Depending on who you ask, Nintendo’s presentation of the Wii U at E3 on Tuesday went over like a blue shell in Mario Kart: either it made your day or it made you wish for a quick death. Regardless of that, one of the big titles missing from the presentation was The Legend of Zelda. While Zelda doesn’t sell as well as the 2D Mario games do, it is (or was) a franchise that gets the hardcore gamers, who Nintendo claims to be courting, frothing at their collective mouths.
Thankfully, Entertainment Weekly had the clout to get an answer out of the legendary game creator himself, Shigeru Miyamoto. Unfortunately, the news isn’t all good. Miyamoto told EW that the next Zelda is currently in the R & D stage, but added:
But really what we continue to ask ourselves as we have over the years is, “What is the most important element of Zelda if we were to try to make a Zelda game that a lot of people can play?” So we have a number of different experiments going on, and [when] we decide that we’ve found the right one of those to really help bring Zelda to a very big audience, then we’ll be happy to announce it.
Sigh. I really don’t know what’s going on over there at Nintendo. The last Zelda, Skyward Sword, still sits on my shelf, its once gleaming golden cover now slowly being buried by a layer of dust. The reason? Too much hand-holding, the kind that caters to someone who has never touched a video game before in their lives. So what’s Nintendo’s answer to that? Try to appeal to as broad an audience as possible, which actually goes against the very thing they are claiming to try to do with the Wii U.
These mixed messages, such as the fact that the Wii was made to simplify controls, but now the Wii U has all them there buttons that complicated it again (And don’t forget the Wii U Pro, which does away with that revolutionary screen altogether) are really starting to make me think that Nintendo is flailing about. The Zelda that everyone always holds up as the standard is Ocarina of Time, which sold over 7 million copies worldwide. I don’t have other figures on hand, but I would be shocked if that wasn’t the best-selling Zelda of all time.
So what is Nintendo thinking? Do you think Zelda should broaden its appeal to attract more fans? Or should it evolve, but stick to the core mechanics that get the pulses of gamers pounding, like Ocarina of Time did? Or should Zelda just throw in the towel?