With the Wii U now roughly 2.5 years old, and Nintendo busy - along with a select few partners - keeping its retail library ticking over, it's entirely possible that low-maintenance options will have already been considered for 'easy wins' on the system. The 3DS has had its share of remakes, for example, though the Wii U - to date - has mainly delivered new games.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD is, however, a bit of an exception, and no doubt played a useful role for Nintendo in filling a release window gap and helping some of the company's developers to learn about working in HD.
This weekend's Digital Foundry article looks at the work that Nintendo, and partners, did with Wind Waker HD. With a look at graphical changes, gameplay tweaks and overall performance, the assessment is generally very positive, with the only notable criticism being dips in framerate. That aside, the title is declared to be "one of the better HD remasters on the market today".
Ultimately, Wind Waker HD is still a success story and one of the better HD remasters on the market today. Beautifully enhanced visuals, great image quality, and a host of gameplay improvements make for a definitive release. Sure, one can attempt to approximate the experience using an emulator but it will never feel quite as polished as this Wii U incarnation. Anyone with an interest in Zelda would do well to check it out, if you haven't already.
The article goes on, however, to look at other GameCube titles that could be a good fit - for multiple reasons - to get the HD remaster treatment; some fan favourites are considered, including Super Mario Sunshine and Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader.
What's interesting is the assessment that Nintendo could effectively outsource GameCube HD remasters, with Osaka-based HexaDrive highlighted as ideal partners. HexaDrive actually provided some assistance with Wind Waker HD and is highly regarded for a number of its remasters, with one example being Okami HD during the last generation. The article argues that Nintendo and HexaDrive, with a relationship in place and the latter's expertise and track record, could turn around high quality titles for the Wii U.
While we're looking at the possibilities of new HD remasters it's impossible not to discuss one of the true masters of this art - HexaDrive. With Nintendo already tied up with other projects, this remarkable little studio situated in the middle of Osaka seems like a perfect fit. After all, this team already has a connection with Nintendo thanks to Wind Waker HD, where it served as a technical liaison between Nintendo and Imagica Digitalscape for implementing high resolution textures into the game. This connection combined with its past works certainly positions HexaDrive nicely for these projects.
As it stands, the works created by both HexaDrive and Nintendo stand as some of the best examples of remastering in the game industry today. Both companies treat the source material with a reverence that few other developers can match. We'd love to see the two collaborate again on remastering classic GameCube titles for a new generation. There's a lot of potential hiding within the purple cube's library that seems ripe for this sort of treatment.
It's certainly worth reading the whole article, which also includes a range of comparison videos. It's not the first time anyone's mused about the potential delights of GameCube HD remasters, but it certainly goes into great detail.
Would you like to see more HD remasters from the GameCube library in the coming years?