If you somehow haven’t heard, there was a lot of exciting Zelda news in the Nintendo Direct this week (12/11/15). The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD was unveiled, and crucially, we also got a bit more footage and information about The Legend of Zelda for Wii U. This is what we will be looking at in-depth this week!
Now, we really didn’t get given much by Nintendo, but the mere seconds of footage – the first since The Game Awards last year – was enough to get Zelda fans into analytical mode. In that footage is plenty of small details that give us more insight into The Legend of Zelda for Wii U (and let’s be honest, we have to do something while we wait for it).
Now, the clip (see the end of the video above) begins with what we believe is Link riding Epona (this is how we will refer to them in this article) through a field. The background of this shot shows few details, with some goats in the background maybe being of interest… But wait! What if we are missing something obvious? The video transitions very smoothly from Twilight Princess HD into Zelda for Wii U, and maybe this means we are in the same place in Hyrule?
If so, then we are near the Bridge of Eldin, riding through the field circled in the image above. In Twilight Princess, this field is next to Kakariko Village, which is possible; it is also located right next to water, which comes from Lake Hylia. If you stop the video in some spots (check the images below), you can see what could be a building(s) from a village (also you can see something else, which is unknown but seems to be glowing), but the water is more sure-fire – ahead of Link and Epona, we see water with some trees in and around it. In addition, at the end of the footage, it looks like there is large amount of water in the background – could this be Lake Hylia? Something that suggests we might not be in the same place, however, is the distance to Death Mountain, which should also be pretty close; in this footage, what looks like Death Mountain is off in the distance.
It could just be that this is a result of the open-world treatment. A larger world may mean stretching distances between areas. Alternatively, it means that the transition in the video means nothing. Even with that possibility, I think this is something to think about, and there is still a lot more to see in this shot – specifically by looking at Link and Epona.
Link is wearing his hood, which we have seen before, and appears to not yet have the iconic Master Sword; on his back, it looks like he is in possession of a wooden shield and a more general sword. Note that when we spin round at the end of the footage, this sword is extremely long – more like a sword you pick up from enemies in The Wind Waker. Presumably, this means that this video is from early on in the game. If our theory that this game is a Skyward Sword sequel is correct, then this fits in, as you do not have the Master Sword at the end of that game.
Talking of the relation to Skyward Sword, the bolder patterns of Epona’s saddle, Link’s clothes and the wooden shield (which, in particular, is very similar to the Skyward Sword counterpart) give Zelda for Wii U similarly styled details. This could well be another clue pointing towards this game being a Skyward Sword sequel.
I mentioned Death Mountain earlier, and it isn’t the only peak in the distance. While we are almost certain that we see Death Mountain in the distance – with shining lava and a cloud of smoke accompanying it – the even higher mountain to the right of it in the horizon could be anything. Perhaps it could be Snowpeak, a prominent area from, funnily enough, Twilight Princess. Slightly to the below and left of this mountain is something else intriguing, as we see what initially looks like a figure. This could be a person, an outpost of some kind (like we saw at The Game Awards?) or maybe even Kaepora Gaebora (the Ocarina of Time owl).
After that, we finish the sweeping shot and end with a great shot of Link and Epona. Epona looks majestic, and also seems to have quite a few packs on. This could simply be to finally show where Link keeps all those items, or maybe they are used to store something else. Maybe some carrots for Epona? You also get a better look at the aforementioned long sword and patterns of Link’s clothes. One last thing to point out is the mysterious book on Link. It has an eye dominating the cover – a strong visual link to the Sheikah, and also the Lens of Truth from Ocarina of Time. Is this a connection to the Sheikah? As with much of this, time will tell.
Before I finish this article, I do just want to add some impressions on the footage as a whole. I can only really judge the visual design, and I have to say I am impressed. The rolling hills are lush, with blades of grass waving in the wind and birds flying out as Epona stops. Link and Epona look great too, and I particularly appreciate the different fashion sense this Link has. It just changes it up a bit, though I do expect a return to the traditional green tunic sometime in the game. As well as this, little touches like the lens flare are lovely. If we can indeed go to any place we see in the distance, I can’t wait to explore the world. What appears to be a crab-like enemy in the field ahead promises that this world will be full of other creatures, too.
We end with one more bit of analysis – that date at the end. It says 2016. That means we shouldn’t be waiting TOO much longer for what is shaping up to be a fantastic game! Leave your own theories in the comments, and be sure to look out for the next Hyrule Weekly!