Saturday, January 28, 2017

Showstopper Dungeons

Before Breath of the Wild gets released, I want to replay all 3D Zelda games again. But this isn't an easy task, because I have a 40 hour week, so this only leaves little time in the evening and on weekends to play the games. And in this scheme I noticed, how my motivation usually drops around the big dungeons. I really enjoy exploring and scavenging the overworld again, getting all the Heart Pieces and stuff, doing the sidequests and even playing mini dungeons like the Ice Cavern, the Bottom of the Well and the Skulltula Houses. However, as soon as I arrive at a temple or larger dungeon, I feel like keeping this for the next day, because these dungeons are something that require more time and that you want to play in one turn. And then I can find little motivation to even start the game, because playing the dungeon is a chore that I have to go through in order to go back to the real meat on the overworld.

I only feel this way right now with the 3D Zelda games, in the various 2D Zelda games the dungeons are for me the real meat, especially in Link's Awakening or A Link Between Worlds, but there they offer much faster paced gameplay and more variables, where you can take many different ways through them.

The dungeons in 3D Zelda games often tend to be slower paced and more linear, though there are certainly exceptions. Most of them are very well designed, but it doesn't feel like they offer the same kind of replay value. They can be sensational on the first time playing, but when I replay the 3D Zelda games, my focus is usually on the overworld stuff and the dungeons feel like a "show stopper", because they make you do a series of chores (like puzzles, where you already know the solution), before you can go back to the "actual game".

Why am I telling you all this? I'm beginning to think that Nintendo made an excellent decision with Breath of the Wild, where the focus is entirely on the overworld. Instead of having all these big dungeons that take you out of this world, they opted for over a hundred mini dungeons, where you get the typical dungeon gameplay, but only in small doses. If it can be done quickly, you can always do one more. That's the recipe of a good addicting game, small doses of gameplay, where you always want one more round. And in Breath of the Wild you might always want to do "one more Sheikah Shrine" before going to bed, instead of having one huge dungeon that completely takes you out of it. This game might offer amazing replay value.

Breath of the Wild: Aonuma about the GamePad

With the Nintendo Switch announced, it was quite apparent that they removed all Wii U GamePad functionality in Breath of the Wild so that the Switch version wouldn't be inferior in any way. We could utter our suspicions, but now Aonuma actually admitted to the whole thing in an interview with Jeuxvideo.

According to him the Sheikah Slate was originally supposed to represent the Wii U GamePad, but they changed this because of the Switch, which doesn't offer the same playstyle. It also was supposed to talk to the player like some annoying Fi in your hands, where ultimately it cprobably was for the better that they dropped this idea.

However, that doesn't mean that they also had to drop all GamePad functionality like displaying the map or your inventory like in the Wind Waker HD or Twilight Princess HD. They did that only because they wanted both versions to be identical, which is a nice way of saying that they didn't want the Switch version to be inferior. As someone, who will get both versions of the game, I would have preferred, if each version had their own perk, like it was the case with Twilight Princess, but they probably didn't know what to add to the Switch version, that couldn't have been done with the Wii U version, so ultimately they decided to remove from the latter instead...

On the one hand it's certainly a good thing that Nintendo didn't focus too much on a hardware gimmick, because only that way the game can have the timeless appeal that it needs. The Wii U GamePad will be a thing of the past, so it's good that the game wasn't entirely developed around it. On the other hand the way they used the GamePad in both the Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD was a good addition and entirely optional at the same time. It wouldn't have needed more than that, simply displaying some of the Sheikah Slate interface on the Wii U GamePad would have been more than enough to get it right. It doesn't need to talk or anything.


Got the 30th Anniversary amiibo

Wait, what...?

Yes, I've actually bought the four new amiibo that Nintendo released for the 30th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda. I've never been an advocate of amiibo, in fact there was a time, where I was heavily opposed to the practice, but once you start collecting these things, there is no turning back. So far I got all the amiibo based on Zelda and Metroid from the Super Smash Bros. series, but here I only bought Zero Suit Samus for myself, because she's my main in the game (and the butt looks nice). The others I got either from Nintendo as "review material" or as a present from a friend last year. But this got me infected and now I need to collect them all, at least all the ones for Zelda and Metroid.

And this is why I got the 30th Anniversary collection as of late:

My initial reaction, when Nintendo showed them off last year, was "no, thanks", but I have to say that they are actually quite nice, now that I've had them in my hands. Unlike the Smash amiibo with their silly support poles they all have a nice look and feel to them. These figurines are not just based on some ingame artwork poses, they were made to be amiibo:

I'm still not a big fan of the "8-Bit Link". He has a nice weight to him, but he looks clunky and not like something that's actually from a NES or Zelda game, in fact he more looks like something from Minecraft with that White Sword on his back:

The Ocarina of Time Link is probably the one with the best quality, especially the Hylian Shield and Master Sword on his back look much better than on the Smash Bros. Link. He was also the rarest of the four, I couldn't find him in any shops or for a reasonable price online. It was only thanks to a friend from another region (same one who gave me some of the Smash amiibo) that I was able to get him... But according to Amazon there will be more available in February, so I probably could have just waited.

The two amiibo from the Wind Waker are also nice, but Toon Link feels mostly redundant thanks to his Smash Bros. counterpart. Zelda looks great, though. But the Toon Zelda artstyle is quite perfect for these types of figurines anyway. Nintendo probably wished that they already had come up with amiibo in the times of the Wind Waker, because they could easily turn a majority of the Nintendo Gallery figurines into amiibo. There even have been quite a lot of these Zelda figurines from Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks in the past, which had to be assembled, but were otherwise very similar to amiibo, only years before that and without the NFC chips to rip you off.

But it doesn't seem like these new amiibo will be useful, which I don't mind, because I didn't buy them for some locked ingame DLC - I bought them, because I wanted the figurines for my collection. Anything they might do in games, is simply an extra. And you never should feel obliged to buy these figurines, just because you want all the content in a game. Nintendo might have realized this somewhat, at least with these new Zelda figurines I don't see them as a rip-off, but as a pure collectible, and the more I'm willing to support Nintendo here.

Let's see, how the Breath of the Wild amiibo will turn out...

Friday, January 27, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Possible Sheikah Slate Runes

Easily one of the coolest additions in Breath of the Wild is the Sheikah Slate with its Rune abilities. They let you tamper with the environment and play with physics in various ways. It feels fresh for the franchise and it certainly looks cool. And so far we know of six different Runes that are available:

  • Remote Bomb (Round)
  • Remote Bomb (Cube)
  • Magnesis
  • Stasis
  • Cryonis
  • amiibo

We also know that there will be at least one more Rune, but there might be even more. These Runes will also get upgrades, where you can make some educated guesses already. For example the Remote Bombs could get a larger blast radius, the Stasis ability could last longer and the Cryonis Rune could let you create multiple pillars without the need of water surfaces (I think we've even saw the last one in the latest trailer already). Magnesis could infuse the objects with magnetic energy, so that they connect with other metallic objects around.

