featuring our very own Bombers. Now, six months later, as the game’s
release date approaches, those same Bombers (well, most of them) return
to revisit Spirit Tracks in light of what we have
learned in recent weeks. Unlike the previous article, this one will not
be a debate—instead, we will each give our initial thoughts on the new
DS game going into its release weekend.
Hold off on viewing if you don’t want anything spoiled.
Do you think this new land will be the same Hyrule we’ve seen in other (2D) games?
Alex (Lex) Plant: Yes, to the point that had this game not powerfully established its place after The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass I would have insisted that it was a sequel to Twilight Princess and that it was set in the original Hyrule. Spirit Tracks, despite its novelties, still draws heavily on the traditions of the series in this area.
Ben Lamoreux: It’s hard to say, based
solely on the limited geography we’ve seen, but I have a feeling this
Hyrule will connect to the Hyrule of Minish Cap, Four Swords, and Four Swords Adventures.
This is based moreso on the apparent cultural importance placed on
Force than the limited geography we know of. The connections may not be
explained in detail, but I expect Nintendo to give us hints of a
relation to the Four Swords Saga in Spirit Tracks.
Ben Spyrou: The introduction of the New Hyrule in Spirit Tracks following the flooding of Old Hyrule in The Wind Waker definitely makes it possible for some of the older games such as The Legend of Zelda or Four Swords Adventures to follow the events of the Adult Timeline.
The New Hyrule shown in Spirit Tracks seems
to take place on a large island separated into four sections or regions
and does not seem to be heavily populated due to it being recently
inhabited. The original Legend of Zelda took
place in a small portion of the Kingdom of Hyrule that was completely
devoid of human and Hylian settlement. This of course was due to
Ganon’s tyranny over the land, but the lack of any signs of
civilisation indicates that the land may not have been heavily
populated. This allows Spirit Tracks to flow nicely into The Legend of Zelda in terms of geography and inhabitants. However, the nature of the Triforce and Ganon’s presence are unexplained.
The land seen in Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures features a Hyrule located on an island that is separated into various regions, similarly to Spirit Tracks.
As Hyrule is an island, it is highly likely that both of these games
take place some time after the Great Flood and hence after Spirit Tracks.
Casey Hodges: It is certainly possible,
but nothing can be confirmed. The presence of Force Gems and similar
landscapes suggests some relation to the Four Swords
series. These hints, plus the lack of a Master Sword could present the
opportunity for the origin of the Four Sword, therefore predating The Minish Cap, but this is only hopeful speculation at best.
Matthew Friett: Realistically, no. I suspect it to
be a completely new place knowing Nintendo. However it is possible that
this Hyrule is the Hyrule from the original Legend of Zelda, and I would certainly love to see this being the case!
What are your initial thoughts on the Lokomo and how they tie into the history of the new land?
Lex: We know that they have taken on the
role of the sages to protect the seals on evil, and have inherited that
title, but at the same time it seems that they, and the Spirit Tracks,
have been around longer than the kingdom. So I think of them as
stewards, likely descendants of the Hylians, who continued the ancient
traditions and prepared for the return of the royal family.
If you’ve seen my theories about why the NES games should fall after The Wind Waker,
this would sort of lend a little more credence to the idea that there
was somewhere for the Triforce to be left by the king and people to
protect it until the royal family could reestablish their rule. We’ll
have to wait and see what the game shows us, however.
Ben L: I believe the Lokomo are the
“original settlers” depicted in Niko’s story. While the only surviving
members of the tribe appear to be all in steam-powered wheel chairs, or
as some suggest, are actually half-human, half-mechanical, I don’t
believe they always were in that state. Perhaps only the Sages
themselves assume that state.
The Lokomo were the original people in the land, and from what I can
tell, they are likely descended from ancient Hyrule. That would explain
why upon the arrival of Link and Tetra, they apparently were able to
assume control of the Kingdom. The Lokomo, unlike the people of Wind Waker, carried on the traditions of Hyrule, but lacked the Royal Family line to oversee them.
Ben S: The Lokomo are indeed a puzzling
race, as they seem to share connections with the ancient Hylians, such
as similar crests and customs, yet they have inhabited the land found
by Link and Tetra. It is possible that they were once Hylians that
evolved following the Great Flood, although it is more likely that they
are simply a new race in the Zelda series that have been purposefully linked to the Hylians.
The backstory of Spirit Tracks depicts the
struggle between the Lokomo and the Demon King, where after a long
battle, the Demon King was sealed beneath the earth and bound by the
Spirit Tower. The Lokomo were aided by the Spirits of Good, deities
that they possibly worship. Whether these Spirits of Good are connected
to the Goddesses of Hyrule and whether the Lokomo are indeed related to
the Hylians is yet to be seen.
Casey: I personally do not know very much
about the Lokomo. I try to avoid too many spoilers before the game is
released, which usually means I overlook some of the more detailed
updates about the game.
Matt: Just a new race. They can’t be Great
Sea style settlers of Old Hyrule, because Cole needs blood of Old
Hyrule and has to resort to Zelda to find it. We do, however, find
ourselves with up to six ‘sages’ in charge of keeping a ‘demon king’
trapped… Oh well- at least we’ve some originality.
