November 25, 2018
Over the years, the Zelda franchise has provided us with compelling, emotional and intense story lines. From heroics across time to voyages across dimensions, we the Zelda fandom have been spoiled. However, these stories are just the tip of the iceberg considering the potential directions the series can take in the future. Here are five rather thought-provoking story ideas the series can consider.
Redemption of the King of Evil
One thing has always remained constant throughout the series. There are three wielders of the Triforce. The Triforce of Wisdom is bound to the reincarnation of Hylia, Princess Zelda herself, the Triforce of Courage belongs to the timeless hero, Link and the Triforce of Power is always in the clutches of the manifestation of Evil, Ganondorf. It is a never-ending cycle, where the Princess and Hero of each era must defeat this incarnation of Evil to prevent him from gaining the whole Triforce and with it, absolute control of Hyrule. However, the evil has always ultimately failed, only to come back and fight another day, either through reincarnation or just plain survival.
Having played Skyward Sword, we were introduced to the Demon Lord, Demise, who with his final breath, declared that his spite and curse would be reborn in an endless cycle, forever being a scourge to those with the blood of Hylia and the spirit of the Hero. This clearly alludes to the endless battles between Link, Zelda and Ganondorf, and is confirmed in Breath of the Wild, where Zelda mentions to Link of Ganon’s origins being from “a pure embodiment of the ancient evil that is reborn time and time again”. From this, it seems that this cycle will go on without end. But what if isn’t the case? What if there was a way to break this cycle?
In Skyward Sword, Zelda realizes and fully recognizes that she is the reincarnation of Hylia, and as a result, she must complete her mission. However, Ganondorf has never to date acknowledged his link to Demise. He has acted completely in his own interest to gain power and rule Hyrule. And initially, this would be his probable motivation once again should he return in a future title. But in this game, wouldn’t it be great if we got some character development? Maybe he would question why he has again and again been defeated by the Hero and the Princess? What’s the point of his constant reincarnation? Then he has an epiphany and learns about his origin, how he is infused with the hatred of Demise and doomed to reincarnate endlessly and be defeated. Initially, he accepts this as his destiny and curse and carries on with his antagonist role, once again capturing Zelda and it being up to Link to come and rescue her (again). But this time, Zelda also knows about Ganondorf’s origins and while in captivity, tries to convince Ganondorf that he can make his own destiny and leave this timeless pursuit of evil. At first, he doesn’t listen and has another trademark battle with Link and is defeated once again. Yet another defeat enrages Ganondorf, but seeing the bravery of Link and Zelda, he finally realizes he has been a pawn of Demise all along, his slave and vessel. At the same time, we get a powerful quote from Zelda, something along the lines of: “You hold the Triforce of Power. True power isn’t about force and conquering others, it’s about using that power to conquer the darkness within you”. This is the straw which breaks the camel’s back. Ganondorf uses the Triforce of Power and breaks free of Demise’s curse. Demise, the true monster of this relentless cycle, is released once again and is far more fearsome and powerful than ever before. But for the first time, all three wielders of the Triforce, Wisdom, Power and Courage are fighting on the same side. And that ultimately proves too powerful for Demise and he is vanquished once and for all, never to return again.
This is a game which would be post Breath of the Wild. Calamity Ganon, we know by Zelda’s quote at the end, isn’t gone for good. He would once again come back as his Gerudo incarnation and initially present as the main antagonist. But this time, by the end Ganondorf would realize the truth of why he keeps coming back over time, why he had that hatred, that urge to rule, but then deduce why he always lost and that it didn’t have to be that way forever. He vanquishes his timeless demons (literally), decide to make his own destiny and thus redeems himself.
Destiny’s Hero Corrupted
This is less of a pitch for a new game, but more a what-if scenario for one of the most decorated games ever, Ocarina of Time. The first pitch talked about how Ganondorf can come to the side of good. This goes in the opposite direction and discusses what if Ganondorf was to bring Link onto the dark side.
If we look back to Ocarina of Time, it’s clear to see Link had a tough upbringing. He lost his mother when he was merely a baby. He is raised among a race which isn’t of his own, but worse still, he is ostracized as ‘the kid with no fairy’ by most of the Kokiri. Ultimately, he realizes his destiny as the Hero of Time through the Deku Tree’s guidance, Navi’s companionship and Zelda’s trust. But what if something happened before he got any of this?