Well, I also put some thoughts into what other Runes there could be in the game and I wanted my share my current results. To be fair, they are not highly original, it's mostly things from other (Zelda) games, that fit into the picture:

Remote Bomb (Bug)
This is simply another variant of the Remote Bomb, where the bomb will crawl along floors and walls like the Bombchus did in the Nintendo 64 Zelda games. The only difference is that they can be remotely activated, so you don't have to perfectly time the detonation.

This keeps increasing the core temperature of certain elements in the environment. You can melt ice into water or turn water into steam for some updraft. Also, in deserts you can use it to turn sand into glass blocks, kind of as a replacement for the Sand Rod ability from previous games. And of course you can use it to set stuff on fire anywhere.

This creates a field, where inside you can make larger jumps to reach higher gaps without the need of climbing. You can also let stuff temporarily float inside it, e.g. by putting it there with Magnesis. Additionally, all projectiles and enemies will be pushed and slowed down significantly inside this field, so it's a lot easier to dodge and fight them. Essentially it increases gravity for hostile things and decreases the gravity for everything else including yourself. (This is inspired by both the Gravity Arrow field from Trine 2 and the Stasis Field from Unreal Tournament 3.)

I also thought about having a portal ability, but Nintendo already ripped off the test chambers from Portal, so having an actual Portal Rune might be a little too much. It could work differently, though, e.g. being some fancy version of Farore's Wind.

Any ideas or wishes? Share them in the comments, I would love to hear them!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

My Nintendo: Zelda Anniversary Goodies now in Europe

This took quite a while. The rest of the world got this two months ago already, on December 1st. But it looks like Nintendo of Europe wanted to do some promotional stuff closer to the release of Breath of the Wild, where currently every Zelda game on the eShop has a 30% discount. Too bad that I already got all the games.

Anyway, the theme is lackluster as usual. It doesn't look all that appealing and probably nothing will ever beat the golden Majora's Mask theme, it's just too good.

Also, if the three videos of the 25th Anniversary concert feel oddly familiar, then that's because they used to be available for free as part of the "Nintendo Video" application, where Nintendo dropped the support after a while. But it's still nice to have them back, even though the 3d, video and audio quality on Nintendo 3DS is quite bad.

Well, gift horses and their mouths... It's good that there finally has been some use for all these Platinum Points. I've reached the point, where they now keep decaying month after month and I would like to have more uses for them. Here are some suggestions, Nintendo.

(I've updated that post with the Hyrule Warriors Legends Gifts, by the way. Those would be PERFECT for My Nintendo, since they were all made accessible via codes anyway.)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Replaying Ocarina of Time on the Wii U

Feels like having the same thing twice...

Until the end of the 30th Anniversary on February 28th and until Breath of the Wild gets released on March 3rd, I want to replay all 3D Zelda games on my Wii U again. The Nintendo 64 Zelda games break the first ground, where today I've finished my usual 100% playthrough of Ocarina of Time.

Last Summer I've already replayed the Nintendo 3DS remakes, which included both Ocarina of Time 3D and Ocarina of Time 3D Master Quest, so I've had quite enough Ocarina of Time goodness lately. Part of the reason, why I also wanted to play through the Virtual Console releases again, was to see, how well the original games hold up, when compared to their remakes... In case of Ocarina of Time not very well.

In fact my motivation was so low that it took me over two weeks to get through this, which was certainly too long for my plans. But if you have Ocarina of Time 3D, there is no real reason to ever go back. The 20fps are simply bad. I don't mind the graphics as much - of course the 3DS version looks much better without losing any of the original charms, but the original is still fine. However, the frame rate really takes you out of it. And the text boxes. They are either too fast to be readable after pressing B or they are super slow...

But the worst is probably the aiming with the analog stick. Gyro aiming is one of the best things that happened to the series, it's just so much faster and more precise, so that going back to analog stick controls is pure pain. With the N64 games on the Virtual Console it has this annoying threshold, where you either aim very slowly or super fast... It's essentially like the text boxes, there's no good middle here, and everything with aiming just ends up in frustration. Luckily there is the 3DS version, where all these problems don't exist.

I tried to make use of the Virtual Console features to get some value over the Nintendo 3DS version, but this seemed negligible in the end. I was actually exited that for the first time ever I can play the game with the rumble feature on. I didn't have a Rumble Pack for the Nintendo 64 and the GameCube versions suffered from slight lag with the rumble, while the Wii Virtual Console version and the 3DS remake didn't have any rumble effect. So, for the first time I could really try out the rumble effects and how it feels to use the Stone of Agony after all these years... It was also quite helpful with the fishing, thanks to the rumble effect I could tell much better in what direction to hold the analog stick. However, riding with Epona is utterly annoying with the rumble, it feels like Epona keeps stomping on your GamePad, so I turned it off in the end...

Also, Restore Points didn't seem all that helpful. I was mostly using them early on, getting the Heart Pieces at the Zora River by using Cuccos is a good example, because it can be frustrating, if you mess it up. With the minigames I also used it for the Bombchu Bowling and the Horse Race (after the first lap). But later on I never really used Restore Points again except for having one exactly at the Ganon fight, which is a nice bonus, if you ever want to quickly replay this fight (should have been part of the Boss Challenge mode anyways).

That you can change your input was also useful for the Frog minigame at the Zora River, because playing this with the analog stick can be quite difficult, so I temporarily mapped the C buttons to A, B, X and Y, while the "+"-button served as "A".

So much for the Virtual Console version. In general I have to say that while Ocarina of Time is still one of my favorite Zelda games, if I put nostalgia aside, there are quite some issues noticeable with the game. It all feels kind of slow and boring, especially traveling through Hyrule Field. Yeah, there are the Peahats around, but they are something that you tend to avoid, because they can be quite lethal - they are basically like the Guardians in Breath of the Wild on a small level. But otherwise you only get some Stalchilds at night and they are not really that entertaining. Other enemies on the overworld then tend to be more annoying, like the Tektites, the Guays, the Octoroks or the Leevers.

Also, the gameplay itself can be quite slow thanks to the Ocarina and other slow actions. Often you have to play a song to get stuff done, even if it's just moving a block. At the time the Ocarina felt like a great feature, but today it just feels slow, where some quicker mechanic would be welcome.

Thankfully Breath of the Wild takes this all into account. The Sheikah Slate as the main item seems to be fast and dynamic, while there are lots of Bokoblin-like enemies to play around with. But going back from Breath of the Wild to Ocarina of Time will most likely make the N64 classic feel even slower and less interesting.

So, in the future I will probably need some real replay incentives to ever return to this game again after Breath of the Wild. This time I just did a silly thing, where I completed the game without ever seeing the Lake Hylia intro sequence once:

This can be achieved by always taking the routes over Gerudo Valley or Zora's Realm. As a kid I usually do this anyway, because you want to fly through Gerudo Valley at least twice to get everything there. This is even how I got the idea in the first place - I wondered, if it's possible to beat and complete the game without seeing this little sequence. You only have to remember this as an adult, when you deliver the Eyeball Frog to the Lakeside Laboratory. Going over Gerudo Valley in that case can be quite close, but it's still possible. Otherwise you can just teleport there and skip the sequence that way. And if you did all that, you can have the joy getting introduced to Lake Hylia after beating Ganon...

