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Sunday 19 June 2011

Zelda-themed Level in Super Mario 3DS

In Zelda news

It appears that one more Zelda-related nugget of info was revealed at E3, which was mostly overlooked in the wake of the many announcements.

At Nintendo’s E3 roundtable conference, the new Super Mario game for 3DS (appropriately titled Super Mario 3DS) was shown off. But the game has a treat for Zelda fans: the developers announced that in honour of Zelda’s 25th anniversary, a Zelda-themed level would feature. This takes the form of a top-down dungeon with individual, fixed-camera rooms, a format taken from the earliest Zelda games. In one of the rooms, Mario had to throw fireballs at its corners to open a locked door, which sounds like a very Zelda-esque puzzle.

This is just a single level in the game, but it sounds like it might be enough to encourage Zelda fans to buy the game. Well, is it working? Do you want it now?

You can see a brief clip of the level here: http://uk.kotaku.com/5811152/heres-a-look-at-the-zelda-tribute-level-in-super-mario-3ds

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Wednesday 08 June 2011

Eiji Aonuma’s Skyward Sword Demo Shows Dousing Mode, Mirror World

In Zelda news

So, Skyward Sword may have been playable at the E3 show floor, but would you believe that it doesn’t end there? At Nintendo’s E3 roundtable, Eiji Aonuma showed off some exclusive gameplay, demonstrating some of the new features in this new incarnation of Zelda.

The first demo he showed demonstrated “dousing mode”. In this demo, Link must search for five pieces of a key buried by mole-like enemies (named “Mogmas”). To find the pieces, Link must use “Dousing Mode”. In this mode, a first-person view is taken with Link’s sword in the middle of the screen. Link can then move the sword to identify where the pieces are - identified by increasing beeping. Kind of like a metal detector! When Link finds the pieces, he can dig them up using a special pair of gloves.

The second demo Aonuma showed off demonstrated something more interesting. It seems that there is some kind of alternative world in the game, similar to the dark world of A Link to the Past. The demo took place in the Mushroom Hill-like area from the E3 demo last year, but with a twist. Striking Link’s sword into the ground morphed the surroundings into a bleaker, more abstract world, littered with living statues named Guardians. Link can’t use his sword in this mode - it’s stuck in the ground, so he’s helpless against the Guardians. The aim in this mode is to collect a number of green orbs, and there are also tear-shaped items which freeze the guardians for a certain amount of time. It sounds fairly similar to gameplay from the two DS titles, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, which also has you avoiding scary statues to collect items.

Well, we certainly know a lot about this new game now! What do you think? Excited? I think I am.

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So what is the Skyward Sword E3 demo like?

In Zelda news

Well, with the press conferences wrapped up, E3 is well underway. And that means one thing: game demos. The show floor is littered with demo pods, allowing the lucky few who got an invite to test out the latest games before they’re released. Skyward Sword is no exception, and at the Nintendo booth, there are not one, not two, but three different demos to play through!

Personally, I am not at E3. I’m pretty much at the other side of the world right now. So I haven’t had the chance to play these demos. But I do know what they entail!

The first demo is a flying demo. Showing a small piece of the plot, it takes place on Link’s hometown (homeisland?), and showed off the new flying mechanic. Link, in regular villagers’ gear, yet to don the famous Peter Pan costume, takes part in the “birdrider’s ceremony”. He, and two others (including Zelda, who doesn’t seem to be a princess in this incarnation - at least at the beginning), must ride their birds to catch up with a golden bird and steal a golden statue from its claws. The bird is Wii Motion Plus controlled.

The second demo is a dungeon demo, and showed off some of the weapons available in the game, such as the flying beetle. The last demo was a boss battle, against an enemy called Ghirahim - a fast-paced opponent which requires lots of quick moves and dodging to beat.

Well, I can’t really tell you any more as I haven’t actually played the demos! But lots of people have, and they can tell you much more. For example, Gamespot has a nice writeup here: http://e3.gamespot.com/story/6318187/e3-2011-the-legend-of-zelda-skyward-sword-preview/

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Shigeru Miyamoto to Skyward Sword Developers: Make the Best Zelda Game Ever, or No More Zelda

In Zelda news

Yes, that is apparently the demand that Shigeru has made of those poor unfortunate souls making the next Zelda game. At Nintendo’s traditional E3 roundtable, held a few hours after their press conference, Shigeru claimed that he has told the team working on Zelda (and the team working on Starfox 3DS) that if Skyward Sword isn’t the best Zelda game ever, he’s axing the series.

