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The Legend of Zelda: What's next for Link?

We've got some ideas of our own...

This article originally appeared in Nintendo Gamer

"Because I haven't yet surpassed it, I can't quit," said Eiji Aonuma in 2008, speaking about the game many believe is still the finest Zelda ever, Ocarina Of Time. "Surprisingly, that motivation may be the reason I continue to work on the series." Though some would argue otherwise, we feel that Aonuma may well have slain his own personal Ganon with Skyward Sword.


At the very least, it was a Zelda that gleefully tore up the rulebook, giving us the freshest take on this long-running series since Majora's Mask. With controls that allowed you to physically wield Link's sword in a way that no other game had managed, here was an adventure almost without equal on Wii - and would have been, had EAD Tokyo not gone and made the best Mario ever.

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That's not to say there was no room for improvement, of course. Though spirit helper Fi's final farewell left us blaming some stray dust to excuse our watery peepers, her overly nannying influence grated with some. If not outright telling you the solution to
some puzzles, she'd give 'cryptic' clues a five-year-old could decipher. Nintendo have been trying to make a Zelda for the masses for a long time now; indeed, Miyamoto recently said of any new Zelda that "when we decide that we've found the right one of those [design experiments] to really help bring Zelda to a very big audience, then we'll be happy to announce it." Yet Fi was a step too far, getting in the way of those who would rather spend hours working out a solution to a puzzle than having the answer handed to them on a gold platter.

In places, you could also sense the Wii hardware holding Skyward Sword back. Splitting the world into three sections was a smart way to get to the action quicker - and rarely has a Zelda felt so tightly packed with things to see and do - but by the same token it perhaps lacked the sense of scale of previous games. Hyrule, for the first time, felt like a series of levels rather than a cohesive world. The extra power of Wii U would allow Nintendo to give us a huge sandbox to play around in. That's assuming an open world is even on the cards.

VIEW TO A THRILL

So what form might a new Zelda game take? Could we see a shift in perspective? Shigeru Miyamoto has been trying to make a first-person Zelda since Ocarina Of Time, where Yoshiaki Koizumi disobeyed orders to focus on a third-person adventure. From a certain point of view, Miyamoto eventually succeeded in his plans with Metroid Prime, which felt in places a little more like a Zelda game than a Metroid game - while Skyward Sword had plenty of moments where you got to view Hyrule through Link's peepers as he aimed his slingshot, hookshot and bow.

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And who better to make a first-person Zelda than Prime candidates Retro Studios? "I think when we talk about any other franchise, Zelda might be a possible franchise for that collaboration [with Retro]," said Miyamoto, giving his blessing to the Texan developer. That should come as no real surprise - the studio have proven themselves capable of handling Samus, Donkey Kong and, in revamping Mario Kart 7's collection of past favourites, even Nintendo's most famous mascot. Surely they're up to the task of reinventing Link for a new console generation? Then again, Miyamoto admitted they were currently busy working on another game.

So how might it control? "I honestly think we cannot go back to button controls now," said Aonuma late last year, "so I think that these controls will be used in future Zelda titles, too." Then again, Miyamoto's ready to upend the tea table on that one, suggesting "there were some people who weren't able to do that or didn't like it as much and stopped playing part way through."

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