Zelda Wii U

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This name is conjectural, decided by fans in lieu of an official source.
This article describes a subject regarding a game that has not yet been released. It is therefore subject to change.
Zelda Wii U
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Release

Platform

Date

TBA 2015

Zelda Wii U is an unofficial placeholder name for the next The Legend of Zelda game to be released on the Nintendo Wii U console. It was first announced during a Nintendo Direct in 2013, then was actually shown off during the Nintendo Digital Event during E3 2014.

Contents

Development

Zelda Wii U's development began with the team experimenting with what kind of gameplay experience the Wii U can offer.

"It's not something they're working on daily right now, but we are talking about some of the things we might be able to do with that system. The demo that we showed at E3 was really just more of a rough idea of if all we were to do was to make a Zelda game and put it in HD, this is what it might look like. We're much more interested in looking at the power of the Wii U system and seeing how we can take advantage of that power to do things that we haven't been able to do in a Zelda game before."

Aonuma, GameInformer

On November 28th, 2012, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata was asked about Nintendo Wii U versions of the Legend of Zelda and Mario and he gave the following response.

"We will announce the launch schedules for new 3D Zelda and Mario games in the future, but this is not the right opportunity for me to indicate when we will make such announcements.

...as we develop a new hardware platform, we ask ourselves such questions as, 'what kind of new Zelda and Mario games do the software creators hope to make on this?
"

Satoru Iwata[1]
January 23rd, 2013 Nintendo Direct
On January 23rd, 2013 during a Nintendo Direct video stream, Eiji Aonuma updated about the progress of Zelda for the Nintendo Wii U. He stated that the game still had a significant ways to go, but in the mean time, announced the remake of The Wind Waker for the Nintendo Wii U, set for release in Fall of 2013. Regarding Zelda Wii U, Aonuma particularly mentioned that Nintendo would be rethinking many of the conventions of Zelda, including the following.
  • The order a player is supposed to complete dungeons.
  • Rethinking how Zelda is a 'Play by yourself' game.

At E3 2014, Aonuma emphasized the large open world shown in the brief video, which seems to reflect this mentality.

Graphics

The beautiful tech demo has gotten a lot of attention, and this time Eiji Aonuma is careful to not set our expectations in stone. What was shown at E3 is merely a demonstration of the system's power, not a teaser for a new Zelda game.

"You probably remember that when we introduced the GameCube, we showed a somewhat realistic Zelda demo, and what we actually created was the cel-shaded Wind Waker. So when we show a graphic demo, people think, 'Oh, this is what the next Zelda will look like,' but that's not necessarily the case."

Aonuma, Wired

"Well, one thing I want to emphasize here, when talking about the Wii U Zelda HD experience, is that we really built it specifically to be an experience. The idea is using Zelda as the backdrop for one of these HD experiences, what kind of representation Zelda can make there. But this is really just to show people what kind of things the console can do. And so, it's not necessarily the case that we would use that graphic style or depiction the same way we would in a new Zelda, when there is a new Zelda for the Wii U. Just like the map functionality that was also implemented in that experience - it's simply us giving an objective look at the kinds of things that can be done with the HD hardware. And Zelda happened to be the filter through which we view it in that experience. So nothing is defined right now as far as how we'll proceed."

Aonuma, Industry Gamers

Not only was the demo used to show us the graphical capabilities, but it was developed to help design the system.

"I'm on one of the committees that oversaw the general steering and direction [of the Wii U]. We talked to each other a lot about several elements, one of which was, 'How exactly will the HD graphics work?' In doing concepts for that ... we used Zelda assets quite often to examine, OK, how real will we make this look?"

Aonuma, Wired

Shigeru Miyamoto sheds some more light on what he'd like this look to be.

"This is an HD system, our first HD system, and we want to create a real HD Zelda game for it. You will see a lot of these in-depth and deep experiences in terms of visual style. You will also see some play styles that are fun and interesting because of the play structure. We are not planning on putting any restrictions in terms of requiring developers to leverage HD in a particular ways. Even if you are using a simpler visual style it will still look very beautiful."

Miyamoto, Kotaku

The E3 2014 trailer for Zelda Wii U revealed the graphics style to be advanced cel-shading, similar to the cel-shading of The Wind Waker, only with more realistic and detailed textures, lighting, and models. Little else is known about the graphics, as the actual cinematic shown was extremely short and only 4 native-resolution screenshots were released.

Controls

The Wii U controller's screen in the tech demo featured Link's inventory and map, or a copy of the game screen. Aonuma has other plans for it as well.

