I came back briefly from my hiatus to see Nintendo take the Internet by storm with it’s latest Nintendo Direct. They exploded onto the web announcing new games, updates to old games, and on the whole making the Wii U seem like a worthwhile investment this Christmas season. One particular piece of news that came from this was the announcement of the game tentatively titled Hyrule Warriors.
Now, Koei has tried their hand at Warriors games in fictitious settings, but aside from the Dynasty Warriors Gundam series, not many have taken off in the West. The Warriors Orochi series has done fairly well, but it serves primarily as a mash-up of it’s historical games, so it almost doesn’t count.
Taking the formula into a world as rich, yet familiar as the land of Hyrule is a stroke of genius. There is so much TecmoKoei can do with this setting, that it’s almost impossible to list all the possibilities (and my limited knowledge of the Zelda cannon certainly wouldn’t help in that regard). Below, however, I have listed 5 things that could make this the most exciting title I’ve seen for Wii U yet.
5) Zelda Taking Charge
For the first time, we may get to see Princess Zelda as more than just the regal highness needs rescue, but as a monarch in the throws of war. Zelda will have to become a war general to face the onslaught of Ganon’s forces. In this installment, we may get to know and understand the suffering and sacrifice she must make for her crown and her people. The concept presents the possibility to explore Zelda a bit more as a person, and to understand why it is her lineage that holds the throne throughout the timelines.
4) Return of Familiar Faces / Reveal of New Ones
While I could certainly be wrong on this one, I see no reason why this title would have to be just about the conflict between Zelda and Ganon. The holy trinity of Legend of Zelda (Link, Zelda, Ganon) should be upheld to be sure, but that doesn’t mean other characters from games past can’t get in on the action. More mischievous characters, just as Vaati or Skull kid could be looking to take advantage of the situation. The Sheikah Ninja clan could play a pivotal role in how the battles are waged. The Gerudo tribe (presuming they exist in this timeline) could be torn between following their foretold leader, or facing utter destruction in rebellion.
Aside from characters and creatures that existed before, there’s also plenty of room for Tecmo Koei to introduce their own creatures and characters to the world. The warriors series is somewhat notorious for strange and unusual interpretations of historical heroes; it will be interesting to see what kinds of characters they could add to the Hyrulian mythos.
3) Link as an Action Hero
Link is many things to many people (or nothing to noone as he’s mostly whatever you perceive him as). However, while swordplay has always been a part of the Legend of Zelda series, it has rarely been the focal point. Link is given a sword and shield because they are are the most rudementary solutions to his problems. Instead, Legend of Zelda has always been more puzzle oriented, with combat splashes in-between. Thus, Link is smart and capable, but not necessarily a fierce veteran warrior.
In this installment, that will no longer be the case. The Link in the teaser takes on more enemies than some Links may have fought in their entire careers; and he’s fighting most of them all at once. Link this time will not only be the hero, but he will feel like a total bada** while doing it.
2) Play as Someone Other than Link
Probably the most significant one for the series as a whole if true, we may finally see a Legend of Zelda game where Link is not the sole protagonist (not counting the terrible CDI games of course). Warriors titles thrive not just on the action, but being able to see it from both perspectives of the battlefield. For this reason, Warriors games are well-known for having some of the largest playable casts in gaming history; therefore, the prospect of Link being the only playable character in the game is highly unlikely.
This opens up a world of interesting characters to explore. Could we see Zelda trading blows with the best of them in her own series? Will Midna return to wreck dark devastation on unsuspecting minions? Will Sheik appear to deliver the final blow from the shadows?
1) Hyrule at War
Let’s face it. Link is always stopping Ganon’s plans before they get going, or showing up late to the party after Ganon’s already in control (in fact he does both in Ocarina of Time). We rarely see Link holding the line against innumerable enemy forces protecting the common folk of Hyrule. We never get to see the struggles Zelda goes through during her kingdom’s darkest hour. We as the player are typically shown either the kingdom ignorant of the danger about to befall them, or the kingdom already in the clutches of the vicious lord Ganon.
By the very nature of the project — being Legend of Zelda meets Dynasty Warriors — one has to assume all-out war is going to take place. The exception this time, however, is that Link will be in the thick of it. We’ll see exactly how ruthless Ganon’s minions can be, as well as how heroic even the average citizen of Hyrule is. Though much of this will be glossed over to a certain extent, I still find this concept exhilarating, thus making this one of the games for the Wii U I’m most excited to see come to fruition.
In conclusion, more than any title I’ve seen come out of Tecmo-Koei or Nintendo recently, this has a great amount of promise for me, both as an old-school Nintendo fan, and a new-school Dynasty Warriors buff.
What do you think? Could this help turn Nintedo’s Wii U around? Will Hyrule ever be the same? Let us know in the comments below.
Legend of Zelda and all affiliated characters are property of Nintendo. Hyrule Warriors, and Dynasty Warriors are property of Tecmo Koei. Above is simply my opinion and speculation and should not be taken as fact.