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Tuesday 13 September 2011

Zelda News from Nintendo’s TGS Conference

In Zelda news

It’s that time of year again, where “Japan’s E3”, the Tokyo Game Show, kicks into gear, and we get the usual slew of press conferences and game demos on the show floor. And kicking the thing off this year was Nintendo’s press conference.

First off, some news about Skyward Sword. Miyamoto took to the stage and claimed that the game would take 50-100 hours to complete. That’s huge! I’m inclined to believe he may be slightly exaggerating here, but we can rest assured that Skyward Sword will certainly be a meaty adventure. The game will also feature a helper mode, as seen in recent Mario and Donkey Kong games, and the recent Ocarina of Time 3D, which will give you hints in beating a puzzle if you get stuck. Saves the trips to GameFAQs, I suppose!

Miyamoto also showed off a demo of the game, but not much has been reported about that. Let us know if you find some sources that explain what was shown. In the meantime, there has been some new gameplay footage released to tide you over. Check out the footage towards the end of this new Zelda history video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulaSHjVxfuU) and this exclusive skydiving clip revealed by GameInformer (http://www.gameinformer.com/games/the_legend_of_zelda_skyward_sword/b/wii/archive/2011/09/12/exclusive-video-flying-to-eldin-volcano.aspx). *UPDATE* Here is video footage of the whole Zelda segment of the conference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StXfwq4GU3g The Skyward Sword stuff starts at around six minutes. We see countless new environments, bosses, and… the return of Beedle.

Secondly, more information about this new Four Swords was revealed, which will be given away for free download for the DSi/3DS, starting September 28 to February 20. The game, titled “Four Swords: Anniversary Edition”, appears to be an upgraded version of the GBA game (NOT the completely separate Gamecube game, as many are reporting), and has new features such as a new single player mode (the original was multiplayer only), and stages in the visual styles of the original NES Zelda, and the Gameboy game, Link’s Awakening. For a free gift, this is pretty cool! Now all I need to do is find three DSi/3DS owning friends, pronto! View the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iX7B6WnS4w

One final piece of information, between October 3 and February 20, select retailers will be seling prepaid 3DS cards with an image Link fighting Ganon. No news if these are Japan-only or will have a wider release.

Nintendo are certainly going all-out for Zelda’s birthday. The first main new game in five years, a free game for all DSi/3DS owners, a symphony tour, and even small things like Zelda-themed 3DS cards. It’s a busy year for Zelda!

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Wednesday 08 June 2011

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

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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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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Wednesday 16 June 2010

Nintendo’s E3 Roundtable - Loads of New Info Announced *UPDATED*

In Zelda news

It’s tradition every year for Nintendo to host a roundtable conference at E3, where developers of the recently-announced titles discuss and expand on them. This year, among others, Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s famed game designer, and Eiji Aonuma, who having directed pretty much every Zelda title since Majora’s Mask, is the most important man in Zelda today, were attending to discuss, you guessed it, Zelda.

So what was revealed? Lots. So here’s a quick recap about went on.

First, some plot details were revealed. In previous titles, Link has been everything from a ranch worker, to an island dweller, to a forest lurker. This Link comes from the sky. He’s an inhabitant of the floating island Skyloft. When we meet him in the game, he discovers that there is a whole new land below his feet, and finds it rife with evil. During the game you’ll travel between Skyloft and this land below (Hyrule?). This adds some meaning to the game’s title, and also the skydiving Link in the trailer. It also may have something to do with Aonuma’s hint from a few months ago that the game will feature flight.

The new art style, and its inspiration, were discussed. Miyamoto revealed that he found inspiration in nineteenth-century impressionism - the likes of Monet, as he claimed to be a fan of the art from that era. He said it not only affects the backgrounds, but the enemies, who have exaggerated dimensions and movements. The lush sky is a tribute to Cézanne. You’ll have to excuse my ignorance, as I have no idea who Cézanne is.

They also discussed the soundtrack, which you’ll be glad to hear is going to be fully orchestrated for the first time in the series. Miyamoto said that after Mario Galaxy 2, it wouldn’t be right not to do the same for Zelda.

Some gameplay aspects were expanded upon, too. The screen-consuming Wiimote HUD which was permanently attached to the side of the screen in the demo can be turned off, so hooray for that. They also said that maps will be easier to follow, as they felt previous games used maps which were difficult to read. Finally, they mentioned that the game will use MotionPlus and the sensor bar to track the player’s actions, even if you’re pointing away from the screen.

They also shed some light on the mysterious Ocarina of Time screenshots that appeared out of the blue yesterday. Miyamoto acknowledged them, and said that they were having a look through their back catalogue for titles that could use a 3DS version, by adding new features or simply giving them an extra dimension. Referring to Ocarina of Time, he said he enjoys the openness of Hyrule Field, and wanted to see how it looked in 3D. He confirmed that the game, and Star Fox 64 3D aren’t just tech demos, but they are being “actively developed”. Whether that development will result in a game on store shelves remains to be seen, but after revealing so much, I don’t think the fans will let them get away with not doing it!

And lastly, in reference to the remake, Aonuma revealed possibly the best news of all. He admitted that the game’s Water Temple stage was tremendously difficult (if you found it easy, you’re lying), and said that the new game could be improved by making it easier. He mentioned the touch screen could make the ability to change boots quicker and easier. Hear that? The Water Temple is going to be easier. Playing Ocarina of Time won’t make you bald.

*UPDATE* The existence of Ocarina of Time 3D has now pretty much been officially confirmed, thanks to this handy tweet from the official Nintendo twitter account: http://twitter.com/NintendoAmerica/status/16268409393
So you can look forward to your 3D classic!

