Are Zelda Games Meant to be Realistic?

HanyouDecember 22nd, 2012 by Hanyou

Over the past few days, I’ve had the pleasure of engaging several people on our forums–as well as elsewhere–on the topic of realism in Zelda games, particularly in terms of visuals.

I’m sure I’ve broached this topic, at least in part, in an editorial or article before, but I’m intrigued by the tendency many people have to assume that realism would somehow make Zelda games better, or that they were ever meant to be realistic. Apart from Metroid, which was always inherently serious and contained some notable similarities to, of all things, the R-rated Alien franchise, I can’t say I’ve seen this argument directed toward other Nintendo series.

Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D Land may be two of the most unrealistic Mario games yet. How many people demand a realistic Mario game? Similarly, Zelda games are built on a fairy tale landscape. The first big look we got into this world was Ocarina of Time. It had more in common with The Hobbit than Lord of the Rings–and not necessarily Peter Jackson’s version of The Hobbit either. In any case, the visual style of Ocarina of Time, as well as its immediate successor, Majora’s Mask, is heavily rooted in anime. The game had plenty of contemporaries that strove for realism, such as Resident Evil and, on the Nintendo 64, Goldeneye. Those Zelda games share little in common with the realistic games of their time. They do have dark moments, but they’re not inherently more realistic than, say, Banjo-Kazooie was.

The Wind Waker is well-known by now for its cartoon graphics, and while it seemed to be the odd game out at the time, its style has now been prominently featured in three subsequent Zelda games.

The one “realistic” Zelda game is Twilight Princess. It shares little in common, visually, with any other title in the series, but still has some anime stylings. If it’s realistic at all, it represents a break from the norm.

While my position now is that Zelda games were never meant to be realistic, I must admit that after playing Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, my much younger self was convinced that the successor would be at least vaguely realistic. What I don’t understand is why. I would never have demanded this of Starfox, Mario, or Sonic (we saw what that looked like with Sonic ’06, and it wasn’t good).

Consider this editorial a question. What do you think makes people demand realistic visuals from the inherently unrealistic, fairy tale world of The Legend of Zelda? Do you share the opinion, against all convention, that it should be realistic? Do you even think it’s against convention, or do you believe there’s some kind of precedent for realism in the series that I’m not seeing?


Categorized under: Editorials

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  • erikingvoldsen

    Nintendo specifically marketed TP on the premise that it brought back OoT’s graphic style. The 3DS isn’t capable of doing it with as much detail as TP, but both versions have the same style as TP.

    Not to mention Miyamoto was always going through great lengths to make sure OoT was as realistic as possible, going through tiny insignificant details to make sure this happened. Like when he wrote to the team how upset he was that the sign didn’t make a different sound effect when it fell into water after being cut down. That’s how attentive and serious he was about making it realistic.

    • Frankfurt

      OOT and TP are not the only Zelda games.

      • Midnafan

        Yeah, you can’t forget SS, WW, and all the old ones pretty much meshed together. :P

    • Ghoti

      The 3DS is easily capable, it’s around the power of the Wii (and unarguable more powerful than the Gamecube, which TP ran on just fine.) Look at Resident Evil on 3DS. That was far better than anything Wii could do.

    • Midnafan

      i don’t really see that much similarity graphically between TP and OoT…

    • Mr. Deborah

      I can’t say I really see what sound effects have to do with graphical style. It’s not like any chopping up enemies has ever sounded like it actually would. I think that example is just about depth.

    • BlackRaven6695

      Detail does not equal realism.

  • Tehlul

    Because we live in the day and age where people can only appreciate a realilisticlly styled game. I don’t mind seeing it, but I would get sick of Zelda if that’s all they decided to do.
    The individual styling of each game is what inticiced me to the series at all.

    • Midnafan

      A truly realisticly styled game would be one to cross of the list though. I might end up at the bottom like ST, but it would be something to try eventually, especially if they’re loosing players to Xbox and Playstation, who have a tendency to do those kind of games.

    • Mr. Deborah

      I don’t think that could happen. Nintendo has tried to make Zelda games relatively kid-friendly, including Twilight Princess. A TRULY realistic game would prevent that. And individual styling has become part of Zelda’s identity. And that’s a good thing. Its allowed the games to have their own gameplay and story styles, keeping everything fresh.

  • Zachary Morris

    I’m tired of this discussion. Zelda is not realistic and never will be.

