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Would a 'realistic' Wind Waker have sold better?

misskitten

Hello Sweetie!
Joined
Jun 18, 2011
Location
Norway
Hard to say. But I do think that if it had been done with a different style it still would have required a bright colour palette to work in terms of theme and execution. As someone who wasn't impressed by the style at first, I'm very happy they went the way they did, because the look really works with the game. It's colourful, the movements are over the top (tiny Link jumping over the heads of enemies 2-3 times larger than him) and the toony style of it supports that, while it would look off in a more "realistic" style.
 

Iridescence

Emancipated Wind Fish
Joined
May 11, 2014
Location
United States
Maybe, but it certainly wouldn't have been Wind Waker. Plus, GCN-level unstylized water graphics for an entire overworld wouldn't have looked that good.
 
Joined
May 7, 2015
I and a lot of my friends from my college years were fans of the works of Craig McCracken, Lauren Faust, Genndy Tartakovsky, etc... Like with these cartoonists, the art style of Wind Waker is very close to that "Rocky and Bullwinkle" style that experienced a revival around that time and was used in many different ways to great effect, from the Powerpuff Girls to Samurai Jack. For me, this style was a perfect alternative to games trying far too hard for years to look "real" (and falling flat). In a way, Wind Waker looked more real to me than other games of that time.

I find it interesting that this is the game that got redone for WiiU... I felt at the time that the stylized graphics had aged perfectly. However, since the WiiU cannot play gamecube disks, that may be why Nintendo opted to clean that game up, rather than Twilight Princess or other games that could have used it. I can't complain, a lot of the vector-graphics are now cleaner and crisper, though I feel they shouldn't have messed with the stylized indoor lighting and shadows.
 

SavageWizzrobe

Eating Link since 1987
Joined
Jul 27, 2010
Location
The Wind Temple
Even though Wind Waker may not have sold very well initially in part because of its art style, I think that the art style not only fits the tone of the game but adds a lot of charm. As such, the game has aged incredibly well, mainly because it didn't try too hard to look realistic like so many games continue to do to this day.

On the flipside, I don't think Twilight Princess has aged as well partly because of its realistic graphics. The problem with realistic graphics is that they're easily upstaged, so they appear dated over time. Of course, at the time TP came out, it was extremely popular, because realistic graphics appeal to the masses.

It's interesting that WW got a remake and TP has not. I'm not too confident that a TP remake will happen either, since the game hasn't aged nearly as well as WW has.
 

Zorth

#Scoundrel
Joined
Apr 22, 2011
So many factors to sales than just the art style, but I guess from a marketing perspective it could make a difference.If you see a trailer for a game that looks like a cartoon as opposed to a game that looks like a playable anime show, then I think the anime game would lure in more people. Neither of them are realistic, but one of them feels like it has more of a pull to gamers than the other one.
 
Joined
May 7, 2015
It's interesting that WW got a remake and TP has not. I'm not too confident that a TP remake will happen either, since the game hasn't aged nearly as well as WW has.
I think it will get one eventually. There's a lot of good game engines out there that could spruce it up significantly and give it the look it deserves. I know Cryengine can get to the point of looking like a DreamWorks movie these days, and that one puts out enough of a fairytale feel to do TP justice while still looking "realistic".

I just don't think the time is right. Remaking TP's graphics to current gen standards would be a huge undertaking due to the amount of textures that would have to be entirely redone. Also, knowing the treatment Nintendo has given other recent games and remakes, they'd probably want to re-record the music as well. This would be time and money, and Nintendo seems to already have a lot on their plate as far as Legend of Zelda is concerned. I've long suspected that Wind Waker uses enough vectorized textures that it made more sense to upgrade that game, as it would make conversion very quick, and would get more effect for the money spent. (Even the rasterized textures could be quickly re-rendered with little effort, as I'm assuming they kept all the source files.) I also think Nintendo wanted to put "Cellda" back in our heads before they announced the current game they're working on, which from what little we've seen, puts cell shading to heavy use again.
 

Iridescence

Emancipated Wind Fish
Joined
May 11, 2014
Location
United States
The Wind Waker got the re-make first because it was easier to remake. Twilight Princess has larger areas and a much more diverse set of textures, and it's probably best to wait until technology can handle a re-make of that sort before making one.
 
A more realistic art style probably would have helped The Wind Waker on release; however, its cel-shaded look is what's garnered it praise in the years since its release. There seems to be a trend of fans praising more realistic looking Zelda games soon after release, while offering more criticism as time passes. Conversely, the initial reaction to more stylized titles is less positive, but appreciation gradually builds over time. The one exception to these patterns would be Majora's Mask.

If anything, The Wind Waker's cartoony look has sold a lot of fans in recent years. The Wind Waker is easily in the top three mot emotional Zelda games, if not the most emotional Zelda game, and the facial expressions of the lovingly detailed characters really sell the story. I wouldn't want it any other way.

The sad part is The Wind Waker has released on the two least successful Nintendo consoles (not counting the Virtual Boy), so its software numbers could never be high on systems with a low install base. I hope it can see another chance in the future on a console or handheld that actually has a large audience.
 

SinkingBadges

The Quiet Man
A more realistic art style probably would have helped The Wind Waker on release; however, its cel-shaded look is what's garnered it praise in the years since its release. There seems to be a trend of fans praising more realistic looking Zelda games soon after release, while offering more criticism as time passes. Conversely, the initial reaction to more stylized titles is less positive, but appreciation gradually builds over time. The one exception to these patterns would be Majora's Mask.
I can see what you're getting at although I'm not sure if just WW and TP themselves would constitute a trend, as they seem to be the only games that would fit with it; at least the only ones I can recall having similar reception to what you describe. I guess the alternative would be that thing they call the Zelda cycle, where each game is praised and trashed when it comes out and called the best after the next one comes out. I'm not going to say it's true for everybody else or even for me, but it is interesting how each game seems to lack something another one had and had something another one lacked.

If anything, I'd argue there's a trend of the more unique games (Wind Waker, Majora's Mask, Link's Awakening) getting the recognition they deserve after more people had the time to discover them and/or find out they still have plenty of appeal, which I admit might be a bit biased on my part.
 
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