News Article

Talking Point: The Legend of Zelda: Remakes of the Past

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Majora's Mask 3D, anyone?

The recent announcement of The Wind Waker HD for Wii U was met with a great deal of excitement not just here on Nintendo Life, but across social networks and other websites. It's a title that has a passionate, loyal following, and the prospect of an enhanced version prompted plenty of conversations about just what improvements the GamePad and console could offer, something we considered ourselves.

The reaction should hardly be a surprise, as a similar meltdown of gamers' composure greeted the announcement of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, and in some senses that release set a benchmark for the level of improvement we expect to see in Wind Waker HD. Developer Grezzo did an impressive job of overhauling the graphics engine while maintaining the look of the original, as the N64 visuals are seen through rose-tinted spectacles. A light, delicate touch was applied in other areas, instinctively placing inventory selection on the touch screen — making those pesky iron boots easier to equip in the Water Temple — and including gyroscopic aiming for those that wanted it. Oh, and it had some lovely 3D.

The key to Ocarina of Time 3D having such a positive impact was that it didn't feel like a lazy upscale and polish before being dropped into stores. Changes to Link's animations made running and jumping look more fluid, and graphical flourishes were important in making sure it felt like a game fit for 2011. Some elements were, arguably, phoned in, with sound and music being polished of any compression and re-used in their original form; such was the quality of the package that it could be argued as suitable for the experience, but that's down to subjective opinion. Some, perhaps with good cause, also grumbled that a handheld title — ideally suitable for shorter spells of play — kept the Master Quest locked until after a completion of the main game, committing players to at least 15-20 hours before they could access the mode.

Our hope is, certainly, that Nintendo — or whatever studio is assigned the task of producing the Wind Waker re-make — will repeat the triumphs of Grezzo's efforts, and consider improvements where it maybe narrowly missed a mark. We're nit-picking and ultimately realise that no re-make is likely to get absolutely everything spot-on, but we like to dream.

What OoT 3D and Wind Waker HD do show us is that Nintendo's using the assets at its disposal to deal with new challenges on its systems. The company faces gamer impatience and the insatiable desire for new games, and also longer, more expensive development cycles. While Wii owners had a wait of five years between main series entries, appeasement arrived in the presence of the NES, SNES and N64 Zelda entries becoming available on the Virtual Console, along with two DS releases; 3DS owners have also had multiple Virtual Console offerings. While the desire to access these older games is still there, we suspect that many are now over the novelty and want fresh Zelda experiences, and want them yesterday.

The trouble for Nintendo is that high-quality Zelda titles don't get turned around in a year — like, dare we say, 2D Mario platformers perhaps can — yet it's fortunate to have a fanbase keen for spruced up remakes. We see a lot of requests, of course, for The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D, a rumoured title that has refused to go away and even, just before E3 2012, saw the release of a fake trailer that was so realistic it led to a lot of debate over just how fake it was, or if it was a genuine leak from Nintendo. It didn't help the frenzy that, not long after Ocarina of Time 3D's arrival, Eiji Aonuma encouraged fans to speak up and added that "it wouldn't be an utter impossibility". We equate that to setting a firework and running away, as it prompted petitions with thousands of signatures.

Majora's Mask should, in theory, be relatively easy to produce, and as fans know provides an entirely different experience and vibe to its more famous N64 sibling. The fresh animations and assets from Grezzo's re-make could certainly be utilised, with the building blocks in place to make the process of re-mastering it rather straight-forward. We suspect that the issue isn't in practicalities but timing. Nintendo will be keen to satisfy series fans with regular output, but will also want to avoid allowing the 3DS to look like a handheld of excessive N64 remakes, especially if they detract from attention on new experiences — Ocarina of Time 3D filled a yawning gap in the 3DS release schedule, and Wind Waker HD may play a similar role for Wii U.

We also know that a new Zelda entry has been in development for a good spell on 3DS, and just because we've heard nothing doesn't mean it won't arrive in the next 12 months, as Wii U Direct and Pokémon X & Y reminded us that Nintendo likes to drop its announcement bombs within a year of a game's release. A new 3DS Zelda would take priority over Majora's Mask 3D any day of the week, and if the latter doesn't arrive in the next 12 months it's tough to see it arriving any time soon.

