Posted on July 28 2020 by Alexis Anderson
Zelda subtitles tend to reference either a key item or character from their game. These make each game easily identifiable, and give potential players a sense of what to expect from them narratively. Some of the best subtitles aren’t just straightforward, but are a nod to a secret revealed late in the game’s story. Others, however, are either entirely nondescript, a bad choice from a marketing perspective, or otherwise misleading.
In my opinion the worst subtitles are The Adventure of Link, Four Swords Adventures, and A Link to the Past.
The Adventure of Link is a strange subtitle in that it gives the player no new information about the contents of the game. After the original Legend of Zelda, it’s no surprise that Link is the one who does the adventuring. So this subtitle could have just as easily been left off of the preceding Zelda II. A better subtitle might have been something like Zelda II: The Triforce of Courage since the goal of the game is to find that missing third piece.
My biggest gripe with Four Swords Adventures as a subtitle is that it evokes the original Four Swords. The first game was packaged with a re-release of A Link to the Past, so it seemed more like a mini-game and required multiple players to complete. By naming its sequel so similarly (see: Wii and Wii U), it likely wasn’t clear to consumers that Four Swords Adventures was a full stand-alone title with a single player option; to this day I see people conflate the two. Naming it something more unique like, Sorcerer of Shadow, Vaati Returns, or The Seven Maidens might’ve been better.
Finally, A Link to the Past. This one might come as a surprise, but the bottom line is that time travel plays no part in this title. The name references an abandoned early storyline from the game’s development in which Link would travel to a technologically advanced future. In Japan the title is Triforce of the Gods, which to me still fails to convey much about the game’s story. A Link Between Worlds would’ve been a more appropriate title, so thankfully its spiritual sequel had the good sense to use it. The inaccuracy of this subtitle tends to fly under the radar, and while it’s strange, I personally find the Four Swords Adventures marketing misstep to be the worst of the bunch.
So what do you think is the worst Zelda subtitle and why? And how would you change that subtitle to make it a better fit? Let us know in the comments below.
This Daily Debate was inspired by Discord user @Ciel.