I've also did the dungeons as an adult quite out of order to mix things up yet again, though it's possible that I've tried a similar route in the past:

  • Gerudo Fortress
  • Ice Cavern
  • Fire Temple
  • Water Temple (Longshot)
  • Forest Temple
  • Bottom of the Well
  • Spirit Temple
  • Water Temple (2nd half)
  • Shadow Temple

I like playing the Forest Temple with the Longshot, because it gives you more options how to navigate the dungeon. Going all the vines up with a single shot can also be quite satisfying, so it's worth to play the Water Temple first. Sadly, you can't complete the Water Temple without the Fairy Bow, but I've complained about this several times in the past already...

By the way, I also tried for the first time, what happens, if you go to the Gerudo Fortress without the Hookshot. In that case they will simply drop you off by the tent in Gerudo Valley, instead of putting you in the cell.

I guess, in the future I could try things like Minimal / 3 Heart Runs for some fresher experiences, but I usually just have too much fun collecting everything and trying to get everything early as possible. For example I won't become an adult, before I haven't done everything possible as a child. This is important anyway, if you don't want to miss the one Deku Nut upgrade at the Forest Stage, but this also includes planting eight possible Magic Beans, getting 44 Gold Skulltulas and 20 Heart Pieces (21 is possible, if you try your luck at the Treasure Chest Game). Thing is that you can't teleport yet, so you have to make good use of the gateways and the owl to avoid crossing Hyrule Field all the time. Like getting from the Forest to Hyrule Castle feels actually faster, if you use the gateways to Lake Hylia and then fly with the owl to the town entrance...

And as soon as I became an adult, I usually do everything possible before the temples: get Epona, get the Hookshot, get the Goron Armor, clear Gerudo Fortress, beat the Ice Cavern, get Iron Boots and Zora Armor, half of the teleporting songs, etc.

That's it for now. Next will be Majora's Mask on the Virtual Console, but this should be somewhat more interesting thanks to the downgrades the game has seen with its 3DS version and a lot more potential to use Restore Points.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Sidequest Amount Revealed

The Amazon listing of the upcoming Piggyback guide for Breath of the Wild reveals the amount of side quest stuff that can be achieved in the game:

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Limited Master Sword?

We've already seen a couple of times now that the Master Sword in Breath of the Wild isn't exactly in its best shape anymore. It almost looks broken. And this raises the question, if there's actually a limit to the Master Sword in this game, similar to the Razor Sword in Majora's Mask.

Of course it wouldn't be lost forever, if it breaks, but you'd have some expert blacksmith repair the thing for you or something similar. And naturally you might bring it back to its former glory during the course of the story. But why would Nintendo limit the Master Sword like this? One word: Adventure Pouch.

The Adventure Pouch was a new concept in Skyward Sword that got now heavily extended in Breath of the Wild. It not only holds shields, ammo and potions, it pretty much holds your entire equipment. Skyward Sword also introduced durability to shields, where they could break, but where the shields also came with different advantages and you had to bring the right tools for the job. This system now applies to the majority of Link's items:

  • Melee Weapons
  • Bows and Arrows
  • Shields

(Not sure, if Armors have durability as well.)

One problem with the shield durability in Skyward Sword was the Hylian Shield. It couldn't break and essentially replaced all other shields in the game. It made them obsolete. But it also wasn't available until very late in the game, where it then felt like a huge reward... Something similar might apply to the Master Sword in Breath of the Wild, but probably not before it was fully restored. In its decayed state you might not be able to use it infinitely.

I personally do like this whole system of weapons, bows, arrows, shields, armors and even horses as resources, where you have to make strategic decisions of what to bring with you. It adds a new layer to the gameplay of Zelda. However, I worry that in the end of the game it all won't matter anymore, because Link simply runs around equipped with the traditional indestructible Hero's Clothes, the Master Sword, the Hylian Shield, the Hero's Bow and even Epona, making everything else in the game obsolete. It would be boring and also kind of give the wrong message, where the old stuff is still the best and the new Adventure Pouch system was just a hindrance, instead of an interesting gameplay mechanic.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Hyrule Blog & Breath of the Wild: Spoilers, Adventure Log

Breath of the Wild will be released soon, in six weeks to be exact, and we got a major outlet about the game one week ago with the Switch Presentation Trailer. Ideally, Nintendo will just let us have the game now without any further spoilers, but that's not how things usually go down.

So, how will Hyrule Blog proceed from now on? I will keep analyzing the materials, which Nintendo has shown us so far, so there will be more posts incoming with observations, speculations and theories for a little while. If you feel like the latest trailer has already shown too much, then you'd might want to stay off this site for now, though I will hide any major leaks and reveals under spoiler buttons.

I'm not sure, if I will look at anything that Nintendo might show from now on. With Skyward Sword they had the bad habit of showing pretty much the entire game in advance with the exception of the final dungeon. But even the final boss was there in the form of some artwork. It looks like they've learned from their mistakes and only want to show the early game, but we can't be sure right now. It's still fun to analyze the trailers and images, so I'm not entirely sure, if I will really avoid all of it. You'll see.

But I will definitely want to avoid any press materials. This is usually the really bad stuff, because these sites want clicks and to show as much as the NDAs allows them to. This was a disaster with A Link Between Worlds, where the press was allowed to show everything except for the final dungeon (again) and you could find all Lorule dungeons online in video form, before the game was out. How Nintendo could allow this, was beyond me. Previews might be coming up soon and reviews hopefully won't be published before the release week. But this is the phase, where I want to shut myself off from the media and don't want to learn anything new. Comments on Hyrule Blog will be disabled for that time.

Good news is that I will be able to take a vacation from March 3rd to March 13th - that's 11 days, where I can solely focus on playing the game and blogging about the experience. I will call this the "Breath of the Wild Adventure Log", which will be happening on a daily basis. During that time I might still keep the comments disabled or I will simply ignore them to avoid spoilers. And hopefully 11 days will be enough to explore most of the world and to beat the whole story.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Scary Guardians

Bad bots, bad bots
Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do
When they come for you...

Last Friday Nintendo showcased briefly, how it feels to leave the Great Plateau in Breath of the Wild during their Treehouse Livestream. Additionally there is some GameXplain footage, which is very similar. Both leave the Great Plateau in the same spot and grab a horse there. They took slightly different routes, but ultimately both ended up near the next Sheikah tower and found their demise by the hands (or tentacles) of a Guardian, who was roaming the area.

One hit of the beam kills you early on and they seem impenetrable, even Bomb Arrows just do little damage. And I have to give it to Nintendo that they managed to create quite the scary thing here. It feels different from the Phantoms in the Nintendo DS Zelda games, because those were more or less an evolution of the stealth segments that first came to be with Hyrule Castle in Ocarina of Time. The Guardians in Breath of the Wild seem more free-roaming, where it's harder to avoid them, and much more deadly. Early on you really have to wonder, how you will deal with them... And this makes them quite scary, because you're not used to the words "Game Over" in Zelda games anymore (unless you played Tri Force Heroes).

