The Wind Waker HD Graphics Comparison

AutumnJune 12th, 2013 by Autumn

Yesterday, a YouTube user by the name of darandomfish took it upon himself to film GameCube footage of The Wind Waker to compare to the newly released trailer for The Wind Waker HD.

Check it out after the jump.

I love what this guy did, it really gives you a great idea of how they improved the graphics. Let us know what you think of it in the comments below!

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  • First!


    • Agumon_Ql_Sabio [Lvl 13]

      *blue shell*

  • Michael Buckley

    Wow, the clouds and the lighting. just Wow.

  • Link_The_Ultimate_Chronomancer

    Seeing them side-by-side, it doesn’t look all that different. Brighter colors here and there, and the sunset looks gorgeous. Beyond that, what justifies getting the new game–the fact that it lacks a Tingle Tuner? Less excited for this than I thought I’d be, and WW’s my favorite Zelda game.

    • J-Whitt

      I agree. I can understand the desire of Nintendo to get something that will really excite players onto the WiiU soon, but I think that graphically it really didn’t need to be remastered and updated.

  • Axle the Beast

    Said this before but I think it’s illustrated nicely here… the colors just seem more washed-out and things are too glowey.

    The washed-out thing is a product of the game’s emphasis on brightness as well as just the coloring style. Even in the real world, if you drown something in bright light it washes out the colors (studio lights are why news anchors always wear makeup, for example). Here, it’s especially a problem because of The Wind Waker’s style in general. It’s supposed to be bright, stylized, and accentuate big and dramatic colors, LIKE A CARTOON. They tried to make things BRIGHTER, but as a result they actually hurt their brightness and style. They just washed everything out.

    They needed to reduce the lighting at the very least so that wouldn’t happen, and maybe drop the bizarre double-shading of applying a more traditional shading technique with weird partial cel-shading mimicking effects on top of it. It just looks odd. One or the other, guys.

    Some parts do look better in this version though. I love the shot of the Forsaken Fortress and its searchlights from a distance. But things look uglier — and in particular less bold and distinct — when you zoom in too much.

    • Guest

      Now I don’t say this very often, but I completely disagree with you, Axle. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder I suppose..

      • Axle the Beast

        I don’t think you can really disagree that the colors are more washed-out; that’s what they are. You can certainly disagree that it looks worse though. I’m sure some people prefer it that way. =)

    • maggie wayne

      The problem is that they made it look kind of “real” when it is supposed to be cartoonish. The brightness is overused. But I think it looks beautiful that way, and the Forsaken Fortress part is lovely with that color pallete

      • Axle the Beast

        Yeah they’ve basically colored everything like Super Mario Galaxy, and I think Galaxy looks great. But it doesn’t work for The Wind Waker’s style. It’s just frustrating that the one thing I think The Wind Waker executed just flawlessly, in perfect form — its art direction — is the only thing they’re semi-altering. xP

        • Franklin

          they are changing alot more than just the art direction, Changing up the quest for the triforce, possibly more dungeons, faster boat, nicer looking ocean. I do not know if they are adding anything more than that though.

          • Jeremy Abrahamson

            Specifically said he was addressing the wobegotton triforce quest in the final act, though he didn’t say how.

          • Axle the Beast

            Eh… yeah, good point. On some of those anyway.

            Nicer looking ocean ties directly into the art stuff, which is what I was referring to, and I think it’s all a step back. Similarly, I’m wary of them altering the quest for the Triforce because I actually liked that part of the game. And more dungeons are extremely unlikely.

            Faster boat is pretty nice though, it’s just not a huge change.

          • LoZFanboy1294

            Don’t know if I’m the only one who noticed this but the interface is COMPLETELY CHANGED!!! They have hinted at a different Triforce quest and more dungeons although not comfirmed

          • Axle the Beast

            Interface is irrelevant as far as actual game content goes. Of course they were going to change the interface. Already addressed the Triforce quest above, and no they haven’t hinted at new dungeons. xD

          • secretsupergirl

            I agree with you Axle that the HD version does make the game look more pale when the game is suppose to be brightly colored though it does look realistic and pretty I think that is what is bothering me about this but over all I may or may not get it

    • guest-ZeldaBoy

      Think HD

  • Valoo

    Yeah it really doesn’t look much different, this video just makes me more excited toward the different ways Nintendo will change the gameplay on the gamepad.

  • JeredenDonnar

    Some times the new look is too much, other times it gives a new sense of clarity to the scene. I like most of it, and the King of Red Lions looks Way better. The forsaken fortress looks much more forsaken than cartoony, which I kinda like. The glowiness didn’t show up quite as much in the playable demo, imo.