We should also consider the fact that Nintendo, in all likelihood, will want to spread out its remakes for as long as possible so that they're available when absolutely needed. We've also heard Shigeru Miyamoto talk about a re-make of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on 3DS, which we imagine would be best suited as an eShop release. We might want these new versions right now, but once they're released the ship has sailed — releasing old games multiple times in bundles or on a version of the Virtual Console is one thing, re-making a re-make is something else entirely.

The past two years have shown us that Nintendo is warming to the idea of giving older Zelda titles a new lease of life on more powerful hardware, which is exciting for those of us always eager for more adventures with Link. Majora's Mask 3D and A Link to the Past both seem likely to get the treatment, but it's a question of when that'll come — or even if it'll be in this generation of handheld. The desire for Majora's Mask is particularly strong, yet its window of opportunity shrinks as a full Zelda entry on 3DS undoubtedly gets closer.

Even if it and others arrive on a future handheld or home console, however, it does Nintendo no harm to introduce a new generation of gamers to some of its very finest creations.

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User Comments (93)



gekslupis said:

If they do remake majoras mask it could have a dual release on the WiiU and 3DS. It would be a first but it would probaly be appreciated.



-Crystalline- said:

Oh god, yes! A thousand times yes! Alttp definitely set the standards for all the following titles in the series. It would be a shame not to have a remake or some sort of a sequel done. Also, Nintendo needs to release the Oracle games on EShop. It's been ages, now D:



Zodiak13 said:

Although Majora's Mask is one of my least favorite Zelda titles (I know that may be sacralige), I know that I am of a small portion of the Zelda fandom in thinking that. I know my son would love it, since anything with Zelda is a must play for him. I say Nintendo should should remake this.



Peach64 said:

I'd really prefer they focused on new things. Playing Ocarina of Time in 3D wasn't anywhere near as magical as that first play through, not through any fault of the developers, but a remake will never match up to a new title. I understand that they can't put out a brand new title as quick as they can do a remake, but it's been over 3 years since the last handheld Zelda was released. I'm sure Nintendo developers had 3DS hardware 3 years ago, so I don't think it would have been beyond reason to have wanted an original handheld Zelda the christmas just gone.



NintyMan said:

I still sincerely believe Majora's Mask 3D will happen eventually. Those saying that Nintendo should focus on making new games, they would be, because they would give the task of remaking a game to a smaller studio like Grezzo so in the meantime the main Zelda developers can concentrate on a new game.

A Link to the Past could be a 3D Classic.



shinpichu said:

Personally, I'd like an 3/HD remake of Faces of Evil.

Seriously, though, I agree that we can't just have a flood of Zelda remakes. Personally, though, I'd like to see remakes of Zelda 1 and 2.



Nintenjoe64 said:

@Zodiak13 It was my least favourite too!! You're not alone. This was a good game but I would much prefer Link to the Past to be remade in the style of the 2011 tech demo.

Failing that, I'd like them to continue the story of the hero from lltp because he had a lot more adventuring in him.



Ryno said:

A Link to the Past is perfect as it is. I doesn't need to be remade.



DerpSandwich said:

I've played OOT about a million times. It's fantastic, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to spend any more cash on it.

MM, on the other hand, I've only completed once (due to its daunting nature), and the overall scope and atmosphere of it was incredibly awesome and unique. I would LOVE to have it on my 3DS.



Boo_Buster said:

@Peach64 Agreed. It was the same with Star Fox 3D. While really fun, the magic just wasn't the same and it could have had online. They need to do a new Star Fox game on the Wii U and 3DS that can share saves and stats and whatnot.



Onett said:

I believe Majora's Mask deserves to be a fully remastered Wii U title. The HD remake of Wind Waker is a great example of a step in the right direction.



Rapido said:

A remake of Majora's Mask is good. But how about a new Zelda game for crying out loud. I'll still pick this one though if its comes out.



TheRavingTimes said:

One of these days Nintendo should bring the BS Zelda titles to the West. Although I could go for another Zelda game made by Capcom.



strongest_link said:

The 3DS is still very young. There is plenty of time for Nintendo to remake Majora's Mask for it, even if it doesn't come this year or the next.



