The Legend of a Zelda
is a saga of formulas. Before we even start to play each game, we know more or less what we are going to find: multiple temples from where we have to retrieve powerful artifacts or rescue important people, exciting battles against colossal enemies at the end of each of them, very peculiar items to aid us on our journey through Hyrule… The good thing is that this franchise knows how to introduce just the right amount of innovation on each installment so that we’ll feel that each adventure is a brand new one. And every time they succeed at this. We remember Wind Waker because of its sea travel, Majora’s Mask because of the moon falling from the sky, Skyward Sword because of the sky world, and so on. These innovations are not only good, but they are what gives this saga its vitality, what makes each game so fun to play. The adventures, while being similar gameplay-wise, are never quite the same. We can all agree that these new mechanics are usually good. This article will be about the kind of innovations that I really hope never get included in the Zelda saga, for they could very well alienate the fanbase and make the experience less enjoyable.
The first of all, as many are expecting, is DLC and microtransactions. If there is anything I hate in video games nowadays is exactly that; the fact that you don’t buy the whole product when you spend 40~60$ on a game. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new character, a new piece of music or even whole scenarios—some video game companies will find a way to extort as much money from the gamer as they can. I remember buying Final Fantasy Theathrhythm for 40€ and then finding, to my horror, that I had to spend another 56€ just on DLC—without which the game feels so incomplete. We’re talking about spending more on DLC than you have spent on the actual game. That is as shameless as it gets, and there are even other cases that are even worse. The worst of it all is, Aonuma has taken this measure into consideration, a measure not many people would love to see. Of course, there are some games that have pulled off DLC in such a way that it feels justified and right, and if anyone can do such a thing, that would be Nintendo. However, I’m still leaning strongly against DLC in Zelda.
Another big concern of mine is if Nintendo enters the cell phone and tablet market. From where I stand, Nintendo games are meant to be played on a console, either a home console or a portable one. Now, I get how lucrative this business is, but we have already seen how Square Enix has been turned into a money-grubbing producer of really underwhelming games with the Final Fantasy name just to sell as much as they possibly can. These games usually have very poor quality and are full of microtransactions, and that’s not to say that the controls wouldn’t feel right in comparison to a 3DS or Wii U controller. I feel that The Legend of Zelda needs a level of quality that can simply not be achieved on the cell phone and tablet hardware. Here’s hoping that Nintendo will stay clear of that market.
Another, less important, matter that concerns me are to-be-continued games. Imagine besting Ganondorf after storming every castle and temple and retrieving every single item in your inventory. You’re waiting for the curtain to fall to ensure your victory of the game—then you see a ‘to be continued’ screen. If you don’t know what I mean, think of the Game Boy Advance Golden Sun games: they were both brilliant, and they pulled off the “to be continued” device properly, but still I couldn’t help but feel that it would have felt so much better if they had been just one game instead of two. Sure, some games in the saga are sequels to each other, but that doesn’t mean that the original games are not self-contained. I love these games to be interrelated and make as many references to each other as possible, but making the players wait for the conclusion of a game until the release of the next is something that would not quite work for Zelda. Sure, we may think we are safe from such dangers since the saga has never shown any sign of going that direction—but then again neither did the Final Fantasy saga, and we have now seen the mediocre Final Fantasy XIII spawn not two, but three quite subpar games, each of them looking for an excuse to not let the plot come to an end. I really like Zelda games to be a self-contained adventure with a beginning and an end, and sequels to be just an expansion of that particular Link’s further journeys—so please keep it that way.
And to wrap things up, here is one aspect that we have actually seen in many Zelda games and that may be more controversial than the rest: motion controls. I know we are a minority, but there are some gamers who feel that these games should be played with buttons and nothing more. Twilight Princess was fun at first, but when you had to slash your way by moving the controller throughout the whole game, you just ended motioning it with resignation more than enthusiasm. Skyward Sword had some genuinely fun and challenging battles that made use of the motion controls, but I found myself sighing at the sight of an enemy—such as Deku Scrubs—and would rather avoid fighting than use the motion controls. And the two DS titles, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, were positively annoying. There were many times when I would lose my patience after leading Link with the stick for hours and would just try to control him with the direction buttons. Luckily, they decided to give us back the classic, button controls on A Link Between Worlds, which is just one of the many, many reasons why I love that game so much. Then again, I do know some people love motion controls, and that they make these games unique. It just isn’t the right thing for some gamers—but you can never keep everyone happy, can you?
So these are all the things I wouldn’t like to see in future The Legend of Zelda installments. What are yours? What wouldn’t you like to see in the next games? What would you take out from previous games?