  • sparrowinghands

    i am just excited that this gives me another reason to play it, my favourite zelda game in my opinion.

  • DekUmaster

    The HD version does look better, but it seems like they sucked out a lot of color present in the GCN version. Bottom line is, if you own this game for the GCN already, and unless you are a collector, then buying this game for a $60 retail price is utterly pointless, especially when considering the fact that so many other NIntendo titles that offer fresh new experiences are also coming out around the same time as WW HD.

    • Ghabulous Ghoti

      Or if you’re like me, and think this is the best game ever made.

      And I’m still using a TV that maxes at 480i, with no plans to upgrade any time soon.

    • James

      1. We don’t know the actual price yet.
      2. There may be additional quests/dungeons
      3.I’ll take any excuse to play this game again!

  • korito

    damn it i dont what to hear anything more about the game, i just whany to play it

  • REborn

    Instead of making the Majora’s Mask remake they took the original Wind Waker game and made better light effects… Thats it, I’m out.

    • Majora Luna

      Finally someone with brains. Seriously WWHD is such blatant bullshit but all the plebeian gamers eat this shit up because OOOH PURDY COLORS!

      My kingdom for Majora’s Mask HD. Send WWHD to the piece of shit 3DS ;-;

      • Kyou

        You sure are a dedicated Zelda fan. /Sarcasm/

        • LoZFanboy1294

          Any re-makes are never going to be as good as the origional…take OoT3DS for example…not a good re-make…with the exception of the re-releases of older NES/SNES games for gameboy

    • guest-ZeldaBoy

      Is Majora’s Mask REALLY that important at this point. I mean, they’ve done nothing for it at this point, so either they’re not going to do it or they’re considering it for later. but you want it “NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW NOW! NOW NOW!” – Jean-Luc Picard

  • Lon Lon Lady

    The only difference I see is that the HD reboot has brighter colors. I think I’ll stick with my Gamecube copy :T

  • Erik I

    …Why does the HD one look so much blurrier?

  • Link7032

    10 years later the graphics should be noticeable
    i am a hardcore zelda fan but im struggling here

    • LoZFanboy1294

      It is really just a remastering and interface change…nothing special like I wished for from E3

  • AnonymousGX

    Pause exactly at 1:00 and couple frames. OH NOOOO! WIIU HAS A LEAK IN THE BOAT!

    They stayed true enough to the original graphics for old timers to love it.
    They added minute details, added glow/warmth to the sunlight, and changed the general color/shading to be darker for the graphic designer people to love it. Also, so that XBox and PS buffs can no longer make ‘bad graphics’ their main and only complaint against Nintendo.

    I found the WiiU to excel in many ways. However, I think the Helmaroc King looked a little better in the original GC, after watching it three times.

    • Igos Du Ikana

      The graphics debate is irrelevent as anyone who wants real graphics as the “hardcore” gamers claim to want have no business on a console to start with. If you are so high fluten about graphics get a pc. Consols are 5 to ten years behind anyway. Zelda used to be about the content, no it is about…. idk what they are trying to accomplish with the last couple of releases… but it has never been about graphics. Yea I think HD is a welcome change, yea I think that the art styles could have used a lot of work or they could have not used the toon style more than once or twice, but Zelda is not really identifying with anything right now they are too busy trying to reinvent gaming to make the type of game that won them recognetion with ALTTP and oot and really the first six games in general.

  • Sekaryu

    Honestly, this was the stupidest pick for a remake- the majority of the game play looks identical. It’s cell shaded- what what improvements are needed really? Does Majora’s Mask mean nothing to you Nintendo? Whyyyy~

    • LoZFanboy1294

      No Majora’s Mask doesn’t mean anything to Nintendo because of all the feedback they got on it after the real reasoning behind it was released…plus the face that Miyamoto didn’t even work on MM

  • Violete Link

    Really, it looks good, however, I still think that Majora’s Mask should have been the one to be remastered.

    • AnonymousGX

      Are you saying that MM is less than perfect? Because if they bumped up the graphics, there’d be less of a difference between the original and re-releases of OoT and WW.

      You have to look both broadly and closely to see the differences in WW, and some untrained eyes cannot spot the details. General coloring was made not only more crisp, but more vibrant. Models also got better definition and smoothed edges. Solar lighting is warmer, and you can somewhat tell by the glow and slight glare, but outside the sunlight, everything has a darker tone/feel.

      • AnonymousGX

        I suggest you pause the video to see clear differences. I’ll edit this with a few places with clear differences. 1:03 has coloring and slight sunlight. 0:08 has great solar warmth/glare.

