Posted on June 14 2021 by Sean Gadus
Tech demos and trailers are extremely tricky business. If you have any experience with the video game hype cycle or have read Jason Schreier’s excellent book Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, trailer and early footage often are not representative of the final game that ultimately releases to the public. That caveat does not keep fans from losing their minds over incredible videos and demonstrations. With that being said, many of these unused tech demos and trailers end up being really interesting “what if” thought experiments. Since the Zelda series has been around for decades, there are several videos and tech demos that have not come to fruition, including the iconic Spaceworld 2000 video and a Zelda Wii U tech demo that was shown at E3 2011.
With this in mind, which unused tech demo intrigued you more: Spaceworld 2000 or Zelda’s Wii U video from E3 2011? Of the two videos, Spaceworld 2000 is by far more famous. The Spaceworld 2000 video, which was designed to show off what was possible on the Nintendo GameCube, featured Link and Ganondorf locked in a dramatic sword fight. The designs for both characters are similar to their appearance in Ocarina of Time, though the characters look far more detailed than their appearance in the N64 game. Ganondorf wields a massive sword, which later appeared in the Super Smash Bros. series, while Link wields the Master Sword and Hero’s Shield from Majora’s Mask. The moment when Link tosses away his shield to meet a charging Ganondorf is suitably epic.
Now consider the Wii U tech demo from E3 2011. This video showed Link battling a spider similar to Twilight Princess‘s Armogohma. Overall, the art style looked like a hyper-polished Twilight Princess, with some gorgeous lightning and reflections. The video is awesome, with Link and his massive enemy moving dynamically across the beautiful room. One of the cool things about the E3 tech demo was the ability to change background/lighting from night to day. In hindsight, the gloomy part of the tech demo was the fact it was designed to show off the capabilities of the Wii U, which was Nintendo’s worst selling console and a commercial failure by Nintendo’s standards. Personally, I would love to play a game with the art style of the 2011 tech demo; it looks crisp and smooth.
What do you think? Which of the two unused videos/tech demos intrigued or excited you more? Let us know in the comments below.