    • TehLeetHaxor

      Go play Twilight Princess.

      • Midnafan

        Again, not totally realistic, but the most so far.

      • Zachary Morris

        Believe me. I’ve played Twilight Princess twice. It’s my favorite video game. But it’s not realistic.

    • Midnafan

      I’d call it half and half. It’s not exactly a bouncy cartoon either.

  • Josh

    Realistic in terms of graphics… I think it’s best going back and forth between realism and painting…

    Realistic in terms of… well, real-world stuff… Absolutely NOT!! Keep guns and stuff like that out of Zelda, keep using Magic and sword!

    • gamer

      I don’t think anyone suggested the later.

      • Midnafan

        I don’t know, the whole realistic argument was kind of general in the article, he didn’t really specify graphics, just realism. :/

    • Midnafan

      agreeing totally. as much as I am for nonsense though, there has to be some sort of logic to the things that are in the game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emma.k.inglis Emma Inglis

    I think the reason we demand realism of Zelda is because, thematically and aesthetically, it has so much that we like to relate to. Star Fox has anthropomorphic animals, is set in such a foreign setting that it seems is not meant to be related to and has a huge focus on gameplay. Mario is similar, and the characters, items and settings are so whacky that demanding anything truly deep and insightful of it would be absurd.
    With the Zelda series, it’s another story. The first game bases its premise on very realistic human feelings- curiosity, the desire to explore, and the sense that the world is huge, intriguing and almost limitless. I think that overtime this has simply translated into the intrinsic desire to relate more closely with a world we see in fiction by making the visuals of a standard that mirrors the real world to an extent. Excluding recent Metroid titles, the Zelda series represents so many human concepts such as loyalty, courage, fear, hardship, determination, love, growing up/maturing and has a world that many of us get the feeling we’ve seen or felt somewhere before (I mean in a good way; travelling over Hyrule field reminds me of running across the huge fields near my hometown and several other settings happily remind me of distant or local settings). In addition, there’s now so many fantasy games comparable to Zelda that have a realistic appearing world (even if what’s in it is far from it), so many see it as natural to shift towards it. In saying that, I’m not entirely fussed if graphically it’s not 100% realistic- my favourite Zelda game is probably the furthest from realism you’ll get, yet you’ll get all the human experiences it demands you feel and sense. In terms of that kind of experience, I find there’s almost nothing like it in other series :)

    • Midnafan

      wow, that is a REALLY great point. :D

  • http://twitter.com/jubileegirl06 Mandy

    I think some gamers that are attracted to the “more realistic” graphics of franchises like Mass Effect or the newer Call of Duty games, and they may feel that Zelda either “deserves” the same treatment, or that Zelda just needs to catch up to those kinds of graphics. If it’s the latter of those, just because the Legend of Zelda games have more of a fantasy feel versus hyper realism doesn’t make them a bad game.

    Zelda has always been a fantasy series to me, and the art style of the games brings across the current mood of the lands and of our protagonists. I personally have no need of hyper-realism in Zelda games unless it’s pertinent to the story that the artists are trying to bring across. I’m not saying to keep realism out of Zelda, but if it’s going to be brought into the game, it needs to have a purpose for being there other than realism for realism’s sake.

    • Midnafan

      That’s a good point: If it’s going to be realistic, it needs to match the general feel of the game. :)

  • Farq

    I believe its people’s tendency to want to escape their reality and basically flow into this fairytale word where exciting and interesting things can happen if you will them so and i dont mean this in a sense of ripping on the games these are Majestic titles that have been with me since childhood and i would like to see them made realistic but at the same time i wouldnt. I would love to see it if they went full anime on it but kept that style of game that we know and love i can t think of a word to describe it so im going to say Zeldaic but overdoing the graphics is a bad idea we all know Better graphics doesnt necessarily mean a Better game. Gamer Rule #68

    • Midnafan

      full anime? i don’t think so. if Zelda were to remain where it’s at with a tendency towards half-anime half-realistic I would be fine. I could really do without the cartoons though.