        • SheikahMoon

          There’s a difference…but not enough of one to make me shell out another $50. I’ll stick with the old one, it still looks good enough.

          • AnonymousGX

            Even if… they include the removed dungeons?

  • AnonymousGX

    If you turn 3D on, he made it so that WiiU is left eye and Gamecube is right! So for those who don’t mind bad coloring, or have another way for it to work, can quickly switch between eyes to see the difference.

  • chris

    Looks like they added a more realistic sky and a bit more dynamic lighting…BIG F****ING WHOOPDEE DOO!!

  • LocksmithArmy

    cool vid and all… but I really dont care about graphics… im not even sure my tv is hd… whats the point… heck, i still play 8 and 16 bit games and enjoy the crap out of them. graphics mean nothing to me… i care about content… I hope they add the things they had planned and never released for gc…

    • Ann

      How can you not tell if it’s an HD TV? :I Look at the sides or back, if it has a port that says HDMI, then it’s a HD TV.

      • LocksmithArmy

        well its got 3 hdmi ports… so I guess its an hd tv… but it does not change the fact that it does not matter, graphics dont make the game… i used the hdmi ports to plug my laptop into the tv (like a 50″ monitor) thats about it…

  • Linebeck IV

    Meh, like I`ve said I still don`t really get it, Wind Waker in my opinion has aged very well visually so to make a big out of an HD version seems a bit silly to me. But who am I kidding I`ll be getting this day 1 seeing as Wind Waker is my favourite game of all time.

  • jakeford

    do we really need a remake? Looks almost the same.

    • Link-182

      Do you have an HD TV?
      I can’t stand playing WW on my gamecube anymore because it’s soo blurry.
      Watch the video full screen at 1080p and you’ll kinda understand where I’m coming from.

      • Christopher Goepfrich

        Nope, looks the same, and actually I think in some instances the Gamecube version looks better actually

        • Ann

          WWHD is still being made, so they will improve on things. The only way for the original to look good is if you play it on an older TV, on a HD TV, you can totally see how choppy it looks. I can totally tell the difference with the HD version, don’t get how it looks the same to you, but OK then.

  • MistyDragon

    Looks amazing, but at certain times, the sky looks “fuzzy” to me. Might be issues with lighting; however, Nintendo still has a few months to fix a few things. The HD look suits the style well, though Helmeroc King (sorry if spelled wrong) is kind of hard to see with the emphasis on the bright spots on his feathers. Looks amazing none the less.

  • Atticus

    I really like the new and improved graphics, but I’m not gonna lie, some of it /does/ look the same as the original. Regardless, it’s still neat to see the differences! =D

  • LetsGoRetro

    To be honest, I think this title was chosen because they needed to follow the 3ds turnaround method of 3d mario, mario kart, epic zelda for the wi u. Everyone is saying how this looked so good it didn’t need a remake, which is probably exactly why it was chosen. Zelda u is too far off, SS and TP are too recent, and OOT was just done on 3ds. That leaves MM or WW, since they obviously want a 3d one on WiiU. And WW was less work required to update the visuals.

  • TheMaverickk

    The visuals seem better balanced from the screens posted months ago (in regards to doing the original game more justice). Seeing the game in play it appears that some of the cel-shading effects remain. I’m not sure if it’s the same cel-shading engine with a layered ‘bloom’ lighting engine over top of it (which gives the rounded character edges by highlighting edges).

    That said I still want them to make this game it’s own. Don’t alter the story elements, just add some extra dungeons. Expand that sense of discovery and adventure a little more.

  • LetsGoRetro

    Miyamoto, reggie and iwata are all there at e3, interacting with the public, doing interviews, etc., will someone PLEASE ask one of them “Will any of the LBW overworld be new?” C’mon people, this is must-know info!!

  • MiniJen

    I played this today at Best Buy and it was INCREDIBLE!!!! The graphics were simply lovely and the gamepad improved everything so much!!!! Totally worth the 2 hour wait in line (and the multitude of street passes I got on my 3ds was nice too) :D

  • ePik Min

    This game is fine the way it is.

    Washed out? Seriously? Look at 0:31. Even the grass (that grass!) has become more colorful, more contrasted and has more volume.

    The lightning is better, but the visual are still caricatural (I prefer this word to “cartoonish”). The Wind Waker is still the Wind Waker.

  • theneslink

    Wind Waker is my all-time favorite Zelda game. It has been because it was the first I played and beat, and I am SUPER exited to see the game updated! The lighting is more dynamic and the colors are brighter which makes it look refreshed and more enjoyable to play.

