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didn't build that
I started this thread in another forum, but since Steampunk was brought up in the Podcast I figured this might be a good point for discussion. I'm putting this in "Future Zelda" because, while you can feel free to talk about existing steampunk elements, we don't yet have a steampunk Zelda.

With The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Zelda has finally tilted into the steampunk genre. Whether it's full-tilt or not, or even much of a cut above the steamboat used in Phantom Hourglass, is purely up to speculation. But here's the question:

What do you think of the introduction of steampunk elements (however early you think it happened) into the Zelda franchise? How far should Nintendo go? Does steampunk have any place in Zelda games?

If you don't know what steampunk is, I'll try to summarize using my limited knowledge. It is basically a focus on steam technology, often used to do spectacular things (flying machines, for example) we never achieved with steam power in our own world. Often, the aesthetic is Victorian; but it can also be Western (as in Wild Wild West) or pretty much anything else. The key component is the focus on steam power.

A lot of people say they'd like to preserve the medieval setting of Zelda games, and I'm sympathetic. But much as Star Wars doesn't take place in "the future," Zelda games don't take place in the middle ages. As early as A Link to the Past at least, Zelda games have utilized complex (and not necessarily primitive) technology in some form. Link's Awakening even introduced telephones, and by the time Majora's Mask rolled around...well, the heavy machinery couldn't be any more obvious.

So now we're presented with Spirit Tracks, and I daresay it feels both original and perfectly natural. After using a steam-powered boat in Phantom Hourglass, this seems like a logical next step. Can I see Nintendo going farther than that, and actually producing a great aesthetic for a Zelda game? Absolutely.

Final Fantasy 6 strayed radically from the convention of the series. In its world, the characters still used swords, there were still kings and nights, but castles could dive underground; magic wasn't the only source of power; and there were vast, towering cities powered by steam. The very opening town in FF6 just screams "industrial revolution." Does it feel any less fantastical for it? Just a bit--it feels like it takes place at the turn of the century--but it manages to do so without really betraying convention (even as it "strayed"). Similarly, Skies of Arcadia, while not a steampunk game, doesn't feel any less timeless for its steampunk elements--and certainly doesn't feel modern. These are RPG's, but Zelda games do boast a similar environment to a number of RPG's.

I would not endorse the introduction of cyberpunk into the Zelda universe, but I would be more than happy to welcome steampunk, because it's been a long time coming. It need not be permanent. However limited or pronounced, it could add a fresh (but not illogical) spin on things. And whether we really want the series to "go there" or not, I daresay that if you've played Dodongo's Cavern, the Fire Temple in Twilight Princess, or even strolled through Clock Town, you've already seen some of those elements in a Zelda game. Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks simply make the technology all the more obvious. Why not create a world around this theme?

Oh, and you don't have to be enthused about Spirit Tracks, Phantom Hourglass, or any other Zelda title to endorse the prospect.
Nov 26, 2008
I don't mind steampunk elements in the Zelda series (if I did, I'd have to dislike quite a few already existing games.)

I do however NOT want a full steampunk style. For me, it would just stray too far from the medieval feel I think the series needs to keep.

I would still like a Zelda game if it went steampunk, but I would most definitely not prefer it.


I agree with Axle that Zelda would be better off with the feel that it already has but the idea isn't that bad of an idea. If the game did go steampunk I would still play it but the medieval settings is more preferable than any other setting that people can come up with.

Seriously I doubt anybody can see Zelda with skyscrapers or really fast cars even though it would put an interesting twist on things. And I'm doubtful that guns should be introduced.


Air Dancer
Jan 6, 2009
I think a little bit of it here and there might not be so bad. It might take a bit to get used to... But as long as it does not go all Steampunk I think it would be OK ^^


There's a Bazooka in TP!
Feb 28, 2009
Ontario, Canada
I echo the same views as people above. Elements of steampunk are ok, but I think a complete removal from the medieval feel might remove some of that classic Zelda essence.

If they did turn around and hand us something non-medieval, I might be a bit wary, but I have enough faith in the makers of the games that they've made the right choice. Still, I don't want the series to start looking like a Final Fantasy clone. i know it's more modern than Steampunk, but as an outsider (not knowing much about the series) looking at how that series progressed, it seemed to go medieval -> steampunk -> futuristic.

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