Posted on May 14 2018 by Andy Spiteri
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re a pretty big Legend of Zelda fan. You might even be a die hard fan. I know I am; that’s what led me here, just as sure as it probably led you. In addition to everything else I play, I make sure to play at least a couple Zelda’s every year, from new to old, just to remind myself how great this series is and why I fell in love with it. Chances are many reading this do the same.
And yet, even the most die hard Zelda fans would probably admit to having troubles playing, or maybe even completely skipping, a couple certain main-line Zelda titles.
I’m talking, of course, about The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures.
Fans can’t be blamed for passing on these games, of course. People like to label Adventure of Link as the ‘black sheep’ of the Zelda family, but you have two multiplayer Zelda games bereft of conventional controllers and sporting a two-dimensional aesthetic many had figured was passe at the time. If this doesn’t reek of dark wool, I don’t know what does.
Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures biggest obstacle in reaching the masses was undoubtedly it’s unconventional play method – instead of using a controller, you were required to go out and find a Game Boy Advance to GameCube link cable and rope together no less than four GBA’s to get the full experience. The games were doomed before they even released, and sales reflected that.
While Four Swords would technically go on to sell nearly 3 million copies, it was bundled with the GBA remake of A Link to the Past, which if we’re being honest, was what everyone bought the game for. When the multiplayer concept was given it’s own game, Four Swords Adventures on the GameCube, it bombed and became (and remains to this day) the lowest selling main-line Zelda title in series history.
The games have garnered a cult following in the years since, but you wouldn’t be wrong making the argument that Four Swords/Four Swords Adventures is the series’ least celebrated title with the most forgettable impact on the series.
And that’s exactly why it’s time to bring Four Swords back for a second go.
Nintendo made some big splashes this week, announcing details of their Paid Online Service plan. Chief among the announcement details were the pricing of this service, promises of incoming cloud saves, the refusal to change their brutal voice chat system, and a bevy of classic NES games augmented with added functionality to entice customers to now start paying for this service.
Reaction has been mixed, to say the least.
In the latest edition of The Champions’ Cast, I unpacked my feelings and mostly came away with a feeling of indifference. Nintendo’s new online plan just seemed to be missing that something. And then I thought: The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures could be that something.
Before you scoff, hear me out. This idea actually makes sense for a couple reasons.
First off, when a gaming company launches a new console or service, generally there’s a “killer app” released alongside of it, designed to show off the strengths of this new product. Nintendo’s Online Platform currently lacks this. While Super Smash Bros. will no doubt take advantage of this service, if I were a betting man, I’d say it’s more likely that that game launches mid-to-late November versus September when Nintendo’s Online platform debuts. Splatoon 2 would be an obvious choice to show off a systems new online panache, but with the single-player focused Octo Expansion set to launch in August, it doesn’t seem very likely another key piece of content with an online focus launches at the same time.
Why not bring out your big guns in The Legend of Zelda? Another reason this isn’t impossible is Nintendo’s track record with Zelda in recent years.
From 2011 on, Nintendo has released either a new or ported Zelda game yearly. 2018 as it stands has not a single Zelda in sight (Hyrule Warriors notwithstanding), so a enhanced port of Four Swords and Adventures might fill that gap nicely. Generally speaking too, porting over an older game is less time consuming and costly than cranking out a new game from scratch, so if Nintendo wanted to have something ready by September with big name recognition, it needn’t look any further.
My own personal reasoning, and hopefully something Nintendo considers as well, for wanting to see this game so bad is just to give it another chance. Both Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures are fun games deserving of more than the burial they were given. For as many people that slept on this game, I would argue that there were probably as many people that wanted to give Four Swords a shot, but couldn’t because of what a pain in the ass wrangling together the proper controls were.
A enhanced port of Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures with the ability to control your player using the Joy-Con and being able to match up with friends online versus having to seek out buddies with a Game Boy Advance, cable link, and their own copy of the game would give these titles the chance they never had when they were initially released.
You have all the ingredients for this perfect storm to happen. A new service with an online focus; two old multiplayer games that could be ported easily; a brand name Nintendo likes to capitalize on yearly, but hasn’t yet; everything could be lining up for a September re-release these two Zelda games deserving of a second chance.
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords and Four Swords Adventures Switch Edition. Crazier things have happened, right?
What do you guys think? Any chance this happens? Would you even want to see this go down? Let us know in the comments below.