Fancy feeling pretty old? Well, get this – it is five years to the day since we first heard about what would become The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
It was January 23rd, 2013, when Nintendo put out a Wii U Direct (see below). Not any Direct, either – this was quite the fireworks show of big name games. We heard about new entries for the 3D Mario series (which became Super Mario 3D World), and Mario Kart (8) being in development. Towards the end, Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma came out to talk about the future of Zelda on Wii U (and, ultimately, the Switch).
At 29:21 in the in the video, the late President and CEO of Nintendo Satoru Iwata introduces the segment. We received no footage – we would have to wait until E3 2014 for that – but Aonuma did talk about “the driving theme behind our development”. What was this? Well, it makes sense after playing the finished product all these years later:
“Mission for new Zelda: “”Rethink the Conventions of Zelda””
Interestingly, two ideas brought up are the order in which dungeons are completed (which we saw changed with the Divine Beasts) and also playing by yourself. While many people shared their experiences of Breath of the Wild with others (and still do, just check Twitter), is it possible that a multiplayer element was at some point being developed? A Hyrule Weekly article actually delved into the evidence of this much deeper, if you are interested in this subject.
Whilst we may not have gotten any footage of the new Wii U Zelda, we did get an announcement of a beautiful HD remake of The Wind Waker to keep us going. In the end, development of the new Zelda extended to the point of giving us Twilight Princess HD in that time as well.
As Satoru Iwata closes out, he makes this poignant, and prophetic, statement: “… I hope you will look forward to our new challenges of revisiting every single detail in the Zelda series.” As the final major new Zelda of Satoru Iwata’s tragically short life, it’s great to look back and see how Nintendo completely delivered on that.