According to our source in Japan, Nintendo is betting big on the next Zelda game, set for release in 2014 on the Wii U. This comes from the same source that accurately predicted Wii U achievements in the past, and broke the news Nintendo was working on a Wii U social network, which turned out to be Miiverse. So we’re quite confident in this information. The source is from within Nintendo and has seen the new Zelda game in action. He’s impressed, to say the least.
The first bit of information concerns the visual style of the game. Many Zelda fans are hoping for a darker, Twilight Princes-like Zelda on the Wii U, but it looks like Nintendo is sticking to most recent Zelda art style, found in Skyward Sword. “Nintendo is sticking to the core values of Zelda, while trying to appeal to a wide range of gamers, casual and hardcore”, our source told us, adding, “They feel they’ve found the sweet spot with Skyward Sword, and they’re continuing this approach with the Wii U Zelda game”.
Wii U Zelda has the biggest development team ever
Nintendo has assembled the biggest team ever to work on a game at Nintendo EAD 3 in Japan. “They got hundreds of people working on the new Wii U Zelda game”, which still hasn’t got an official subtitle. The development is once again led by Eiji Aonuma, who has been working on the game with his team since late 2010.
“It’s a 4-year development cycle with a new console, new technology, new engine etc. It’ll end up being the most expensive game they’ve made to date. It’s a huge investment for them [Nintendo] in money and manpower, this is Rockstar/GTA territory”. Nintendo originally planned to release the game in Fall 2013 to strengthen the Wii U against the new consoles from Microsoft and Sony, but apparently that didn’t turn out to be realistic. “They targeted a 2013 release, but quickly abandoned that goal. This is the biggest project they’ve [Nintendo] ever done, no way is it gonna be ready for Q3 2013. At least from where I see it”.
Biggest, most ambitious Zelda game to date.
The new Wii U Zelda will feature “about the same amount of dungeons as previous Zelda games, but these will be vastly bigger in scope and will be totally different from each other. Some dungeons are so big they’re broken up in 3 parts and will literally take hours to complete”. The Wii U Zelda game will also “have mini-games and side quests, but these are still on the drawing board”. Finally, the game’s composers are creating a brand new orchestral soundtrack with “hours of music”. No word on whether any characters will speak in the game. Regarding the story, he said “I really can’t comment on that [the story] because I have no idea what it is. I dunno where it’s set in the Zelda timeline. I’ve seen a grown up Link who looks like a much higher detailed Link from Skyward Sword. I haven’t see any cut scenes or boss fights either at this point. I’m not sure they’ve made any of that yet”.
“Some dungeons are so big they’re broken up in 3 parts and will literally take hours to complete”One of the dungeons is said to be an entire forest. “The first test dungeon they made was a giant forest running on early and buggy Wii U hardware — the dungeon was bigger than the Hyrule field in Ocarina, and the whole thing is one dungeon. You use the gamepad to navigate, avoid traps, follow clues etc. It’s dark, lush, with a ton of trees, foliage, some which you have to cut your way through. Its scope and details are unlike anything you’ve seen in a Zelda game”. He added that the Wii U Zelda game is so big, it wouldn’t be possible without the 25 GB Blu-ray based storage that the console uses.
“It’s a huge investment for them [Nintendo] in money and manpower, this is Rockstar/GTA territory”
No online multiplayer, but will have online features
Zelda fans looking for online multiplayer will be somewhat disappointed, according to our source. “Online multiplayer was never on the drawing board, they’re sticking with the tried and tested Zelda formula. It’ll have some online features like Miiverse and some sort of system where players can leave hints and help each other in the dungeons. That’s about it”.
The online component is still very much on the drawing board, according to our insider. “As far as I know, none of this [online] stuff has begun development as of Summer 2012. It’s still on paper only and will probably be one of the last things they’ll add. It’s not a big priority for them. Unless they got some separate team elsewhere working on it”.
HD graphics, same visual style as Skyward Sword
Nintendo are said to be very pleased with the art direction and visual style of Skyward Sword, and are continuing this look. Of course, it’ll be in full HD with much improved quality compared to what we saw on the Wii. “They’re using a new, state of the art engine that’s being built from ground up in parallel with the game. It’s got the most advanced visual features Nintendo has ever made, and includes a lot of third party tech like Havok for physics and rendering middleware from Umbra (which was recently confirmed for the Wii U)”.
He added, “The Wii U Zelda stuff you saw at E3 2011 was just a tech demo, nothing else. I’ve seen none of that in the real game. The tech demo was even made by an entirely different team with an older engine”.
“Most innovative game ever”
The next Zelda won’t just use the GamePad, it’ll take it to a new level with never before seen features, showing just what’s possible. In fact, the game is said to have been influential to the design of the controller to begin with. “At least one of the hardware features added to the GamePad were solely implemented because the Zelda team figured out they could do something cool with it”. “Each dungeon will offer a different gameplay experience with the tablet controller” The Zelda game was designed from ground up with the tablet controller in mind, “Zelda designers started sketching out concepts as soon as Nintendo decided to include a screen with the new console”, he said, adding, “everything in the game is built around the controller and its unique abilities. Every single feature in the controller is used to its full potential. Some of this stuff is still in early stages of development, but they’ve already implemented enough to show just what’s possible with the new controller. They showed some of this stuff to key third party devs behind closed doors last year to get them to realize the possibilities of the new tech.”
The Wii U Zelda game will redefine gaming with its features and innovation, and will offer things that only the Wii U can do. “It’ll have some revolutionizing gameplay. It has stuff that would never be possible on any other console, and it’s not just one cool feature, it’s one cool feature after another. Each dungeon will offer a different gameplay experience with the tablet controller. It’ll be the most innovative game ever, they got stuff that will be copied by others for years.”
So far, it looks like an epic Zelda game. Future Wii U owners definitely have something very special to look forward to. Even if we have to wait another two years for a chance to play it.