The Legend of Zelda for Wii U was probably, for quite a few devoted Nintendo fans, the highlight of the company's E3 Digital Event. Series producer Eiji Aonuma presented a vision of a large, open world before we were treated to a highly stylised action sequence. Finding a blend between the Skyward Sword art style and hints of cel-shading, it looked gorgeous and well suited to the strengths of the Wii U.
In terms of how the structure of the game will differ from predecessors, Aonuma-san has previously spoken about a desire to move the Zelda formula forward into new ground in the coming years, while also expressing admiration for titles such as Skyrim. Certainly much of what he said about an open, fully realised world played into that, while also stating that players will have some control over their next steps in the adventure; this is an idea we saw, in a form, in the free dungeon-order choice of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds on 3DS.
Changes in approach may come in the way puzzles are presented, too. When asked about the new title when speaking to Kotaku, Aonuma-san has expressed a desire for puzzles based on decisions and other aspects, rather than simply pushing blocks around.
So you know we've talked a little bit today about the puzzle-solving element in Zelda, and how that's kinda taken a different shape in Hyrule Warriors. But I think people have come to just assume that puzzle-solving will exist in a Zelda game, and I kinda wanna change that, maybe turn it on its ear.
As a player progresses through any game, they're making choices. They're making hopefully logical choices to progress them in the game. And when I hear 'puzzle solving' I think of like moving blocks so that a door opens or something like that. But I feel like making those logical choices and taking information that you received previously and making decisions based on that can also be a sort of puzzle-solving. So I wanna kinda rethink or maybe reconstruct the idea of puzzle-solving within the Zelda universe.
If this new title, due next year, goes further than the latest 3DS game in placing the onus on players to determine their path and figure out what comes next, it could be an exciting evolution in the series.
Let us know what you think, and whether this open-world approach excites you.
Thanks to Ryan Millar for the heads up.