Legend of Zelda Wii U news is a real thing, you know. Nintendo is being very, very quiet about it (after all, Wind Waker HD and Link Between Worlds are the games of the moment, but loose lips launch buzz-building campaigns, so pay attention: Eiji Aonuma, long-time lead producer of the Zelda series, has been talking. And the secrets he's been spilling sound like very, very good news indeed for the upcoming Wii U Zelda game: Eiji Aonuma wants it to evoke the same feelings we got when playing Skyrim. UPDATED: And Nintendo almost revealed the game at E3, but decided to wait "just a little bit longer." UPDATE 2: Aonuma has stated explicltly that he wants to break away from the classic Zelda formula and bring in new, big ideas. UPDATE 3: The game will (probably) be unveiled at Gamescom (August 21 - 25). UPDATE 3: PAX or not this year. At least we have the Wii U Wind Waker bundle (with Hard Mode!) to tide us over. UPDATE 4: Now Eiji Aonuma is going all backsies and saying Skyrim isn't an influence after all. Read his quote and see if you believe him.
First off, a clarification regarding Legend of Zelda Wii U: I am very much not talking about Wind Waker HD. That will be pretty great, although it's far from new. Obviously, I'm not talking about Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, either. I'm talking about the all-new Legend of Zelda Wii U title that will, eventually, be the flagship for the system, and join the venerable main Zelda line: The Legend of Zelda, A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword, and Legend of Zelda Wii U.
Before we get to Aonuma's recent comments, here's all the Legend of Zelda Wii U news we know so far: the game is the "biggest, most ambitious Zelda game to date." In terms of visual design, it's going to look more like Skyward Sword than like Twilight Princess or Wind Waker. It's being developed by EAD3, which is no surprise: they have made every Zelda for the last ten years, including both Wind Waker HD and Link Between Worlds, so ... don't count on a 2014 release. They have been working on the game since late 2010; Wind Waker HD is a tech experiment, as was the tech demo below, which uses an entirely different engine than the game itself.
The development team for Wii U Zelda is the single largest (and most expensive) in Nintendo's history, and has hundreds of people on it. Wii U Daily's inside source said that it's "Rockstar/GTA territory" in terms of scope and ambition. The dungeons are huge; the first (test) one is a forest bigger than Ocarina's Hyrule Field. And it will have what you expect: Miiverse integration, cool uses for the GamePad, 1080p HD, and the best graphics Nintendo has ever produced.
That's a good spot to segue into the latest Legend of Zelda Wii U news: according to a new interview with Eiji Aonuma by Eurogamer, the new Zelda game will be a lot more like Skyrim. Hold on a second, let me say that again:
Legend of Zelda Wii U Will Be Like Skyrim
Don't believe me? I don't blame you. Here's the quotation:
EG: As part of opening up Zelda games for a new generation, are you looking at any other games for inspiration? Dark Souls, perhaps, or Skyrim?
Aonuma: Skyrim! [For some reason mention of Bethesda's fantasy epic tickles him, and he laughs.] Obviously I play other games, and I'm curious what Zelda fans like about the Skyrim experience. Maybe there are some Zelda fans who are looking for something similar out of a Zelda game.
But I don't look at the technology that made these games possible. I don't look at what's happening in the game, but how it made me feel, what in the game moved me, and how I can bring out those same emotions in players who play my games. My intent isn't to copy them, but those are the things that stay with you as a player.
It's not what you see but how the game makes you feel that makes you feel closer to the experience. It's more about the feeling and expression of emotions in the game, and I do take that into consideration when working on my own projects.
That's the best Legend of Zelda Wii U news I, personally, could ever hope to hear: Legend of Zelda Wii U will seek to bring out the same emotions players felt when they played Skyrim. Wonder and awe, a feeling of freedom and a vast world before you.
Legend of Zelda was like that once. Western action RPGs have pushed farther ahead in the open world realm, but as far as I'm concerned, the very first Legend of Zelda created the open world genre. Skyward Sword was a departure from it; Twilight Princess wasn't, but it just wasn't... immersive (and I like Twilight Princess). It didn't have that much to do. If Legend of Zelda Wii U does, and with the largest development team in Nintendo history it very well may, then it shall truly become a legend.
As long as Link doesn't take an arrow in the knee.