Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 11, 2014

Email: Zelda should stop being made in 3D if they can’t make it fun in 3D

If combat in Zelda is the primary missing link and 3D Zeldas don’t have near as fun combat as in 2D Zeldas, then why waste time trying to make a square peg fit through a round hole? 3D fantasy games in general don’t have as engaging combat as their 2d counterparts. I would love to see Nintendo make a system that I never thought of to work for 3D-oriented sword combat, but now I’m wondering if that sort of combat is possible without some hardcore immersion devices like Natal.

Maybe the combat system in Skyward Sword is what they need but they just need to make the AI enemies for it properly. The problem with the AI was, after all, making every enemy a ‘puzzle.’ What if they had taken the same controls and system, and only made the enemies numerous and intriguing to battle, giving us many ways to defeat them (some ways they may not have even thought of) instead of making it “slice this way to win.” Emergent gameplay is what the sword combat needs.
Whether that requires the abandonment of Z-targeting, I’m not sure, and I’m having an issue thinking of a way to fix the camera without making it too complicated for the player. With the current system, sword is controlled with motion in the right hand, movement is controlled by the analog stick, and the camera is controlled by a simple button press. It’s impossible for the camera to be controlled by a second analog stick while your right hand is in motion. It’d be a ridiculous juggling act.
I can’t think of a better way than to make the camera glued on your head, the movement glued to your feet and the sword glued to your arm. But that breaks with reality too much. I would rather not be glued to a device just to have smoother gameplay.
What could be done is remove the motion-control aspect for the sword and assign the camera to the right analog. It would have a system like Kingdom Hearts, only it must be more involved and arcadey. That’s the problem though, because it may not be possible to capture that exciting arcadey action perfectly with this control scheme. If Hyrule Warriors does this I will be very surprised. What we’ve seen of it has very little rhyme or reason, just pile-drive hordes of enemies with no effort but maybe a shift here and a bomb there. If this is how it is throughout, it would be too unlike the NES and SNES Zeldas, not enough critical action.
Another method is turning the 3D Zeldas into first person games. This was what was originally planned for Ocarina of Time, but they changed it because of the Young Link character. Skyrim is a good first-person fantasy game. I’m not sure how the sword combat is, but the bow combat is great in Skyrim. With first-person games, the weapons that are the funnest and most complex to use are the ones where all you do is point and click. Meaning guns and bows work really well in first person games. Zelda is known for the sword, though. It may be over-simplified or simply not as fun to play Zelda first-person with a sword. (Side-note: Expect Zelda U to have third-person camera bow puzzles. They will likely avoid or even cancel the first person view in the next Zelda)
All that said, I’d like to see Skyward Sword’s system paired with really good AI fights that aren’t puzzles. Maybe even multiplayer. The possibilities of it seem the greatest and make me want a real Zelda with motion controlled sword if we’re going to have any 3D Zelda. They could even make their team try fencing in order to learn the finesse of real sword fighting so they can transfer that knowledge to motion-controlled sword fighting.
If 3D Zelda combat is irredeemable at this point, then I’d rather see them 2d-ify the series on console so they can simply continue the direction of A Link to the Past and make it an awesome, arcade-action-packed, huge, content-rich-world, local multiplayer game. I can see the revival of 2D Zelda starting a phenomenon that grows Zelda to almost 2D Mario levels if Nintendo would get it right.


Why do you ask such useless questions? You might as well ask ‘How deep is the ocean?’ ‘How high is the sky?’ or ‘Who is Sean Malsrom?’

Nintendo does not CARE if their games are fun for the players. If they were, they wouldn’t have made a gazillion number of 3d Marios or Aonuma Zeldas. They would not have made Metroid: Other M. What Nintendo cares about is if the games are FUN for the developers. Nintendo is a developer centric company, not a gamer centric company. This is why their sales are in the toilet.

Why is Nintendo making a ‘Captain Toad’ 3d game. Did anyone ASK for this? Why was it being made? It is because the developers felt like it.

Why did Nintendo make a Tingle game? NO ONE likes Tingle. But Nintendo developers aren’t interested in making games people want to play.

If you like games like Zelda 1 and 2, Nintendo hates you. If you like games like Super Mario Brothers 3, Nintendo hates you. If you like games like Metroid or Super Metroid, Nintendo hates you. After all the DECADES that have passed and the massive wealth Nintendo has, it cannot be ‘ignorance’ that Nintendo does not make the games you or I want to play. Look at 2d Mario. Super Mario Brothers was the most popular game EVER. Yet, at the start of the Wii Era, Nintendo actually thought Super Mario Galaxy was the successor to Super Mario World. This is how OUT OF TOUCH they are. When NSMB DS and Wii came it, they blew up the sales charts and Nintendo was struck dumb. Miyamoto has said that much bitterness has come in due to people not wanting the 3d Mario.

