A quick note that was requested of me: if you are a Zelda fan who would like to see Link and Zelda (or the other primary female character, if there is one) in the next Zelda game kiss, please sign my friend's petition here. It can hardly be expected that Nintendo could include that before the game's release, if they haven't already by now, but it's still helpful and interesting to know how many fans out there agree and support it.
Warning, this article may contain spoilers.
In my inner circle, there has been a resurgence in interest in the last console game in the Legend of Zelda series: Skyward Sword. We've all had a lot of fun talking about it, but something interesting has happened in that, for some reason, this game from 2011 has somehow become as hyped up as a game that hasn't even come out yet would be. I see this as happening for many reasons, but the big three are the following: (1) the visual appeal; (2) the gameplay; and, most importantly to me, (3) the emotional connection between Link and Zelda. I ship them so hard, and I would love nothing more than to see the petition above come true. The story in Skyward Sword made me cry -- something that no other Zelda game has been able to do for me. In fact, it made me cry seven times. It's hard to top that.
On that note, I (and pretty much everyone else, but perhaps for different reasons) have high expectations for the next console installment for the franchise for the Wii U (expected to come out in 2015). With how incredible the last console game was, it's going to be hard to sell it for me with the new one, and again, I feel many others would agree. Having said that, the game developers have offered us some information to go on for the next game, allowing us to get an idea of what they have in mind. Still, there are a few concerns and desires in my heart.
Originally, this was going to be an article of my hopes and suggestions for the upcoming game; however, I decided that would be uninformative in the grand scheme of things. So instead, I've been conducting polls in the two Legend of Zelda communities on Google+ to get an idea of what everyone else wants, and everything I've said up to this point will just be a confession of my biases. My results aren't representative (sadly), and my polls have their methodological flaws, but they still provide some evidence that the opinions I'm expressing in this article are not exclusively my own. Below I'm going to share and summarize the results of my findings (not in order), and explain what this means for the upcoming Zelda game for the Wii U. There were 5 polls, and each one was asked twice. I'll link to the original polls at the end of the article.
I have no idea who's going to read this, but I hope it ends up meaning something in the end. I'd love nothing more than for this collection of data to have some impact on what kinds of things are included in the final game. I'm not getting my hopes up, though, since the game is coming out in a year. Even so, I'd love for Zelda fans to express their views in the comments. With that, let's begin!
Question: What would you like Nintendo to focus on the most in the upcoming Zelda game for the Wii U?
Between the two communities, there was a total of 161 votes for this question (including the write-ins). The results were as follows:
- 59.63% of the participants (96 of 161) selected "Story."
- 3.73% of the participants (6 of 161) selected "Graphics."
- 18.63% of the participants (30 of 161) selected "Gameplay."
- 14.29% of the participants (23 of 161) selected "Dungeons/Adventuring."
- 2.48% of the participants (4 of 161) selected "Wii U Controls."
- 1.24% of the participants (2 of 161) selected "All of the above."
|Eiji Aonuma, in all his glory.|
Thus we can see that the majority of respondents expressed that their top priority is the story, while the runner-up is gameplay. The fewest number of respondents prioritized Wii U controls. One respondent who selected "gameplay" as their choice further specified that they enjoyed fishing. Another respondent offered these sentiments (some content removed for the time being for clarity):
"I like music. Listening to the music is always the first thing I do with Zelda games. I really like it that they make the places like houses and dungeon have different set kinds of music, but not all Zelda games are like that. Like Phantom Hourglass...
Anyways back on the topic, I would like the story to be focused on. [...] As long as they have new good stories, I'm good."I would have to agree. Music is usually so beautifully composed in Zelda games, and it's a huge priority of my own; and while I have hesitance since Koji Kondo is not composing the music for this game, I have no doubt I'll be impressed (especially since he's still supervising). For this poll, I also chose the story, and it's probably obvious why given all I said at the beginning of this article.