It's also something, where you learn to have respect for your enemies. When in played Ocarina of Time as a child, I was terrified of the Peahats in Hyrule Field, which were quite strong, as well as the Redeads. These became enemies that I wanted to avoid at all costs, where the Guardians might now bring this feeling back to Zelda.

However, we already know that they can be destroyed by these "Tek Arrows" that we got to see in the very first footage of the game during E3 2014:

In fact these arrows can kill a Guardian with only one shot, as seen during the Treehouse stream at E3 2016 (see here). And this pretty much flips the coin. Now it seems easy enough to take them out and it's only a matter of resources. You just need enough of these special EMP arrows, if you want to progress through the game without fear. And this makes you wonder, how many of these arrows there will be, whether they will be a finite resource and whether the Guardians do respawn or not.

Ideally these arrows are super rare early in the game, but become available in higher and infinite supplies later in the game. Otherwise you might not be able to destroy enough Guardians, if you're a bad shot. For the Guardians it would make sense, if they do not respawn, since the Sheikah technology seems to be a relic and destroying them should feel rewarding, especially if the EMP arrows are rare. But there might be machines that are still building them and it also might become boring, if you destroy them all. So, it will be interesting to see, how Nintendo will handle the whole Guardian mechanic in the game.

Breath of the Wild: Aonuma Talks Timeline

In an interview with waypoint Eiji Aonuma gets asked, where the game fits in the timeline. Of course Aonuma doesn't reveal this yet, but he had the following to say:

I wouldn't say that it obviously fits into any one part of the timeline, but if you play the game, you'll be able to work out where it fits. As you probably saw in the trailer, the most recent trailer, there's a woman's voice, and she says: "The history of the royal family of Hyrule is also the history of the Calamity Ganon." And as you know, the Zelda series, up until now, is a history of repeated attacks by Ganon. So, there's food for thought there. I don't want to say anything more as I'd like players to work it out for themselves, to play the game and see what they think.

This is interesting and still supports my timeline merge theory. He basically says that it seemingly doesn't fit anywhere in the timeline at first, but you'll figure it out while playing! This is huge, because the timeline placement isn't usually something that's revealed throughout the game.

Games like the Wind Waker, Spirit Tracks or A Link Between Worlds, where the events of past games are referred to as a legend, did so early on. And with direct sequels like Majora's Mask or Phantom Hourglass it's also clear right from the beginning. The only Zelda games, where the timeline placement sort of was revealed as a surprise at the end, were Oracle of Ages & Seasons.

But with Breath of the Wild things aren't obvious right now, because there seem to be references all over the timelines. Ruins from Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess, the Deku Tree and the Koroks from the Wind Waker surrounding the Master Sword pedestal from A Link to the Past, Zora and Rito existing together, and much more. It doesn't really add up. And Aonuma makes it sound like we will be able to understand while playing the game, so the timeline placement is probably something that's revealed during the game (and not just some afterthought that gets released by Nintendo on Twitter). So, in the very least the development team put some real thought into it and Aonuma is even interested in the reactions from the people, so it must be something unusual.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Backstory Discovered

Spoiler Warning!

Remember the map that Reggie showed at the Treehouse Livestream last week, which seemingly depicts the backstory of the game?

The Treehouse guy next to him was sure that you couldn't make much out with this, but as it turns out, you can translate the Sheikah texts on the border into Japanese and from there into English. Credit goes to Zeltik and his community, who put it all together:

This adds up nicely with the theories that we had so far, including the one about the 4 Giant Guardians. We have multiple races living together and an age of prosperity created by the Sheikah technology. The Sheikah then also sealed away Calamity Ganon with their technology, an army of Guardians led by four divine beasts. However, this army frightened the king so much that the Sheikah were banned. And a hundred years later it shows that it might have been right to fear this technology.

Anyhow, this is probably the backstory that you get told very early in the game, maybe even as an intro. It's still possible that a timeline merge will be part of the backstory and has led to this scenario as well, since it's not really explained, how Calamity Ganon (as opposed to the original Ganon) came to be. Also, the bird people really are the Rito, it would require an explanation, why they are existing together with the Zora.

We also know that Hylia will play an important role this time, where she might even be the one, who unified the timeline. Popular fan theories put her as the Goddess of Time from Majora's Mask and maybe it was her, who made this new Hyrule possible in the first place.

Also, it's noteworthy, how Link and Zelda worked together 100 years ago, but failed. So, some of the scenes with the two of them from the last trailer might have been flashbacks.

Breath of the Wild: Box Arts

As usual the covers between the North American and the European version of the new Zelda game differ. However, while usually I prefer the European version, this the rest of the world certainly has the better one. It just looks glorious and captures the classic "Link on a rock looking all over Hyrule" view perfectly:

The European version is much more vibrant and colorful, but the perspective is more limited and it doesn't have the same epic feel to it:

One more good reason to import the North American version. I just wish that the Master Edition wasn't as rare. Or Nintendo could bring back the dual covers...

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Link and Zelda Claim the Master Sword Together

There's so much hidden stuff in the newest trailer, it's quite astonishing. Canyarion from ZeldaPodsmashers did some frame-by-frame inspections to assemble a scene, where Link and Zelda go out together to claim the legendary Master Sword. And this is even a scene, which we've seen before at E3 2016.

If you do a frame perfect snapshot at the end of the trailer, you can actually spot Zelda next to Link, who's pulling out the Master Sword:

Additionally you can spot Zelda fighting a Guardian with an orb of light to protect Link. You've certainly noticed the orb scene in the trailer, but it does a quick turnaround and if you pause at the right moment, you can see the Guardian and Link behind her:

You can also see the Guardian's red target beam during the rest. Anyhow, the same scene is very reminiscent of the ending of the trailer from E3 2016, where Link hides in some rubble and a Guardian climbs over him. And those might actually be connected, since the atmosphere is very similar with the rain and the sparks in the air.

It also might tie together with the scene, where Zelda cries in Link's arms. And also with the shot, where you can see her kneeling in front of the Deku Tree, but this appears to happen later on. Zelda is still dirty, but the sun shines again. But they might have taken a rest after their battle.

And after all this we might get to the moment, where they seemingly part ways, Zelda with the Sheikah Slate in her hands and Link with the Master Sword. It's just that they've somehow gotten clean uniforms in the meantime.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Breath of the Wild: Playable Characters?

Here are some of the new artworks for Breath of the Wild, showing some of the more important characters in the game:

What do these artworks all have in common? They all look like they were made for Hyrule Warriors 2! With the reveal of Fire Emblem Warriors, I suggested that this new project is a good thing, because Koei Tecmo should wait for Breath of the Wild, before they start developing Hyrule Warriors 2, since the new Zelda epoch might deliver lots of good material for the sequel. And as it turns out, Nintendo is already playing fully into Koei Tecmo's hands with their character designs...