So does Nintendo give up on 3d Mario and focus on 2d Mario? No! 2d Mario gets intentionally sabotaged with DLC, with a C team, with Wario-like gameplay (as done for NSMB 2), and the flagship Mario still is 3d Mario. The difference is that 3d Mario will keep being re-designed until it appeals.

Did Nintendo give up on 3d, the Gamecube, or the Virtual Boy? No. The 3DS is a Virtual Boy Reloaded, and I’m not sure if the 3DS has outsold the PSP in the United States. Wii U is chock full of Gamecube-esque games and the sales are beyond a disaster.

Nintendo is not interested in getting 3d Zelda combat to be as fun as 2d Zelda combat. What Nintendo’s thinking is about is ‘How do we get Aonuma’s puzzles to appeal to everyone?’ I swear to you that is their thought process. This is why Aonuma said ‘we are rethinking how we do Zelda’s puzzles’ for Zelda Wii U. Aonuma Zelda is like 3d Mario in that Nintendo is never going to give it up. They will ALWAYS put in the big budget production effects in it and keep trying to ‘tweak it’ to success.

Notice how none of this occurred with Nintendo’s actual blockbusters. Donkey Kong did not have prior versions that needed ‘tweaking’. Super Mario Brothers didn’t have prior versions that needed ‘tweaking’ for it to become a huge success. Legend of Zelda and Metroid didn’t have prior versions that needed ‘tweaking’ for it to become successful. Kirby didn’t need it. Super Mario Kart was the best selling SNES games in many markets such as Japan.

Modern Nintendo is about the attitude of ‘let us keep tweaking the game we enjoy developing’. Nintendo is about making their developers feel fulfilled FIRST and THEN making their customers feel fulfilled. But it doesn’t work. The masses still aren’t embracing 3d Mario or Aonuma Zelda. The masses are not embracing Crazy Sakamoto Metroid. “Doesn’t matter,” Nintendo says. “We will make it again and this time do it right!”

Imagine Donkey Kong 3. Nintendo responds to its poor sales as “We need to tweak it so people learn to love it.” Instead, Nintendo just abandoned it and made completely new games. Modern Nintendo doesn’t do that because Modern Nintendo isn’t about gamers, it is about developers. Even the president of Nintendo is a developer so they all think their socks don’t stink.

After all this time and with the money Nintendo has, no one is this stupid. Nintendo is INTENTIONALLY doing what it does. The question is why? The only answer that I see fits is because the people running Nintendo are extremely narcissistic. “But they are Board Members and executives. That must mean they are smarter and better than us.” No, it doesn’t. Look at the whole of Japanese society. Will Japan even exist in 50 years by the rate it is going? Serious question. The people aren’t making babies. The Japanese society is being crushed by bad macro-economics. Anyone observing the Japanese game market knows that the market is whimpering and that everyone is doing badly.

Any how is it that everywhere… all at once, we all started to hear the narrative of a ‘Wii U Comeback’. Is that reflected in the sales charts? NO! Do you know why? It is because WE HAVE HAD NO SALES CHARTS SINCE E3. So how did this story get out? Not even game journalism would report of the ‘popularity’ or ‘comeback’ nature without any actual data. It is because of Nintendo’s marketing.

Wii U may have gotten a meaningful momentum boost from E3 and Mario Kart 8. However, you have to have sales beyond the Gamecube to even be remotely considered a serious game console. Having a ‘comeback’ and still selling less than Gamecube is still massive failure. How stupid does Nintendo think we are?

With ‘Quality of Life’, I expect Nintendo gaming to exit the commercial market. What that means is that ‘Quality of Life’ is to provide the ‘Nintendo profits’ while Nintendo keeps making Virtual Boys and Gamecubes. Nintendo will declare Nintendo ‘changed due to changing market conditions’, but it will all be bullshit. The truth is that Nintendo only wants to make the games the developers wish to make. When Nintendo stopped making games for themselves, they made the DS and Wii and look how that ended up.

People often wonder what would it be like if Nintendo exited the gaming market. To me, Nintendo has already exited the gaming market. They are not interested in commercial sales anymore for gaming. They’d be happy if the gaming side breaks even while they make their profit with QoL. Generation 9 will tell us for sure if this is their direction. I bet it is.



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