Question: The majority of you stated that your largest priority for Zelda Wii U was the story. I'd like to ask for a bit more detail on that particular notion. Please tell me which of the options best represents your #1 concern with the story of Zelda Wii U.As stated, since the majority of voters selected the "Story" option, I decided to ask for further details. I wanted to know particularly what part of the story people are most concerned about, or simply prioritize higher than any other. There were 123 participants in this poll total. The results are as follows:
- 6.5% of the participants (8 of 123) selected "Character Development."
- 6.5% of the participants (8 of 123) selected "How It Fits Into Zelda Lore/Timeline."
- 6.5% of the participants (8 of 123) selected "Game Plot."
- 2.44% of the participants (3 of 123) selected "The Antagonist/Villain."
- 78.05% of the participants (96 of 123) selected "All of the above."
Again, sometimes the categories could overlap; however, it's very clear that the majority view was that all of the listed factors were the priority for the story. Overall I'd have to agree, but of the options my two biggest concerns were character development and game plot; though I selected character development as my #1 priority. The results are pretty self-explanatory, but some respondents who did not select the "All of the above" option explained why they did so:
"Being a theorist, I guess my answer (excluding the "All of the above" choice) is "How it Fits into Zelda Lore/Timeline."It's important to consider things such as this because depending on which fans you go to, you find different priorities based exclusively from their fan-based priorities. Theorists will give different answers from general enthusiasts, though this could also relate directly to the individuals' interests like in any other situation. Still, one who has particular investment in one area of Zelda fandom may select the option which would affect that investment the most. Another respondent shared their views:
"I voted character dev. I'm curious about timeline placement, but it's not a concern for me since the timeline will be revised in the future anyway.Again, I couldn't help but agree with everything said here, but we will get into more detail with that in the next question. In summation, while there are some specifics that people would like to focus on, it seems that the distribution is even around all of the specific options, and the large majority of people are concerned with all of them.
Story/plot... Not necessarily important for a Zelda game I feel. I was actually just listening to an interview on the radio about how, with stories, a less-detailed story can do very well if the characters are given proper depth and growth.
My main desire for wanting focus on char dev is because I feel like it's the one area Nintendo constantly neglects. They need to improve in this area. I do not want Link developed more, just the supporting cast."
Question: (1) Yes/No, was the emotional connection in Skyward Sword a good thing?I'm going to pay the most attention to this question, since people had the most to say about it. This was a two-part question. I wanted to know what people thought of the emotional connection between Link and Zelda in Skyward Sword, and whether or not such a connection would be a good thing in Zelda Wii U. This is of personal interest to me, since everyone knows which option I'd pick. Sadly, this question had some pretty glaring flaws in it.
(2) Yes/No, would a similar connection in Zelda Wii U be a good thing?
Firstly, I didn't specify that it was the emotional connection between Link and Zelda. People could have interpreted this as the emotional connection with anybody; although, in both polls, I used pictures of Link and Zelda during a more "romantic" moment in the game. Still, this could have been interpreted in a number of ways, such as the emotional connection with Link exclusively, or the emotional connection between Link and the story.
Secondly, the question assumes that the players felt an emotional connection in the first place. Some individuals didn't find Skyward Sword to be such an emotionally investing game, and thus my own bias spoke through the question in more ways than one.
Third, and lastly, I didn't include a neutral option; however, I do think that for these types of polls, not including such options is a good thing. As I explained to one respondent, I use it as a probing method to force people to select one option that best represents their views, even if it's only a slight leaning.
The number of respondents for this question was 134. With all of these factors in mind, here are the results:
- 81.34% of the participants (109 of 134) selected "Yes" for Skyward Sword, "Yes" for Zelda Wii U.
- 8.21% of the participants (11 of 134) selected "Yes" for Skyward Sword, "No" for Zelda Wii U.
- 5.22% of the participants (7 of 134) selected "No" for Skyward Sword, "No" for Zelda Wii U.