  • Darkgreyfire

    I think the growing of video game graphics over time has raised the entire “should Zelda be realistic” debate. We can look back at Ocarina and Majora at this point in time, and say it was made with a fantasy somewhat anime looking style. But, I assure you at that point in time, the graphics were more realistic than any seen before them. The 8 bit and 16 bit games were unable to bring true realism into the picture, because of the lack of capability. So you can’t claim they were meant to be have a fantasy look, because their limited physical capability really drove the look of the games. But, the Ocarina and Majora games, did look real during there release. Look at the other first generation 3D block style games at that time, such as final fantasy 7. Same style and look, other than the brighter colors in the Zelda series. Now, I think at the point of Wind Wakers release, nintendo made a point in saying, we are not going to be rounded up with the norm, and made a decision on the future look of Zelda games. I personally like the switching of the styles continuously of Zelda. I like the realistic styles better, but still really enjoy the toon and fantasy styles. It brings something fresh to a franchise that has been around for a long time, and needs something like that to keep it from becoming stale. It also locks up games to a certain period in time, and gives that style you began playing with, a beautiful nostalgia that makes them feel they belong to you. I enjoy Ocarina and Majora best, because I started Zelda with them in teens. I hear players older than me claim Link to the past will never be matched, and I hear younger players talking of their love for Twilight Princess and Skyward, or the toon Phantom hourglass and Spirit Tracks DS games. Nintendo has always stayed with something a few times and then recreated the game to feel fresh, but still contain the same heart. Their is something for everybody individually, but something found even deeper in the games that brings us all together.

    • mothergroose

      Why don’t you write for Zelda dungeon. You always make me mad at first, but then all warm and fuzzy at the end. It’s wierd.

      • HunterP

        That sounds kind of like when I take a dump. Mad at first but all warm and fuzzy at the end.

        • Shiek

          Why would you EVEN say that?

          • Midnafan

            maybe that’s what he was doing when he typed that….

          • That Guy

            It’s what I’m doing now

          • Midnafan

            you people are way too personal….

          • Midna’s Sister

            LOL

          • HunterP

            Because it’s true. Poop happens, it’s not my fault you can’t accept reality.

        • Midnafan

          o.O ………

        • IMFWeirdo

          That made me smile.

      • Midnafan

        There are lots of good writers on this site. :)

        • hot apple Fi

          Interesting how this get pushed to the bottom, behind all the poop comments. Before we judge though, remember, Zelda has bathroom jokes…..”I need some paper!”.

    • gamer

      I agree that the early games up to OOT were unable to be judged visually because of the systems. But nintendo’s idea at the time was to create a realistic game. Instead of WW being the pivot point like you said, I think OOT was that. They left the medieval feel for more of a fantasy, Neverland if you will, feel. I’ve stayed with the franchise because of the dungeons and puzzles, but wasn’t happy with the stories and how playful the games were becoming. I hated the toon style, and got my hopes up with TT being dark again. But, SS was almost too much for me. If I wanted to play a game looking like it was designed by Disney, I would play Kingdom Hearts. At least then I would get some creative boss designs. I miss the old Zelda’s back when it didn’t feel like an episode of glee without the singing.

      • Midnafan

        I agree on OoT being the turning point, although I think WW was the start of modern graphics. To be honest, Kingdom Hearts is awesome until they bring in the Disney characters, then it looses all seriousness to me, and I hate that. But what’s TT? :/ and I’m not exactly sure how you can compare SS to Glee, that comparison doesn’t really make any sense to me. :/

        • gamer

          TT is TP. Sorry, I’m on a phone and have fat fingers.

    • iKhan

      I like this too, but a few days ago I realized that taking the time to develop a new style greatly extends development time. Even if they space the games out the same, sticking to one style would allow more time to be spent in gameplay so we don’t get rushed games like WW and TP.

      • mothergroose

        they could basically change styles with every new console, because they are recreating for using different hardware anyhow.

      • gamer

        They have different departments working on design, gameplay, creation, story etc.. It’s not like it’s a room of people, and everyone does everything. Creating a new style would only make it hard on one department. That’s no excuse for a bad engine, game layout, or a horrific story.

        • Midnafan

          I do think alot of people don’t really realize that. still, it is reasonable to say the better the game, the longer it will probably take to perfect. SS has become a perfect example of that. :)

        • Mr. Deborah

          Is it just me, or is a lot of this coming down to people who didn’t like WW as much against people who do? Just in a roundabout “was Ocarina/Twilight princess meant to be realistic?” debate? It’s not everyone, but its a good chunk of the discussion, methinks.

        • iKhan

          The thing is that its pretty clear that it has taken longer whenever they did a new art style. MM took 1.5 years, ST took 2 years, and the oracle games took 2 years to develop 2 different games. Sure WW took only 2-3 years, but its by far the most incomplete game the Zelda series has ever released (I still love it though). That means creating a new style is what is eating a lot of the time. I’d rather they focus on finishing the game than making a new style.