Look at them, everyone is holding a specific weapon fitting their characters. Zelda is equipped with the Sheikah Slate, the "Here it comes!!!" Goron has a some kind of hammer sword and the Zora girl uses a trident, probably stolen from King Neptun himself. Also, both the Goron and the Zora girl wear a blue scarf, much like the Rito with the Bow from the previous trailer.

And then it struck me: I already had the feeling that there are multiple Heroes of Hylia, where both Princess Zelda and the Rito, who's equipped with a bow, might be playable characters in the game. And this might be the case with other new characters here as well. Probably Zelda and all four protectors / riders of the Four Giant Guardians might accompany Link through parts of his adventures, especially if they explore the dungeons together that might be inside those Giant Guardians. We even already saw Link together with the Gerudo girl in front of the giant camel:

You would be able to switch between characters for some "coop" play, which isn't even a new thing. We already had this in the Wind Waker with both Medli and Makar, who were also playable characters at your side for the duration of one dungeon. And of course there was Phantom Zelda in Spirit Tracks or Gongoron in Phantom Hourglass. This simply might be the next evolution of the system, where an entirety of five additional characters is playable next to Link. At least they all look like they are ready for the part!

And with this Breath of the Wild would offer the ability to play as different races again, which is one of the coolest features of both Majora's Mask and Hyrule Warriors. They might also use this for some actual coop multiplayer, where a 2nd player can join via Wii U GamePad or something. But that's taking it maybe a little too far...

We'll see about this, in the very least it should be clear that these characters will play an important role in the story. But hopefully they will be more than just that!

Breath of the Wild: The King of the Merge

The history of the of the Royal Family of Hyrule is also the history of the Calamity Ganon, a primal evil that has endured over the ages...
- Impa

I think, you are now ready, ready to hear what happened 100 years ago...
- The King of Hyrule

The Triforce. The sacred triangles left behind by the Goddesses, after they created the world of Hyrule, will grant any wish to whoever touches it. However, if someone with an unbalanced heart touches it, it will split into three pieces. This is the Legend of the Hero of Time. After the evil thief Ganondorf entered the Sacred Realm and tried to conquer the world using the Triforce, it split and a battle over Hyrule unfolded. However, not only the Triforce was left split after this battle, but time itself.

The world of Hyrule kept existing in three different times, but each of them was haunted by the calamity that is Ganon. Because of this one Hyrule was reigned by darkness, another was flooded by the Goddesses and in the third a constant battle over the Triforce occurred over the ages. But the battles were ultimately won and the Triforce left in the possession of the Royal Family of Hyrule, where they could use its power to do good. The Sheikah, who protected the Royal Family since the early times, even were able to create new, magical technology to bring Hyrule to prosperity.

One king, however, learned that his prosperous kingdom is in fact just one piece of a broken world, broken in the veins of time ever since the Hero of Time fought Ganondorf. With all of them plagued by evil, the king decided to use the Triforce to reunite the worlds to form one new peaceful kingdom, guarded by the technology of the Sheikah. But this had its price. Not only were the worlds of Hyrule united into a gigantic new land, but also the Calamity of Ganon, forming a massive evil of unseen power. The Sheikah were able to banish this evil into Hyrule Castle with an army of Guardians made from their magical technology. But the new world of Hyrule ever since is at unrest.


This or something similar I could imagine as the backstory of Breath of the Wild, to put some more meat into my timeline merge theory from June. It would be quite the epic fan service to use Ocarina of Time and the Legends about the Hero of Time as the starting point, where the timeline split is in coherence with the split of the Triforce. The nice twist about this approach is that it was ultimately the king's fault that Calamity Ganon got created and now haunts Hyrule Castle.

There is even a scene from the trailer, which supports this theory somewhat, where Zelda looks at Hyrule Castle in what's clearly a flashback and you can see a glowing light coming from it:

This might be the king making his wish...

Breath of the Wild: The 4 Giant Guardians

Let's start digging a little bit deeper. Yesterday Nintendo showed us more glimpses at the story of Breath of the Wild and the "Legend of Calamity Ganon", where we can put certain things together to understand what the main goals of the game might might be. Some of the mysteries from last year could even be solved now.

For example we have seen this huge flying thing in the air and the big monster climbing over Death Mountain several times during E3. You can see both of them from a great distance and it now seems that these are in fact Giant Guardians... In the new trailer you can spot the one from Death Mountain:

Now, in the Treehouse Live stream Nintendo then showed the map that comes with the Master Edition of the game. And on the back of said map there is an interesting illustration that shows the "Legend of the Calamity Ganon":

Take a good look here. In the center, below Hyrule Castle, you can spot Ganon surrounded by dozens and dozens of Guardians (I wonder, if this represents the actual number in the game). In the corners you can see what appears to be four giant guardians: a bird, a gecko, an elephant and a camel. The bird we have also seen before in the Life in the Ruins trailer, where it is shown in both a blue and a purple red state. In the new trailer we can also spot the other three, you can see the feet of the moving elephant guardian, the camel guardian sunken in the desert and the "gecko" making a fiery climb through the mountains. They are all there.

Additionally, in the artwork they all have someone, who rides and commands them. Here it looks like the Sheikah technology was used to banish Calamity Ganon into Hyrule Castle and that makes a lot of sense from what we already know. But in the present the technology was corrupted by Ganon. You have the Guardians in their purple red state running around, wreaking havoc. And the four giant guardians also seem to be corrupted.

Link's mission probably will be to undo the corruption and bring them back into control of their riders. These riders will essentially be the "Seven Sages" of this game and we've potentially seen them all in the trailer. There is one of each race: the flying guardian is guided by the Rito, the gecko by the Gorons, the camel by the Gerudo and the elephant by the Zora.

It's still not sure, whether the new bird people really are the Rito, but looking at the new evolved Zora designs, it's entirely possible. There are Zora based on different species of fish (which is yet another thing that reminds me of One Piece next to Arms, because the new Zora seem a lot closer to the Fishmen from that saga) and similar there could be Rito based on different types of birds. Anyway, the "Bird Link" is guiding the flying guardian, we've even seen him fly up to it in the previous trailer, and the "Here it comes!!!" Goron guy is probably in charge of the gecko guardian.

And all this could relate to the rumors from last year that the game will have four main dungeons and one hundred minidungeons. The part about the minidungeons came true with the Sheikah shrines, but so far we haven't seen or heard anything about the other four dungeons.

Until now. Those four giant guardians might be the four main dungeons! It's not as apparent with the flying bird and the climbing gecko, because they don't look as big at first glance, but take a look at the scene from the new trailer, where Link and the Gerudo girl stand in front of what seems to be the entrance of a dungeon:

That's the camel giant!

So, this means that the game might offer four dungeons that are actually giant creatures moving through the world. That's quite impressive and it's certainly a lot more original than having yet another set of Forest, Fire, Water and Desert Temples.