- 5.22% of the participants (7 of 134) selected "No" for Skyward Sword, "Yes" for Zelda Wii U.
Aggregated into other terms:
- 89.55% of the participants (120 of 134) said the emotional connection in Skyward Sword was good, while 10.44% (14 of 134) said it was not.
- 86.57% of the participants (116 of 134) said an emotional connection would be good in Zelda Wii U, while 13.43% (18 of 134) said it would not.
So the overwhelming majority (a near consensus) of participants said that the emotional connection in Skyward Sword was good and that something similar would be good in Zelda Wii U. This thrills me beyond all measure, and I completely agree. Of course, these results would be pretty uninformative in the nuance without some statements by the respondents. The same respondent expressed approval for character development in the last question also gave their opinion in this question, which provides some context:
"I liked that Link had a best friend (as usual). Marin, Saria, and Ilia all served as great best-friend characters, all of which had a crush on Link. Zelda was different because she had a much larger role than just 'best friend', but.... I think that personal connection was lost.This was a very thorough, insightful response. I completely agree that Link's character is reflected through his relationships with the supporting characters, which is why the supporting characters need development, not Link. In the general scheme of things, I also agree that gameplay is more important than story; however, there has been a lot of anxiety built up in the last few games concerning story and emotional connections. It would be neglectful, in my view, to abandon this for Zelda Wii U.
I know this is a long post, but it's something that really bothered me. I think a close relationship for Link (with ANYONE) is necessary from a story-telling point of view. For a character without much detail (due to being the avatar), a lot of his personality is shown through his relationships with others.
With Zelda, it's always gameplay before story, as it should be. But stories have become very important parts of games, and in the case of Zelda, I feel like this relationship should be much more detailed. It doesn't need screentime, just something to make us feel..... look how little screentime Saria got, and she's incredibly loved by all.
Whether it's Zelda or anybody else, that best-friend (and possible love interest in some cases) connection is pretty important."
One respondent explained why they said that the connection in Skyward Sword was not good, but something similar would be good in Zelda Wii U:
"I always thought the way they presented the long-time connection between Link and Zelda in Skyward Sword was trying too hard to please the fans who support the two as a couple, or even as close friends. I like the idea, but the way it was done in Skyward Sword was too upfront to me. If it were to be elaborated on, and maybe a little less explicit in the next game, that would be great."Of course, I support a love connection between Link and Zelda hands down any day no matter what, but I had to consider what this respondent said and ultimately, I think they're right. The connection was so built up in the beginning, and then it dwindled down; which of course, as one respondent expressed, is to be expected. However, it could have been done much better. Instead of shrinking, it should grow.
Another respondent gave a very well thought-out explanation as to why they didn't feel connected in Skyward Sword, but felt a strong connection in Twilight Princess, thus giving the same response as the last participant:
All of this gave me a new appreciation for Twilight Princess, as I didn't give enough recognition to how much detail was put into the story with all of the different characters. One respondent and I agreed, however, that the characters did not seem to have much depth to them in themselves. There were so many people, and it wasn't easy to feel an investment or a connection in all of them. Ultimately, it came down to our own personal experiences and how well we related to the characters based on what we had already experienced in our own lives. One can't find appreciation for a type of relationship they've never really experienced or liked themselves, and that's what's great about Legend of Zelda. You take away from it whatever you personally feel.
"In TP, there was an emphasis on Link's quest to help the children of his village. I'm sure that all of us can remember a few scenes in which they were simply waiting and giving hope into the prospect that Link would come to there rescue, even though reason would tell them that their destruction was nigh. The fact that they didn't know Link was there at the time really gets me, too.
The resistance from Twilight Princess.
Then, we have the moments with Ilia. We have her memory loss, which turns into (at least for me) one of the best story arcs and missions in the game -- the Hidden Village. It was there that we learn that she was being helped by an old lady... The same old lady that is the last Sheikah in the village and gives you the Sky Book.