          • EyeOfSheikah

            Here’s the thing. With MM and ST, the reason that they were so quick was because they used the same game engine as their predecessors. MM used OoT’s and ST used PH’s. This is really not possible to do when you are developing a game for a new console. Even if you keep the style the same, you will still have to re-do it all on the new console. As far as the Oracle games go, the same game engine would be used, meaning that they would have been able to develop one engine that would run two games, cutting down on development time.

      • Midnafan

        Zelda fans are so funny: “Something new and innovative? Awesome! Oh, but wait, that’ll take too long… No, That’s not awesome!” XD

        • Mr. Deborah

          Your insights could cut through Mirror Shields. Get a Disqus so I can follow you. Now.

          • Midnafan

            seems like people are really starting to like me on here. half of my comments have 10 or more likes. :D

    • Midnafan

      well, if the question is whether Zelda should start looking like the most recent Resident Evil or Final Fantasy, my answer is: i don’t really know. It would be a huge break from the norm of the series, and as much as i pray the next game doesn’t use cel-shading (some might already know my gripe with that) i don’t really know if people would like that sort of style. I do know one thing: it is highly likely it would up the ESRB rating on the game. We all know TP is the most “realistic” to date, and it also had the highest rating with T, the reason being that the realism brought more realistic deaths for monsters: basically the addition of blood was enough to up it. It seems reasonable a more realistic Zelda game would follow suit.

    • Linkfan99

      You said that at the time, Majora’s Mask and Ocarina of Time were meant to be realistic, but look at some of the characters. They may have meant to be realistic graphics-wise, but some of the proportions were wayyyy off. Some characters were meant to have heads too big, which drives away from that realistic feel. So OoT and MM weren’t entirely realistic at the time.

      • Midnafan

        i don’t think Zelda has ever been ENTIRELY realistic. I think the whole series centers itself on being half and half. it’s what makes it distinguishable.

      • gamer

        He’s right I think. I remember when I first got OOT, I was all like “these are the greatest graphics of all time. Their will never be better graphics than this.” Now about fifteen years later I’m like “these textured are aweful. Why does the spirit temple look like a sewer?”. It really was a different game when it was released. It was the point when Zelda was the best of what gaming had to offer, and they grabbed a ton of new gamers.

        • Linkfan99

          I know that, but some of the proportions of characters were INTENTIONALLY off. Like, some characters had heads too big or bodies too small, etc. on purpose, so that they didn’t entirely resemble actual people.

          • lan lan cow

            moo.

          • Linkfan99

            Please stop spamming.

      • lan lan cow

        Mooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    • Mr. Deborah

      I think this all hinges on the definition of “realistic.” So far, everyone has their own.

  • Mister

    Yes, Zelda was always supposed to be realistic, which makes the recent games inferior and unworthy of the Zelda title. I mean, just look at the first game. The official artwork for this game proved it all. I mean, just look at how real Link looks in those pictures. He looks exactly like people do in real life. In real life, everyone looks like they’ve drawn by a cartoon artist. The tips of our swords always look thrice as large as the hilt. And who doesn’t spend their days slaughtering giant pigs who kidnap princesses in the most cliche and silliest of scenarios.

    • Midnafan

      you really could make it more obvious you’re being sarcastic without slandering some pretty good games. :/

  • iKhan

    The thing is that OoT, MM, and SS’s art style all have a reasonable amount of realism to them. This is because Zelda IS meant to be somewhat realistic. Sure it has charm and quirkiness, but it also is a fairly serious game, with the exception of Skyward Sword. Even Wind Waker was a very serious game with some added charm. However, they aren’t meant to be GoldenEye level or realistic, just more realistic than something like Mario.

    • Midnafan

      SS was fairly serious, it just had a far from serious art-style. and some really not-serious characters. i.e. Groose, Ghirahim for specific reasons, and the dragons (i thought the water dragon was a joke at first -__-

      • iKhan

        The art style isn’t why its not serious. Here are the list of characters that had serious roles: Zelda, Link, Impa, Ghirahim, Demise. Literally every other character in the game was devoted to comic relief. On top of that the game is by far the most lighthearted zelda, as the game shows nearly no damage caused by Ghirahim and/or Demise that would motivate you to want to fight them.