  • Abarrach

    I think they did a good job in making WW more visual. There are some games that, after 10 years, you prey for having slightly better graphics. I think WW is a good choice, it is an awesome game, perhaps overestimated because it was my first zelda, and I think new graphics are better, but I’m not sure if it’s the game where were more needed. I haven’t played it for 4-5 years but I suppose upgraded graphics were desirable, although I don’t know if mandatory. Last year I tried again Tales of Symphonia and I though it needs better graphics, so I would play WW-NGC again to see its graphics again.
    But, seriouslly, I dont think the upgrade is so big to make me buy the new one

  • loveflowerh

    At E3 they had the gamecube version next to the wiiu version. The difference was astounding.

  • Kablamogroup

    What I noticed was that the picture was much more crisp and clear in the HD version, as well as the shadows being much more defined. All in all, the HD version is looking great!

  • Guest No. 3

    The boat has a fast option. I can’t stop pointing that out! ^^

    • Hatandboots

      New content! they DO listen to the fans! cant wait!

  • Matt

    The graphics barely looked different. All they did was like add a layer of mist.

    • TheFrostDragon

      And bloom. And shaders. And 1080p. And better shadows. And better textures.

      • Matt


      • Matt

        to be honest I watched a different trailer after this one and I could actually see the difference. so I do kind of agree with you now.

  • cylordcenturion

    i observe that they have made the colors more true. the sky and ocean look a bit more realistic and they found a solution to the long griped about sailing “issue” which i think could have been fixed by simply adding two or three more cyclone warp points.

  • Lady Viridis

    Sorry, all I see is that they put a soft light bloom on EVERYTHING in the new version. It doesn’t look that different, and it doesn’t really look better. :/ If there’s no extra content in HD I can’t see why you’d buy it.

    • Ann

      Play the original WW on a HD TV and you will totally notice the difference. The original game on the TV looks choppy, while the HD version, they smoothed it out and took out the cel shading.

  • iKhan

    Wow WW really holds up today

  • awesome

    There were moments I said ‘wow’ at the beauty of the new game, but there were other moments where it just looked the same, and moments where I liked the older version better.

    I think its the texture and shading I like a lot in the new game, but in moments I enjoy the color scheme of the older game more.

    Anyway, I’m excited. I can’t wait :D

    • pjsmoulder

      Really doesn’t look much better. Stylistically, it’s almost worse in places. I have to agree about the colour scheme.

  • Truthdesu

    There’s nothing really here to suggest that it’s been the worth the time/effort to remake the game. The graphics are obviously sharper, but WW always had a great artstyle that won’t really age (in the same way that say Toy Story 1’s CGI has aged markedly worse than the hand-drawn Disney work from the 1930s/40s hasn’t).

    I’m more interested in the fact Nintendo have made the boat quicker. WW ha always been my least favourite Zelda, primarily because I found the boat absolutely torturous to use. I haven’t played the game in the 10 (?) years since it came out, so I’m tempted to revisit just to see if the small revisions improve the experience for me.

    • Mal

      The time/effort is made worthy by the fact that this game will make them a good deal of money, for not much development. That money will in-turn be used in some way to make the next Zelda, and now fans can play the game with fresh graphics, so it’s all win-win.

  • Marvel

    I don’t care how many people talk bad about The Wind Waker HD (or at least dislike it in some areas, which is understandable.) I will always and forever love The Wind Waker, HD graphics or not.

  • guest-ZeldaBoy

    I first saw the trailer and thought “It looks like they’re turning on and off the cell-shading” When compared, it doesn’t look all that different, only that they brightened it up a bit, and also made it look like a CLAYMATION cartoon. Everyone says there’s mist. That’s only camera focus. Overall, this should be a good game

  • Likeanonion

    It might just be my eyes and my computer’s screen, but is it me or does the Wii U version look like it has a darker coloring?

  • Knots

    It’s the same game, but not it’s…SHINY.

  • bluelink121

    It would be cool if they made it in twilight princess graphics. That would be scary!

  • fried potatoes

    I hardly see the difference. More waves on the ocean. Faces are more round. Eyes are more vivid. All of the differences that I see are very subtle.

    • Ann

      Except when you play the original WW on a HD TV, it looks really blurry and the pixels are off. The HD remake is much smoother, they took out the cel shading, too.

  • Shane

    Like how Zelda Dungeon is hating WWHD due to little to no difference yet MM3D would barely have anything new.

  • Ann

    I like this. Since when I play the original WW on a HD TV, everything looks a bit blurry and choppy.

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