Posted on September 15 2015 by Josh Tasaico
Hello and welcome everybody, to this week’s Zelda Dungeon Talks. This time around the topic is whether or not a Zelda game is at its best when the game has a light-hearted or dark theme. Somewhere in the middle of that is one of the options as well. Throughout the series, we have seen two Zelda games which are notable for having quite a dark theme. These games are Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess. In Majora’s Mask you have the constant reminder of death looming above you every time you look up into the sky. The people in the land of Termina are all struggling in one way or another. In Twilight Princess the overall setting of the world is just dark and gloomy. The colours are really bland and the overall plot of the game was really dark with the whole invasion of Hyrule by the Twilight forces. When it comes to light-hearted games, you need to look no further than the Toon Link games. The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks are the most colourful and vibrant games in the series. The unique design of the character Link has a very light-hearted feel to it in itself. Now let’s move onto the reponses.
In this week’s edition of Zelda Dungeon Talks, various staff members will share with us their opinion on the topic.
Jon Lett – View Profile
I would say “somewhere in between”, but really, I want a combination of light-hearted and gritty elements all in one game. People always say that The Wind Waker is the more light-hearted game among the series’ console titles, but I still think that, if it were given Twilight Princess visuals, many parts of the game would seem quite serious or scary. That is one thing I love about it. One moment, you could be laughing at Link’s childish shenanigans, the next you could be scared of what is hidden around the ocean in during the game’s Cursed Ocean segment, and the next you could be super sad about the cruel fate of the King of Hyrule. A happy/dark game is all well and great, but one that can quickly sift your emotional perspective of the world you are playing in is a true work of art, so some happy and some dark here and there is what I’d like to see.
Thomas Jacobs – View Profile
It’s not as clear-cut as some people think what a light-hearted or a dark Zelda game is. You’ll be told that the cel-shaded games are the most light-hearted and cheerful of the bunch, but this isn’t exactly true. The Wind Waker is the aftermath of a great flood that destroyed old Hyrule and likely killed lots of people. Phantom Hourglass plays to the fear of having someone dear to you be petrified and you have to sneak through a massive temple and avoid the seemingly indestructible phantoms inside. And while Spirit Tracks is mostly light-hearted it still has Zelda’s spirit being torn out of her body and possessed by an ancient demon. The opposite happens in Twilight Princess: while the game is visually dark and has some heavy themes (dealing with the death of your mother, getting your usurped kingdom back, becoming a prisoner or face the death of your subjects and so on), the story dealt with accepting what is and coming to terms with this. The various heroes do, but villains like Zant and Ganondorf don’t, and commit evil while not coming to terms with this. So are the games better when light or dark? I think they’re best when they’re right in the middle.
Ethan Hunt – View Profile
Somewhere in between. The Wind Waker HD was a great example of this in my opinion as it gave a light hearted Disney feel on the surface with the aesthetic, but had some pretty harrowing undertones in the form of the consequences and burden of Link’s task. Admittedly, the art style in Wind Waker can be a bit jarring when trying to apply a serious tone, and so I think the current style we are going to see in Zelda Wii U is perfect.
Alasyn Eletha – View Profile
I tend not to take the light-hearted games too seriously. My top five Zelda games are either the darker ones or the ones that sit somewhere in between. Seeing as The Wind Waker is my favorite, I think people like myself react better to a game that has its humor and it’s adorable art style, but also a game that has a deep and powerful backstory. Despite what some people might think, I believe that King Daphnes and Ganondorf are the true focus in The Wind Waker. Link and Tetra are just two kids that got mixed up in a very old, very political war between two relics from an old kingdom and there’s something dark and sad about that. A child might not be able to see this in The Wind Waker, but I think that the older audience recognized the shadow hanging over all the pretty colors and childish scenery and appreciated it more than if there wasn’t one at all.
Kira Koneko – View Profile
I believe that the best part about the world of the Zelda franchise as a whole is that it works in many different settings. Each game although visually styled differently still deals with both light hearted and darker elements to the story. In The Wind Waker although the surroundings were bright and colorful there was still much pain and loss being experienced by its characters. On the same token, Twilight Princess has a much darker and gritty visual style than its cartoon counterpart but there is still brightness and love being experienced there as well. I dont think that you could really pigeon hole the series into one specific style as many of the titles have proven that it can fit anywhere.