"I really think [having two screens is] one of the most exciting features of the system. Unlike the Nintendo DS, there's distance between the television and you and your other screen. That really allows for some different interactions, some of which you saw [at E3]. For example, imagine having the contents of Link's satchel available to you on the screen of your controller, and using elements of the pouch to interact with gameplay on the television.

With The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, we had the Nunchuck and Wii Remote sort of stand in for the sword and shield that Link carries. But in a game for the Wii U, I can definitely see something like the controller itself becoming the different items that Link is using, allowing you to interact with the game world and with the game items in a very different way.
"

Aonuma, Nintendo Power

"I'd like to do things that are more surprising than [what was in the tech demo]."

Aonuma, Industry Gamers

However, it's still a possibility that we will see motion controls return. After all, after swinging your own sword to interact with the game, how could one go back to using a controller?

"Iwata: Now, can you talk about how this new controller works together with the Wii Remote that we have been using until now?
Miyamoto: Sure. Actually, as I was making it I didn't have a whole lot of doubts in my mind that the Wii Remote would still be used as it was. I feel like the Wii Remote has pretty much become its ideal form with the Wii Remote Plus.
Iwata: I see, you mean you can do just about everything you want to do with it.
Miyamoto: That's right. And when I thought whether we really needed to require the purchase of something completely new, I felt that we could continue with this way to play for another while. I feel that way even when I play The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
"

Iwata Asks

In recent interview at E3 2012, Miyamoto hints that the Zelda game in development for Wii U may not include motion controls after all.

"With the last game, Skyward Sword, that was a game where you had motion control to use your weapons and a lot of different items, and I thought that was a lot of fun, but there were some people who weren't able to do that or didn't like it as much and stopped playing partway through it. So we're in the phase where we're looking back at what's worked very well and what has been missing and how can we evolve it further.."

Miyamoto, Entertainment Weekly

Release

In an edition of Iwata Asks in November of 2011, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata stated that the five year development of Skyward Sword was quite long. In response to this, Skyward Sword director Hidemaro Fujibayashi set the following goal.

"I'll think of something that can happen in three years!"

Fujibayashi, Iwata Asks

Because of this statement, many people believed that the game would be released in 2014, which was three years after 2011.

In the E3 2014 trailer for the game, the release date was officially given as 2015, but with no month or day given. Aonuma stated on Miiverse that he believes that Zelda Wii U will be playable at E3 2015 in June, [2] implying a release date after this event.

Rumors

A series of Rumors have been posted online in lieu of any official announcements regarding the upcoming game.

It was hinted by several sites, claiming an official source had stated, that Zelda Wii U would be announced during the next Nintendo Direct or at E3 2013. Although that fact proved false, Miyamoto did claim that they intended to show Zelda Wii U at first, but ultimately postponed it.[3]

WiiU Daily Rumors

On September 4th, 2012 rumors serviced at website WiiU Daily from what was described as a source from Japan.[4]

  • Wii U Zelda has the biggest development team ever. They got hundreds of people working on the new Wii U Zelda game. It's a 4-year development cycle with a new console, new technology, new engine etc. It'll end up being the most expensive game they've made to date. It's a huge investment for them [Nintendo] in money and manpower, this is Rockstar/GTA territory. They targeted a 2013 release, but quickly abandoned that goal. This is the biggest project they've [Nintendo] ever done, no way is it gonna be ready for E3 2013. At least from where I see it.
  • Biggest, most ambitious Zelda game to date. About the same amount of dungeons as previous Zelda games, but these will be vastly bigger in scope and will be totally different from each other. Some dungeons are so big they're broken up in 3 parts and will literally take hours to complete. The Wii U Zelda game will also have mini-games and side quests, but these are still on the drawing board. Finally, the game's composers are creating a brand new orchestral soundtrack with "hours of music". No word on whether any characters will speak in the game. Regarding the story, he said "I really can't comment on that [the story] because I have no idea what it is. I dunno where it's set in the Zelda timeline. I've seen a grown up Link who looks like a much higher detailed Link from Skyward Sword. I haven't see any cut scenes or boss fights either at this point. I'm not sure they've made any of that yet. The first test dungeon they made was a giant forest running on early and buggy Wii U hardware — the dungeon was bigger than the Hyrule field in Ocarina, and the whole thing is one dungeon. You use the gamepad to navigate, avoid traps, follow clues etc. It's dark, lush, with a ton of trees, foliage, some which you have to cut your way through. Its scope and details are unlike anything you've seen in a Zelda game
  • No online multiplayer, but will have online features. Online multiplayer was never on the drawing board, they're sticking with the tried and tested Zelda formula. It'll have some online features like Miiverse and some sort of system where players can leave hints and help each other in the dungeons. That's about it. As far as I know, none of this [online] stuff has begun development as of Summer 2012. It's still on paper only and will probably be one of the last things they'll add. It's not a big priority for them. Unless they got some separate team elsewhere working on it.
  • HD graphics, same visual style as Skyward Sword. They're using a new, state of the art engine that's being built from ground up in parallel with the game. It's got the most advanced visual features Nintendo has ever made, and includes a lot of third party tech like Havok for physics and rendering middleware from Umbra (which was recently confirmed for the Wii U). The Wii U Zelda stuff you saw at E3 2011 was just a tech demo, nothing else. I've seen none of that in the real game. The tech demo was even made by an entirely different team with an older engine.
  • "Most innovative game ever". At least one of the hardware features added to the GamePad were solely implemented because the Zelda team figured out they could do something cool with it. Zelda designers started sketching out concepts as soon as Nintendo decided to include a screen with the new console. Everything in the game is built around the controller and its unique abilities. Every single feature in the controller is used to its full potential. Some of this stuff is still in early stages of development, but they've already implemented enough to show just what's possible with the new controller. They showed some of this stuff to key third party devs behind closed doors last year to get them to realize the possibilities of the new tech. It'll have some revolutionizing gameplay. It has stuff that would never be possible on any other console, and it's not just one cool feature, it's one cool feature after another. Each dungeon will offer a different gameplay experience with the tablet controller. It'll be the most innovative game ever, they got stuff that will be copied by others for years.

