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A New Approach to Zelda Games

Majora's Cat

How about that
Sep 3, 2010
The Legend of Zelda series has always stuck to the same style of gameplay and that same old medieval/simplistic setting. I’ve been thinking - will Nintendo ever dare to take the series in a direction so radically different it could either make or break the series? Chances are the answer is no, but I would like to reflect on the idea of changing the series a bit.

We’ve seen so much variation in video games over the past years. A game series originally focused on the modern age can easily jump ahead to the year 2100 or go back in time, perhaps to the medieval era. Many franchises that have taken these measures are quite successful and keep gamers on their toes. We wonder “what will they do next?”. One good example of this is the Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions game. Spider-Man video games have not had much success in the past, and Shattered Dimensions really changed the fans’ perception of the franchise. Instead of shooting for that same old Spider-Man game, Beenox (developer) decided to take Spidey to the next level. There existed a futuristic Tron-like 2099 universe, a 1940s style dark Noir universe, a more classic Amazing Spider-Man universe and the ever-thrilling and strange Ultimate Universe. Each provided a different look, different gameplay and different atmosphere. It proved to be a smashing success compared to previous Spider-Man games, proving that changing up the old formula can prove to be beneficial.

I really like the idea of a utopia Zelda game. Perhaps like BioShock Infinite. BioShock Infinite takes placed in the utopia-gone-wrong city of Columbia that floats in the sky. A story like this can inspire a deeper storyline and seamlessly threads the gameplay into the plot. This is something that has yet to be seen in a Zelda game. Or maybe the Zelda game could be set in a location similar to that of Cocoon in Final Fantasy XIII and the 2099 universe of Shattered Dimensions.


[The 2099 universe of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions features illuminated futuristic buildings, somewhat reminiscent of those in the original Spider-Man comics.]​


[Final Fantasy XIII's Cocoon is pretty different from the 2099 universe but still provides a vivid image for what a futuristic Zelda game could look like. While this might not be so appealing to hardcore fans, some may find the idea fascinating.]​

I’d like to make one last comparison to a video game. This time, I want to focus my attention on God of War III. Like the Zelda series, GoW is epic and features puzzles and huge bosses. Although the two franchises don’t seem to have much in common on the outside, they both have similarities as well.

God of War III – blood and gore – huge set pieces – ridiculously oversized bosses = Zelda. Essentially, GoW is Zelda with a glossy overcoat (by that I mean the amazing visuals, violent and epic cutscenes, etc.). That being the case, a radically different Zelda game could come to resemble a God of War game with elevated difficulty and more focus on puzzles rather than mindless violence.

While every idea is exciting, only a few could possibly fit a Zelda game. I’m doubting that the Zelda series could ever spawn a Western or a First-Person Shooter. Link in cowboy boots with the little circular blades? Or Link holding a magnum? Such things are probably unimaginably horrific.

So maybe Zelda could take a different approach? While a Noir Zelda or futuristic Zelda sounds unpromising, maybe it can be one if elements of these newly invigorated games harkens back to the old days. It can be done, but can only be successful if done the right way. Let’s ask ourselves this: what exactly is the right way? In my eyes, the only way to please longtime Zelda fans is to take classic Zelda items and concepts and implement them into the new game. Fans are usually angered because of too many unnecessary changes to the formula, so I believe that the gameplay, items and feel of the game shouldn’t be completely wiped away. Instead of having that Zelda touch being replaced entirely by a whole different genre, I believe that only little dabs of change should be placed here and there.

So, do you think that Nintendo should take a step in a different direction for a change? And if so, how do you think Nintendo should approach this? Discuss.


and Tonic
Nov 29, 2010
The Flying Mobile Opression fortress
Shattered dimensions was actually based on a Spider Man series from the early 90's called SpiderMan 2099. It was already an established universe and characters, so this was really a sequel starring characters made by Marvel.

Each of the settings were firmly established and well known to fans so there was little new innovation found in the game. Other than being able to play the various different versions of Spider Man in a single game and not within sequels. The PSX Spiderman game played around with this a little as well.

In a much more subtle way Nintendo has shaken things up a little bit. Wind Waker was a very large departure from the typical medieval fantasy setting. Taking place in a fantasy oceanic world. While the grim dark setting of Twilight Princess was more mature than the typical colorful cartoon look of the previous games. Taking things further

Nintendo is normally reluctant to create large changes in their worlds. The Mario, Metroid, Donkey Kong, Pokemon, and Zelda series have mostly stayed the same. Using the same characters in the same situations They tend to stick to more modern versions of past games keeping the same formula. While controls and interaction evolves with each new system. However they have tried a couple innovations with Star Fox Adventures and Kirby Epic Yarn. Both were met with mediocre reviews. So I doubt we might see a Zelda game taking place in a super futuristic or steampunk setting any time soon. At least not until the series is taken over by someone new who wishes to attempt something different from the same old formula Nintendo likes to maintain.

However I am a fan of the medieval fantasy of the series, it was a large part of how I got into it in the first place. If a sequel takes place in a very futuristic setting I would probably not like it very much personally. I was not a fan of Final Fantasy shifting to modern fantasy in seven and then further into scifi with eight and ten. A much more high magic setting along the same lines of Warcraft or Magic:the Gathering would be okay as long as it keeps the swords and monsters aspect. Which I believe is important to the series.


I want to start by saying, great topic, MC. I find your ideas and opinions interesting. I really don't know what it would be like if they did make a dramatic change to the franchise. Sure it has its perks money wise, but I think the fans are what is really all about.

But keeping the series as it is from the start to this day is what made it great, and you should fix something that isn't broken. If eventually, somehow they make a mistake with the changes they make with Zelda DO turn out bad, they might have something great to fall back on, by copying ideas from other game franchises.

So overall, i cant pick sides. I wouldn't know if it is a good thing, or bad. All I can do is wait and see what Miyamoto has in mind. :)
Jan 24, 2011
what I like about the Zelda games it's that they transport me to another different place non existant in reality and that doesn't count with all of the tech we have today,but instead of that it works mostly with magic and things of that sort, so I don't know if I would like it...maybe there is a way it's done well and I would remain shut, but IDK...


I am me....
Jan 25, 2010
If anything futuristic is done I would rather it be done in a Back to the Future sense. Wher you have to go back in time to stop something or someone horrible who has gone back to make sure things turn out different. Where you start out doing a thing or two in the present then transport back an take care of business. At the end there is a final showdown in what he has created in the present time. I am not sure how it would all work but I am sure Nintendo could figure it out. Anyway that is what I would like to see if a futuristic or modernized Zelda came to be.
Dec 12, 2010
I've come to the conclusion that the setting of a game is largely irrelevant to the game's quality. Of course some things make more sense in high fantasy than a futuristic setting (would MM have been as mysterious if the world had been steampunkish?) but each setting has its strengths and really it's high time the Zelda series went in a new direction.

But I don't think they will do it. The Zelda series is too well established now as high fantasy.

Incidentally, Spiderman 2 was a pretty decent Spidey game, and actually has a higher metacritic score than Shattered Dimensions.


Sep 27, 2010
True, nintendo could, but that's not it's style....at least not directly. They move things in new directions so slowly Sling Blade can pick up on the changes(and not hach their head off). Nintendo is like the world, it nudges just a bit at a time, more evolutionary than revolutionary (except Oot and the industrial revolution.)

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