Daily Debate: How much “New” Can You Handle in a New Zelda Game?
Posted on February 18 2022 by Andrew Millard
A great new comic series called Radiant Black recently finished its first arc to critical acclaim. In response, Games Radar republished an interesting article about fickle super hero comics audiences. It got me thinking about what it takes a series like The Legend of Zelda to keep its fanbase coming back, while still staying fresh and also attracting new players.
With Breath of the Wild 2 on the horizon for the last two years, I realized – and have admitted here on Zelda Dungeon – that I don’t personally want more Breath of The Wild. I wouldn’t say Zelda lost me by any means. But Breath of The Wild represented a shift that meant more to other fans (which is cool!). Whether or not you’d consider Breath of The Wild‘s characteristics and gameplay “new” is a separate discussion. But it felt too “new” to me. And it was too much. My favorite components of Zelda were diminished, and the traits that displaced them weren’t for me. Am I too nostalgic for what came before? Not nostalgic enough for the original Legend of Zelda? Who’s to say. But it prompts a debate question:
How much “new” can you handle in a new Zelda game? Phrased positively, how much novelty do you crave in new Zelda games?
It forces you to take stock of what a Zelda game has to have, and contrast that with what can be changed or added. If I’m being completely honest, I can’t take a lot of newness in my favorite series. Like an X-Men fan who just keeps waiting for Marvel to put out a story arc that features the team they grew up with, I just keep waiting for the best new take on A Link to The Past (so far that’s The Minish Cap, by the way).
Not that I don’t want progress. I love it when combat in Zelda games evolves or is taken in new directions! I love it when classic characters are given new roles or new importance! But tradition ends up being more important than novelty to me. I suppose that’s why Final Fantasy lost me after Final Fantasy XII.
What’s your take? Do you want or need Zelda games to stay true to their roots, and to what extent? Let us know in the comments!
Featured Image: Nintendo/Katsuya Terada
Andrew is a writing teacher in the American Upper Midwest. He has been playing Zelda games since 1990.