Zelda Wii U. What a cipher. What a mystery. For once, I'm not talking about The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD or the swiftly-disappearing Zelda Wii U bundle. I'm talking about the brand new, flagship Zelda game that's been under development for quite some time. The eventual flagship title for the Wii U. Now, the Zelda Wii U release date is a big mystery, but other than that, we know a lot about it.
Feel free to review the info that Eiji Aonuma, longtime Zelda producer, spilled about Zelda Wii U at E3 and Comic-Con - but let's dive into the newer leaks, for those of you who have been paying attention. First up, Eiji Aonuma wants to retire - but first, he wants to make a perfect game. In fact, it sounds like that's the only reason he hasn't retired so far - he keeps falling short (and oof, Skyward Sword sure was a step back). Okay, but that's not too specific.
Thankfully, Eiji Aonuma went into more details about how he intends to make Zelda Wii U the perfect game. For one, he wants to buck with the tradition of the Zelda series, as they did in Link Between Worlds with the new item system. And it will be less linear, and won't hold your hand as much. Reinventing a stale formula is top prio for Aonuma. Along the way, he wants to reinvent Hyrule, in the way that Wind Waker did. It doesn't have to be your classic 3D-era Hyrule:
There are no limitations on what kind of place Hyrule can be, other than that it is a country where Zelda exists as its Princess. We now have many titles in the series, so we are seeing characters and location names from previous titles coming up again. We are using these when it adds to the fun, but there is no rule that we have to use these at all. We may even need to change things you might take for granted like Zelda being a Princess. I would really like the next Hyrule to be a setting no one has ever imagined before.
One caveat: Hyrule may change in the new Zelda Wii U, but the art style won't. Even though everyone loves the look of Wind Waker now, the original backlash has made Aonuma more wary about toying around with the art style:
I think we will be a bit more careful in the future, but if we find a new approach that not just the developers, but also the users would enjoy then I think we will want to break new ground again. But we haven't found such an approach yet.
As for the Zelda Wii U release date, well, that's not even worth speculating on. It won't be 2014. Wind Waker HD development was something of a test case for working with Wii U and doing HD graphics, but now Zelda Wii U development has really begun in earnest. We can hope for holiday 2015, but I wouldn't hold your breath.
Don't worry, though - it will have DLC!