind Waker style Zelda game where travelling to dungeons didn't involve having to go through a huge song and dance (almost literally) just to turn around, and where you didn't have to choose between actually moving and fighting the enemies.
    • Second. I loved the graphics style.

      Still, I wouldn't want it to get too common either. I wish they'd come up with something just as cool - but completely different - for this Zelda. They do tend to tell the same story over and over in many different ways, but maybe experimental graphics styles could be added to the list of what Zelda is known for.

      They already know people are going to buy it - why not use it as a research lab of sorts? Especially for non-dealbreakers like graphics style.
    • WW is the only Zelda I've played. It is good enough to make me think (like others) that the Zelda series is one of the best games ever. I can only imagine how good the others must be if everyone thinks WW is near the bottom of the Zelda franchise. Standing alone without the abililty to make comparisons to the other Zeldas, I think it is a great game.

      I type this every time.
      • My favorite is the original Zelda. it's amazing how big of a world can be packed into an 8-bit console with a tiny bit of RAM and ROM.

        And the third one is a favorite of many because of its massive world and storyline. All of the gameboy ones are great because of the attention to puzzles which are often interesting but never frustrating.
  • I know that Twilight Princess was developed for GC, but I have to say that it found a great synergy with the Wii and I couldn't imagine it on any other platform. The controller scheme is so natural you forget that you're manipulating the character on screen. After the first initial minutes of play the gestures become so natural you quickly forget about the mechanical stuff. The Wii probably seemed like a gamble to Nintendo when they first started designing it but they really nailed it. The lower end gra
  • Don't throw your controller through the TV - Dodongo hates smoke.
  • Or is the first real Wii Zelda game going to simply be OoT v1.4?

  • As if the hordes of Zelda fan boys needed such incentives.

Garbage In -- Gospel Out.