After the events of Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf’s malevolent plan is thwarted by Link going back in time and telling the Royal Family of Ganondorf’s intentions. Being the owner of the Triforce of Courage, the Royal Family bought Link’s story and certain events lead to the imprisonment and attempted execution of Ganondorf. But what if Ganondorf had a back-up plan? What if he had access to a magical device which allowed him to transcend time as well? We know the Gerudo tribe are skillful practitioners of magic and ownership of such an instrument certainly isn’t out of the question. So before his imprisonment at the hands of the Royal Family, he uses this device to turn back time to before the events of Ocarina of Time to deal with the one who caused this predicament in the first place. His initial plan is to kill the child before he ever has the chance to realize his destiny, however, having learnt about the kid, his tough history and his eventual acquisition of the Triforce of Courage, he sees an opportunity. If Ganondorf could corrupt the mind of the one who would go on to bear the Triforce of Courage, he would practically have two pieces of the Triforce at his disposal, making his mission to conquer Hyrule much more attainable. So Ganondorf’s mind goes back in time into his body when he went to poison the Deku Tree. But this time, he visits the ‘fairyless boy’ to gain his trust. He tells Link of his origin, how his mother was killed, how he is special, how those around him are jealous of his destiny. He even tells Link he’s seen the future and convinces him that eventually, those around him will never accept him. He promises Link that under him, he will have greatness, his potential will be truly recognized and that he has a friend in Ganondorf. He gains young Link’s trust and takes him under his wing.
7 years later, Link has been trained to be the deadliest assassin of Ganondorf’s forces. Because of Link, Ganondorf has conquered half of Hyrule and become a grave threat to the Royal Family, who hold control of Hyrule by a very thin thread. In the early parts of the game, you would play as Link and bring different areas under Ganondorf’s control. In one of his battles, suddenly Zelda comes out of nowhere to fight for the Royal Family’s forces. Link sees and instantly falls for her. He is intrigued by her and eventually they come face to face. Zelda chastises Link for being a traitor to his people, After this point, the game should become the first in the Zelda series where the player is given the choice to go in either two different story directions. On one hand, the player can choose to continue doing Ganondorf’s dirty work, decide his loyalty to Ganondorf, the one who raised him to be the lethal swordsman he is today, to be more important than his temporary fascination with the princess, and help Ganondorf’s forces take Hyrule. On the other hand, the player can take the other story direction. Here, Zelda’s remark about Link being a traitor is taken seriously. Link then infiltrates Hyrule Castle and meets Princess Zelda secretly (like Ocarina of Time). She tells Link that she sees good in him. He then goes to the Temple of Time and to his surprise, he is able to wield the Master Sword. Through this, he realizes the truth that his destiny is to be a hero and that Ganondorf has used him as a pawn all along. He defects, goes and completes dungeons to weaken Ganondorf’s stronghold and eventually, comes face-to-face with Ganondorf, the one who trained him and made him who he is today. He defeats him, eliminating his threat and ultimately fulfilling his role as Destiny’s Hero.
Old Man Link
Created By: MariaLangen
In virtually all Zelda games, Link is a young man in his teens who comes of age and becomes the Hero of Hyrule. But what if we were to have a different type of Link in a future title? One who has been through the best of his hero days. I am talking about an aged Link with physical and psychological battle scars.
In this game, Link is heralded all across Hyrule as a decorated hero. However, in a fight with a new and original villain, a mistake by Link led to the death of one of his closest friends. Due to this pain and regret, Link leaves the kingdom without word and retires to the remote wilderness.
40 years later, the kingdom still remembers Link as the land’s most successful hero. However, no one knows where he went or what happened to him after the unfortunate incident, with only rumors and urban legends about him being passed on. At this point, a new evil plagues the land and kills all of Hyrule’s most skilled warriors in one battle. Hyrule once again is under severe danger, however, the Queen of Hyrule, an aged Zelda reveals to her daughter (also called Zelda) a secret only she was ever entrusted with, a secret she has kept for 40 years. The whereabouts of her once most trusted ally, Link. She tells her daughter the Princess that Link must be found and once again be called upon to help defeat this new menace. The princess and her counsel locate and approach Link, who has aged a lot and buffed up. Initially, Link refuses, but the princess mentions her mother. At this, Link agrees and goes to different dungeons to find hidden ancient weapons which will aid him in the battle against the new threat. Link comes up against the villain and with the aid of these ancient weapons, defeats him. However, he is mortally wounded, but has one final heartfelt moment with his old friend, the Queen. Link’s final battle and sacrifice inspires a new generation of warriors, who step up to train and vow to give their lives should Hyrule ever come under threat again.
