The first thought that comes to mind, naturally, is graphics. It can take a style like Twilight Princess to the next level (hello Zelda HD article), but also make a colorfully bright world much more detailed and action packed. Of course, this is just talking about things on a very basic level of simply improved visuals. We know Nintendo likes to innovate, so when we think of Cafe’s effect on Zelda we have to try and visualize how it could advance the series after the release of Skyward Sword.
Some out there believe Nintendo is already working on a Zelda game for cafe, and arguably they very well could be in the early conceptualizing stage. Before we can really get into any of the possible concepts, however, one must explore how they wish the game to control, and then go from there. This is indeed tough, because if Skyward Sword‘s motion controls become mega popular (and the game, in response, becomes the best selling ever) it will be hard for Nintendo to do anything but motion in future console titles. This does really seem to turn Project Cafe into Zelda’s Wii HD. We don’t want that… do we? No, we want more. Much… much more.
For starters we have the rumors that Cafe is going to dive head first into online and try to innovate it with their unique streaming capability. Now imagine trying to apply this to a Zelda title that isn’t just a psuedo Four Swords spin off. To even go this route Nintendo has to dump motion controls almost entirely and go back to traditional, which isn’t necessarily out of the equation anyways. Especially if they deem the streaming and touch screen essential to the new game. How could it effect Zelda anyways?
Well, for starters, you may be able to “live cast” games straight through the console regardless of controls. Nintendo has to be very aware of the handful of Zelda Marathons that pop up every year, so why not streamline that through the console itself. Make the next Zelda streamable. Of course, that doesn’t actually improve Zelda in terms of advancing the game enjoyment.
It’s hard to envision the touch screen, outside of neat online tricks, really effecting Zelda outside of quicker inventory access – but didn’t Nintendo already fix that in Skyward Sword? So, the questions really starts here with what Cafe can actually do for the series.
Well, one thing Nintendo hasn’t really touched base on but would be a possibility is offering DLC content. While this doesn’t necessarily improve the gameplay of the game, what it can do is help alleviate long wait periods between console releases. Even if it’s just one new dungeon a year… that is plenty to tide us over until the next big Zelda experience hits. Why not? 5$ isn’t much anymore, and most of us would gladly fork it over to continue our quest in one of our favorite games.
Of course, more power does more than simply provide improved visuals: It allows for a much richer experience to be created within the game world. This includes the ability to have a bigger world that contains the proper density, because the system can not only support it, it likely can “store” larger game files as well. This means Zelda could be twice as big as Twilight Princess, but be 4 times as dense in content. In theory, this could lead to 80 to 100 hour adventures (that of course over time get worked down to 30 hour experiences). Some may think that’s a tad long, but with an average of a 3 year wait between console releases is it really too long? We need “something” to do right?
Of course, you can’t offer that experience and game length without a much richer story to keep us interested. This takes Nintendo out of their comfort zone, but it may be something they are willing to try out… especially if they get Retro Studios involved on a future title. Miyamoto admitted recently he is looking to hand over both Mario and Zelda completely to his colleagues, which means we could see some drastic chances taken with the franchise that under Miyamoto’s eye may never have occurred. Of course this could be both a good or bad thing, but it’s not like after one flop Nintendo wouldn’t be able to resort back to the tried and true formula. They are mega big and can afford to take risks. It also helps Zelda, by name alone, sells itself.
Sure, some of this may be a pipe dream, but it’s also the sort of experience we get on other consoles. Sure, the Wii is now being “proved” to be capable of these experiences, but most of them are in some form of RPG. Zelda isn’t an RPG (except for a very underrated Adventure of Link game) and one has to wonder if those sort of overworld systems would really fit into the franchise.
But we’re getting a tad off topic here. Cafe’s power and touch controls add a lot of potential to the future of Zelda, and in the end we are all going to have different expectations. In what ways do you think Cafe will improve the Zelda experience?