Going into Castle Town, we find the base of a small organization attempting to take matters into their own hands. The base is Telma's Bar, owned by a character involved in helping the Zora boy that turns out to be the new king of the Zoras (in training, albeit) and Ilia.
That organization is called the Resistance. Its members include Shad, Ashei, Auru, and Ordon's own Rusl, our hero's childhood hero and mentor.
Finally, we have this random spirit guy named the Hero's Shade. He becomes Link's trainer for becoming the hero. While the skills are incredible, so, too, is the man who teaches them. At least one of his quotes has become the basis of several fan art adaptations, in addition to his origin in general -- for he is none other than the ghost of the Hero of Time, my personal favorite Link throughout the series (though my opinion might not be shared with everybody)."
So overall, to summarize, most people want an emotional connection in the new Zelda game (one that is similar to the one in Skyward Sword), but there can be some definite improvements. For example, building up the relationship instead of dwindling it down. It would also behoove Nintendo to pay close attention to what types of relationships the players like.
This is where I have my own concerns. Zelda Informer reported rumours that, due to how well-received the romance in Skyward Sword was among western audiences, the developers of the new Zelda game are considering how to flesh that out. According to the article, they're looking into western romances such as Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. If they use these stories as the basis for the romance in the new Zelda game, I will punch Nintendo in the collective mouth.
But, they have noted that the team working on this new game is the biggest, most creative and innovative teams they've ever had, and they're working on breaking the boundaries of what it means to play a Zelda game. On that note, while I'm a little anxious about these rumours; they are, after all, rumours, and I have faith in the game developers to give the players and fans what they want. All I can say is... I hope the rumours are mostly true.
Question: Which game do you think had the best fighting mechanics? (This also includes things like hidden skills, parrying, etc.)Moving past the story (since we've spent enough time on that I think), the gameplay was the second biggest priority for the respondents. On this note, I asked a question about the fighting mechanics, since it seems like that's one of the things Nintendo has yet to show us regarding the new Zelda game. For this question, I didn't specifically ask which fighting mechanics people would like to see in Zelda Wii U, but I did ask which game from the list had the best; and presumably, if someone really likes the fighting mechanics in one game, they wouldn't want to trash them in the next.
The sample size for this question was 147 total. The options given were chosen with two prerequisites in mind: (1) they have to be a console game, as handheld game mechanics would not translate too well to console gaming; and, (2) they had to be unique; thus, for example, Majora's Mask was omitted because Ocarina of Time was still included. Here are the results:
- 7.48% of the participants (11 of 147) selected "Ocarina of Time."
- 10.88% of the participants (16 of 147) selected "Wind Waker."
- 51.02% of the participants (75 of 147) selected "Twilight Princess."
- 11.56% of the participants (17 of 147) selected "Skyward Sword."
- 19.05% of the participants (28 of 147) selected "All of the above."
Surprisingly, despite my prior predictions, people did not immediately gravitate towards the "all of the above" option. Twilight Princess prevailed with the majority of the votes; and had the last option not been included (and replaced with some other game), I believe it would have gotten an even higher percentage of the vote.
One respondent expressed why he enjoyed Twilight Princess the most:
"Honestly there's nothing more fun than the Jump Strike... except the ball and chain and bomb arrows!"
A potential flaw in this question is when people answer "all of the above." One participant said he chose all of the above even though he hadn't played Twilight Princess. This could be problematic if several people chose that option even having not played some of the games in the list. I don't think this is overwhelmingly the case; however, based on the trend, I think that if they were forced to pick an option anyway, most of the votes would go to Twilight Princess anyway. When an "all of the above" option is given, and the majority of people still pick a specific option, I think the evidence is clear.
So what would we like to see in the next Zelda game? A diverse skill set, of course! Bring back some (if not all) of the hidden skills from Twilight Princess, and add a few new ones. It seems Nintendo is already doing that, though, given the announcement that in addition to still being able to use a sword/bow on Epona, we can also dismount her to make an aerial attack. Awesome!
