News

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

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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Thursday 30 September 2010

Sweet! Some Skyward Sword Screenshots

In Zelda news

While Nintendo’s next big Zelda game, Skyward Sword, was absent from their press conference yesterday, they have made up for it by releasing a handful of new screenshots of the 2011 game.

Unfortunately, they don’t really show anything new. The same environments and enemies are featured. But something has changed. While the Skyward Sword we saw at E3 was bursting with colour, this one seems a little bit more subdued. Just a little bit, but it gives the screenshots a very different feel. Are Nintendo trying to appease the fans that prefer a darker atmosphere in their Zelda? Or maybe it’s just the way the specific screenshots came out? We only have five, so it’s hard to tell for sure. We’ll keep you updated.

View the screenshots here: http://kotaku.com/5651661/zelda-skyward-sword-is-looking-a-little-different/gallery/

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Saturday 14 August 2010

Skyward Sword Details in Nintendo Power

In Zelda news

Okay, I have a confession to make. I just spent half an hour summarising an interview with Zelda director Eiji Aonuma about Skyward Sword in Nintendo Power. It was witty and insightful and wonderful. Then I clicked submit, and my connection died. The article was lost. I do not have another half hour to spare. So, will you forgive me just this once if I just link you to another site’s summary? Honestly, the effort was all there, but it was wasted thanks to a terrible connection. So… here’s the link.

http://gonintendo.com/viewstory.php?id=132259

*bows humbly*

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Tuesday 10 August 2010

Zelda is #10 Top-Selling Wii Game!

In Zelda news

To celebrate the fact that the Wii has now sold 30 million unit in America, Nintendo released a press statement bragging about the fact, and also included the top ten best-selling Nintendo-published Wii games so far. At number ten was a Zelda game! Yep, you guessed it - it was none other than…

Link’s Crossbow Training.

Apparently more people were interested in the Twilight Princess lightgun mini-game spin-off than Twilight Princess itself. Probably the fact that it was bundled with a piece of plastic. Parents assume kids love that stuff.

I’ll admit I haven’t played the game - so it may be quite fun. It’s an amusing anomaly how this ended up, though.

Here’s the full list:

1. Wii Play
2. Mario Kart Wii
3. Wii Fit (with Wii Balance Board accessory)
4. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
5. Wii Sports Resort
6. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
7. Super Mario Galaxy
8. Wii Fit Plus (with Wii Balance Board accessory)
9. Mario Party 8
10. Link’s Crossbow Training

Wonder if Skyward Sword will ever make that list…

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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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Friday 18 June 2010

Gamespot Interview with Aonuma, Narrows Release Date

In Zelda news

Gamespot have uploaded a video interview with Eiji Aonuma, director of Skyward Sword, in which he talks about the inspiration behind the title, the plot and just how Wii MotionPlus is used in the title. He also mentions a little nugget right at the end of the video, which is probably the most important point made - the team really want us to experience the game as soon as possible, so he’s hoping for an early 2011 release. That’s a lot more specific than the previous “2011” we were given at the press conference, and pretty much the best 2011 date we could wish for!

Mind you, Twilight Princess was notorious for its delays, and Aonuma said he was “hoping” for an early 2011 release, not “aiming” - a subtle, but important difference. So don’t be surprised if Skyward Sword floats back a few months, or even a year! It’s all for the good of the title, though - odds are, we can rest assured that no matter how long we’ll be left waiting for this game, the end result will be fantastic.

Watch the interview here: http://e3.gamespot.com/video/6266421/

In similar news, in a Kotaku interview with Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aime (http://kotaku.com/5566671/nintendo-testing-healthiness-of-3ds-advising-young-children-to-avoid-3d), he confirmed that the 3DS will be released by the end of March 2011. That’s another “early 2011”, then! And if the 3D Ocarina of Time remake is a launch title, we Zelda fans can expect a very busy year start. It’s going to be an exciting quarter.

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