Before you roll your eyes at me, thinking that I’m going to bash Nintendo’s acclaimed franchise, I want to make it clear; I’ve been a fan of The Legend of Zelda since the original Nintendo Entertainment System release. I had the gold cartridge, the instruction booklet with the flip-out-map poster. you name it.
But here I am today, more than 20 years later, about to challenge the almighty Nintendo — and its most loyal Zelda fans.
I can’t help but feel that Zelda needs to move on. Like Bitmob staffer Jasmine Rea stated in her recent Resident Evil article, I think it’s time for a reboot.
First off, the series is behind its time. It lacks voice acting, something that is apparent in modern games. A couple grunts and chirps from each character (while trying to tell an amazing story) is a relic of yesteryear. And no, I don’t desire a voice for Link. A mute hero has never been an issue for me.
Voice acting brings characters to life. Many players (at least that I know) tend to skip the dialogue because they don't have interest in the plot. OK, so that’s their fault.
But I always tend to imagine what these characters and their voices would sound like. Your eyes gaze into the font as if you're watching a foreign film. Subtitles are fine, but I'd like the people to become more believable at this point.
Voice could elevate the epic tales of Hyrule and perhaps develop a better understanding for the gamer. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, in my opinion, was the first game in the series to pursue the cinematic experience seriously. It was a joy to watch, but something was missing. It was like enjoying old movies without sound. Nintendo, give voiceovers a try.
Speaking of Link, he’s got on my bad side as well. True, the pointed-ear protagonist is a recognizable mascot for the big N. We all know every Zelda title presents us with a different Link (with the exception of Majora’s Mask, Zelda II, Phantom Hourglass, and other spin-offs).
So what’s the problem?
He looks the same to me. He acts the same to me. He maneuvers the same way every time. Each release hands us a sword and shield to help us save the princess. Same sacred hero. Different time.
Perhaps Nintendo can realize that this repetitive concept is getting old to some people, like me. We need new characters to play as. I get how important Link is to the saga, but wouldn’t it be cool to play as Zelda herself, a new hero, or even the narcissistic Ganon?
Maybe we could have three different scenarios. One with Link, one with Zelda, and one with Ganon. Somehow, they could all be connected and contribute to the ultimate story’s unfolding. To add sugar to the cake, we could even receive multiple endings.
New tools and bigger dungeons aren’t an answer to me. I want a new approach to the gameplay. I want innovative elements. I don’t want another pair of green tunics and the same mission to conquer.
My best suggestion would be to do a reboot similar to Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Most Zelda fans claim that this release is their least favorite. For me, it’s my top choice. Why? Because it was different. It added RPG elements to the table. It was more difficult. Heck, it stands out against all other Zeldas.
Additionally, it’s time for the series to expand itself outside the box. I get it. The master sword is the answer to evil’s bane. Why can’t we build Link up and purchase new weapons? Perhaps we could build our own sword with its own unique power and image. It’s called variety, and I honestly haven’t seen it lately in the series. It’s the same repetitive sword with a couple of new gadgets (and motion controls) added to the mix.
Lastly, for ages (OK, years) the games' difficulty has been embarrassingly easy. We should get multiple difficulty settings (Hero mode from Skyward Sword was a slight step up).
Sorry, Zelda fans. Believe it or not, I’m one of you. But it’s time for the franchise to receive a swift kick in the ass.
Zelda needs to evolve.
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!