Posted on April 06 2016 by Mases Hagopian
The same way that Majora’s Mask somewhat lived in the shadow of Ocarina of Time, Link’s Awakening had the task of following up A Link to the Past. On top of that, it was the first game in the series to appear on a handheld gaming console. These conditions made Link’s Awakening a game that slipped through the cracks, in my opinion. It’s one of my favorite Zelda games, and usually I don’t love classic Zelda titles so that’s saying something. Its gameplay was challenging, but not too difficult, and oh its plot, themes, characters, and setting! The Island of Koholint and its songstress Marin made this game an unforgettable and unique experience. So should this diamond in the rough be remade?
With Marin entering the fray in Hyrule Warriors, I’d say it’s about time. But realistically, will we see a Link’s Awakening remake anytime in the foreseeable future? I’m not so sure.
Right now I think we can all agree that the Zelda team should focus all of its energy on finishing Zelda Wii U, so if we’re looking for a Link’s Awakening remake it’ll have to wait its turn. Since the series has seen so many remakes as of late– with The Wind Waker HD, Majora’s Mask 3D, and Twilight Princess HD— it would be wise for Nintendo to focus on new games. If Nintendo were to shift its focus away from generating entirely new Zelda games at this point (and release a remake to a not-so-popular game at that), it may anger a fanbase that’s tired of being expected to line Nintendo’s pockets by repurchasing every Zelda game they already own. After Zelda Wii U, a true handheld Zelda game would be nice, because let’s be honest Tri Force Heroes should be considered a spin-off and Hyrule Warriors Legends already is. So, in the hopes of a new handheld title, Link’s Awakening gets put on the backburner.
Not too long ago, Jon Lett wrote a Gossip Stone wondering whether the Zelda series was done with remakes. He made a pretty compelling argument saying that for the most part, yes, direct remakes have been exhausted. So when enough time passes and the franchise is ripe for another remake, remakes of more popular games won’t likely be in the way of Link’s Awakening. While A Link to the Past is far more popular, it saw a spiritual successor in A Link Between Worlds. That was essentially a modernized remake of A Link to the Past’s gameplay, and because of this I don’t see the game getting its own exact remake anytime soon. Aside from that, the Oracle twins and Adventure of Link were even less popular than Link’s Awakening, and any other game seems too recent to deserve a remake. So that leaves us with Link’s Awakening, and a good opening for a remake considering Marin’s inclusion in the next round of Hyrule Warriors DLC, since she’ll be in the public consciousness.
But again, it is not the right time for another remake. So if Nintendo were to strike while the iron was hot with Marin in Hyrule Warriors, they’d have to consider doing another Link Between Worlds style sequel. Lett recently wrote a different article about whether the series should have another game capture the atmosphere of Link’s Awakening, and I think that a game of that stature would do to satisfy those like me who want a remake. With the older Zelda games, the visuals have to change considerably so using the Link Between Worlds kind of display and functionality would be just fine. Then it’s a matter of putting a Marin character into the game and incorporating the Twin Peaks kind of atmosphere. In my mind that would make a for a great new game– a “spiritual successor” to Link’s Awakening. That will be hard to pull off though without copying the premise of the original game, but I certainly believe it can be done.
Here comes the tough part for me. While Aonuma remembers Link’s Awakening fondly, there isn’t a very large following for the game within the fanbase. Without a lot of prompting from fans, I don’t think Nintendo will be too inclined to remake Link’s Awakening. I think the game would need a Majora’s Mask Operation Moonfall type of movement, which will likely never happen. I genuinely feel that Marin in Hyrule Warriors is not a sign that Link’s Awakening will be remade or given a spiritual sequel, I think it’s Nintendo throwing a bone to fans like me. It’s the most acknowledgement we’re likely to get, but it is a welcome throwback to a fantastic game. And if Link’s Awakening is in Nintendo’s thoughts in any capacity, we can at least hope that its themes and atmosphere influence the plot of an upcoming game.
My hopes for a remake have come at an inopportune time for remakes in the series, but I can still hold onto that small bit of hope and pour my heart into crashing through enemy hordes as Marin in Hyrule Warriors. So what do you think, will Nintendo make a Link’s Awakening remake or spiritual successor? Is a Link’s Awakening remake something that you would rally for? What do you think Marin’s inclusion in Hyrule Warriors means for the future of her origin game? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!