Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 18, 2016

Zelda BoW “WOW!” Emails

First email:

Hey Master Malstrom. Hope all is well. I too see progress in Zelda, and hope to see more. But I still can’t stand the fact the Aonuma (maybe Miyamoto too?) insist on these sissy, cartoonish art styles. It takes away from immersion. The first Zelda was scary. Even OoT had scary things in it. I just can’t help but feel hoodwinked every time they show a trailer pre-console release as bad ass and then show some anime crap after. Oh well, maybe in another 7yrs. 

I am sure the game gets ‘scarier’ outside the beginning area. All E3 had was that beginning area.

I have no problems with the art style. Link doesn’t look like a chibi. Cartoony is good.

Go back to the 16 bit generation. Games for PC would look… whatever they looked liked. They had their own unique monitors. But for consoles, they needed cartoony graphics and to be REALLY REALLY BRIGHT in order to appear on TVs of the day. When Blizzard made games like Warcraft 2, it was REALLY REALLY BRIGHT because Blizzard was used to making games for consoles. The point is cartoony is NORMAL for consoles but abnormal for PC. Sony/Microsoft games are not cartoony because they are PC developers.

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Above: Console norm is cartoony.

Let us see another email:

Hello Master Malstrom,

I hope you’re doing well! I have watched the streaming of the new Zelda Breath of the Wild (Lame naming). And I’m excited! I like how this returns to the Zelda we know and love since the NES w/the exploration of Hyrule. I like how Link is able to wear knights armor, wield different weapons and feel more like a modern RPG. Plus the best part, NO BORING 20 HR TUTORIALS AND BORING STORY NARRATIVE! Some bonuses, Hyrule is in a post apocalyptic setting and Ganon (not Ganondorf) has control over the land. Apparently Ganon is the dark cloud in the sky (sounds like Zelda 2) from the tree house I saw.

What I don’t like is the Bokoblins, what is Aonuma’s obsession with these weak enemies, as they don’t look threatening. The Chu’s have big eyes, and I do fear that Aonuma will add something stupid. Remember when Link was announced to be in Mario Kart 8? The idea of Link riding a motorcycle may have been in Aonuma’s head for that long.

 

I’m not a fan of the Bokoblins either. However, I do like the guardians with their lasers and the giant stone guys. We just don’t know much about the game.

I wonder if this is the Hyrule after the ‘great flood’ of Wind Waker.

Next email:

“Users may not actually get the full story depending on how they play this game and how they strategize and solve puzzles. Users are able to go to the very end goal without revealing why Link woke up the way he did and where he did. Whether you want to reveal the storyline and find out why Link woke up, or you want to just go straight to the goal, that’s an option totally up to the user. Anybody who can go straight to the goal without doing anything else — there’s two possibilities. Either they’re a really good gamer, or they could be somebody that’s a little bit crazy. But it’s not impossible. I created the game like that. Maybe it might be fun for fans to compete in a challenge for who can clear it first.” — Eiji Aonuma

Eiji Aonuma has come to the good side of the Triforce, Sean. It sounds like enemies are going to be the primary obstacle in the ‘later’ areas.

Playing is believing. Talk is cheap. We’ll give credit once we play that.

Next:

Greetings Master Malstrom,
I watched much of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s gameplay demo on Youtube. It appears they still consider Zelda a puzzle game, but at least Zelda is regaining its exploration.

So instead of Zelda: Linear Puzzle Quest, we now have Zelda: Puzzle World.

Aonuma said during the demo that they used to design the games to where you can’t get lost, always knowing where to go. When they were making this game, and he got lost in the world, he was surprised to find out it was enjoyable to get lost because it was HIS CHOICE that brought him there. Others mentioned how you can go to a place you shouldn’t be going early in the game and get your rear-end handed to you. That sounds like some of your description of what you wanted in a Zelda years ago. It is as if they designed the game around your criticisms, barring a few things.

As for the art style? I don’t give a crap. Though I never did either way. Looks good to me. But I do agree with you they should make the enemies more menacing. It’s a step in the right direction, because at least the enemies are decent-sized and aren’t wearing cheetah-print underwear.

Looking at it from several hours of gameplay, they pretty much got everything right EXCEPT there is a distinct lack of enemies to fight. The field is freaking barren of any enemies to challenge you. It’s like Zelda: Just Cause 3 Edition. You can do anything, go anywhere, and explore a detailed world. But there’s little challenge to it. Adrenaline-pumping combat is clearly NOT a priority. This makes Zelda a toothless tiger.

Still preferable to Scatwad Sword and seemingly many steps in the right direction. In fact, this is generally what I expected SS to be from the teasers they tossed us in 2010-11.

