Posted on January 11 2014 by Fernando Trejos
Before anybody asks, I love A Link
to the Past. I’d have to be an idiot not to appreciate its grandeur and
its stature as one of the greatest and most influential games of all time. This
game is the very definition of classic, and it stands as strongly today as it did
on its release, over twenty-two years ago. People still beg, daily, for a remake on the 3DS, even more so since the release of its sequel last November.
I believe this to be a terrible, terrible idea. A re-release for the game,
perhaps bundled with Zelda U or any
future titles, would be excellent, as would some kind of Zelda Mega Collection, in the vein of the Legend of Zelda Collector’s Edition for the Nintendo GameCube. A new
release for the 3DS or Wii U Virtual Console would be perhaps even more
welcome. But a fully-fledged remake would be, in my eyes, one of the biggest
mistakes in Nintendo’s history.
The Legend of Zelda: A
Link to the Past was, as we all know, designed and published as a 16-bit game
for the SNES. It was victim to the technological limitations of the era, and it
ended up a better game for it. Too many things would have to change to make the
game viable as a modern gaming experience, and the end result would barely
resemble the original. All we’d end up with would be an emptier, blander Link Between Worlds that would never do
justice to the marvel that was the original.
Perhaps the biggest change would influence dungeon and story
design. A Link to the Past has a way
of plunging you into an unfamiliar, difficult world, where you have to figure
things out by yourself. Where dungeon layout is immense and confusing, and exploration
plagues every moment of the experience. You’re told where to go, and that’s it.
Everything is a challenge. But a revamped Link
to the Past would be forced to hold your hand more, especially in the
confusing dungeons. There would be no wide, expansive paths that take you to
your inevitable doom. The difficulty of the game would have to be severely toned
down, both in and outside of the dungeons, especially with things like the
acquiring of the quake medallion, and the knowledge that light is needed to
summon Blind. These things—these beautifully unfriendly environments, and the
ridiculous amount of exploration—are what made A Link to the Past so great. They’d have to be changed; at the very
least the difficulty would be toned down, and the game would suffer severely.
You see, old devolopers would throw things like exploration and difficulty at you to extend the length of their game, so that the limitations of an NES and SNES cartridge would still convey many hours of gameplay. To make a “modern” gaming experience, a lot of it would have to be removed, which is really a shame in cases like A Link to the Past, where it actually improved the overall quality. Granted, sometimes it was disastrous–the North Palace in Zelda 2 comes to mind–and this in itself shows just how brilliant the original Link to the Past was. It used classic mistakes in game design and blew them out of proportion, to the point that they were actually some of the greatest things in the game. But by today’s standards, these things are considered somewhat boring, annoying, and unevetful. Not a lot of newcomers would be open to long exploration, and to streamline the experience, these things would be probably end up removed.
The control would go from 8-directional movement and 4-way
aiming to the 360 degrees of movement and swordplay with 8-way aiming of A Link Between Worlds, which would severely change gameplay. It seems
like a small deal—it probably is—but the original game would change fundamentally.
This change would influence dungeon design, as well as the general functions of
every item. Remember how the Fire Rod worked in the SNES classic? Remember
battles as frustrating as that of Moldorm? Say goodbye. Several puzzles would
have to change, and the function of the Pegasus Boots would change criminally.
Not to mention the fact that A Link to
the Past was built as a 2D game, with no three-dimensional elements in mind. A
3DS remake, and especially a Wii U remake, would permeate that problem by
getting rid of any charming identity the original had to offer in many ways.
And that leads to the worst problem, by far. 3D models. A real A Link to the Past remake may have been a good idea in the DS era,
when it was enough for a game to feature beautifully reworked 2D sprites, but
that time’s passed. Every enemy, every environment, everything would change to
the look of A Link Between Worlds,
destroying the identity of the original game. The world would be inviting,
friendly, something that A Link to the
Past was clearly against in its alienating of the player. I’ve said it
before, and I’ll say it again; the only thing we’d end up with would be a
smaller, blander, and emptier A Link
Between Worlds, with no identity, no difficulty, and none of the aspects
that made the original game so great, resulting in the very worst thing that could
happen to the classic. It would be the equivalent of Nintendo spitting on the
grave of one of the greatest triumphs in their long history.
Not to mention that the updated soundtrack would pay no justice to the original, and would be seen as “repetitive” and “redundant” in comparison to that of A Link Between Worlds. It would have to be entirely rewritten, at the very least, as the original only had some twenty or thirty songs, which was more than enough for that era, yet way too underwhelming in the scope of a modern experience.
The Legend of Zelda: A
Link to the Past was a masterpiece. It fully deserves its title as one of
the single greatest games of all time. It took the greatest advantage of the
limitations of the SNES era and used them to make an experience that still
challenges most that are offered today.
But in the end, this article doesn’t matter, because I am
100% certain that A Link to the Past 3D
will never happen. We all know that A
Link Between Worlds exists as the result of Miyamoto asking Eiji Aonuma to
remake the original game for the 3DS. I believe that Aonuma realized what a terrible
idea it would be and decided to make an entirely new game, ultimately honoring the
original, perfecting its flaws, and making its own identity. While a lot of you still fight for the
creation of a revamped Link to the Past,
think for a moment about how it would end up looking and playing, and how much
the original would far surpass it.
I realize this is a somewhat unpopular opinion, so feel free to try to prove me wrong in the comments below.