We’ve heard in the past that Skyloft comprises not just a single place, but an entire overworld above Hyrule. From what the demo showed, it appears that’s half-true. Skyloft itself is the starting “town” and a large island in the land above the clouds. Many smaller islands are also found scattered throughout this heavenly realm, giving the above ground overworld an island-based Wind Waker style of exploration.
The difference being that Link’s mode of transportation is flight instead of boating. At various “ports” throughout the islands, Link can simply jump off into the air, and a bird is summoned to catch him. This flight mechanic is to be used extensively to travel the land above the clouds.
Controls appear quite simple, using the Wii motion plus to guide the bird through the air, with the added ability of pressing the A button for a sort of lunge attack and speed boost, pressing the B button to slow down, and flicking the Wii remote to flap the birds wings. Link has to pass a training course to prove his worth as a flyer, and this serves as the tutorial for flight. It consists mostly of trying to catch another bird in air.
The land we know to be Hyrule was referred to as “the underworld” by the GameTrailers crew, and it is an equally as important and extensive overworld. The exploration of the overworld, as previously mentioned nearly a year ago by the Zelda team themselves, is a change from the usual format. The difference between field and dungeon is said to be minimal, so that all the areas in between dungeons are just as dense, puzzle-filled, and combat based as the dungeon itself. Many areas of the game will be visited more than once, but is said to be done in such a way that the player does not feel like it’s just unnecessary backtracking.
One final thing touched on in the demo was the subject of treasure chests and items. Citing an overabundance of treasure chests with unimportant items inside, such as just small amounts of rupees, Skyward Sword aims to cut down on treasure chests that let the fans down. The main means by which this will be accomplished is upgradeable weapons. Many treasure chests will contain bits and pieces of items that can be attached to your already existing items and weapons to enhance them.
This all sounds pretty good to me, and I’m looking forward to finding out more information over the next couple of days. We’ll keep you posted here at Zelda Informer about whatever we hear.