E3 2014: The Open-World Zelda, and What Was Left Unsaid

Zelda E3 2014The single biggest new title announced during Nintendo’s E3 Digital Event was the suspected, but never confirmed, new Legend of Zelda game. We open on a field, Eiji Aonuma narrating as a man sits astride a horse, endless, grassy hills stretching into a mountainous distance, rocks and trees giving texture to the landscape.  As Aonuma explains that the technology has finally allowed them to create a Zelda game with the open world scope they’ve always wanted, the figure on the horse comes under attack, a mechanical spider-like beast stomping across the landscape, firing explosive blasts as the man and his steed take off into the forest.

We come to a short, wooden bridge, its planks reduced to splinters by the feet of the mechanical beast, cutting off our hero’s retreat. Unphased, he throws off his cloak and draws a bow, nocking and firing explosive arrows with great speed. Foe reeling, the hero jumps from his steed’s back and nocks a final arrow, point snapping into place and glowing with a sky-blue energy. And, finally, as he fires, we see his face.

It’s easy to assume that our hero is Link, the horse Epona, but the visual design for this trailer is striking. It continues to occupy that midway point between realistic rendering and Wind Waker-esque toon shading, and Link himself appears to be younger and lankier than in past appearances, his hair a bit longer. Hair? Yes, Link is not wearing his traditional green garb in the trailer, sporting a blue tunic, no hat and, most tellingly, lacking a sword on his person. Could the sword, in this latest Zelda, be relegated to a secondary role? Further, what of the apparent technological nature of his foe, the arrows he bears that seem to be culled more from science fiction than fantasy?

Is this Zelda going steampunk? ‘Cause I could totally dig that.

  • https://www.facebook.com/April13Marie April Marie

    So much nostalgia. Open-world Zelda is something I am TOTALLY amped for.