Breath of the Wild: Return of the Gerudo

The Deku Tree isn't the only thing that will make a return from the GameCube times in Breath of the Wild. In fact this will be the first time since Four Swords Adventures, where the Gerudo tribe will make an appearance. One of them seems to even have a more important role similar to Nabooru from Ocarina of Time, where she accompanies Link in parts of his new adventure:

Of course it's not entirely clear that she's in fact a Gerudo, since she also shares some similarities to Din from the Oracle saga. But with these games Capcom took quite some design inspiration from the Nintendo 64 Zelda games and their characters, where Din was probably inspired by the Gerudo and Onox even has a Gerudo symbol on his chest and looks like an Iron Knuckle.

But there's additional proof that there will indeed be Gerudo in Breath of the Wild, because the new trailer showed us an entire Gerudo desert town and you can clearly see the Gerudo symbol above the entrance gate:

I wouldn't be surprised, if this town actually will be named "Nabooru", following my theory from last month about the Villages of the Sages. There could also be a Goron mountain town called "Darunia" and some Zora settlement called "Ruto". In the Treehouse Live footage from yesterday you can even spot them crossing a bridge named "Gleeock Bridge", so naming places after beings and things from past Zelda games might be really a convention in Breath of the Wild. But this is just a side note.

In any case, this town looks well crafted. I really like, how they are using the water streams that are coming from these giant goblet rocks. We have similar rock formations in my home area, just without the water streams, but I really like the design of the new town. I'm eager to explore it all and maybe again become a worthy male member in the all-female Gerudo clan.

It's also nice that the Gerudo are getting something that looks like a real desert town. The fortress in Ocarina of Time was pretty amazing as well, but it never felt like a real place to live in, it was just a series of dungeon tunnels. The same with the Pirate Fortress in Majora's Mask. In Four Swords Adventures the Gerudo had a small village made of tents, but this was really just a minor occurrence. So, it's good to see this tribe back and that it gets more fleshed out.

Also, the trailer had another part of the desert area with some water flows in the mountains:

At first this reminded me of the Diamond Steppe Island from the Wind Waker, just much larger. But it's also reminiscent of the waterfalls that you can see in the Gerudo town. It's not the same place, though.

Breath of the Wild: The Deku Tree Returns

"That look on your face tells me that you have no recollection of me, however..."

The Deku Tree returns in Breath of the Wild and its feet the legendary Master Sword rests. The Koroks are all over the forest as well and all of this raises more questions about the story of Breath of the Wild and where the game might take place in the timeline.

The quote from the Deku Tree in the newest trailer is interesting, because he implies that he has talked to Link before, but he has simply forgotten, what has happened hundred years ago. It might even be that Link left the Master Sword in the protection of the Deku Tree and now has returned to claim it again.

It might also be that the Deku Tree isn't referring to this new incarnation of Link, but to the Hero of Time or the Hero of Winds or the soul of the hero in general, which is reborn ever so often. We can't say for sure.

But in general this is a very curious setting. In the three timeline branches we've only seen the Deku Tree and the Koroks in the Wind Waker, which on first glance supports the idea of this game taking place after the Wind Waker, in a time where Hyrule has risen from the Great Sea again, probably long after Spirit Tracks. The Zora don't really fit in there, because they supposedly evolved into the Rito, but the new Zora in Breath of the Wild could be some oceanic subspecies.

On the other hand it's curious, how in the trailer we can see the Hyrule Castle Town from Twilight Princess getting destroyed by Guardians. But of course it could just be that a similar castle and town was built in the newer new Hyrule. But it's also curious, how the Master Sword pedestal still looks exactly like the one from A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds, just much older, and it's entirely possible that the Deku Tree grew in the other timeline branches as well. It could be that he was there in the same location all along, but you couldn't see it in A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds because of the cropped topdown view. Imagine that! This would certainly create an interesting mindfuck.

But overall I'm still a fan of the timeline merge theory that I've been advocating since E3. It's still the one "explain it all" wildcard that really would provide a restart for the franchise built on its entire past. But more about that later!

Breath of the Wild: Princess Zelda in Action?

The newest trailer of Breath of the Wild solved the mystery of the female blonde character from the last trailer in December. It was all Zelda! Again, it felt like Nintendo was playing with the audience on purpose with all the rumors about a playable female Link going on. But that should be out of the question for Breath of the Wild, because this game again builds heavily on the relation between Zelda and Link, as you can see in the newest trailer with Zelda crying in Link's arms.

They already tried to achieve something similar with Skyward Sword, where I even made a post about the cute Zelda at the time and how she's more of a character that you might want to save, instead of some far away princess hidden in a castle or dungeon, who you have never even met before. However, this didn't really work out so great. The beginning was lovely, but ultimately Zelda then just spent her time in the game running away from you, instead of running into your arms. And she grew quite a distance to Link, when she became aware of her role as the incarnation of Hylia. This kind of ruined the whole approach and hopefully their relation will be more fulfilling in Breath of the Wild.

It also still looks like she has a more active role in the game. She wears the same blue "uniform" as Link and she might even have her own Sheikah Slate, though in the trailer only of them has one, so there might only be the one Sheikah Slate. In the above scene Zelda has the Sheikah Slate, while Link carries the Master Sword. Even though Aonuma denied a playable Zelda at E3, it really looks like it's a possibility at this point, where you take the role of Zelda for a part of the game that focuses on "Wisdom" (the puzzles), while Link brings the necessary Power and Courage.

But it also looks like that both Link and Zelda come from the same time and were put in stasis for those 100 years in between. Here it's possible that certain scenes from this trailer and the last one are simply flashbacks, which is a theory that already came up in December from channels like GameXplain, but I'm not sure, if I would like the game to jump between the times as much. I'd rather explore the mystery of what happened hundred years ago in the present.

I'd also prefer an approach, where Zelda has a more active role in the game and you can switch to her, if you need the Sheikah Slate, or where both go on their separate missions. However, this would feel needlessly complicated and maybe even limiting, since Link can just do it all. He can use weapons and the Sheikah Slate, there's no need to split this between two characters, unless you want to perform certain actions at the same time. But then again this might be complicated to control. So, in the end I'm not sure, why Zelda has the Sheikah Slate in the footage.

In any case, they seemingly tried to make Zelda more loveable than ever with her new look. Those big eyes (and eyebrows, haha) create this emotional connection, where you want to care for her... Even more so the heartbreaking cry in the trailer. I personally like this design more than her Skyward Sword look with these goddessawful bangs. And while her Twilight Princess design was amazingly graceful, she felt too cold and distanced in that game. In Breath of the Wild she looks cute and serious at the same time. I'm not entirely sold on the new looks just yet, but I do like her more than the Skyward Sword incarnation.

Breath of the Wild: Switch Presentation Trailer

Let's get to the meat! You can watch the newest trailer from the end of yesterday's Nintendo Switch Presentation again and again on Youtube. Or don't and better stop reading this site right now, because I will go into detail about the trailer from this point on in various posts.