The Legendary Heroine
In Hyrule Warriors, we are introduced to Linkle, basically the female version of Link. She became one of the game’s more popular characters. However, could this popularity transform to a canon appearance for Linkle?
In the same vein as Hyrule Warriors, Linkle is a descendant of the Legendary Hero. It is discovered like her ancestor, she bears the Triforce of Courage. To obtain answers, she goes to Hyrule Castle and gains an audience with the Queen, an elderly Zelda (like pitch 3). She is confirmed to indeed be destiny’s hero for this age. In this game, the older Zelda would act as a mentor for an over-zealous Linkle. In her missions, Linkle would be aided by the Queen’s son, the Prince of Hyrule. Basically, this would be a normal Zelda game with a generic story, but with Linkle as the main character and hero. Her crossbows would certainly be interesting to use. This game could also be based at any time before the events of Breath of the Wild.
Royal Prince Link
Throughout the series, we have been use to Link being a normal commoner with a great destiny who has to team up with Zelda, the Princess of Hyrule. However, what if we had a game where the roles were reversed, and instead, Link was the prince of the land and Zelda was the commoner?
Usually, a Zelda game starts with Link waking up in his humble abode. In this game, Link wakes up in a royal bedroom with guards waiting outside. Here, the King of Hyrule makes an announcement that a great evil in the form of a powerful sorcerer is threatening the land (no surprises there) and it is up to his son, Prince Link, to find a way to defeat this evil and bring peace back to the land. Although a formidable swordsman, Link realizes he needs something more to defeat this sorcerer. It is then he hears rumors of a mysterious blonde-haired girl living in a poor village. Apparently, this girl has remarkable dormant power, which in the wrong hands, could wreak havoc upon the world. As the prince, Link realizes it’s his duty to locate this girl and keep her from the evil forces of this sorcerer. Link gets to this village and meets the girl. Her name is Zelda and Link takes her under his protection. In this adventure, you would play as Prince Link and Zelda would act as the game sidekick, using her mysterious powers to aid you.
Eventually, Link would bring Zelda back to the castle. Upon seeing her, the King goes quiet and asks to speak with Link in private. Here, he would tell Link a very interesting story. 50 years ago, the King’s grandfather came from a city in the sky to defeat a Demon Lord who terrorized the world. He was aided by his best friend, a girl with blonde hair going by the name Zelda and she was the reincarnation of Hylia herself. After some time, the Zelda of that era returned back to her family in the city in the sky and left the King’s grandfather in charge of the new civilization they had created on the surface. He then became the king of this new civilization. In his heart, he always believed that his dear friend Zelda was the true ruler of the people, and that the land was meant to be under rule of those living up high, subsequently leading to him forming the name ‘High Rule’ or ‘Hyrule’. He never heard from his friend Zelda ever again. However, the King then told Prince Link that his father knew of how those people from the sky then migrated to the surface. Upon seeing this Zelda, the King immediately realized that she was the descendant of his grandfather’s most dear friend and was also a reincarnation of Hylia, explaining the origins of her mysterious powers. But suddenly, there was an attack on the castle. The King is killed and the sorcerer takes Zelda. As the new king of the land, Link orders his army to go to war with the sorcerer’s forces. The wizard reveals his name to be Va. He rescues Zelda, who awakens the full extent of her ancient powers to completely vanquish Va’s forces. However, in his face-to-face fight with Va, Link is unable to deal a final blow and Va escapes, exclaiming that he is only retreating and that one day, he will have his revenge.
Although the kingdom has been saved for now, King Link sees himself as a failure who couldn’t fully protect his kingdom or his father. He recognizes Zelda as being more deserving to rule over Hyrule, given her ties to Hylia and impressive powers. As a result, Link abdicates the throne and hands the reigns to Zelda. Link decides to live among the people as a commoner and adviser to the new ruler Zelda, whose reign begins the lineage of the current Royal Family we see today in Zelda games. In a post-credits scene, we see a badly injured Va sneaking into the courtyard of Hyrule. With some strange magic, he opens a gateway, gets sucked in and ends up in a weird dimension. Here, he is on the verge of death when a child approaches him. He asks the child his name, to which he replies Ati. Va grabs Ati and transfers his being into him. The child’s eyes then glow red and exclaims: “One day, Hyrule shall feel the wrath of Vaati!”
This game would fall between Skyward Sword and Minish Cap. It would be a very interesting twist if we were to find out that the land of Hyrule actually began with the Legendary Hero being the ruler and the current Royal Family’s origin being through abdication.
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