Back in late 2014, such innocent times, we got a good look at what is now The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild during The Game Awards. It was an enjoyable segment, during which Eiji Aonuma and Shigeru Miyamoto showed a decent amount of off-screen footage, though the game has certainly changed a fair amount since that reveal.
A couple of delays and an E3 2016 blow-out later and we're now looking forward to this title appearing once again at The Game Awards. Whether it'll be a 60 second trailer or a nice showcase featuring Aonuma-san or other Nintendo executives is unclear, though it does seem that Reggie Fils-Aime will also be on hand to talk about the Nintendo 'experience' a bit.
Breath of the Wild is a contender for the title of most highly anticipated game in 2017, across any platform, and that's well deserved. There's plenty we still haven't seen, however. Nintendo has stuck fairly rigidly to showing areas and gameplay included in the extensive E3 demo, with occasional snippets of extra details and footage on the official website. Ahead of the upcoming appearance at The Game Awards, then, we thought we'd outline some things we'd like to see, though obviously we won't get them all. One or two would be exciting enough.
So, to the list we go...
Other key characters to the plot, like Zelda...
Before anyone panics, Nintendo has made clear that the Hyrule Link finds himself in will have characters and all that good stuff; a lot was apparently stripped out of the E3 demo. We don't doubt that, either, as Nintendo has shown an eagerness through the series to develop and flesh out the IP's cast, typically, rather than strip it back.
If the upcoming footage decides to truly get pulses racing, then some timely snippets of vital characters could do just that. Zelda is an obvious one, while a menacing look at Ganondorf (Calamity Ganon was spotted during E3) would also send the internet into meltdown. There are lots of established races and tribes that could pop up too, with descendants or predecessors of series favourites being an option. Basically, we love Link and the bearded man, but more would be nice.
A broader sense of the plot and timeline
This is an interesting one, as the structure of the game is likely to play a part in how overt the actual plot is. In demos we've played there's scope to simply mess about in the world, but we've also played the 'narrative' version that follows a relatively linear structure. What we do know is that Link has been asleep 100 years, has no memory and needs to rediscover his destiny. We've added that last bit because, well, that's how these games normally play out.
It's not that there aren't a lot of theories out there, of course. Remarks by Aonuma-san and clues in the demo environments have generated some interesting ideas, namely that this follows from The Wind Waker or the 'downfall' timeline of Ocarina of Time. We don't expect that mystery to be solved right now, but if the new footage introduces some story elements or characters, there'll hopefully be more solid evidence to work on to start figuring out the narrative. After the impressive storytelling in Skyward Sword (in this writer's opinion) it'd be great to see the sandbox open-world elements of Breath of the Wild combined with a good adventure yarn. After all, some Zelda fans enjoy the adventure and aren't overly worried about experimenting with game physics, so an enticing story would be fantastic to have.
Also, we really want more insight into the technology in the world and that mysterious ship spotted in the distance.
New areas of the world
For the story to be interesting, of course, we need a big diverse world to enjoy. What we do know about Breath of the Wild is that its world is enormous, the biggest yet in the series. We can see Death Mountain in the distance, and a little while ago Nintendo started some fun 'then and now' Hyrule comparisons.
The potential joy of varied environments - perhaps including the likes of Zora's Domain and so on - is in how they'll play into the game's immersive survival mechanics. With Link now responsible for living off the land, with aspects such as his diet and clothing dictating how he handles different environments, there's huge scope for interesting game design. More glimpses of this in action would certainly keep us warm in these cold Winter nights (in the Northern Hemisphere, if you're reading this in Australia it's probably humid and hot right now).
It is worth remembering that the original trailer did show a number of intriguing areas and enemies, we're just hoping for more sustained footage with less teases and quick cutaways.
Towns, villages and NPCs
As a follow-up to that point above, it'd be swell to see Link strolling into some towns and mingling with the locals. It's worth reminding everyone again, as we did at the top - towns and NPCs are expected to be present, they just weren't included in the widely seen trailer and demo earlier this year.
With Breath of the Wild all set to be an ambitious and modern progression for the series, with its impressive world and all of the underlying physics and mechanics that make it tick, there's scope to go further with additional characters and their homes. When you consider the approaches taken in various triple-A open world games, there's a lot of new things Nintendo could do here. Characters that engage more substantially than trotting out a few lines, loyalty systems, maybe even clans that seek your favour above others in what could be a slowly rebuilding Hyrule. Then there's the technology found throughout the world; where does that come from, do different clans scrap over control of it?
The game may not do any of these things, but in any case we hope the footage will give us a glimpse of some of the smaller characters and groups that will populate Hyrule.
Are there dungeons, in the 'traditional' sense?
One for traditionalists, perhaps. We know there are 'more than 100' trial Shrines located throughout the world, and it seems likely that they'll be a key part of progression. We also know that the world Link inhabits is daunting in its size and the depth of mechanics at play; the whole world, in a sense, is one enormous environmental puzzle to solve.
But are there traditional dungeons? You know the type, large sections when a door closes behind you and you have 1-2 hours of fighting and puzzle solving ahead, at the end of which is a boss with a glowing weak spot. Some love them, while there's no doubt a contingent of gamers that think the time has come to move on, fully embracing the systems-driven open-world as one mighty dungeon.
It can be argued either way, frankly. This writer's instinct is that there may not be traditional dungeons at all. There'll probably be those trial Shrines, no doubt some scripted boss fights and narrative sections, and of course a large world that gives the player a staggering level of freedom. Is there room for standard 'dungeons' in that? Maybe not. Now that we've written that, it'll probably be the first thing shown in the trailer.
There are other things, of course. Like Epona, we want to see that lovely horse once again. In the original E3 trailer we do see Link riding a horse, but that's something that can never be over-played - more horseriding is a must.
Let us know what you hope to see in the comments; we'll be livestreaming and blogging The Game Awards here on Nintendo Life, as always. The pre-show starts at 5.30pm Pacific / 8.30pm Eastern / 1.30am UK / 2.30am CET, and our blog will start a little before that point.