Overall I really hope that this is it. We have a release date, we have Limited Editions announced, we will be playing the game in exactly seven weeks, and we've seen more than enough of the game already to get everyone, who's potentially interested, excited. Best case scenario is that Nintendo just let's us have it and keep up the current mystery around the story, the giant world and everything. We should explore that on our own. But with Nintendo it can go very quickly from "let's show you, how it feels to leave the Great Plateau" to "hey, take a look at Calamity Ganon"... So, the next seven weeks can be critical and it might be a good idea to stay off the media for the time being.

Anyway, last year at the E3 Nintendo really set a focus on exploration, action and puzzle solving - essentially the gameplay, which got people like me excited, who are playing Zelda games for this stuff. However, it left the story loving part of the Zelda community baffled, even skeptical or disappointed, whatsoever. And the focus of the new trailer was clearly to get the attention of those fans, who play Zelda first and foremost for the story, while the Game Awards trailer was somewhere in between. And from what I could observe (for example on ZeldaEurope, a very RPG and story focused Zelda community), this worked splendidly. Reactions turned from "meh" to "woah" and Nintendo should have the attention of the entire Zelda community now.

And it's all thanks to the power of nostalgia and voice acting. The latter certainly feels unusual, but it did help with the cinematics of the trailer. However, quality differs between the languages and might even cause a quite different experience for everyone. I watched the trailer in subbed Japanese, English and German and I haven't fully decided, what I like best or worst. German was probably the worst, for example the Goron lacks the "Here it comes!!!" power from the English version and the old woman (probably Impa) is clearly spoken by a young woman altering her voice to sound old, while the English King sounds too young and the English Zelda seems to lack some soul. Overall I liked the Japanese best and I hope that you can select the original tone with subtitles. But this will certainly add a layer of replayability to the game, at least with the European version. With different playthroughs I might want to experience different voice overs.

The rest of it really plays with the nostalgia of the fans, as evident by the music, where for the first time they transitioned into the traditional Zelda music theme with Breath of the Wild. They brought the Deku Tree with the Koroks back, as well as other popular races from both Ocarina of Time and the Wind Waker (including the Gerudo) to form some group of "sages" that will accompany Link throughout the game, they are having a Zelda character that keeps you emotionally invested and more. Individual posts about all these topics will follow, so stay tuned!

Fire Emblem Warriors Revealed

Earlier this week we had rumors about another Nintendo-based Warriors game from Koei Tecmo and after some consideration, Fire Emblem felt like the most natural choice. It seems like Nintendo and Koei Tecmo agreed on that and presented us yesterday with a small teaser about the game. There will also be a Fire Emblem Direct next week, where we'll hopefully can take a better look on the game.

The most important question for this blog is, what Fire Emblem Warriors means for the future of Hyrule Warriors. Well, overall this should be a good thing. Hyrule Warriors - Legends was done at the end of October, where certainly only a part of the team actually worked on the DLC, because the DLC didn't have any new environments or music. Koei Tecmo most likely wants the "Nintendo team" (if there's such a thing) to keep working, but it's too early for a Hyrule Warriors 2.

With Hyrule Warriors 2 it's to wait for the storm to pass that is Breath of the Wild. This game will be huge for the Zelda franchise and offer lots of new potential material. Just looking at the newest trailer from yesterday's presentation shows us quite a couple of potential characters that could join the roster, while the new world of Hyrule with its Sheikah technology could play an important part in the story as well. So, it's best to wait, until that game is out and Koei Tecmo can incorporate its contents to plan a sequel.

The alternative wouldn't be a true sequel, but something like Hyrule Warriors - Extreme Legends, where they simply release the same game a third time on the Switch with slightly better graphics, more characters, a few more scenarios and even more additional Adventure Maps. But you don't want the Switch line-up to keep feasting on rehashes like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and I personally wouldn't want to go through this massive game yet another time, since I already invested roughly 700 hours in both versions. After so much time it's growing a little stale.

But with a true sequel they can set the focus somewhat differently. They could invest in more enemy units (e.g. Gerudo, Zora, Robot, Guardian or Shadow Beast armies), have many more environments, new gameplay features and a complete new Adventure Mode experience (could be based on A Link to the Past). And of course much better visuals...

Fire Emblem Warriors can be a training ground for Koei Tecmo to find out, what's possible on the Switch. And they can use this experience to give us the best possible experience with Hyrule Warriors 2.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Nintendo Switch Presentation: Thoughts & Impressions

It's Friday the 13th and whether this was a lucky or an unlucky day for Nintendo, will be decided in the future. But the die is cast and overall it didn't feel all that exciting. The launch line up is very weak and it doesn't seem to get much better throughout the year. Also, the Joycons seem like a good reason to be skeptical as well, together with the price.

The console price itself is "okay", at least it's not much more expansive than the Wii U. But buying separate Joycons seems quite expansive, probably because there's so much stuff in them. I like that they both have Gyrosensors, but it doesn't seem like this gets used for Breath of the Wild in any special way. A Skyward Sword control scheme would have been great. I'm curious about the HD Rumble and the new sensor feature, but we still have to see, how this will play out in games.

Now, currently I'm not planning to buy the Switch at launch and it seems that other than Breath of the Wild, which will be available for Wii U anyway, I won't be missing much.

  • Arms: This is probably my favorite of the new games. It looks like a fun new Nintendo twist on the fighting game genre. It reminded me of One Piece at first, which is super popular in Japan, where Spring Man looks a lot like Franky, who also has the cyan Elvis hair and throws fists on retractable chains. I wouldn't even be surprised, if this game has some sort of Rubber Man. But the music theme is super catchy and like with Splatoon Nintendo seems to be on a good way to create some new IP here. It even has a similar feel to it without the schoolkid look, which is why it appeals to me somewhat more.

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: Easily the most disappointing reveal. It just adds five "new" characters (though I'm happy that Dry Bones is back, he would be my favorite for 200cc / the lightweight class) and the overdue Battle Mode. All of this should have be available on the Wii U as DLC and not as some new fullprice game.

  • Splatoon 2: I haven't played much of Splatoon yet, so I can't really tell the difference. But still, this is quite unusual for Nintendo, who normally doesn't produce straightforward sequels like this. It really just feels like an add-on to Splatoon more than anything else.

  • Super Mario Odyssey: A living hat? Why does that feel so familiar? I wonder, if Mario will turn into a wolf next or ride a train. It looks fancy, but overall I'm not much interested in this game yet. I've had enough of Mario for a while.

  • Fire Emblem Warriors: So, I guessed right and Fire Emblem Warriors it is! This is easily the best choice as a "filler" Warriors game, until Hyrule Warriors II can start development. More on that later.

It's also noteworthy that Nintendo is stripping down on the free services. Online will be paid and hopefully this money goes into some servers. If I have to pay just to play over slowdown p2p again, I certainly will feel ripped off. Miiverse will be gone and I never really used it much other than to share screenshots, which now can be done via the PlayStation 4 Share Button anyway.

Also, no StreetPass, but I won't miss that either. I've rarely ever completed any of the puzzles in the StreetPass Lobby and it's kind of annoying, if game features are bound to it (like the Shadow Link battles in A Link Between Worlds), so it's basically a relief. The Nintendo 3DS had a lot of features to offer, where some of it even makes me use the system daily (mostly the Badge Arcade), but it's distracting from the actual games. The Switch interface puts its full focus on them.

