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Many SPOILERS are contained throughout these posts. You have been warned!

Friday, July 29, 2011

More reasons to be excited about Skyward Sword


Skyward Sword is just 4-5 months away from release, and the game just seems to be getting better and better the more info we get on it. These 3 video interviews with Nintendo of America reveal some interesting info about Skyward Sword, and the Zelda series in general.

The Legend of Zelda:Skyward Sword - Timeline, Series Future, Forging Hyrule - GoNintendo


Let's break down what was talked about...

Majora's Mask was done in Japan before localization in the states started. Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess both used simultaneous localization.

In most cases, the localization of Zelda games happen simultaneously with the game development, but in MM's case, it was such a unique game, with many Japanese culture references, it would've been incredibly hard to localize for English audiences. Instead, they waited until the game was finished to start the localization, so they could focus on properly translating and interpreting all the foreign stuff. For this reason, there was a 6 month wait between the Japanese release and the North American release. The differences between the Japanese and US versions of MM are minimal, because they put a lot of effort into localizing the game while keeping true to the original meanings.

I think with other Zelda games, they actually take longer to release because the localization is happening simultaneously with the development, and so the developers have to take the localization into account when developing the game. Majora's Mask is an example of what can happen with the Zelda series when the Japanese have no regard for localization... a weird, creepy, deep and emotional game that departs from the usual Zelda stories. Link's Awakening was like this too, as the developers of that game treated it as a side project, and basically just did whatever they wanted with it...

With Skyward Sword, they've been doing the localization simultaneously with the development. Given the amount of time they've spent SS so far (apparently they've been working on SS since 2009), I'm very interested in seeing how it turned out.

Skyward Sword ties into Ocarina of Time

This was already known, but hearing it again from the horses mouth, specifically saying it "ties in" to Ocarina of Time, doesn't it sound exciting? You know there's going to be a lot of cool connections and references to OoT.

Nintendo fears that if they put out an official timeline, they'll be limited with future Zelda ideas. There is a a master document for the Zelda timeline which contains overall plans for the series, but it's kept under wraps.

Miyamoto often likes to "tip the tea table" on Zelda development, making the developers change or remove story elements to make the game easier to understand for non-Zelda fans. It is a long-running tradition in the Zelda series to make the stories as simple and self-contained as possible, while only loosely connecting to other games through references and hidden meanings. They do this not to remove the notion of a timeline, but to keep the timeline open ended enough so they can add games in between other games in the timeline wherever they want. They have an official timeline, including ideas for future games and their timeline placements, but they keep it secret for the purpose of being able to change and add to it along the way.

Skyward Sword will be 'tremendously expansive'

Imagine soaring through the wide open sky world, discovering dozens of floating islands hiding within them many secrets and treasures, and in certain areas you find connections to the Earth world below. Then you go down to Hyrule, where you are overwhelmed by a vast landscape with dungeons, forests, mountains, and fields. The combination of the Sky World and Hyrule makes an amazing potential for an expansive and atmospheric world...

Nintendo says there's nothing else like it as far as motion control goes

From what I've heard of people who played the demo, the Wii Motion Plus is utilized really well in Skyward Sword. It actually feels like a natural progression to the Zelda combat system. The best Zelda enemies were the ones you had to use some strategy to take out, and not just blindly button mash to win.

Zelda 1 had those Darknuts that could only be hit from the back... Zelda II had Darknuts that would crouch/uncrouch to shield your attacks, and you'd have to do the same to attack them them while also shielding against their attacks... Ocarina of Time took it a step further with Stalfos Knights, who would circle around you with their shield up, and you'd have to do some tricky maneuvering or wait until they're about to attack to get around their shield. Wind Waker and Twilight Princess had some tricky enemies too but for the most part you could win just by button-mashing. Skyward Sword looks like it focuses a lot more on strategy-based combat. You actually have to pay attention to which direction you swing your sword in, and most enemies have defenses that prevent you from defeating them just by sword swinging alone.

