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Gossip Stone: What would a more "mature" Zelda game be like?

snakeoiltanker

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Nov 13, 2012
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Ohio
What would a more "mature" Zelda game be like? by Thomas Jacobs

If a franchise lasts as long as Zelda does, you’d eventually need to mix things up a bit or fear stagnation. Gameplay wise there have been a lot of different things, for better or for worse: boats, trains, time loops, physical transformations, time travel, alternate worlds and many more things have been used to keep every Zelda game fresh. The same goes for stories: the more simplistic ones in the original and the GameBoy games, the more complex ones likeOcarina of Time and Wind Waker, the upbeat and optimistic Spirit Tracks and the darkerMajora’s Mask and Twilight Princess. There exists a group of fans who call for more games like that, taking the series to explore darker and more “mature” themes. But what are these themes and how should the series look at them? Read more after the break!

The obvious, simple and dumb way of doing things would be the classic “darker and edgier” route. Link as a big muscle-bound slab of beef, Ganondorf as a big mountain of a man towering over Link and Zelda as a voluptuous bimbo with a body that is not physically possible without magic and wears at best an outfit made from a third of the amount of fabric that goes into one of her normal dresses. Such a game would involve a lot of blood and gore (no green blood for you this time, Ganondorf!) spraying from the stumps of the limbs that Link severs, alongside rather disgusting beasts for him to slay. It would involve Link actually talking and even swearing in ways that would give a normal person pause, using his deep gravelly voice to spout over-the-top one-liners, cynical remarks and nasty comebacks when facing enemies. People would be overly angsty, tortured (either physically or mentally), the setting would be a lot darker and EVERYONE would have some kind of troubled past. And of course such a game would end with the credits being the backdrop for Link and Zelda doing things together that you would normally only see in fan-made images, fanfiction and animations posted in the darkest corners of the Internet.

There’s a rather big chance that you do not want to see such a game because it goes against everything the Zelda series is. Even disregarding that Nintendo would only allow such a thing if their excess of money drove them all insane, the entire fanbase would go insane over the existence of such a game. It’d be called juvenile and needlessly edgy.

Another way to do it wrong is to deconstruct the series. This means when you take a part of the series and nitpick at it, showing what the real-life consequences of Link’s actions would be. He’d get into trouble for breaking into people’s houses and smashing their pots, face the wrath of more than just the cuccos when he attacks them and the dangers of using explosives in places you should not. But this could also include the bigger things. The Adventure of Link ended with Link’s awakening of a Princess Zelda who had been asleep for centuries, if not more. The game plays it as a joyous moment and Link gets a kiss (one of the few he’s ever gotten), after which the game ends. WhatThe Adventure of Link does not mention is that there are now two Princesses Zelda running around: the “current” one and the Zelda of before. Both of them have claims to the throne: one through merit of age since she was born centuries ago and therefore is closer in blood to the founding members of the Royal Family, while the other knows about the current situation of Hyrule and of its people. In a deconstruction this would end up in a succession crisis and maybe even a civil war between factions gathering behind the two Zeldas. Link would be forced to pick sides, turning against one of the Zeldas. It’d be a light version of A Song of Ice and Fire, except there’s no Groose Bolton running around and flaying people.

More horror comes from thinking too much about certain things. For example, Ocarina of Time had a civil war take place a decade prior to the events of the game. Yet there are not a lot of people for the people of Hyrule Castle to go to war against. So either the war was merely inside the walls of Hyrule Castle Town or the enemy during this war was so completely exterminated that no trace of them remains. But this is of course merely guesswork and no real part of the story. None of the options so far present a “mature” Zelda game, so what would a game like that be like?

Maturity can mean a lot of things, yet most have to do with being able to take care of yourself: both in your everyday routine and when problems arise. Defying the threat of the dark, standing valiantly against the hordes of evil and defeating them with a mix of power, wisdom and courage is not exactly something Link does every day (except if you’re the Hero of Legend, who has done this kind of thing four times), so it’s him being able to deal with the problems he faces during his journeys. This does not just cover the physical ones like monsters, dungeons and puzzles but also being able to deal with hardships. The most common ones in the series are the deaths or departure of someone close like Link’s Uncle, Prince Ralis’ mother, Fi, the King of Red Lions and more. Others include themes like a peaceful situation ending and putting the people including the royal family into danger, for example Midna’s kingdom, the hardships Zelda went through inOcarina of Time and the darkness befalling Hyrule in A Link to the Past.

