Tuesday 07 June 2011
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.