One other subtle thing I noticed. The time-wasters are absent. Sequelitis’ scathing criticism of Ocarina does not apply to BOW. Chests open quickly. Fights aren’t as much of a wait-and-strike model, with a few options to approaching things. You begin your journey without tutorial.
The truly fundamental changes to the Modern Zelda formula we are seeing are borne out of necessity. With open world games such as MineCraft, Skyrim, and Dark Souls massively devaluing Zelda’s appeal, Nintendo HAD to change something for the better.
Remember, Aonuma played Skyrim around the time Skyward Sword released. He probably thought, “Why is this game with a similar name and similar qualities succeeding where my game isn’t?”

More tidbits: As a kid Aonuma lived in a countryside with tons of mountains and nature. When asked if he enjoyed it and took inspiration from experiences during that time, he replied saying he hated the countryside he grew up in. He longed for the city. Meanwhile I also learned that Miyamoto was a Boyscout and loved experiencing nature. Could Miyamoto have chosen anyone more opposite him to handle Zelda?

Cheers,

Your Fortunate Reader

Oh, it is my fortunate reader. This is to differentiate from my unfortunate readers? haha

Well, we don’t know much about the enemies outside the beginning zone of the E3 demos. I did see the Stone Giant kill Link pretty fast. The guardians’ lasers hurt a ton too. A true RPG lets players ‘choose their difficulty’ by how much they are willing to grind. If players get the coolest armor and gear, I imagine all the enemies will eventually become easy. But the player can choose not to do this and go through the game shirtless. Classic Zelda was about you upgrading your shit so you would become The Ultimate Badass.

Zelda looks interesting.  The art style is of course Skyward Sword, which to me is ok, I guess.  I can take it or leave.

I like the ideas they’re going with, such as dropping Link into the middle of Hyrule with no explanation or hand-holding, and I can’t believe there’s actually no helper this time.  Did someone hit Aonuma with a frying pan or something?  He’s actually being logical.  Dare I say it… is Nintendo heading toward the “acceptance” stage of the Malstrom-patented Nintendo grief pattern?

I just have two questions.

1) Will the overworld be dangerous and full of enemies?  So far I can’t tell if it’s empty like Twilight Princess or not.  I hope it has a nice amount of enemies and content.  Chopping down trees looks cool.  I hope it’s useful.

2) Will the dungeons be fun and have a nice flow to them?  As I’ve replayed the original Zelda and a Link to the Past, I’ve noticed just how fun the dungeons are.  They really have an excellent flow to them.  I don’t want more of the “solve puzzles, enter next room” design pattern.  I think Bill Trinen said that people are finding multiple solutions to the “puzzles” in this game, so there’s hope.

Oh, and here’s an interesting little tidbit from Ubisoft:”We have done a lot of products and successes with Nintendo in the past, and we believe that the NX will recapture a lot of the lapsed Wii players. So we will see when they release it, but we are confident.”http://nintendoeverything.com/ubisoft-nx-will-recapture-a-lot-of-the-lapsed-wii-players/

We’ll see what happens.

Have you noticed that no one wishes to talk about the Wii today? Wii is very difficult for people to analyze because they are stuck in a hardcore/casual binary. And if you do not understand why the Wii sold well, you cannot understand why the Wii U was disastrous.

Nintendo making the 3DS and Wii U may show that Nintendo doesn’t understand why the DS or Wii were successful. I contend that Nintendo DOES understand EXACTLY WHY the DS and Wii were successful and…. THEY. DO. NOT. LIKE. IT. DS and Wii audience were rejecting the N64/Gamecube trajectory. If the DS didn’t do its magic, PSP would have taken over the handheld market.

Zelda BoW “WOW!” is revealing to the world that NINTENDO DOES UNDERSTAND THE REASONS. So why did it take Nintendo so long to make this game? Why wasn’t it done with Skyward Sword or earlier? It is because Nintendo didn’t want to make it. Just like Nintendo knew that people were craving a 2d Mario and refused to make one for decades.

Video game developers are smart people. Nintendo developers are some of the smartest of the bunch. They know. But like everyone else, they have their egos and their professional idea of what to do.

I believe it is also clear that the Wii U and 3DS disasters were, in great part, caused by MASSIVE ARROGANCE with the DS and Wii’s success. Iwata even warned that ‘Nintendo must not become arrogant’ before the Wii launched.

I greatly expect the NX console to cost $250ish. Xbox One costs something close to that now.

If they are studying the Wii launch, then they are going to flood software out. Zelda BoW “WOW!” should be seen as NX launch title, not Wii U game. Perhaps some Wii U ports like Smash.

Wii also was bundled with a game many Nintendo fans didn’t want to buy at the time: Wii Sports. They bought a Wii and Zelda and then discovered the Wii sports magic. NX may have a similar bundle.

More letters incoming soon. Time for Malstrom to sleep now.


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