I don’t think this is really cause for concern. There’s no way Nintendo would kill one of their best franchises due to one poor game. But it shows the dedication and perfectionism that is behind the development of the new game. I think we can be assured that we are going to have another classic on our hands here!

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Tuesday 07 June 2011

Footage of Zelda Wii U Tech Demo

In Zelda news

Gaming blog Kotaku have posted a video of the Zelda Wii U tech demo shown briefly during Nintendo’s E3 conference, confirming that, yes, it is just a tech demo and not a full game. Intended to show off the graphical power of the new console, the demo plays out footage of Link fighting a giant spider. The player can change the lighting and camera angle (to prove it’s not a prerendered video), overlay a map on screen and move the video onto the controller’s touch screen. It certainly looks impressive, and while it’s not a game in itself, we can be sure that whenever Zelda hits this new console (and it certainly won’t be for a while), it will look pretty amazing.

See the video here: http://uk.kotaku.com/5809555/zelda-games-on-wii-u-could-look-this-stunning

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Full Skyward Sword E3 Trailer

In Zelda news

The snippet of Skyward Sword footage we saw in the opening of Nintendo’s E3 press conference actually belongs to a full-length trailer, which Nintendo have just released! In it we see more of Link’s hometown, a floating island in the sky. We also get a hint of the plot: It seems that Link has what appears to be some form of female friend who is eaten by a big flying fish, and he kits up in the traditional green suit to go out to save her. We also get some more gameplay footage, showing some new environments. And the end of the trailer seems to confirm that instead of having a horse as your main mode of transport, you will be able to ride a flying bird! This matches up with cryptic comments Eiji Aonuma made a good while ago about wanting to include flying in the new game. So will this (literally) add an extra dimension to the world of Hyrule, or will it be on-rails or confined to certain areas? I suppose we’ll find out soon!

View the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rwGKsE1S5k

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Zelda at E3 - TONNES of News

In Zelda news

Well, Nintendo’s press conference has just finished, and while there has been lots of excitement about the announcement of the new Wii U console, and the 3DS games coming our way, there was another big player at the show: Zelda. The whole first segment of the event was dedicated to the franchise’s 25th anniversary, with the show opening with a montage of earlier Zelda games, leading up to some new Ocarina of Time 3D and Skyward Sword footage (the latter of which hints that Link will be able to ride a bird, and has some kind of lady-friend who gets swallowed by a giant fish), backed by a live orchestra!

Shigeru Miyamoto took to the stage, and fooled around with the orchestra as they played familiar jingles and melodies from the series. He then went on to make many, many announcements about Link’s anniversary year, all of which are bound to excite Zelda fans. Here they are:

Firstly, Skyward Sword will be released this holiday season. This will surprise very few, though some may have been hoping for an earlier release. Shigeru promised that the game is packed with content, and thinks it will be the most satisfying Zelda title yet. As Skyward Sword requires a Wii Remote Plus, and many players will be buying one just for Zelda, a special edition golden Zelda remote will be released alongside the game. Whether this is a pre-order bonus, or will be sold packaged with the game, or separately, we don’t know. I’m guessing it will probably be packaged with the game.

You may have noticed that Game Boy Color classic Link’s Awakening DX was missing from today’s Nintendo eShop launch, despite previous info hinting it would launch with the service. Well, you only have a matter of hours to wait before getting your hands on everyone’s favourite handheld Zelda, as it will be available by the end of the day. Nintendo obviously wanted to incite warm fuzzy feelings of nostalgia to all who watched the conference before making many people’s first experience with Zelda available once more. Marketing!

Nintendo also announced that, as a free download, multiplayer Zelda title Four Swords will be available on the DSi (and assumably 3DS, too). They didn’t specify whether this was a port of the original GBA game, or an entirely new adventure. Whatever it is, it will be available for free download in September. Pretty generous!