        • Midnafan

          I don’t know, there were quite a few parts in the whole wild goose chase that had me depressed as hell.

  • gamer

    It used to be realistic, until Wind Waker and Skyward Sword ruined the series.

    • Midnafan

      where did you people come from? I rarely hear people give those games crap. Especially those games. :(

      • gamer

        Originally from Utah, but now I live in Florida.

    • Queenie

      Yes, because a barely pubescent kid with no pants turning into a pink bunny rabbit and fighting a blue pig was SO realistic, right?

      • gamer

        that happens in my neighborhood all the time.

  • Mseevers95

    I think Pikmin is another game that would benefit from realism but for in terms of the physical environment, and from the previews of Pikmin 3 it looks pretty close.

    • Midnafan

      I’m glad you added the environment, because I cannot picture Pikmin as realistic. o_O

  • Midnafan

    Well, if its more realistic, not only does it naturally have better graphics, but’s it’s simply more immersing, which Nintendo has definitely been going for in the recent games. I don’t really think it has to be realistic, but it’s fun when it is. And of course some things have to be realistic and make some sort of sense; just because it’s fantasy doesn’t mean logic has to go out the window. :/

    • gamer

      is their two of me now? i have to stop drinking.

      • Midnafan

        I’m not really sure if anything I said was really that similar to anything you’ve suggested so far on here, but yes, yes you should.

        • gamer

          Sorry, think my phone messed up and put my name on your comment. (Grabs another beer)

          • Midnafan

            oh, well that makes more sense. :P

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.davis.16752 Matthew Davis

    People demand a realistic Zelda game because of how cool Twilight Princess looked. If you couple that with today’s graphical possibilities to make the game beautiful (I still consider Skyrim to be a beautiful game), it’s not so outlandish of a demand. It’d be really cool to give the Hyrulian landscape the draw distance, graphics, and textures to be seen in HD. Also, enemies can take on an intimidation factor that just isn’t present (at least for me) when depicted as a cartoon.

    The thing that makes this demand separate from the others you listed is the character POV that Zelda games have. Link, though he may possess magic or a fairy depending on which incarnation, does not come across as someone from a fantasy land. He’s a human looking boy with a sword and shield. That’s not a very fantastic starting point. If you contrast with Star Fox, where you play as a talking fox/ human; Mario, where your short and fat plumber can jump 3-4 times his own height; and Sonic, a talking blue hedgehog that runs faster than sound, you see what I mean.

  • Mseevers95

    I think Twilight Princess trying to be realistic makes it look really boring. The monsters are all ugly, but not in an enjoyable ‘scary’ way just ugly. I think that certain parts of the series (character models specifically) would benefit from realism but the monster designs in Twilight Princess are terrible for me.

    The environment is also an issue for me in that game, Hyrule Field is boring and dull because most of it is an empty greenish-brown, even the forests feel empty.

    Obviously the WiiU is able to make environments looks very realistic, Pikmin 3 has shown us that in the previews.

    If the next Zelda game has realistic Character designs along with an environment that actually looks like it is alive and not just a uniform shade of green-brown I would get behind the design.

    I would also like to see some creatures that are actually meant to live in the forests and the field, like some form of Hylian Deer or Moose along with squirrels and other animals. Just to show that these creatures do exist and Hyrule’s only animals are Cuccos and Monsters.

  • That Guy

    What I keep hearing that confuses me a bit is that detail equals realism. Twilight princess, while being the most detailed zelda game graphics-wise (although technically SS had higher texture resolutions and poly count in general… I digress), was really no more “realistic” than the other games. In fact, its characters were much more one dimensional and the enemies were immensely cartoony in both design and action. If you want to see realism in a zelda game, the closest we have so far design-wise is Majora’s Mask. The character models, while being almost nearly the same as those from OoT, have been tweaked to give a more rough, gritty, realistic look to them, especially in expressions, the environments are plausible in formation and inhabitants, and the monsters are threatening and, with the exception of bombchus, Gekko, and the likes, staying true to the example set by aLttP, are commonly based on Japanese mythology or legends, setting a more realistic and almost scary tone. Compare how you felt facing say Gyorg to how you did the farcical Zant. The ability of the game to bring fear shows an immersion that is simply not present in the comedy that is Twilight Princess. Now you can say it’s just my nostalgia goggles for MM, but I don’t believe that would explain the chills I get each time I play through the side-quest with “Them”, and this is coming from a veteran of the Frictional Games horror franchises and a huge fanboy of Odishun. So to sum it all up, we have enough “realism” in zelda games already. It would be nice to have another game with this tone, as we really only have MM and the brilliantly captured hidden menace of dreams found in LA, but this would require a recognition of such qualities by the fanbase. So, pretty much, shape up guys.