But while it puts the focus on the games, there isn't really much to have here as of now. Let's see, what E3 will bring. Well, I've never been an early adopter, so I'm not unhappy about the situation. And my Wii U isn't unhappy about the situation either, because it will still keep getting attention.

Breath of the Wild: Master Edition Coming March 3rd

March 3rd it is! This feels quite unreal, because that's very soon. I'm so not prepared for the game yet, so for me personally a June release would have been better, but I'm happy that it's a worldwide Switch + Wii U release, so no one is left behind!

And it's crazy, how Nintendo likes to play with the rumors these days. I wouldn't even be surprised, if the rumors that Emily Rogers and co. are getting, were fully leaked on purpose just to make a show. But Zelda is really the only big launch title right now, otherwise there only seem to be some minigames available at the Switch launch, so Zelda had to be the strong horse.

Anyway, behold... there is a Special Editon and a Master Edition of Breath of the Wild for the Switch coming with various goodies:

  • Master Sword Statue
  • Sheikah Slate Switch Carrying Case
  • World Map
  • Sheikah Eye Coin
  • Soundtrack CD
  • And the game of course

The Special Edition doesn't have the Master Sword replica.

I certainly will preorder the Master Edition for Switch and also the Wii U game. Yes, you've heard me right, the Wii U game. I won't buy the Switch at launch, because it's like I had predicted and there seemingly won't be a Zelda Edition color of the system at launch. I'm guessing, something like this might be released for Christmas 2017, with the game digitally pre-installed. I will be waiting for that, because it's pretty much inevitable, and give my Wii U some more love in the meantime, because I also bought that system for the new Zelda.

And I can only advise every Zelda fan, who already owns a Wii U, to do the same. I know, I know, it's very tempting, because the Switch version somewhat looks better and there's the Master Edition and so much Switch hype. But unless you don't mind missing or buying a Zelda Edition later on, then you will regret the launch purchase. Trust me. That's just how Nintendo rolls these days. If you really want that Master Edition, you can buy it right now and just put it on a shelf for the time being. And I suppose that Breath of the Wild might be a game that's worth getting twice.

Also, the Switch doesn't seem to offer much else at the moment. For example Mario Kart 8 Deluxe only really adds the overdue Battle Mode and some missing characters, which should have been DLC for the Wii U game (and still might be). The new Super Mario Odyssey game won't be available before Christmas and I haven't even started playing Splatoon on my Wii U...

(Oh, and I will have to get a new TV soon... Originally I wanted to replay all 3D Zeldas on my Wii U, before Breath of the Wild comes out. This will prove to be very difficult now, since I'm still in the middle of Ocarina of Time. But I'll try.)

More about the new trailer and the Switch in general later today!

The Master and Special Editions won't be available in Europe, it seems. Only a "Limited Edition" with the Master Sword and soundtrack, but no map, coin or case. Lame! I really liked all the items. But I suppose, I could import the Master Edition, since we don't have a region lock anymore.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Another Nintendo Warriors from Koei Tecmo? Fire Emblem?

The rumor mill will keep spinning wildly until Friday, where Nintendo hopefully will put all cards on the table. However, there is one rumor that caught my attention about Koei Tecmo working on a new Warriors game based on a Nintendo-franchise other than Zelda.

While it would be better, if they exclusively focused on Hyrule Warriors, it does make sense in the current situation. Right now it's best to wait, until Breath of the Wild has been released, before they plan and start a potential sequel to Hyrule Warriors. That way they can use content from the new Zelda epoch to create a true sequel. We're talking Hyrule Warriors 2 here and hopefully not some Hyrule Warriors - Extreme Legends Edition or whatever, where they present us the same game a third time and just add ten more characters and five more Adventure Maps. No, thanks. For the Switch it needs a fully blown sequel and that needs time. And in the meantime Koei Tecmo might produce a different Warriors title for Nintendo, because they are

(I'm personally not interested in another Warriors game, save for maybe One Piece - Pirate Warriors, because you only really need one Warriors game in your life. Last time I've checked, my Nintendo 3DS recorded 666 hours on Legends, while I was above 700 hours on the Wii U Version. That's crazy and I love Hyrule Warriors, but I don't really need another game like this in my life.)

So, what could it be? Koei Tecmo has expressed interest in other Nintendo franchises in the past, including Pokémon, Mario and even Starfox (the latter even had a prototype, which was rejected by Nintendo, see here). But they all feel kind of "odd" as a choice for a Warriors game, because you'd want a battlefield scenario and a wide roster of characters. How would Super Mario fit in that? Also, Mario has more than enough spin-off games already, it doesn't also need a battle game. Pokémon would be weird as well, while it got the perfect spin-off collaboration with Pokémon Tournament / Pokken already.

The best (and most obvious / boring) choice would probably be Fire Emblem...

Fire Emblem might not be the most popular Nintendo franchise, but it can easily keep up with Dynasty Warriors in terms of sales and popularity. It's a good match.

It already comes with the perfect scenarios for such a battle focused game and it would really enrich the Fire Emblem franchise, where you normally get tactical RPGs with a turn-based battle system. This way you could now really get into the battle action with your favorite characters, where the franchise offers plenty of them for a wide cast, maybe even more than the Zelda franchise has to offer (but maybe not with the same level of variety).

Additionally, there seem to be many attractive female characters, where Koei Tecmo can do their usual magic...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2017 Zelda Calendar

Originally I didn't want to get the new "official" Zelda Calendar for this year, because I never really have been satisfied with the quality of them. But it somehow felt like I missing something and these things are quite cheap, so I decided to get it anyway.

The selection of images feels richer than in the last two years, where the motives were rather bland, but it also somehow felt very familiar. And when I checked my calendar collection, it struck me that they reused quite a lot of the illustrations from the 2013 Calendar, which was the first Zelda Calendar that I got. In fact half of the motives simply got recycled, which is an even lazier effort than usual, especially considering the vast variety of artworks from the Zelda series that they could have used.

Another big issue with these calendars is the up-to-dateness, because they get planned over an entire year in advance. In fact you can already check out and pre-order the 2018 Zelda Calendar on Amazon, which looks like the best one in a long time. It has a nice selection of artworks (except for January, where they reused something from 2013 and 2017 yet again) and because they decided to use the E3 artwork from Breath of the Wild, it feels more up-to-date than usual.

Can't say that about the 2017 Calendar, though...

As you can see, this is all old stuff. Majora's Mask 3D is the newest title in there. There's nothing from Tri Force Heroes, even though that's a game from 2015, or Twilight Princess HD, which was released in March of 2016.

Also, it seems like Hyrule Warriors is on the ignore list. It might just be that they don't have the rights to use the artworks from Koei Tecmo, but it still would be nice to have something from that game.

It also would be nice, if they would stop having some intern, who probably never has played a single Zelda game in his life, randomly throw artworks together. These calendars are really just made for the quick buck, there's no soul in them...