Posted on July 03 2011 by Benjamin Lamoreux
Let me start off by saying that my two favorite Zelda titles are Majora’s Mask and A Link to the Past. Coincidentally these are also the two titles that there has been a lot of hype around, in terms of possible remakes. Being the cult classic that it is, fans have been talking about a Majora’s Mask remake ever since the announcement of Ocarina of Time 3D. Add in Ocarina of Time 3D’s success, and it just fuels the fire even more. Meanwhile, Eiji Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto have been talking about remaking A Link to the Past in 3D for years now, and the 3DS seems like the ideal opportunity for such an endeavor. While I would certainly buy these games on day one and play them to death, I don’t want them. At least not now.
Ocarina of Time 3D was a brilliant decision by Nintendo. As one of the most popular and highest rated games of all time, it was the perfect title to spark the less-than-expected sales of the 3DS. What’s a fantastic new console without a major title to sell it? Nintendo did a pretty solid job of improving on the original graphics engine for a more aesthetically pleasing experience, as well as incorporating the new functions of the 3DS with the gameplay of Ocarina of Time. To many, the logical next step is to do the same with its sequel, Majora’s Mask, or its Super Nintendo predecessor, A Link to the Past.
As much as that thought excites me, I sincerely hope that’s not the direction Nintendo takes. The 3DS has so much more more to offer, even than what Ocarina of Time 3D showed us. We’ve seen Zelda take the functionality of several old items, like the bow and the slingshot, and improve on them with the gyroscope. This to me was actually one of the highlights of Ocarina of Time 3DS, but this is just an improvement on a gameplay element that is already 13 years old. The 3DS gives Zelda the chance to provide us with a new experience using its functions. Like the Wii Motion Plus accessory and the Beedle item in Skyward Sword, an original Zelda 3DS title could offer new items that are specifically designed for the gyroscope, and don’t just find ways to incorporate it into an old item.
The same truth applies to the graphics and effects of the 3DS. Ocarina of Time is probably the most visually impressive 3DS game out to date, and it does a very good job of incorporating the 3D effects into it as well. But again, this is just incorporating new features into a 13 year old game. Think of 3D movies. Remaking an old movie with added 3D effects will never be as impressive as a movie specifically built for 3D, such as Avatar. Zelda cutscenes designed specifically to take advantage of 3D technology would naturally be superior to the old cutscenes of Ocarina of Time remade.
I’ve heard a lot of people also mention Wind Waker as a possible 3D remake, because the cell-shade style graphics would be very impressive on the 3DS. While this is true, I say why remake Wind Waker? If you want cell-shade on the 3DS, why not make a new Zelda game using that style? Screenshots of upcoming games like Beyond the Labyrinth give us a taste of just how beautiful games can be on the 3DS when made from scratch, instead of just improving on an existing graphics engine.
Now it’s true that Nintendo could do both. We could get both a new game that really shows us what the 3DS can do, and a remake to boot. With Ocarina of Time 3D, Nintendo got Grezzo to handle a lot of the load, so why not have them handle another remake while Nintendo themselves give us a new Zelda experience?
Even though it was just a remake, Ocarina of Time 3D’s development cycle was long enough that it wasn’t ready at the launch of the 3DS, or even during the “launch window” period, as it was expected to be. Despite the lack of any solid first party titles, Nintendo wouldn’t rush the game to get it out sooner. Zelda games take a long time to develop, and over the years, it seems Nintendo is taking longer and longer with each Zelda release. The delays of both Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword reinforce this fact as well. So even with an outside company helping in development, we’re not likely to see a handheld Zelda game more than once every two to three years. The DS only saw two Zelda releases, neither of them quite reaching the par of Zelda sales, so I expect Nintendo will take their time on 3DS releases.
This means that, with Ocarina of Time 3D already out, if another remake is made, we may only see one actually new Zelda game on the 3DS, and that would be a terrible waste of the potential of a fantastic piece of hardware. I’d much rather see Nintendo take their time and give us two brand new Zelda titles. This would even allow for both a cell-shade game and a realistic game on the 3DS, apeasing Zelda fans accross the board, and helping the 3DS break free of the accusations of just being a port and remake machine.
Still, the prospect of seeing another of the great classic Zeldas remade is a little hard to pass up. With any system, towards the end of its life cycle, and with news of the next system arriving soon, many development teams lose interest in the current console and start developing for the future. This is definitely evident when viewing the current situation with the Wii and the Wii U. There’s an undeniable drought of Wii games, and everyone seems to be buzzing with what they want to do on the Wii U. In my mind, whenever the 3DS reaches this late stage in its life, and the next great handheld is on the horizon, this is the perfect time for another Zelda remake.
This strategy allows Nintendo to focus on their next console, and their next new Zelda, while another trusted company like Grezzo gives us one last great game on the 3DS. It’s a win-win all around, with Zelda fans not having to wait as long for their fix, Nintendo cashing in on a guaranteed top seller at the end of the current life cycle, and a new game for a new system being well underway while the previous one is still bringing in a respectable amount of money.
As much as both myself, and Zelda Informer as a whole, are known for being major Majora’s Mask fanboys, I have to say the correct choice for another Zelda remake is A Link to the Past. As a business decision alone, it has a broader appeal range, and a more guaranteed chance of high sales. While it would be simpler to remake Majora’s Mask, as the Ocarina of Time 3D engine could be used, given a long enough development time period, A Link to the Past under the direction of Grezzo or another trusted company (I’m looking at you, at Retro Studios) would make a great 3D experience, and quench the desire Miyamoto has had for years now.
So in the end it’s not accurate to say Nintendo shouldn’t remake any more Zelda titles in 3D, but just that it’s not time yet. Zelda fans deserve to see what the 3DS can really do for our favorite franchise, and it would be a pretty big letdown to only get one new title. Which would you prefer to see next from Nintendo? A new title, or a remake of your favorite Zelda game? Sound off in the comments.