MrMario02 said:

if Majora's Mask 3D does come out it'll happen after the release of Zelda 3DS.
shigeru miyamoto said that He didn't want two remakes in the same series and on the same console Back to Back.



Intrepid said:

You could say that these remakes of old Zelda titles for new consoles is our "Link to the Past".



LinkaHolic said:

Don't step down due to sluggish sales,Mr.Iwata...Release Majora's Mask in 3D bundled with a limited edition 3DS XL!!! I would love to upgrade to a XL but there's NO WAY I'm trading in my Zelda 3ds for a plain blue or red...



FluttershyGuy said:

If we're getting another remake, I'd like to see A Link to the Past. Since the last 2D Zelda, Spirit Tracks, it's been all 3D. I'm not sure if I'd count Four Swords Anniversary. The last few years, it's been Ocarina of Time 3D, Skyward Sword, and now Wind Waker Wii U coming up. Just because both Wii U & 3DS are capable of 3D Zelda doesn't mean I want to stop seeing the classic 2D Zelda that I started playing 25 years ago this month, and only see 3D from here on out. And can anybody imagine how gorgeous a full blown Link to the Past remake (or sequel) would be?



SCAR said:

I want a new one. The old ones are good, and had their time in the spotlight. Not saying they shouldn't retread old ground in an new way EVER, but they're already making WWHD, and releasing remakes constantly would be an overkill.



FJOJR said:

Zelda remakes are nice. But Mario remakes that aren't simple ports but truly remastered with all the bells and whistles of a new console would be much appreciated. The only one of those Nintendo got right was Mario 64 DS.



TenEighty said:

Has Nintendo lost it's creativity? What's up with all the remakes? I guess if there were to be any HD remakes, I wouldn't mind OOT or Mario 64. But how about a new 1080 or Pilot Wings?



Doma said:

@Onett I agree with that, but WW was a poor choice. Should have been MM for the WiiU in the first place, that might have encouraged me to buy one.

@TenEighty Yes, they have. It should be obvious to you by now.



ouroborous said:

so there is a real NEW zelda 3DS game in the works, that's great news.
i would play majora's mask if they gave it the ocarina 3D treatment, that gave a whole new lease on life for ocarina and it is superb. i had tons of fun replaying it finally (with a much less painful water dungeon) and the game is a joy to play again. i tried to play majora's mask but the old graphics were just too hard to swallow, so if 3D-ified, then I will finally check it out.
link to the past 3D is an interesting idea as well. just ocarina-ify it as well and it could be a totally new lease on life for a time-honoured classic, but one that could probably do very well with a revamp at this point.



Chaoslink1 said:

Majora's Mask 3d wouldn't be a bad idea since gamers that don't have a Wii U would also be able to play a Zelda remake while waiting for a new Zelda just like on the Wii U with Wind Waker HD



KnightRider666 said:

Majora's Mask 3D! Do it Nintendo! Make sure it has a build in hint system in case you get lost like Ocarina of Time 3D has.



JeanOfmArc said:

I haven't played Majora's Mask yet, but I'm holding out in case a 3D version is made to be my first experience with it.



TenEighty said:

Oh it is. I didn't buy very many games for the Wii and so far, don't have plans on buying the Wii U. I think it's gone downhill since the N64. Gamecube wasn't bad but Mario Sunshine, are you kidding me? Anyway, Nintendo needs to go back to the drawing board and find some creativity again and quit working so hard on the system. No need to reinvent the wheel. I prefer a regular gamepad myself (Gamecube controller) and they can clear out all the other crazy stuff, such as the whole motion thing and so forth.



Pikachupwnage said:

Majoras mask is easily one of the greatest games ever made. So making it even better would be great.



Varia01 said:

Good article. I would like a reformed Zelda game. I too had the idea of MM 3D. I like the idea and I look forward to playing such a title. Long live Zelda!



ajcismo said:

The best part of all of this is we are talking about games that have found their way to consoles several generations past their original home. Proves how timeless they really are.



