Posted on February 23 2016 by Alexis S. Anderson
A pair of games often overlooked in the Zelda series, Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons were released as two separate but related titles that could interact with each other via passwords that would unlock secrets, and allow the player to access the final battles and true ending of the games. Each Oracle game was focused around a different type of gameplay, and the combination of the games made for an entirely new kind of Zelda experience that some fans really loved.
The writing staff here at Zelda Dungeon was asked to consider if having another Oracle-like dual-release would be reasonable in modern gaming. They came up with a range of answers considering the functionality of the games, the plot, the visuals, and the possibility of a triple-release (as once intended for the Oracle Series). Hit the jump to hear what our staffers had to say, and feel free to join the discussion in the comments!
Jon Lett – View Profile
Something that made me quite mad about the Oracle games was the password system. The rings, the secret items, and of course the linked games all required those typical old-timey passwords that required obnoxious amounts of letters, numbers and symbols. A new set of games could MUCH more easily connect the two titles through nothing more than a momentary scan of your console for save data from the other game. That, eliminating the primary issue, leaves only issues with the game itself, of which there are few. Seeing an interconnected story that you could play through with either game first was cool. Sharing characters, gameplay elements, antagonists and more could work really well. Following the lead of the Oracle twins and having the game take place outside of Hyrule, and having brand new antagonists, would also be welcomed. I think having new games in that duel-release style is a really good idea.
Jarrod Hadrian – View Profile
I feel that a dual release Zelda game could definitely work again. The password system is outdated and a bit annoying at this point and it would not even be needed on the 3DS as it would just be able to have data saved on the SD card that carries over. If they wanted to they could even do a three game series that link together as that is what they were originally going to do. If Nintendo wants to explore doing a dual-release again but don’t want to make new games they could remake the two Oracle games and give them A Link Between Worlds graphics. They could even make the third game that was supposed to happen and turn it into the trilogy that it was meant to be. The linked games was definitely a good idea and it added to both of the games in significant ways, being the only way that you can get all of the hearts and 100% both of the titles. No longer having codes would be great because now you can’t just get one off the internet to use if you can’t be bothered finishing one of the games first. If they were to revisit this I feel that it would be a good idea and that they would have new ideas on how the linked games could change the gameplay.
Brandon Schmitz – View Profile
As novel as the dual-release pattern of each mainline Pokemon game is, the differences between the two are generally minimal. The Oracle duo is a neat experiment in that each version represents a different aspect of the core Zelda experience. Ages focuses more heavily on puzzles, while combat is the name of the game in Seasons. Similarly, the three versions of Fire Emblem Fates are fundamentally different games. If Zelda were to take another crack at a dual release, I wouldn’t mind seeing it take a page out of Fates’ book. Tie the two stories together, yet treat both versions as complete, standalone entries.
Alexis Anderson – View Profile
I thought the Oracle games’ dual-release scheme was actually really cool, but though I own both games I haven’t actually played them so I can’t say I understand how they overlap (I can say I’m very sad Farore’s game wasn’t able to be released as well). But the games released in February and then May of the same year, I think that was perfect. A couple month gap allows time to play the first and save up money for the second, if a similar release schedule was planned for a new set of interrelated game I would say go for it. But they would have to be handheld titles, obviously. I most admire the plot of a Zelda game, so if a dual-release was planned I would only consider it a success of the stories were really well intertwined without being dependent on each other for full-game satisfaction. It’s a tough sell, but done right I fully support it.
Thomas Jacobs – View Profile
It is possible, and with today’s technology it is easier than ever. Now that we are capable of saving things on the console/handheld themselves and no longer bound to cartridges, carrying over information is a matter of just waiting until it’s loaded. No more having to copy codes like in the Oracle games (which, while tedious, is not as bad as it was in Golden Sun. The nightmares still haunt me): you load the game and enter what you need. Furthermore, with the expanded capabilities of games it is now possible to have the story change, have characters appear and experience an epic that just does not fit into a single game. Or look at classics like Ultima where you could import your character from before and gain things that way, which can do all sorts of fun stuff with collectables and certain upgrades as well, which was explored in the Oracle games as well. So yes, it can be done, and even better than before.
Alexis S. Anderson is a Senior Editor at Zelda Dungeon who joined the writing team in November, 2014. She has a JD from the UCLA School of Law and is pursuing a career in Entertainment and Intellectual Property Law. She grew up in the New Jersey suburbs with her parents, twin brother, and family shih-tzu.