Hyrule Warriors is a collaboration title developed by Koei Tecmo studios Omega Force and Team Ninja in partnership with Nintendo. It mixes the setting and characters of The Legend of Zelda franchise with a gameplay format based on that of the Musou franchise (Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, Warriors Orochi). In Japan, the game is called Zelda Musou.
The game was released in Japan on August 14, 2014, where was published by Koei Tecmo. The game was released in Europe on September 19, 2014, and will be released in North America on September 26, 2014. In these territories, the game is being published by Nintendo.
The plot will follow Link, Zelda, and other figures from the Zelda series in a war with a witch named Cia.
Cia was in charge of protecting the balance of the Triforce but developed affections for Link and is overcome with jealousy over his relationship with Queen Zelda. Ultimately, her mind is possessed by an evil that was sealed away and Cia unleashes chaos onto Hyrule with the help of her minions, Volga and Wizzro.
The story of Hyrule Warriors is not a part of the official Zelda timeline and is considered its own separate universe. The game is considered a celebration title by the development staff, as it includes numerous elements from across the timeline, many of which would not otherwise fit canonically or chronologically.
Hyrule Warriors offers two basic control styles. One is the the standard Warriors button layout, and the second is one that is inspired by the Zelda series. The player chooses between layouts at the game's start, and can freely switch back and forth in the options menu afterward.
Similar to other Musou/Warriors titles, Hyrule Warriors pits the player against scores of enemies in open battlefields. The player character can engage scores of enemies and dispatch them with combinations of strikes, including the signature Musou Attack. The game also implements the Zelda franchise's Z-targeting, allowing the player to lock on to specific enemies or parts of larger enemies.
Characters in Hyrule Warriors cannot jump. Instead, the player can perform a quick evasive dash. The direction of the dash is dependent on the analogue stick.
The player has access to subweapons such as the Zelda franchise's standard bombs, which can be lobbed at enemies in rapid succession. The subweapons also have uses outside of combat, as well. For example, bombs can be used to clear passageways and uncover secrets, while the hookshot can be used to cross otherwise impassable gaps. When the player has multiple subweapons in the inventory, the active subweapon can be swapped using the directional pad.
The UI features elements that fit the Zelda theme. In particular, the life gauge is represented in hearts, and life can be restored by collecting hearts on the battlefield. Similarly, magic potions can be collected to replenish a portion of the player-character's magic meter.
When the player-character's magic meter is full, a special technique called Focus Spirit can be unleashed. When Focus Spirit is triggered, the player character's parameters are all given a temporary boost.
To progress through a given stage, the player must fight off enemies and complete a series of major and minor objectives while also guarding against the stage's losing conditions, such as the defeat of the stage's allied commander. Some objectives are tied to bases scattered around the maps and require the player defeat an enemy base's commander to claim the base for their own forces or prevent the fall of an allied base. Battles are won when the stated victory conditions are met.
The game features four difficulty levels. The first three, Easy, Normal, and Hard, are available from the outset. Upon completion of Legend Mode, the hardest difficulty, Heroic, is unlocked.
The game features enemy types of varying sizes. Human-sized bokoblins appear to be a common enemy soldier type, and somewhat larger Lizalfos appear in a role more akin to minor officers of the Warriors series. The player will also have to contend with giant enemies such as the King Dodongo.
Leveling Up and Customization
Characters earn experience as they fight, increasing their parameters as they level up. Similar to Warriors Orochi 3, levels can also be raised by spending rupees, with the cost to raise a level increasing with the level. The game also features a badge crafting system to further boost the characters' abilities. Badges can be crafted by using materials and rupees collected on the battlefield. The better the badge effects, the more rupees they cost and the rarer the materials they require.
Gold Skulltulas, special collectibles that first appeared in Ocarina of Time, make an appearance in Hyrule Warriors. Their appearance during battle is based on specific conditions, such as the weapon the player character is using and/or the character the player has selected. If the player can defeat a Gold Skulltula before a timer runs out, a portion of a special portrait is unlocked. There are a total of one hundred Gold Skulltulas found in the game.
When a Gold Skulltula spawns on the map, a web icon will appear on screen. The Gold Skulltula's location can be determined by sound; it makes a rustling noise that grows louder as the player draws closer to its position. As in Ocarina of Time, the Gold Skulltulas can be hidden in the environment and might need to be uncovered by the player before they can be fought.
