November 19, 2017
Concluding my thoughts on the possibilities for Zelda’s immediate future, today I would like to have a chat about a new original title for Nintendo Switch. There is a lot of mystery behind this topic, since we have no specific information set in stone. Breath of the Wild shook up the series so much that it is impossible to expect Nintendo’s next move. They could return to series conventions, continue with the new open formula of their latest title, or even do something totally different that nobody sees coming. I know what I would like to see in a Switch title at least, so let’s start with that.
A new title developed exclusively for Switch is very enticing because we have never had one before. Breath of the Wild was developed primarily for Wii U and ported to Switch for a same-day release. It was not made to the fullest extent of the Switch’s hardware, and if it was, just imagining how great it could be gets my blood pumping. As phenomenal as it was, it missed a few of the marks it could have achieved graphically on the system. We have seen several Switch games hit the 1080p and 60 FPS marks, and there is just a much smoother feel to games that accomplish these, which is why we are seeing them take over as the industry standard. Yes, I am willing to make a few sacrifices in order to play on the go, but a Switch exclusive title should have little issue pleasing the fans on this front in docked mode at least. I want a game to really push the limits of the hardware, and Zelda would be a great candidate to see that happen.
Now that that’s out of the way, what kind of game can we realistically expect on the Switch? This is very hard to say, as the platform is arguably the most versatile console of all time. With so many options and the series’ rich history of trying strange, off-the-wall ideas, I don’t think anything is off the table. We could see what many have speculated already, a sequel to Breath of the Wild, or at least another open-world game borrowing its engine and many gameplay elements. We could also see a new 2D game; a smaller adventure like A Link Between Worlds. If this is the case, the built-in functionality of the Joy-Cons could even be used to support a new multiplayer adventure like Four Swords.
Honestly, if Nintendo does any of these, I will be more than pleased. They have a good track record of doing good things with these ideas, why not keep them going? Any one, or even multiple of these, could do wonders to help the Switch’s already massive hype train keep chugging, What’s the most likely outcome, though? To find out, let’s take a further look into each idea.
We have seen from Majora’s Mask that a full game can be made out of parts of the old one to fair success. While this expedited development, it never showed as much impact financially. A renowned cult classic, this tale of masks and giants sadly never saw the sales numbers generally associated with the series. It is the worst selling 3D Zelda, and is almost matched by several handheld titles. So is this all just a pipe dream that we can have something as good with only a few years wait? It’s hard to say. I think partially Majora’s Mask’s problems came from its rush job, so if they take the same concept but really take their time with enhancements, perhaps we could see another similar game in a slightly longer window than back in 2000.
How about a smaller game just to fluff out the library of the system? A 2D game could easily be built on the foundations laid by other games, as we have just been discussing, or we could see a brand new title like nothing before. A 2D title with more 3D textures could make use of the powerful system while still maintaining that handheld feel that many gamers enjoy. Plus, they could have been working on this alongside Breath of the Wild for a decent chunk of time, so it could come earlier than we think. I personally do not think this is the case, but hey, a guy can hope, right?
Among other possibilities, multiplayer could be integrated on Switch easier than any present or previous platforms. With the ability to just sit down at the pub with your buddy and pull off your Joy-Cons, I really think now might be the time to see a third installment in the Four Swords series, or possibly a new 2.5D title featuring the Four Sword as a thematic component. Imagine Gauntlet Legends but it’s also The Legend of Zelda. I think this would be the perfect way to expand upon the multiplayer experiences they have already created, all the while making use of the unique hardware. Plus there is a fairly large market for cooperative dungeon crawlers which has not been filled in some time. I remember back in the day playing many games like Champions of Norrath that seemed like they would never go away. Somehow the genre did dwindle, however, and I for one would like to see it make a resurgence, and of all places, Switch is best suited to the task.
Okay, so that pretty much covers my thoughts on what I want, but do I think any of them are likely? I’m on the fence with most of these ideas. Knowing the development heads at Nintendo, I believe none of these are too out of touch with reality, however I also know they like to do things the fans don’t see coming. I think we are going to be a ways out from a new title on Switch, probably several years, and eventually we will get something totally different from anything I have said here and anything I could possibly predict. I think we are going to get hit out of left field with an inside-the-park homerun that we didn’t know we wanted, since that is part of what keeps us lifelong fans returning time and time again to the Big N.
Do I prattle on too much about things only to eventually admit my opinions don’t matter? Do you think we are going to see a sudden return to side-scrolling and I’m totally out of touch with the world? I’d love to talk it over, the possibilities are endless and we have a ways to go before we get a new Zelda, whatever the case. Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter and we can keep the conversation careening!