Looking at holiday release this year. More details on Golden Wiimote and other info later on. More events and activities surrounding Zelda to come.

Skyward Sword's release is quickly approaching, and if that's not enough, Nintendo seems to have Zelda on the mind lately so maybe we'll see other Zelda stuff coming out in the near future! A Zelda 3DS maybe?

Skyward Sword blends overworld and dungeon elements

Zelda games have always had their gameplay split up into overworld (towns, sidequests, rupee hunting etc) and dungeons (monsters, locked doors, puzzles etc). No longer will you have to alternate between the two. What I think this means is that dungeons will now involve sidequests and character interactions the same way the overworld does, and the overworld will involve puzzle solving and utilizing items the same way dungeons do. This is one thing the recent DS Zelda games (Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks) have been leaning towards, and it'll be nice to see this fully realized in Skyward Sword.

More puzzle and exploration than before

Of course, with overworld areas having dungeon elements, that means there will be a lot more puzzles, and a lot more out of reach/blocked off areas that will make exploration more vast and rewarding. I think this will be similar to the kind of exploration that made Super Metroid and Metroid Prime amazing games.

Bill Trinen hasn't finished the game yet, but he believes it to be one of his favorite Zelda games ever.

Bill Trinen is a translator for Nintendo of America, and he has access to the full game for the purpose of localizing it. From what I've heard so far it doesn't surprise me that he sees this as the best Zelda game yet, and the fact that he still hasn't finished it yet is the icing on the cake. It sounds like this game is on the same level of quality that Ocarina of Time was in 1998... and on top of that it takes a lot longer to finish. Freaking amazing...

The Wii U tech demo doesn't necessarily show where Nintendo will go with Zelda on Wii U

This is good news, as the Wii U demo looked graphically impressive but lacked any of the Zelda style and charm. I'm guessing that Nintendo will be going for a completely different and unique art style by the time the Wii U Zelda happens.

Skyward Sword starts off in Skyloft. The game kicks off with a series of events that sets Link on an adventure below the clouds to save Zelda.

Sounds alright, though I'm worried about Skyloft being another long and boring tutorial level like Ordon Village in TP. I would prefer it if it kicked off into adventure right from the beginning, but we'll see how it goes.

The game involves lots of mystery elements, including why you can't quite catch up to Zelda when trying to rescue her

I'm not sure what to make of this, honestly... Mystery in a Zelda game is always a good thing, but I have no idea what kind of mystery would involve Zelda being out of your reach throughout the whole game... sounds intriguing.

Link's female companion isn't the sword exactly, but a spirit in the sword. She guides Link on his adventure

This to me sounds like a much bigger mystery than "why you can't quite catch up to Zelda". Why does the sword have a spirit inside it? What's her role in all of this? Is the triforce involved somehow?

Ghirahim is following Link at one point, but Link isn't aware of it.

... creepy...

You don't know why Ghirahim is going after Zelda.

More mystery is always a good thing. I've had some of my own theories on why Zelda is important in this game. For example it could be related to the backstory of The Minish Cap, where the Minish give Zelda the "Light Force" which contains tremendous magical powers... I'm sure that's wrong though, it's probably going to be something new and crazy that none of us could predict.

There are a lot of new character races in Skyward Sword, more than what we've seen at E3.

Wow, even more new races? We already of the Hylians, the Gerudos, the Gorons, the Zoras, the Ritos, the Subrosians, the Oocca... and Skyward Sword will apparently have a LOT more new races? I wonder what race Ghirahim is part of...

You will visit familiar places in Skyward Sword, but they may or may not be part of Hyrule

Now this is interesting... maybe some of these familiar places will be the islands of Wind Waker, floating in the air instead of on the water? Or maybe you'll end up in areas outside of Hyrule, like Labrynna, Holodrum, or Termina?


With all this, my anticipation for Skyward Sword is higher than ever. I think I understand Miyamoto's confidence in saying "this'll either be the greatest Zelda game yet or we'll stop making Zelda games".

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