But the Zelda game most dealing with maturing and personal growth is Skyward Sword. Zelda and Link start out as average teenagers, oblivious to their destinies. Link’s a lazy daydreamer and Zelda tries to get him out of this mentality: when through effort he wins the Loftwing race she’s noticeably proud of him. When Zelda gets taken by the forces of evil and is taken under Impa’s wing she quickly accepts her new duty to protect the world from Demise. Link meanwhile does everything he can to rescue Zelda, enduring all kinds of danger and facing hordes of monsters. While initially he’s not interested in anything else than saving Zelda, eventually he too accepts his duty and destroys Demise for good.

This kind of storytelling received far more positive fan reactions than any overly edgy story would. How would you handle this? Would you continue in the style of Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess? Or perhaps take a different route?
 

snakeoiltanker

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I find it odd that this article was posted after creating a thread about what you all would think about a more "adult" link just last night. As far as this article goes, I feel that he focused too much on how a more mature Zelda could go wrong. Mature doens't necessarily mean more violent or gory, with muscle bound characters. And I think it would be wrong too assume so. I feel that a mature game could just be a more adult Link dealing with more mature situations, and a more serious plot. Straying away from the whimsy light hearted and sometimes silly situations seen in some Zelda games. There is no need for gore, or sex appeal, swear words, or any dark overtones.

It is also still possible to add some humor in a more mature game, say Link is kind of a numnut as he has grown up no knowing he was the hero or even his place in society. Humor coming from the one who seeks the hero out to awaken his destiny. Maybe being confused about how this airhead of a man can be the Hero of Legend. There could be humor from Zelda being royal in mannerism, with Link being more of a rough traveler/wanderer with not real manners at all, kind of like how he was in the dreadful cartoon, only without the corny jokes and just terrible character development.

I feel that with a more mature Zelda game would warrant a better combat system, with more than just Z-targeting and sword slashes. It would also be a chance for a truly ruthless villain, one that is more manipulative and vile in nature, while still justifying his hatred with dialog. A lot of evil minds in history still have logic in their reasoning after all, no matter how terrible the acts are that they commit there is still a logical reason for why they do it. I dont know I just feel that there is a good way too do it that wouldnt completely break Zelda tradition, and considering most of those who played the older Zelda titles growing up, are all adults now, and think it would only be right for them too get a Zelda game that has grown up/matured along with them. I dont know what do you guys thinK?
 

Djinn

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Honestly I would not mind a more mature, or really just a much less "kiddy" Zelda game in concept. The real issue I have is Nintendo attempting it. I honestly have little to no confidence in Nintendo producing a game with mature themes and elements. At least not on their own, maybe licensing out the title to some other developer to make it with Nintendo's name slapped on it.

But then that brings up the whole soured opinions on things like Metroid:Other M. Fans are not likely to want more main Nintendo properties developed by other companies half as much after that one.
 
Joined
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I love a more mature Zelda game. I loved TP because I feel like the Zelda story naturally lends itself to a darker, more mature tone - it just fits better and maximizes the potential of the series in that style, in my opinion.
 

Zorth

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I wouldn't mind another game that follows the footsteps of MM. I can understand that a lot of the older players that grew up with alttp, oot, and mm have grown up and could play a zelda game that goes into territory like Bioshock or Fallout. But I could do with just staying with a lighter overall theme on the world and experimenting with more mature characters and storylines, and you wouldn't alienate the younger players either.

Might sound confusing but basically what I mean is keep the classic warm overworld and gameplay, but the characters & storyline could do with a little more relatable dilemmas, tough situations, and losses. Bringing in all human emotions from the spectrum not just: happy/sad.
 

PalaeoJoe

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Often when the subject of a more mature game is discussed it is done so with a more adult Link as the hero but this dose not need to be the case. Lately I have been wanting Nintendo to return, at least once more to a game staring a child Link. The basic reason being, when you play as a child the world seems bigger and more challenging by comparison. Beyond this, as a child The Hero has to deal people that in his eyes are stubborn adults who don't believe in his abilities. It would be really interesting to see the reactions of older people when this kid that they thought so little of saves a group of hardened soldiers or Zelda from a terrifying beast or to see some one realize how to be a better person after seeing him doing to right thing in a socially difficult situation.
 

linkypete

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All I want is a nemesis system. A nemesis system just makes so much sense to be in the zelda series. that way, the entire story can be forged by the player rather than being the same thing over and over again. The player can start to feel rage towards generic enemies that have killed Link. There doesn't have to be domination or control over enemies like in Shadow of Mordor, but there should be a sense of wanting to kill enemies for a reason besides that they are in the immediate area. Revenge is sweet.
 