    Listening to St. Vincent while I write this. That explains a lot.

  • Vaati, wind god

    I don’t think that they were meant to be realistic but I think it would be cool if the landscape was. Like some of the fanart that you see, I would like to see that in game.

  • Ninty

    Well, I guess it could be more realistic without being bland if Zelda took an art style like Bioshock Infinite, for instance. The main character, Elizabeth, doesn’t look particularly realistic in the face but still has body proportions that are closer to a real person, like TP and SS Link. What makes Infinite lean a little more on the realistic side is the more in-depth colors, shading, lighting, etc. Maybe that’s the idea some people have. Those are qualities I’d want a more realistic Zelda to have, anyway. It could still be whimsical and fun. Hell, there are still Moogles in the newer Final Fantasy games.

  • http://lulles.deviantart.com/ lulles

    I guess some people demand realism in Zelda because, unlike Mario, Starfox or Sonic, it has human characters closer to our reality than those other games. But that I mean, really, compare Link to Mario and tell me which of the two resembles more a real human.

    I’m more than happy with Ocarina of Time 3D’s stylized visuals. Hell, I loved Skyward Sword’s art style. I also loved Twilight Princess, but I think that one is still far from realism.

  • Queenie

    I think a lot of you guys are confusing realism in general with emotional realism; Zelda is NOT a realistic series; it does not run on real-world mechanics, culture, or even logic at times. Zelda is, however, a very EMOTIONALLY realistic series; it has characters who are human and empathic, if a little bit simplified. It balances drama and humor incredibly well (even the so-called “realistic” and “serious” Twilight Princess had absurd and hilarious moments), and it leaves its audience responding on an emotional level despite its eclectic fantasy atmosphere. Zelda is special in that it defies the stereotype of “cartoonish = shallow” and “realistic = deep” by being a fantastical and (to varying degrees) cartoonish world with a whole lot of depth and pathos – something which can be attributed to its Japanese roots, as that stereotype I just described doesn’t really hold up in Japan, where animation is marketed in every genre to every age group – and to assume that the games would be more substantial is they were more “realistic” is for the most part a result of that narrow (and mostly Western) way of thinking.

    • Mr. Deborah

      If only this were higher up in the list of comments… then maybe, just maybe, the masses could reach Nirvana. I think I just did reading this. I’m going to go meditate on all of this in the Ancient Cistern now.

    • HunterP

      I think most Zelda fans don’t expect a final fantasy style of realism, but when they say realism when talking about a Zelda take it on a scale only aplied to Zelda. I say that I feel LttP was a game in the series that was supposed to be realistic. If you aply the graphics limitation in the equasion, it was meant to look as close to real life as a game design wise could in the 16 bit era. But on the other hand, they had an enemy that was a cucumber with eyes and feet. To me, I’d like to have seen them stay with the TP style, and go with that in HD. Honestly, the wii u Zelda demo was actaully what I want to see.

    • Michael Bayruns

      This comment is pretty much completely correct. This is why Zelda is my favorite video game series because it is realistic and unrealistic. This is why the atmosphere is fantastic, its different enough where you would want to invest your interest in it. When you do it completely blows you away with how immersive it is.

  • Mr. Deborah

    I enjoy the varying art styles. Each game has entirely different personalities because of it. Had Ocarina and Majora’s had different art styles, I’d be willing to be that they wouldn’t be locked in the battle of betterness. And I don’t think I’d like realistic. I appreciate the fan art that depicts Zelda with a realistic style, but something feels horribly off. Link is either too grown up or too young, too manly or too effeminate. And that goes for everyone. It just would seem so… off. Whereas the varying stylized versions are much easier to swallow as far as imagining the characters looking that way in an actual game goes.

  • Blu Ray

    In past gens when very realistic graphics couldn’t be made, the best way to make a game look realistic was to make It have darker color palettes. Darkgreyfire, you’re very wrong about Ocarina of Time and Majora Mask being realistic, they weren’t. They were in general very colorful and cartoonish. Golden Eye on the other hand, had darker palettes, making It less colorful and more realistic. You can also notice It doesn’t look “anime”, like Zelda. In short, lack console capability isn’t a good argument to use when saying the game was actually supposed to be realistic, It wasn’t.