Now this is where things get really interesting. Nintendo have announced that there will be actual Zelda 25th Anniversary events, that you can actually physically go to! To start things off, there will be a series of Zelda symphony concerts throughout the world this year. Assuming they stick to the standard format for these events, you can expect a live orchestra playing classic Zelda melodies, with footage from the games on a big screen above the orchestra. No specific dates or locations were announced, but they were confirmed to take place in Japan, America and Europe during the fall (that’s “Autumn” for people like me in the UK). I’d guess that the concerts will take place in select big cities (i.e. Tokyo, London, L.A. etc.) rather than a full world tour, but I could be wrong. Nintendo will also release two Zelda CDs this year, something which is rarely done outside of Japan. The Ocarina of Time 3D Official Soundtrack will be available for those who are first to register their copy of the game with Club Nintendo, and there will also be a CD based on the anniversary concerts (assumably a recording of the show) which will be released in conjunction with Skyward Sword.

Finally, Shigeru announced there will be “other activities”, but didn’t specify further. There’s more? After all that? Us Zelda fans sure are in for a busy year!

Shigeru ended the Zelda segment by bringing some key figures from Zelda’s history, purely so they could be applauded. Takashi Tezuka, Yoshiaki Koizumi and Zelda director Eiji Aonuma were called up front for a round of applause. But then Shigsy pulled the “it’s all about the fans”, and thanked us for their support throughout the 25 years, giving us all a wee round of applause. Charming!

But wait! There was even more Zelda! In the announcement trailer for Nintendo’s new home console, the Wii U (featuring the much-rumoured touch-screen controller), a very short clip of a gorgeous looking HD Zelda game was shown. It featured Link fighting a huge spider in a huge temple. The user could swap their equipped weapons using the touch screen on the controller. As the footage wasn’t given a name, it may just be a concept and not a game in itself, but it shows quite nicely what the system is capable of, and what future Zelda games on the title could look like.

And that’s all the Zelda we got at this year’s Nintendo presser! LOADS. I actually had to watch the thing through again to make sure I didn’t miss anything. It will certainly be a big year for Zelda, and a big year for the fans. Thank you Nintendo for making my job hard. And thank you for giving us plenty to look forward to.

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Two New OOT3D Commercials - One in 3D!

In Zelda news

Well, Nintendo’s E3 press conference will be underway in a number of hours, and to gear up for it, they have released a couple of teasers for Ocarina of Time 3D.

The first you can watch right here, right now. It is the official US commercial for the game, featuring some new pre-rendered footage of some of the key plot moments in the game. You can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFuzClAvAJ0

The second one, well, you’ll need to get out your 3DS, install the latest system update, and go to the new Nintendo eShop. There you will find a short, but fully 3D trailer! If you haven’t played the game at an expo, this will be your first 3D experience of the game, so it’s well worth a look. If you don’t have a 3DS, well, you miss out for now. But then you can’t play OOT3D anyway, so it’s probably best you don’t hype yourself up for something you can’t play!

There are also two free apps for download from the store - Pokedex 3D, and Excitebike 3D (which is only free for today, so get a move on!)

Nintendo are bound to announce more Zelda info at their conference, particularly about Skyward Sword, so stay tuned for a writeup directly after the show.

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Friday 03 June 2011

Zelda 25th Anniversary Celebrations at E3?

In Zelda news

You may have noticed that Zelda turned 25 this year. But there’s also a big chance that you didn’t notice, as Nintendo pretended not to, with not a single mention of the legendary franchise’s major milestone on the day. With two new Zelda games coming out this year, you’d think Nintendo would want to give this landmark some kind of recognition, right?

Right!

It looks like Nintendo will be announcing plans for the celebrations at E3. This announcement has been leaked in the most obscure of forms - an E3 lanyard posted on Twitpic by Masahiro Sakurai (i.e. Mr Smash Bros). The pretty piece of ribbon seems to confirm two things - Skyward Sword will be at E3 in some form (duh), and there will be some 25th Anniversary News. You can see the lanyard here: http://twitpic.com/55wqbk

So what will these celebrations entail? We’ll find out in only a handful of days, at E3.

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Friday 09 July 2010

Truth Phones!

In Community

Hello, how are you all doing? Coping with the lack of E3 news? Here’s something to tide you over.

In my opinion, Mega64 are very much hit-and-miss. But their interpetation of this year’s E3 is very much a hit - I laughed out loud at the end. If I say too much, I’ll spoil it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaMyMCVg28I

And yes, it is Zelda-related!

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