HawkeyeWii said:

Yes bring on the remakes, or just plain ports! I haven't even played half of the Zelda series yet



Galactus said:

LttP is a must for 3DS remake treatment. If they used the camera from Spirit Tracks but improved the graphics it could be amazing.



duffmman said:

Its already been said that a new 3DS Zelda game will come before another remake (for the 3DS). And they've already made numerous hints that Majora's Mask is definitely a possibility. And the groundwork is already done since they already remade OOT. Of course its gonna get remade for the 3DS. In my book its not a question of will it? Its a question of when will it? It would be great to see it remade for the Wii U, but its not gonna happen there, its pretty clear it will be remade on the 3DS in the same style of OOT 3D.

I always thought it would be cool if they released a Zelda game for the 3DS called The Legend of Zelda: The Hero of Time. It would start you off with only the ability to play OOT, but after you beat it, you get to play straight into Majora's Mask. They could even have had an extra mini chapter you could play between games bridging the gap, so that your quest is more clear that you're looking for Navi (and you set most your old items away thinking you wont need them anymore), and you take Epona through an area you've never been before and suddenly you find yourself at the beginning of Majora's Mask. But alas, that is only a dream of mine.




I want a 2D Zelda remake that makes the game look 32 bit. Then, I want a 3D version of Zelda II. Then, I want a 3D version of Link's Awakening and I want it to be Cel-Shaded. Then, I would love to see an HD version of Skyward Sword.



Kid_A said:

Okay, I'm going to be that guy.
"Remakes of the Past" is redundant. Can't exactly remake the future.



TenEighty said:

I agree of course, and I still stand behind Nintendo. I would also like to see more retro games. I'm a fan of pixel art and old school 3D like Direct X 7. Graphics and new technology don't sell for me. I like creative or imaginative games that are memorable and would consider replaying them.



SageWaterDragon said:

I would adore a 3D remake of ALTTP with the OoT3D engine. No 2D game would be better suited for that, except perhaps Four Swords Adventures.



Cranky said:

I want a console version of four swords with proper local and/or online multiplayer. I never got to experience multiplayer before because extra hardware (cables and handhelds) were required.



Mk_II said:

Well, because MM was made with the same engine as OoT, chances are that it will also be ported to 3DS because the hard work has already been done. Porting MM would mean a small investment with big profit potential



shinpichu said:

I don't think TP is nearly old enough to be talking about a remake just yet. It's still on store shelves, for crying out loud. Unlike WW and MM, it's still readily available on a wildly popular platform.



Emaan said:

I hope we can eventually see a Majora's Mask remake, but I really want new games at this point. Not to mention, Twilight Princess should be remade at some point most definitely.



TenEighty said:

Actually if they scaled the games properly, they would look sharp and clean. For example, don't scale a 240p snes game to 1080p. Scale it to 960p, which will leave small black bars at the top and bottom of a 1080p tv but at least the games graphics look defined. Of course a 720p tv would only have to scale the game screen x3 which would look fine. Anyways, Nintendo should have at least gave an option to properly scale virtual console games because they look great when they are scaled by whole numbers (4.0 or 3.0) and not something like 4.2 or something like that.



KnightRider666 said:

Remake the Oracle of Seasons and Ages GBC games in full 3D. Include the 3rd game that was never released due to time constraints.



zionich said:

Im not all that big on remakes. Id prefer a new game. If I had to choose one to be remade it would be the first Legend of Zelda. It would almost feel like an entirely new game.



Senate_Guard said:

Seems as though "Zelda remakes" are like the "New Super Mario Bros." series; a quick and easy buck. Not to say that's how the big N thinks; but its all too familiar.



shinpichu said:

3rd game was never released because Nintendo/Capcom found it too difficult to implement a 3-way linking system, so they went with the simpler two-game system.



DarkNinja9 said:

@Onett i agree 100% to me majoras mask on the wii u with the HD would be amazing then it would be on the 3ds but either way a remake of it would be awesome come on =/

if they were to release it on both 3ds and wii u it be awesome >.< but not going to get my hopes ups



StarDust4Ever said:

Majora's mask is pretty spooky IMO. It might give younger children nightmares. I really hope they do a Sunshine remake. It was one of the most gorgeous games on the GameCube, and the visuals in the game would upscale gorgeously to HD consoles.