Zelda Informer Rumors

On December 28th, 2012 Zelda Informer posted rumors from an apparent anonymous tipster regarding Zelda Wii U.[5]

  • The game will be revealed in some form at E3 2013. The game most likely won't be released until early 2014 (it's still in the early development stages). We may see an eShop demo in late 2013.
  • The game will feature a different art style than the HD tech demo shown off when the Wii U was unveiled. Early concept artwork looks like they're sticking with Skyward Sword's style for now.
  • Nintendo of Japan prefers Skyward Sword's motion controls to the GamePad. However, they are aware that some fans still prefer traditional buttons or will want to use the GamePad.
  • Nintendo of Japan was surprised at how well-received the romance was between Link and Zelda in Skyward Sword and intends to flesh it out further for Zelda U. Because this dynamic was favored more in the West than by Japanese audiences, Nintendo of America is looking to popular American romance stories. Names like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey have popped up in conversation, but the extent to which they will inspire the next Zelda is unknown.
  • Developers are weighing the pros and cons for both full voice acting and whether or not Link will speak.
  • A well-known character from a past game is returning in some way. This character may or may not be the in the same role and/or form as they was in the past.

Other Wii U Zelda Games

Wii U Tech Demo

A tech demo demonstrating the capabilities of the Wii U was shown off at E3 2011 showing Link fighting Armogohma. Although the Wii U Zelda game shown at E3 does not graphically resemble the tech demo, it is still possible that some remnants of the demo may make it in to the game.

Zelda Wii U Tech Demo Gallery


NintendoLand

Main article: The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest

On June 5th, 2012, E3 announced that NintendoLand would be released with the Wii U. NintendoLand is a game with Nintendo's minigames of top franchises including The Legend of Zelda Series. The minigame for this is The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest.


The Wind Waker HD

Main article: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

On January 23rd, 2013 during a Nintendo Direct Wii U Edition, Nintendo announced that The Wind Waker would be re-released for the Nintendo Wii U Console. The game would included upgraded graphics, a tuned up overall game experience, ability to play it on the Wii U GamePad, and Miiverse-compatibility.

Hyrule Warriors

Main article: Hyrule Warriors

It was announced in a recent Nintendo Direct that there is going to be a new Zelda spinoff game for the Wii U named Hyrule Warriors. This game is a combination of both the Dynasty Warriors and Zelda series. Hyrule Warriors is a collaboration of bringing together the Zelda universe, gathering respective elements from various installments in the Zelda franchise. This, however, is not a new canonical installment in the Zelda franchise, and it is unknown whether or not it will be placed in the official timeline.

Videos


Zelda HD Full Tech Demo E3 2011

Eiji Aonuma Talk about the Zelda HD Experience at E3 2011

References

  1. "New 3D Zelda and Mario Games are in the Works for Wii U" - GemGAME
  2. Eiji Aonuma's Miiverse post about Zelda Wii U (translated)
  3. "We're also working on a new Wii U Zelda game. Work on that is progressing fairly concretely. In fact, we were thinking about showing it here at E3 but decided to wait just a little bit longer before sharing it with everyone." — Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo Considered Showing New Zelda Wii U Game At E3
  4. "Wii U Zelda coming in 2014, will be biggest Zelda game ever" - Wii U Daily
  5. "More Rumors Surface for Zelda U" - Zelda Informer