    Very realistic graphics is a tendency towards people who don’t know anything about art. We have to remember that different styles should be treated differently. For example, Twilight Princess had quite a few bad textures that could’ve been better and lacked quite a bit of decent light effects that could easily had made the graphics more realistic and pleasing to look at while still keeping that cartoonish-anime look (no, It isn’t realistic!). On a cel shading perspective, Wind Waker is pretty much flawless. So yeah, in a way, WW is superior. It does It’s style better than TP. I know we will have people saying It’s all a matter of opinion, but the thing is, IT’S NOT. You don’t have to like The Beatles to recognize how good they are, in fact, I’d say you’d have to be very ignorant to say they suck. The same can be said about Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and a lot more people/things.

  • BlackRaven6695

    Regardless of whether or not you think the series would benefit from being realistic, I think it’s fair to say that Nintendo have never intended for the series to be realistic.

  • itsameluigi1290

    More hate on Sonic ’06, eh? I have to agree with you on graphics, those characters were just plain ugly :P

  • littlemissgleek

    I like the semi-realistic graphics of twilight princess and skyward sword, but I like twilight princess’ better. But seriously, if they use graphics like in the wiiU tech demo, I’ll be the happiest person alive :D

    But no, zelda is fantasy, and it doesn’t need to be realistic

  • Kravik

    What about the new HD Zelda “show off”?
    Is that realism? Or just a really good graphic update?

  • http://twitter.com/BigEvilCrab Andrew Roake

    Meh, I don’t know really. Twilight Princess looked a bit dull and groggy whereas to me Wind Waker was bursting with life and often looked gorgeous. Skyward Sword was a perfect combination of the two to me. As for OoT and MM, it’s difficult to guess what the graphics were meant to be like because it was mainly crude polygons. I mean after all, Rauru is clearly realistic yet the weird-as-hell Lakeside Laboratory scientist had massive popping eyes and look ridiculous. Personally I agree with Axel the Beast in that I think in the modern day it would have looked Skyward Sword. Generally I don’t see why the fantasy element of the games should mean it has to look like a cartoon, I mean LotR is fantasy and that’s pretty realistic. So no, I don’t really think the series is dying out for an ultra-realistic, Skyrim looking overhaul.

  • Kamille

    I don’t mind any Zelda art-style as long as they stop making so many silly stupid looking second characters. Since OOT Link and Zelda are always the only decent looking human beings within that world!

  • Ratchet25

    (Disclaimer: The text you’re about to read contains opinions, please don’t take my OPINION as something I treat as fact) I think Zelda could benefit from a JRPG art style. I mean, if you compare Link’s artwork in OoT or MM to his in game model, you’ll see a BIG difference on his face (for example, his eyes, mouth, his nose etc…) I mean, the 3DS version of OoT did this right, but then Skyward Sword kinda forgot about it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I REALLY enjoyed Skyward Sword’s models but, it could be better, I think this comes from the fact that Skyward Sword’s Link is just a tweaked version of TP’s Link. If you’d mix Toon Link with Skyward’s Sword Link,you’d have a good looking Link.

  • Aiddon

    I…really don’t know; I think it’s just reactionary. People think that SOMEHOW realism will add something to the series despite the fact that realism has never “improved” any series I’ve seen

  • Mr. Resetti

    I don’t hyper-realism from Zelda, I think a Twilight Princess style blend of realism & detail, Anime and fantasy (albeit with more colour) is the way to for tLoZ, it combines the best of all art styles and creates something new. I think tLoZ for Wii U should have anime style characters and a highly detailed and somewhat real looking world but a fantasy world full of imagination (comparable to the locations from Lord of the Rings or even the world of Avatar) please Nintendo give it some thought and make it happen :)

  • geebee

    I don’t believe making the graphics more ‘realistic’ would add anything, or detract particularly, from the game. I like the fantasy styles both of the older games such as OoT and MM (though improvements nowadays could be made, they were great for the time) and I prefer the graphics of TP and SS (especially the latter) with the slightly anime-looking people having realistic looking features too. I also liked the update in OoT3DS. I am not too much of a fan of the cartoon graphics of WW and so on because it threw me a bit playing it. But I don’t think it makes much difference.