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Tuesday 15 June 2010

3DS - Zelda Confirmed

In Zelda news

While Nintendo showed off the next title in the Zelda franchise at their press conference, it was the reveal of the 3DS that really stole the show. A new DS with a glasses-free 3D, widescreen top screen, vastly improved graphics, a motion sensor, a gyro sensor, a 3D camera, so you can take photos in 3D, an anologue stick… it goes on. And if that wasn’t enough of a bombshell as it was, president Satoru Iwata showed off the first 3DS game - a new Kid Icarus title, which fans have been demanding for years (view the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWp2MXmFRnQ). Nintendo really ended the show with a bang. While the console doesn’t have a release date yet, their swiss army knife of a handheld is officially in the wanted list of many a gamer.

But one of the smaller hints about the console was in this wacky “trailer” for the console It involves Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto getting sucked into a DS and getting chased by Bowse… actually, you’re never going to believe me, you need to watch it for yourself (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oLvWE7xUAM). Notice the Zelda imagery? I think we can assume that there will be a Zelda game for it. Well, that goes without saying, but this counts as a semi-confirmation of that fact. Is the game being worked on right now? The 3DS is still a while away, so we will need to wait to find out.

So, who wants a 3DS? I do.

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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: Revealed

In Zelda news

Well, Nintendo’s E3 press conference just finished, and the general reaction on the twittersphere is overwhelmingly positive. After two shaky years of showing shovelware and mediocre third-party titles as major games, Nintendo have learned their lesson, and showed a huge number of new titles from well-known first-party franchises. The new 3DS was shown, Donkey Kong, Kirby and Kid Icarus all make a triumphant return, and Iwata and Shigsy got sucked into a DS and chased by Bowser while Reggie looked on and laughed. No joke. But we’ll get onto that in a later post. Because there’s one reason why you’ve came to our lovely new Zelda site today: the next Wii Zelda game was finally announced, Skyward Sword.

The game was the first thing to be shown at the conference, kicking off a huge stream of announcements. Two short trailers sandwiched a gameplay demo led by Shigsy (who made an appearance with his now signature “I’m announcing a Zelda game” Master Sword and Hylian Shield). So where do we start? The game has an art style which is directly half-way between the cel-shaded cartoon graphics of the Wind Waker, and the dark, atmospheric Twilight Princess - the character designs are similar to that of Twilight Princess, but the whole thing has been given a pastel shading effect, leading to a very soft, but very colourful feel. This is bound to polarise fans, so form your opinions now.

Two main areas were shown in the trailer - a colourful mushroom-themed land (possibly part of the overworld), and a generic lava cave. Shigsy talked us through the game’s controls in the mushroom area. As announced, the game uses Wii Motion Plus - Shigsy first showed off the sword, which moved more or less as he swung it. Showing how this would be useful in the game, he fought with chomping plant enemies who had to be slashed across their mouth, and moblin-type enemies that used their sword to block in certain directions. Holding the sword to the sky powered it up (Holding your sword skyward, eh? That sounds familiar). He also demonstrated the shield, which can be used to block and reflect attacks, the slingshot, which works pretty much as you’d expect, and the bombs, which can be dropped, thrown and (new to the franchise) rolled along the ground. All the weapons had new motion controls based around the Wii Motion Plus.

Then things started going wrong. The dreaded Technical Difficulties started to arise as Shigsy wrestled with the new bow mechanics, which he joked were due to too many people using wireless - ring a bell?

Finally, he showed off two new weapons - the Beetle, which looks kind of like a flying variant of the bomb-chu, and the whip, making its first appearance in a home console Zelda. He then closed the demo by apologising for the technical difficulties, but assuring the press that when they play it on the show floor, they will see the controls for themselves. He confirmed that the game will be in development for the rest of the year, and won’t be out until 2011.

And that was that. A very brief glimpse of the next Zelda game. We saw a lot of how the game will play and feel, and the art style, but there is still a lot to show. For example, we still have no idea about the plot and scenario, and we were shown very little of the game’s world. We’ll just have to wait and see what comes next, as Nintendo begin the trickle of facts, screens and trailers.

You can view the whole press conference here (http://www.gametrailers.com/e3/livefeed/nintendo) - the Zelda segment starts at one hour and two minutes, and lasts about 17 minutes. Sorry for the ugly link - as a mere newswriter I still need to work out how to work this new site!

We’ll be writing some more about the conference in the coming hours. But right now I have a pizza on the way. Stay tuned!

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Tuesday 18 May 2010

Alert the Nerds! Next Zelda Game Will Be “Easier”

In Zelda news

Uh oh. In news that is likely to rile up a few Zelda fanboys, Shigeru Miyamoto recently claimed that the next major Zelda game on the Wii, due to be announced next month at E3, will be “Easier”.

German gaming site Gaming Media sat down with Miyamoto for a chat about the upcoming game (1UP translates the major points of the article here), and amongst other things, Miyamoto had this to say.

“We are trying to make Zelda, which has become very complicated,  easier to play.”


Oh no! How dare he make our precious Zelda series… easier! Say it can’t be true.


...That’s the kind of comments we’re expecting on this one, but in reality, the quote says very little. He only claims that the game will be easier to play, not to master, if you get what I mean. So let’s not go rallying in front of Nintendo HQ yet, eh? All will be revealed next month at E3.


However, if this news has got your blood boiling, feel free to have a look at the brilliant, but gory fanart, to let off some steam.


(Disclaimer: This post is written in a light-hearted manner, and is intended to offend no-one. If you feel I am being too opinionated and feel the need to write hate-mail about how unprofessional and unjournalistic I’m being in the comment box, have a nice think about the better ways you can spend your time. You could draw a picture. Walk the dog. Even wash the dishes - you know they’ve been piling up!)

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