Tag: classics month

Diving into the open-world of Zelda.

“Now, a new legend . . . stands ready to be revealed. A legend that will be forged by your own hand.”Fi, Skyward Sword introduction

As a gaming series it goes without saying that The Legend of Zelda is an interactive journey where the experience is entirely at your discretion. However, unlike many other gaming series, the individual experience of Zelda goes beyond how you tackle the gameplay alone.

The Legend of Zelda is completely open-ended; it is what you make it. Even now with a confirmed chronology, it is still up to the individual players precisely how the games connect and how the timeline really holds together. It is for this very reason that even the official timeline release did not quell timeline theorizing.

The Legend of Zelda hints at romance, but it is the players who make the final decisions. There is an abundance of hidden connections, meanings and morals, but it is up to you as the player to discover them, make sense of them and apply them. Even once a Zelda game is over you continue to craft your own experience of the series. Read on…

No Going Back by Meroko

From the cel-shaded graphics of The Wind Waker to the more-realistic approach in Twilight Princess, The Legend of Zelda series is known for its drastic variances in art styles. However, it is when Zelda titles share similar art directions that the variations are all the more telling.

With an extremely short development period Majora’s Mask shared the same engine and graphics as its predecessor, Ocarina of Time. These similarities also extended beyond the games and into the official artwork for the titles. Hobby-artist Meroko claims that the minor differences evident between the official artwork of the two Nintendo 64 classics contains a very powerful message.

The Legend of Zelda Redefined

To be a fan of The Legend of Zelda series is to have, at some stage, asked the very question “what exactly is ‘the Legend of Zelda’?” I came to the conclusion that “The Legend of Zelda” was the very myth that drove the entire series.

Ironically, it was Zelda II: The Adventure of Link – the only game in the series lacking the title “The Legend of Zelda – which defined the very Legend. The myth which connected all of the Zelda titles together; not in the sense of an official chronology, but in the spirit of the series.

Origin of the Sea Zoras

Zoras have come in many shapes and forms throughout the Legend of Zelda series. There’s the hostile River Zoras, and the more friendly Sea Zoras. With Oracle of Ages as the only exception, where both types of Zoras made an appearance, River Zoras are a staple of 2D titles and Sea Zoras are integral to 3D Zeldas.

We’ve seen Sea Zoras as eggs and infants in Majora’s Mask; as children and adults elsewhere; and even as the Rito after their evolution in The Wind Waker. Fans have always assumed that the origin of the Sea Zoras could be attributed to Farore’s creation of life; however Skyward Sword has more to say on the subject.

Hyrulean Monarchy

For years I’ve wanted to write an article on the Hyrulean Hierarchy. Not in the sense of the different races and their positions in Hyrulean society, but rather, the hierarchy within the Royal Family itself. I’ve wanted to write an article that could explain why exactly the Royal Family is always structured around the young Princess Zelda, reaching a conclusion on why Hyrule is often under Zelda’s lone rule.

The reason such an article never came to fruition was simple. No matter how I looked at it, there was seemingly nothing to explain Zelda’s role in the Royal Family. Sure, she is the series’ titular character and The Minish Cap established that she contained a sacred power within her, but none of that ever explained why Zelda was always the very person the whole Kingdom was structured around.

It had to be penciled in as just another mystery of Zelda. Now, however – like so many other mysteries in The Legend of Zelda – Skyward Sword provides the long-sought answers and I can happily write my article. With Skyward Sword revealing Zelda’s identity as a reincarnation of Her Grace, the Goddess Hylia, not only is her sacred power throughout the series explained (see The Power of the Princess by Ben Lamoreux), but her role as the Hyrulean Monarch is also finally explained.

Ancient Sage

One of the many mysteries of the Legend of Zelda series pertains to the many reincarnations we’ve seen of the Seven Sages. From Seven Maidens, to the Seven Wise Men, to the seven ethereal spirits, never have we seen the sages used more prominently than in Ocarina of Time. With the need for saving and ‘awakening’ the ancient sages in Ocarina of Time, Rauru moreso than any – even Zelda – seemed like the constant. Yet at the same time, he was the most mysterious of them all.

Rauru was the knowledgeable one. The one who recalled the times of the past when the Temple of Time was built over the ruins of the Sealed Temple, as stated in Hyrule Historia. The one who was there when the Sacred Realm was sealed away from Hyrule, with the Master Sword acting as the key. Rauru never needed Link to save him. He never appeared alongside the other sages outside of the Sacred Realm. Rauru was an enigma, but Skyward Sword seemingly had a thing or two to say on the topic, at least at first.

Tribes of the Sky

What I love most about Skyward Sword is how it provides connections and answers for the whole Legend of Zelda series, but rarely in a direct way. Alone, Skyward Sword tells a complete story that needs nothing more. Connected to Ocarina of Time it provides a prelude that sets up the Royal Family and the Master Sword. Joined to the whole series, Skyward Sword has so much more to tell, or at least, to hint at.

Prior to Skyward Sword, the Zelda series had a history of placing civilizations up in the clouds. From the Oocca of Twilight Princess to the Wind Tribe of The Minish Cap, the sky has never been a barren place. With the incorporation of Skyloft in Skyward Sword, there are now more questions to ask about the tribes of the sky. Are they connected? Where did they come from? Thankfully, as well as raising the questions, Skyward Sword hints at the answers.

The Face Under the Mask

“I wonder… The face under the mask… Is that…your true face?”Moon Child

It’s human nature to hide. In one-way or another we all wear a mask of some form from time to time. We like to put on personas to hide our insecurities and our shame. We wear faces that aren’t ours and convey personalities other than who we truly are.

The Legend of Zelda is full of messages that are applicable to us all, and when it comes to hiding behind masks, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask have plenty for us to learn. The Nintendo 64 classics caution us of the dangers that come with hiding our true selves, with the underlying message to just be yourself.

Two Sides to the Story

Following up our latest entry in the “Two Sides To The Story” series, we once again take a look at the official Zelda timeline presented in Hyrule Historia. This time around we’ll be debating the placement of Four Swords Adventures. Now, before you grab your pitchfork and torch and demand to know who would dare challenge the official word of Zelda Series Director Eiji Aonuma, understand that our debate is not about the legitimacy of the official timeline. The Hyrule Historia timeline, although subject to change at the discretion of Aonuma, is unquestionably canon.

Instead, our debate is focused on whether or not Four Swords Adventures should be placed there. Is the game’s position right after Twilight Princess the most logical and practical spot, or would it function better somewhere else? Former Zelda Informer writer Dathen Boccabella once again joins us to argue in favor of the official placement, while Senior writer Ben Lamoreux suggests an alternate placement. As always, we debate the facts, and you make the decision!

Two Sides to the Story

An official release of the Zelda chronology was something that fans always wanted, and yet never thought they’d get. Thanks to the release of Hyrule Historia last year we now have exactly that, but find ourselves still trying to fully understand it. Everyone has their interpretations and opinions, especially when it comes to one of the main points of contention—the cause of the new third split which has come to be known as the “Downfall” or “Decline” Timeline.

In the return of our “Two Sides to the Story” series, we’ll be looking at two different takes on the Downfall Timeline. Senior writer Alex Plant will present the case for the new arc as able to be rationalized in-universe, and former Zelda Informer writer Dathen Boccabella will contend that the split is entirely hypothetical in a guest contribution. Read on for two sides to this story, where we present the theories and you make the decision.