How has this game affected your mentality about The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass as they relate to the timeline?
Lex: It’s kind of interesting. The Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass were two of the games with the strongest continuity in terms of their timeline placement. The Wind Waker obviously fit after the Hero of Time story told in Ocarina of Time, and Phantom Hourglass was its direct sequel. Spirit Tracks seems to be continuing this tradition by providing clear continuity in terms of its relationship to its prequels.
I remember Aonuma talking a while back about bringing the stories of
the series closer together and making them more clear. It seems like
with Spirit Tracks
we’re finally getting a real step in that direction, especially since
this game brings the Great Sea saga back to Hyrule. I know a lot of
people doubted that would ever happen due to the nature of the flood.
Ben L: I’ve come to be of the opinion that Phantom Hourglass won’t affect the timeline in any major way. There are things in Phantom Hourglass that many once interpreted as links to Hyrule, bridging the gap between The Wind Waker and the 2D games, but I believe those are no more than cameos, based on the new Hyrule found in Spirit Tracks.
Ben S: With the confirmation of the New Hyrule, the likelihood that older titles such as A Link to the Past or The Legend of Zelda take place following the Great Flood is much greater. While it was assumed by many that the ending of The Wind Waker signified the end of Hyrule on the Adult Timeline, Spirit Tracks shows that the developers intend to have games take place in Hyrule after The Wind Waker.
It is still possible that the land in Spirit Tracks is shown to have no relation to any older titles in the series, however, Eiji Aonuma stated that he wanted to connect all the Zelda
titles and the confirmation of the New Hyrule is very likely a plot
device that allows him to bring some of the older titles onto the Adult
Casey: I’m starting to think The Wind Waker
timeline is trying to connect with the Four Swords timeline, therefore
connecting all six games with the shared art style. As for specific
details, I think Spirit Tracks will lend a great deal to my article:
“The Reconstruction Era of The Wind Waker.” With
the presence of Niko, a descendant of Linebeck, and a continued
confirmation of a 100 year time frame, we may be able to better
understand life expectancy and the time it takes to rebuild a Hyrule.
Matt: Hasn’t at all really. I guess it’s
confirmed ‘The land that will be the next Hyrule’, other than that it
seems pretty congruous. I also love the fact this is so obviously
connected to two other games in the series- a first! Which brings me to
my next point…
Is there anything you can see in Spirit Tracks that might connect to other games?
Lex: The concept of “Force” has been a recurring theme among all the “Toon Link” games, so that it’s returned again for Spirit Tracks is probably the most immediately suspicious element. We also see the Phantoms returning, this time as protectors of the Spirit Tower, which reminds me heavily of Adventure of Link,
where similar guardians appear in the various temples. In one of our
recent spoiler-reveals our source mentioned a village of lumberjacks
nearby the Lost Woods which of course calls to mind the lumberjacks of A Link to the Past. Mostly just correlations that remind me of past games.
I know at least a couple of my colleagues have noticed that the green
garb worn by the guards doesn’t seen to include Link’s traditional
hero’s cap, which is instead delegated to new recruits, and have
thought this might tie to The Minish Cap,
where a Link appears with the hero clothes, sans a hat. It’s kind of my
pet theory that, because this game begins with the “graduation
ceremony” where Link is supposed to become a full engineer after his
apprenticeship, it would be fitting that, at the end of the game, he
will also “graduate” from the recruit’s cap. (And thus become the first
Ben L: As previously mentioned, due to the
fact that New Hyrule’s culture revolves around Force, rather than the
Triforce of the Old Hyrule, I feel this may lead into the Four Swords Saga.
Ben S: From what we have seen of Spirit Tracks
so far, the state of the land seems to hold the most connections to
previous titles. The segregated, island-like land shares similarities
to Four Swords Adventures and The Legend of Zelda. Spirit Tracks continues to pay tribute to the Four Swords
Saga with the inclusion of what seem to be Force Gems. Link is shown
receiving a large Force Gem for defeating a boss in a recent trailer,
making it more likely that the Four Swords Saga takes place on the Adult Timeline. Ultimately, Spirit Tracks will pave the way for more games to be featured on the Adult Timeline.
The question now is, will older titles be appearing after Spirit Tracks, or are Nintendo planning to release new games to follow the Adult Timeline?
Casey: The game will obviously connect with The Wind Waker‘s cast, although how much is unknown. The game is essentially a sequel to Phantom Hourglass
so it will likely relate a lot more with this game than any other, with
the confirmed presence of Linebeck and the Phantoms. The similar
geography, the presence of Force Gems, and a new unknown sword all
suggest a relation with the Four Swords series, although this is highly
Matt: I hope that for the same reasons
they’ve made it very clear what games come before, that there may be
hints about what comes after. Link ending hatless perhaps? The revival
of a certain non-Malladus Demon King? Return of the Gerudo? The
Triforce being a big thing again? We can dream.
Well, there you have it. These are our “expert opinions” on what the
game might have in store in terms of storyline. A word of background
about this project: these interviews were conducted in private, so no
one saw anyone else’s answers before they themselves submitted their
own. Yet we all seem very much to hold a solid general consensus.
Be ready to put our ideas to the test come Monday, when Spirit Tracks chugs into retailers across the United States.