Like every other fan of The Legend of Zelda, I have been awaiting, and excited for, the next installment in the series, on the Wii U. So, when producer Eiji Aonuma announced a delay, I wanted to know why.
To paraphrase his words, the Zelda crew is out to make the best game they can. Apparently, the Wii U’s hardware is so great that even the game makers at Nintendo are surprised by what they can do. This enables them to entertain and develop ideas they had not, and rather than pursue these halfheartedly and lower the overall quality of the game, Aonuma and his team are taking the time needed to flesh these ideas out and truly incorporate them.
This strikes me as a good intention, but these are the things which pave the road to Hell. By that, I mean that there is always a balance to strike. It’s good to take risks, but really good ideas can backfire terribly, so restraint is also a good thing.
Basically, there are pros and cons.
I’ve heard bits and pieces about the game, as much as anyone with an interest and an internet connection.
For one thing, I like the idea the Zelda crew is implementing with the overall world of the game, where, instead of dividing it into smaller pieces, easier for the system’s engine to handle, it’s all one big section, flowing seamlessly from area to area. Further development of that world is, in my book, a good thing.
But I dislike another tidbit I heard, and I’m kind of hoping it’s apocryphal. There are indications that this game, at least, will not limit us to completing the dungeons in any particular order. It’ll be more “free range,” so to speak. If this is true, I think it’ll prove a significant point against the game.
See, the first time I played – you know I must invoke it – Ocarina of Time, it was an entertaining game. It still is, even all these years later. Why? In a word: the story.
Ok, technically two words. Sue me. 😉
More specifically, it’s how the dungeons and the story relate to each other. From the very start, we have a clear purpose to what we are doing. Our allies and enemies are present and influential, and connected to the various dungeons, and the accompanying stages of the plot. We go through them in a specific order, yes, but that order is used to further the story. And we love it!
Now, contrast that with, say, Twilight Princess. If there is one thing which Twilight Princess suffered from, it’s the disconnect between what we are doing and the story that is being told. This fellow here has a similar insight and even went to the trouble of crafting an alternate version of the plot, which I quite enjoy and fully support. I emphasize simply: we had all the dungeons, and an order in which to complete them, but they did not advance the story nearly so well as they did in Ocarina of Time.
Now we are being given a massive world to roam as Link, with dungeons galore. That, itself, should prove most interesting, but if we can go through the dungeons in “any order,” theoretically, that makes me fear that the story may suffer for it.
So… now we have a major delay before the Wii U game comes out. Why? Because there are more ideas the Zelda crew wants to develop to the fullest. My one question is: do these ideas further the story? If so, great, but if not, then I can only see the game getting bogged down, particularly if we’ve no specific direction to go, in this massive world, in the first place.
True, it can still be fun, it can still be good… but the story is what will take it from “good” to great.
Here’s hoping Aonuma and his team remember that!