Legend Mode follows an original narrative set across stages inspired by Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword, in addition to original locations conceived for the game. The character the player controls is dependent on the stage and progress in the story.
Adventure Mode is a challenge mode divided into multiple stages laid out on a map with an appearance that references the aesthetic of the original The Legend of Zelda. As the player clears challenges, more stages are unlocked. There are certain weapons and characters that can only be unlocked by playing through Adventure Mode.
Adventure Mode includes a special network link feature, in which the player can allow another player's Link to appear on their Adventure Mode map from across the internet. If the player enters battle and assists this other player's Link, extra bonuses can be acquired. The level of the guest Link is based on the other player's own progress.
This mode features challenges for players to complete within a given time limit. Not a part of the original release, it was added to the game in the version 1.2 update.
Hyrule Warriors will support two-player cooperative play. Similar to Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper, the game will feature the ability for one player to play the game on the Wii U GamePad screen, and the other on the television. The game will not offer a split-screen display option. The co-op mode is local multiplayer only.
Keeping in line with the standards of the Warriors franchise, and unlike standard entries in the Zelda franchise, Link is not the sole player character in Hyrule Warriors. Numerous secondary characters that have appeared in past entries the series are playable for the first time. The game also features new original characters, at least one of which is playable.
Each character has their own unique weapon and move set, with some characters able to use more than one weapon type. For example, Link is able to use either his traditional sword/shield, a magic rod, or gauntlets, while Zelda can use either a rapier or batons like the Wind Waker.
|Cia||Hyrule Warriors||Morning Star/Mace|
|Wizzro||Hyrule Warriors||Monster Summon|
Items & Weapons
Traditional Zelda subweapons can be found in treasure chests on any given map can be used by all characters. They are often required to solve small environmental puzzles or defeat boss enemies. By finding upgrade items, the subweapons can be enhanced to increase their power and alter their combat effects.
|Basic Weapon||Upgraded Weapon|
Similar to other Warriors games, some enemies will drop weapon bags, when defeated. The contents of the weapon bags are random and left undetermined until after the stage is cleared. If the player is defeated or the battle is otherwise lost, the player loses any weapon bags gathered during the battle.
Hyrule Warriors will have downloadable content, including legacy costumes based on Link and Zelda's appearances in Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword, and Ganondorf's appearances in Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess.
In the West, the Ganondorf costumes are available to players that register the game with Club Nintendo within a month of release, while the Link and Zelda costumes will be divided up as retailer-specific preorder bonuses. In Japan, the DLC sets are part of the Premium and Treasure Box editions of the game.
Post Launch DLC
Four DLC packs have been announced for the game. The majority of the packs feature combinations of additional content including new characters and weapons to Adventure Mode maps and game modes.
Hyrule Warriors Master Quest (October 16, 2014)
- 1 new Weapon
- New Scenario
- Adventure Map
- 2 Costumes
Twilight Princess (November 2014)
- 1 new character
- 1 new weapon
- Adventure Map
- 2 Costumes
Majora's Mask (January 2015)
- 2 new characters
- Adventure Map
- 3 new costumes
Ganon Pack (February 2015)
Season Pass / Hero of Hyrule Bundle Pack
Players who pre-order all the DLC will be able to get it at a heavily discounted price ($20 / €15 / ¥3000) and will receive a Dark Link costume as a bonus immediately.
Hyrule Warriors has received a series of free updates. These updates included patches to fix bugs, as well as additional game content and options.
- Version 1.1.0 - Day one update for the Japanese version with unknown content/fixes.
- Version 1.2.0 - Released on September 1, 2014 for the Japanese version. This patch will be released as a day one update for the North American and European releases.
- Adds Challenge Mode
- Enables customization of any stage's BGM (Background Music)
- New weapon: Link's original 8-bit sword & shield
- Various bug fixes
- Version 1.2.1 - Released September 18, 2014
- Adds DLC Store
- Adds Dark Link Costume for those who pre-purchase the 4-Pack DLC Bundle
- Version 1.3.0 - Released September 30, 2014 for the Japanese version, and October 16, 2014 for the Western version.
- Adds playable characters: Cia, Volga, Wizzro
- Adds option to turn off cut-scenes in the menu
As previously stated, the game is a collaboration between Koei Tecmo's studios Omega Force, the primary developer of the Warriors franchise, and Team Ninja. Warriors series producer Hisashi Koinuma, Team Ninja lead Yosuke Hayashi, and Zelda series producer at Nintendo, Eiji Aonuma, are all credited as producers on the game. The development of the gameplay merges Omega Force's experience in games with large-scale group battles and Team Ninja's experience with one-on-one combat and marks the first time Team Ninja and Omega Force have worked together. The main programmer on the game is from Team Ninja while the main planner is part of Omega Force.