Phle said:

I would love a Majora's Mask remake! I would buy it day 1, no question. On Wii U or on 3DS? Well, I guess I would be good with either of them. I really liked Ocarina of Time on 3DS, so they should be able to make Majora's Mask well on the 3DS and on Wii U. But there are two Zelda games coming to Wii U. Maybe the 3DS would be a better choice?




I really support anything zelda related, and as much as I WOULD LOVE MAJORA'S MASK 3D, I'm a little more biased towards a new zelda entry in the series; ocarina had its remake 2 years ago and nintendo is currently remaking wind waker, so it's 2 remakes so far, and that's enough for now.

Nintendo should remake majora's mask in one of the 3 following scenarios:

a) Towards the end of the 3ds lifespan
b) Towards the end of the wii u lifespan
c) Beginning of the 3ds succesor

And yes, the oracles are just amazing games, they just deserve the eshop release being the relics they are by now, specially ages, one of the best examples as how zelda dungeon puzzles should work (mermaid's cave, I just loved you so much!!!!)



Ima_Gerd said:

they need to create new characters for the NPCs - they didnt have the time ..err at the time to create new the time.

and none of this.. well everyone is everyone else cause its all a dream nonsense.

they just re-hashed all the NPC's.

So yes but new NPCs please.



timp29 said:

I don't think anything from the N64 would translate well to the WiiU. There is just too much disparity between the systems, so that you would essentially require a complete remake. In which case, making a new game from scratch for WiiU is probably nearly as time consuming.

Will Wind Waker be true HD? I'm a little suspicious, but don't really care. I'm overdue for a play through of WW anyway.

Bottom line, while I enjoyed phantom hourglass, playing with the stylus wasn't really for me. I would prefer aLttP or MM remake... I just like pressing buttons.



Nintenjoe64 said:

@Ryno_Choryzo I agree, there is no need to slightly buff up Lttp with 3ds effects or hd sprites but that version of Hyrule deserves to be remade in the style of its successors. OoT and TP prove that LttP's world would translate well to a proper 3D adventure game. Most of the puzzles and environments in Ocarina were direct recreations of what was in LttP so we know it would work.



RandomNerds said:

At the end of the day all I want is to be able to play the digitial versions of these games on all my Nintendo branded devices without having to buy it for each one. Sony did it right, my PSPgo is loaded with classic games that work seemlesly on most Sony products. So yeah go ahead and remake stuff but don't force me to buy it three times.



Flowerlark said:

I'm a Zelda vet but I could never even get to the save point in MM. The time limit for catching the stupid brats was fairly strict and I could never find them all before time was up. I wouldn't have minded trying over and over until I got it, but that I had to sit through the opening cutscenes and visit the great fairly so many times was a bit unpalatable. I doubt I'd try it again on the gamecube edition, but if they did release an enhanced 3DS version, I'd jump on day 1- mostly because my skills have improved considerably since then and also because they're likely to have tightened the controls like in OoT 3D (another game I couldn't finish back in the day on the GC, but found to be a breeze on the 3DS)



Bucho said:

Majora's Mask is still my favourite Zelda title, a 3DS remake would make me the happiest fan alive.



Bucho said:

and of course a virtual console release of the oracle games, if the first VC title was Links Awakening DX i don't see what the problem would be converting these 2 fabulous games, day one purchase of both Ages and Seasons for me...



FluttershyGuy said:

I was thinking earlier what would be a potentially amazing Zelda remake. The Legend of Zelda 3D. No subtitles. Just "The Legend of Zelda 3D." Remaking the very first 2D Zelda that started it all, rebuilt from the ground up in 3D. I'd keep the dungeons and overworld just as they are, but with new distinguishing characteristics. For instance, something setting the twin rocks on Death Mountain (one of which, of course, houses Level 9) apart from others. With some work and imagination, I think the original could be amazing in 3D!

