September 30, 2017
Where to Next? Part 1: A New Game for 3DS?
Remakes are not new to the Zelda series. In fact the first remake in the series is over twenty years old. In recent years we have seen a large influx of remakes beginning with Ocarina of Time 3D and leading up to the most recent, Twilight Princess HD. Amidst these, we also saw the release of A Link Between Worlds, which was not a remake, but by recreating the world from A Link to the Past it was able to become a spiritual successor of sorts. These possibilities will be explored as we dive into the second installment of Where to Next?.
With the Switch’s presence on the market being as grand as it is, an HD remake would be right at home to keep the hype train chugging as long as possible. We cannot discount the continuing popularity of the 3DS, however. Though it is on the decline due to the competitive pressure of the Switch, its sales remain high enough to justify supporting it, and what I argued in the last piece for a new 3DS game applies here as well; a Zelda title will keep the system alive. I do not believe a remake would generate as many sales as a new title, however it would still make an impact.
Seeing the shower of glowing reviews washing over Metroid: Samus Returns gives me confidence that a Zelda title would be just as well received. Playing the game myself and experiencing the enhanced version even inspired a thought that we may see a similar remake of Zelda II, and with like enhanced features and gameplay fixes, I could actually enjoy it. This is my ideal candidate for such a remake. It kills me inside that I cannot enjoy a game in my favorite series, and this makes me despise Zelda II even more. Being able to finally enjoy this title would bring me a joy inexpressible.
Other candidates for a 3DS remake could include… well, the whole series, really. I think it’s very unlikely that we would see Wind Waker or Twilight Princess, as each just saw a remake recently on a more powerful console, and Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks are still playable on the system, so I count them even less likely. That leaves us with pretty much every 2D game in the series, though, which is still quite a bit to work with. I think any of them could be brought into the 2.5D style of A Link Between Worlds, however such an overhaul would mean almost as much production time as creating a new game from the ground up, which may have been partly how the aforementioned ended up becoming a new standalone.
I think it’s more likely that we could see a similar successor rather than a remake, but I find this idea questionable at best. While it would sit well with many fans, others might find it tedious to play through a game so similar to one of their favorites. I liked A Link Between Worlds, but I really thought borrowing the entire overworld was kind of a cop-out. If this idea was used again, I would rather see a remake with this updated graphic style than another title where half of the game was copy and pasted.
This brings up the idea of a remake akin to Final Fantasy IV for the original DS. Revamping the graphics, adding a few new features, and keeping everything else from the original went a long way to bringing my personal favorite Final Fantasy to the twenty-first century, and this could be used to bring my favorite handheld games of all time up to speed as well.
Oracle of Seasons, Oracle of Ages, or Link’s Awakening would be prime candidates to see this treatment. They are distant enough that this would bring these timeless, triumphant titles to a new generation of gamers, and those of us who have played them could return to our gaming roots once again. I think this would be the best option for a remake on the 3DS, however I still think a new game is more likely since it would take roughly the same amount of development for something that was not pigeon-holed into a narrow space as a remake demands.
Shifting back to the potential for a Switch remake, I believe any and every idea I have mentioned for 3DS could be applied to Switch as well, possibly with greater success. The hype for this system is just getting started; we are not even out of launch year. If Nintendo chose to drive it further with a Zelda remake, even if it was of a 2D game, it would get people’s attention. The only problem here would be with the possible virtual console releasing… you know, eventually… we all hope…. If we saw a remake of the Oracle games, for example, they would probably find much smaller sales numbers if and when they were ported to virtual console for Switch, if and when Switch receives virtual console services. Going directly into competition with yourself is usually not a great business plan.
We really do not know anything about virtual console, however, as Nintendo has never stated any intention of bringing what we know across to Switch, and has only hinted that other virtual-console-esque features are coming eventually. So this might not be a bad idea. If they release Link’s Awakening HD next year and then waited until 2020 or later to give us Link’s Awakening on the virtual console, it is possible sales would be better for both.
Now that I have constructed the idea, it’s time to knock it down. With the power of the Switch considered, I think it would behoove the Zelda team to create something that truly maximizes its potential, rather than doing something the 3DS would be just as capable of. That brings us to the 3D games that have not yet been remade. Oh wait, there is only one of those.
Skyward Sword is not a very old game, but the likelihood of a remake is up there. Every other 3D game has already been remade, the Joy Cons are capable of running the motion controls even better than the Wii Motion Plus, and with added features like HD rumble, feeling your bow string snap as you let an arrow fly, perhaps, immersion could be enhanced even further. Plus, part of the reason behind the remakes of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess was to deduce what graphic style would fit best into HD while in the beginning stages of Breath of the Wild’s development. The developers generally agreed that the cel-shaded style stood out much better with the enhanced resolution, and the watercolor style of Skyward Sword also drew much from Wind Waker on that front.
Would Skyward Sword HD move systems, though? Probably to some serious series fans, but amongst non-Zelda gamers, it is not so popular. Also, those who would have purchased a new console for a remake probably already have one or want one to play Breath of the Wild.
You know what would move systems? What drove me to buy a GameCube and a 3DS? Ocarina of Time, baby. Even though it has already seen a multitude of re-releases and a hefty remake, Ocarina is a title that absolutely will drive sales if it comes out on literally any system. It is the highest rated game of all time, and no matter how many times it comes along again, there is a large chunk of people who will simply hand over their money because they want to relive this epic adventure once more. I am one of those people. Even if the game is a port of the 3DS remake with textures up-resed to 1080p, it will sell, and it will move systems. If it gets the full treatment and gets exclusive Switch-version features, it will go even further. I think this is the hardest hitting title that could possibly be remade, and I thereby deduce it is the most likely candidate. Picking a close second, I still believe Skyward Sword has a shot, but come on, man, don’t you just really want 1080p Ocarina?
All right, I have said my piece, now it is your turn. Is it too soon for another remake of Ocarina of Time? Should I have mentioned how much we all want Tingle’s Rosy Rupeeland HD? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter, and we can keep the conversation riding.