According to Hayashi, the decision to pursue development of a Zelda crossover came from having a lot of Zelda fans on the team. The appeal of having Link fight over a hundred enemies at a time instead of just one or two like in regular Zelda games was heavily discussed among the development team and fueled the excitement for the project.
Koei Tecmo pitched the project to Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma at Nintendo at the same time that Aonuma was by coincidence playing One Piece: Pirate Warriors. After Aonuma heard the pitch, he gave his thumbs up for the project, as playing Pirate Warriors had made him ponder what a Zelda game in the Warriors format would be like. Aonuma oversaw the game's development, approving of creative and design aspects that appear in the game.
Aonuma has stated that his approval of the game was influenced by his more general desire to see the Zelda franchise break way from its traditions. The game's structure came about by leaning more toward the strengths of the Warriors franchise; an aspect that Aonuma himself wished to see. In his own words, as translated by Siliconera, "There wouldn’t be a reason for making it a Warriors [game] otherwise, right? I wanted Tecmo Koei to make a Zelda game that I can’t make. And for this reason, I asked them to 'give it more of a Warriors approach'."
Miyamoto's primary influence on the game came in determining which direction to take its design. Koei Tecmo's intial pitch for the game leaned more heavily toward designing a Zelda game with elements of the Warriors franchise underpinning it. However, it was by Miyamoto's insistence that the concept was reversed, and instead, the game was designed as a Warriors title with underpinning elements taken from the Zelda series.
At E3 2014, Aonuma also shared some insight he's gained from being a part of the development. In traditional Zelda titles, with the action focused around Link, there is very little to be concerned about in terms of map management. In a Warriors game, however, map management plays a vital role in the gameplay, as action is taking place in areas where the player isn't present and forces the player to make choices such as which allies to help and what bases to take.
The game takes visual inspiration from a variety of games in the Zelda series. Link bears his traditional appearance for the most part, wearing his familiar green tunic and cap, but with the addition of a long blue scarf, as well as a shoulder guard on his sword arm. A similar scarf and shoulder guard were worn by the Link depicted in a manga short story included in the Zelda art/chronology book Hyrule Historia which served as a prequel to Skyward Sword.
As another example, Impa's design is an evolution of her Skyward Sword look, but lacks the face-obscuring cloth. Her outfit also features armor elements reminiscent of her appearance in Ocarina of Time.
Enemy designs in the game are also taken from various entries in the series. The designs of the bokoblins and lizalfos enemies appear to be taken directly from Skyward Sword, for example. Other enemies include the ReDeads of Ocarina of Time and the twilit dragon Argorok of Twilight Princess.
The character of Volga, one of Cia's minions, features very strong similarities in his armor's design to the dragon Volvagia, the boss of the Fire Temple in Ocarina of Time. In particular, his helmet resembles Volvagia's head, and sections of the armor reflect the dragon's scales.
Similarly, Wizzro's appearance and name are inspired by wizzrobes, a type of enemy that has commonly appeared in numerous Zelda games dating back to the original The Legend of Zelda. Unlike Volvagia, however, wizzrobes are typically not boss enemies.
- Hyrule Warriors is the second Warriors title to feature a strong presence from a Nintendo property. The Wii title Samurai Warriors 3 features the protagonist of the Famicom Disk System game Nazo no Murasamejou (The Mysterious Murasame Castle), Takamaru, as a playable character. The game also includes a full-fledged gameplay mode in Murasame Castle that plays like an adaptation of the Famicom title using Warriors mechanics.
- Hyrule Warriors marks the first time that Zelda appears in a game as the full-fledged queen of Hyrule. The decision to cast her as queen was made with the thought that the increased power in station fit her role in the game. For example, as queen, Zelda has command of the full Hyrulian army and is able to enter battles alongside it.
- In Japan, a special "Treasure Box" edition of the game will be released featuring extras including a wearable replica of Link's scarf, a Triforce-shaped clock, and a box shaped like a treasure chest that plays the Zelda series treasure-finding jingle when opened. A limited edition available in Europe also includes the scarf replica. In North America, a limited edition of the game bundled with the scarf will be sold exclusively through the Nintendo World Store in New York City.