Something else I was thinking of, after AVGN pointed it out in a rant on the Zelda timeline: They go BACK IN TIME with the series to make the latest game the first in the timeline so often. They did this with (I think) A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, The Minish Cap, and now Skyward Sword. It seems time for some original sequels, rather than continually reimagining the starting point of the series. It'd be nice to see a proper sequel to The Adventure of Link, for example. A proper decendant of the originals!



CharbroiledEwok said:

I thought Miyamoto said he would like a new 3DS game STYLED after ALttP - not a remake...or am I remembering incorrectly?



DaveC said:

Since MM came out as the system was on it's way out It was played less than OOT. I know I was done with N64 for next gen and never played MM. I hope they do MM 3D it would be my first playthrough and many other the same too. Plus many weren't into games (too young) when the N64 was out and never played it.



Bass_X0 said:

Has Nintendo lost it's creativity? What's up with all the remakes?

New games take a few years to produce so there needs to be something to release during the development of the new game. Outsource a game for another company to remake and hey, the fans have something to play while they are waiting.



Nintenjoe64 said:

@FluttershyGuy I totally agree. Maybe have the original quests downloadable and remastered but they should be continuing the story of the boy who took his uncle's sword and saved the world rather than telling the story of his ancestor who did the same sort of thing.



Doge said:

i agree, e need one, andi dont wanna pay for a limited edition majoras mask gamecube thingy



gundam00 said:

Bravo Tom! This was such an excellent read!! You brought up so many good points that I hadn't thought about, such as remaking a remake - just how many times can you remake a game, and also how a new Zelda game will overshadow any hope for Majora's Mask remake. I do hope they can squeeze in Majora's Mask before the new Zelda game, especially since Majora's Mask remake would have a shorter lifespan as a "new release" than a brand new Zelda game. I think if they released Majora's Mask in time for E3, then that would leave enough cushion room to postpone a new Zelda game till 2014. But like you said, how many remakes can be used as filler games.



ShortSleevedNook said:

I think Nintendo should focus on porting some of it's other titles. We've got Ocarina of Time on N64, twice on GameCube, once on Wii, a 3DS version, and most likely it will also be on Wii U. Nintendo, it's time to focus on a different game here. I understand it sells a ton, but jeez, I would like to play a few other games besides Ocarina of Time every now and then...or Super Mario Bros....or NEW Super Mario Bros., for that matter...



DaveC said:

For everyone saying "I don't want remakes, I only want new games!"

These remakes aren't in place of a new game, they are in place of a dry spell. They are made by third parties (Grezzo etc.) usually while Nintendo concentrates on the new ones. Since they aren't instead of a new game and just in addition to, don't freak out. If you don't like a remake, don't buy it.



HaastMK7 said:

No thanks, "LoZ OoT3D" was good but I don't wanna see any more future "Remakes". They should really be focusing on the New.

You don't see the 360 with any remakes apart from the 10th Halo anniversary game, and maybe a couple others.



Magnet_Man018 said:

@KnightRider666 Indeed. I played both and they seem incomplete in the ending. I mean, if Farore is just as important as Nayru and Din, how can she be a meaningless little girl inside the Maku Tree? Doesn't make sense.



Hairmanban19 said:

I really hope they make Majoras Mask in some of those wonderful 3DS graphics,because i really enjoyed OoTs graphics on the 3DS.



Mascarpino said:

I'm totally for Majora's Mask 3D!!! Majora's Mask is tied with Ocarina of Time as my favorite Zelda.

They could even make a master quest.



Moviefan2k4 said:

To this day, I can't stand "Majora's Mask". Reliving the same 3 days every ten minutes quickly becomes annoying as hell. I'd love to see the original "Zelda" done in a similar fashion to "Ocarina of Time", though.



TheAdrock said:

@Moviefan2k4 , what he said.

It would be a cinch for them to re-render Twilight and/or Skyward in HD. Don't have to change anything about the game or controls, just re-render it for the U. They'll sell a ton with nearly zero development cost. I cannot imagine nor explain why this isn't happening right now.



TheAdrock said:

@Moviefan2k4 , yeah I knew what you meant. I was agreeing... then I was commenting that there's no good reason that N couldn't re-render those Wii Zelda's in HD with no other changes. It would literally take one programmer about a week to re-render those for U, and they could just print money. Just saying.

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