CrimsonCavalier

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Some spoilers, by the way:

I feel that maturity comes in the way the story is presented. For example, we have the story of Twilight Princess. I mean, it wasn't necessarily deep and philosophical, but it was a little more thought out than other stories. Majora's Mask, is obviously the main one that comes to mind. The story is deep, it's engrossing, and it's definitely mature. The whole thing of the Skull Kid being lonely and sad, being befriended by the fairies, and then succumbing to the power of the Mask, the townsfolk, and their plights. Each of them living with the knowledge that, in only a few days, they're going to die. The fact that Link sees this, knows how the story ends, and has to relive it again and again and again until he can stop it from happening. The story is extremely mature.

The second way maturity comes in is in character development. For example, take Wind Waker. Ganondorf in that game is an enemy that has ideology and a reason for doing what he does. It isn't just simple greed, as it is in, say Link to the Past. He is a much deeper villain. Character development can turn a simple adventure game into a mature game.

Finally, adding a bit of depth to the world. Adding some in-game lore, some mysteriousness to the world, something other than just being the place in which the adventure is happening. For example, Link's Awakening ... you go around and learn a lot about the Island as you travel. The more you read and learn, the more mysterious the place becomes. Where exactly are you? Why is this happening? What is the Windfish really? It all comes to a resounding crash at the end, of course, but that goes back to the story/plot.

In conclusion: (tl;dr) the way to make a game more "mature" is through plot/story, character development and depth of the in-game world.

Leave out the gore, nudity, language. That's for the kids.
 

Cross

For rent
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I'd love a more mature Zelda game, but not with tons of nudity, gore, etc... Those don't make games/tv shows/movies mature, that just makes the audience need to be older to buy/play a game or tv show. Things like Family Guy aren't mature, even though it's full of sex jokes and violence.

I'd love to see either 2 things: 1) A deconstruction, I'd actually love to see all the consequences of what Link/the monsters or villains he has to fight does to him and the world around him, and 2) A game that has greater focus on character development, plot/story,and depth of the world/how the world of that time would most likely be, or even focus more on the politics(Due to their future ruler going missing). Take MM, you literally see how anyone would react if they know there was no hope left, you see the world change through your actions but it's not always great, once you learn what Skullkid went though you can feel sorry for him.

Games like that are mature, just filling it blood, gore, and nudity is not.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2011
I just someone out there won't do to Zelda what a certain pretentious fan and non-fan did for Power Rangers. That Power/Rangers short film. No, I didn't like it, because it got maturity wrong. Yes, the story where Zack murders people in bloody ways, Bulk and Skull shoot Jason after he married and Rocky sold out his world to the Machine Empire is totally mature. It was handled better in the actual show for Power Rangers RPM, a lot of the same ideas but handled in a way that doesn't come off as two idiots made it. (For those who don't know, both were about a post-apocalyptic world where a war with machines killed of a lot of people, there are cyborgs, death and loss of identity... and yet RPM still had time to reconstruct tropes in a proper way as opposed to deconstruct them in the wrong way, like giving the rangers actual guns) The same should apply to making anything else, like a Zelda game. Instead of a deconstruction, it should reconstruct tropes the series uses in their plots, explain why they should happen or make them work in a way without questionable morality, like why should Link slay the monsters when they aren't exactly nice people. As far as mature themes go, it could handle them while still being it's usual self. You can have a story of stuff like politics, child abuse, questions of idealism and cynicism and question murdering someone... while still having stuff like the killer cuccos, goofy sidequests, silly characters and the like... like Kid Icarus Uprising.
 

Dio

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I'd love to see a mature Zelda for an older audience.
I'll put how I would have it. Basically the story would be more in depth. This would be a reboot for the series kind of serving as the new Timelines OOT. I imagine something like this would not fit into the current series in terms of tone but would be more accepted as part of a separate timeline.
You'd have an older link, more rough , maybe even a beard. Not necessarily looking like he takes loads of roids but probably like he has had a good go at them.
The first part of the game,before Ganondorf really destroys everything. You'd see a people who were panicked by the prospect of another war, having had a civil war only 10 years previously. As you befriend Zelda, you visit her by sneaking in the castle, maybe posing as a noble or a guard. You'd learn the behind the scenes politics of it all.
People in general would be incredibly racist and prejudiced on the whole. You'd get some outspoken members of society preaching tolerance and unity were what we needed. Maybe you might witness a mob then chasing them and pelting them with dung. The King would be taxing heavily to fund his army, you'd notice after each dungeon as you returned to castle town which would be a bustling city that there was more vagrancy, alcohol and drug dependents, people dying of hunger whilst the affluent complain the taxes are preventing them from buying as many antique vases. Things like that. The language would include more swear words just like real life.
There would be blood, maybe a bit of decapitation. It does not need to be exessive but in reality things get chopped off when you fight with swords.
You could have the Gerudo, widely believed to only bear one male child every 100 years and discover at some point they throw their male children down a well.
That's the sort of thing I would like to see if they go in a mature direction.
 

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