Question: Based on what you have seen, heard or read, what is your overall opinion of the upcoming Legend of Zelda game for the Wii U?This is the last question from the polling. Participants were asked a continuum of questions after this point; is Nintendo: on the right track, somewhat on the right track, neither on the right or wrong track, somewhat on the wrong track, or on the wrong track. This question attempted to gauge what people's general feelings were based on what they had seen or heard regarding Zelda Wii U. The total sample was 129. The results are as follows:
- 71.32% of the participants (92 of 129) selected "On the right track."
- 20.16% of the participants (26 of 129) selected "Somewhat on the right track."
- 4.65% of the participants (6 of 129) selected "Neither on the right or wrong track."
- 0.78% of the participants (1 of 129) selected "Somewhat on the wrong track."
- 3.1% of the participants (4 of 129) selected "On the wrong track."
So we can see that the consensus among the respondents was an overall positive attitude towards the new Zelda game (91.47% or 118 of 129). I unfortunately didn't get any written opinions from people who were on the right tail of the distribution, but I did receive plenty of feedback from people who voted either neutrally or positively. Those who voted that Nintendo is neither on the right nor the wrong track suggested that there wasn't enough information at present to make a judgment on how well they're doing. One individual expressed their disagreement, "With the little amount of information, it still sounds and looks amazing."
One participant explained what their views were overall, though I don't know if they voted:
"I have no idea about the story but from what I've seen the game play seems to be going really well. Graphics are awesome and overall it looks really great in the Wii U. From what I've read of what Aonuma and Miyamoto have also said then it seem to me that they're really going on the right track. And about history well a lot of changes are gonna be made and I like that the idea of a refreshed title of zelda. So yep I think they're going on the right track."The feedback I received from this part of the poll was a bit disappointing, especially since the votes were so overwhelmingly positive. I wish I could've heard more about what people like about the new Zelda game. From what I've seen and read, however, I can pinpoint a few factors that people are largely approving of.
First, Epona doesn't automatically run into trees or obstacles if you direct her to. This seems like an insignificant detail to some people, since most people would try to do this anyway, but it's an element of realism that many fans appreciate. Likewise, the addition of wild horses has received quite a bit of support. Who knows if we'll be able to choose our own horse other than Epona?
|Doing this right after jumping off a horse? Epic.|
While there's only a small amount of information to go on right now, I think that overall, people have a reason to be excited about this new game. I personally can't wait -- I wish I could have it by Christmas. Unfortunately, the estimated release date is some time in 2015; but this can be good too. Of course, it gives Nintendo time to read the things the fans want. It also gives them extra time to flesh things out and add more detail. This is such a huge project, I'm so anxious for its release, as well as the release of more information.
So concludes this article. Thank you to all who participated in the poll. In addition, thank you to both Zelda communities on Google+ who allowed me to conduct these polls; particular thanks to the former for allowing me to post my article there, and for being such a wonderful community to interact with! Special thanks to the individuals who gave me permission to use their comments in this article -- you're all such a great help!
And, most importantly, thank you all very much for reading.
Below are the original polls. I stopped accepting newer votes or changed votes at ~1:00 AM EST on 12/20/14; that is, after that time, any votes that were cast in the poll were not included in this article. If you see inconsistencies between the numbers provided in the article and those you see on the poll data, this is why. Google+ won't allow me to shut down the polls, and I don't want to delete them in case I need them for future reference. Also, as stated, these polls are not listed in order of their having been conducted. I would still encourage looking at the data as of recent, because it's still fairly consistent with the data in the post, just with higher sample sizes.
- Primary focus poll. (1) (2)
- Story poll. (1) (2)
- Emotional connection poll. (1) (2)
- Fighting mechanics poll. (1) (2)
- Overall attitude poll. (1) (2)
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